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Thanks, BarCamp

By Francis Moran

Just a quick note of appreciation to all those who hung around for the very last session of the day at BarCampOttawa4 on Saturday and heard my colleague, Jill Pyle, and me talk about this very blog you’re reading. To get a two-thumbs-up for what we’re doing from inveterate bloggers like Alec Saunders and Joe Thornley was phenomenal validation, as was all the other commentary, feedback, tips and even challenges we received from those in the audience. It was, to my mind, a classic BarCamp session insofar as we shared our ideas about how to do something and you all were generous in your feedback to it. Thank you.

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Hello Bridgewater, farewell Cognos

By Francis Moran

The announcement this morning that global computer services company IBM has struck a deal to acquire Ottawa’s Cognos will end months of speculation over who would eventually claim the largest remaining independent business intelligence software company. However, the disappearance from the public markets of Ottawa’s second-largest (after Nortel) publicly traded company is sure to reignite the hand-wringing over why this town can’t seem to create and sustain many large public companies. Bridgewater Systems’ announcement earlier this month that it was planning an initial public offering will do little to assuage the angst.

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A day in the life of the i-LIMB

By Francis Moran

John German, one of the first patients to receive the revolutionary new prosthetic hand, the i-LIMB, that inmedia helped launch in July has posted an endearing video to YouTube detailing the amazing array of uses to which he puts his bionic hand on an everyday basis. He gets a bit carried away, taking a Lee Majors-like leap over a running car, but the biggest impression I was left with was just how easily John has integrated the arm into his life.

The Ottawa inferiority complex theorem

By Francis Moran

Here at inmedia, we regularly have the pleasure, challenge and reward of working with some phenomenal Ottawa companies where our assignment is generating the kind of media and analyst coverage that will move their business yardsticks in the global markets into which they sell.

At the same time, we all too regularly come across a deep-seated inferiority complex about the real ability of companies in this town to compete on the world stage.

This city is where inmedia was born and, notwithstanding that much of our business now comes from outside Ottawa, it’s where most of us live and it’s where we have the deepest community roots. We’re passionate about Ottawa and we care deeply that the technology sector in this city succeeds globally. So it is with the same trepidation that a parent feels about correcting a wayward child that I broach today’s difficult subject, around which I have developed a theorem. The theorem states:

“The likelihood that an Ottawa company will hire an Ottawa service provider to help it tackle its global markets is inversely proportional to the confidence it has in its own ability to actually tackle those markets.”

And there’s a corollary to my theorem:

“The likelihood that a prospective client will be sceptical about our ability to engage with global media and analysts declines exponentially the farther I travel from Ottawa.”

Maybe it’s not just an Ottawa thing, maybe it’s a Canadian thing. But it’s a worrisome thing. And here’s why.

An Ottawa technology company must export or whither on the vine. Such companies are turning to global markets and saying to their prospects, “I’d like you to put the wellbeing of your business in the hands of my small Ottawa company.” Then they turn to me and say, “There’s no way I’m putting the wellbeing of my business in the hands of your small Ottawa company.”

Talk about choking on your own dogfood.

Why does this happen?

Even the statues are BoSox fans

General George Washington cheers the BoSox

By Francis Moran

I couldn’t resist snapping this picture earlier this week of the eponymous statue outside my hotel, the Sheraton Commander, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. When a statue of the commander of the Continental Army, old George Washington himself, is rooting for the Boston Red Sox, you know they’re going to go all the way. As of Tuesday, when I took this picture, the BoSox had won only the American League pennant; as of writing this post, they’re two games up on the Colorado Rockies and clearly the favourites to win the Fall Classic as it moves to mile-high country.

George would be proud.

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