No defined gates

June 22, 2010

Over the course of the last couple of weeks I seem to have had many conversations about the differences between those who pursue business (and entrepreneurship) as a vocation and those who choose a profession such as medicine, law, engineering or accounting.

One of the key differences between these two paths is that in business we don’t have pre-defined gates or strict paths that we must follow in order to assure success.  Business people can come from anywhere, go anywhere and do anything.  As the founder of Polygon Properties once told me, “follow your passion and the money will follow.”

In pretty well all of the professions, particularly medicine, law and accountancy, if you follow a well established path then the probability of success is almost 100%.

In medicine as long as one: (1) gets into medical school; (2) gets a residency; (3) passes the Royal College examinations (4) gets a fellowship, and; (5) secures a job, then professional success is pretty much a sure thing.  In law as long as one: (1) gets into law school; (2) gets an articling position at a decent law firm; (3) passes the bar exam; (4) is asked to stay on; (5) makes partner then professional success is essentially assured.

Entrepreneurs and business people have more risks and must do more to find their own paths than really any other career.  This is why it is doubly important for entrepreneurs to: (1) find their passion; (2) figure out what they’re good at; (3) figure out where they can make a living and then go for it.

Day 155

June 4, 2010

It’s day 155 of 2010 and tomorrow is Tax Freedom Day.  This means that tomorrow is the first day that we in Canada start working for ourselves, and not our government.

This vignette, which appears to now be an annual production for the Fraser Institute (one of Canada’s most prominent think tanks), tells the story.  It’s a fun rap!

The European Crisis

June 3, 2010

This is a terrific vignette that simply sums up Europe’s challenges.

It’s worth spending a couple of minutes watching.  Enjoy!

I read Star Spangled Canadians several years ago.  The author had spent time living in both Canada and the US and wished to compare and contrast our two cultures.

While we in Canada tend to make our national pride more about differentiating ourselves from our closest neighbours, there are more similarities than differences.

I’ve had the good fortune to spend a lot of time travelling for business and pleasure between Vancouver, Washington State, Oregon and California (mainly Silicon Valley).  In my experience, Americans are a terrific people.  Resilient, entrepreneurial, smart, driven and thoughtful about social needs.

My father worked a fair bit between Ontario and BC and all along the west coast.  He always marveled at how much easier it was to do business up and down the coast than inside our own borders.  He found the “west coast culture” to be very unique from the eastern Canadian culture.

Anthony Lee is a partner with Silicon Valley based venture firm Altos Ventures and is someone I met when travelling to Silicon Valley for business.  He is a tremendous Canadian doing great things for early stage entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.  Now with the C100 he’s doing great things for Canadian entrepreneurs too.

Check out this National Post article to learn more about the C1oo, Anthony and how you might be able to benefit from what they’re doing.