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Best of: Culture of risk: Are you willing to bet the farm?

This is the next entry in our “Best of” series, in which we venture deep into the vault to replay blog opinion and insight that has withstood the test of time. Today’s post hails from April 2011. We welcome your feedback. 

By Francis Moran and Leo ValiquetteCubes - 207 - BEST OF

In our various interviews for this series, one of the most elusive topics of discussion has been culture of risk. Elusive in that it strays into the realm of stereotype and generalization.

Can it be defined by borders, or is that a naive misconception? Is it somehow encoded in the DNA of one nation’s culture more than another, shaped and influenced by how much public policy favours free-market capitalism versus socialism, or all of the above?

There is no one simple answer. However, few would argue that U.S. entrepreneurs tend to have more of a balls-to-the-wall, bet-the-farm-on-a-brilliant-idea mindset than their Canadian counterparts, while U.K. entrepreneurs fall somewhere in the middle … most of the time. On the other hand, one could also argue that entrepreneurs in Western Canada tend to be more “American” in their mindset versus their peers further east, while the characteristics that best define Silicon Valley can’t be found anywhere else in the U.S. And then there are those Israelis, who have cast a mould all their own.

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The only thing worse than not investing in marketing

By Francis Moranroulette

I’ve had more than a few conversations recently with startup and young technology companies — and with folks like me who try to get them to do marketing well — where the objection to hiring my services or those of other seasoned marketing strategists seems to come down to a question of affordability. It’s true, the services of an experienced technology marketing pro with a healthy track record under her or his belt do not come cheaply. But here’s the thing: Most of these companies are already spending considerable sums on marketing; they’re just spending them in a random and uncoordinated way with no coherent planning and no idea if they’re working or not.

The only thing worse than not investing in marketing is investing in the wrong marketing.

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Salvaging millions that would otherwise go to waste

By David J FrenchPatent

It’s true: Millions of dollars in investment opportunities go to waste on a daily basis. This is happening as opportunities to file for patent rights around the world expire. Let me give you an example that is not so hypothetical.

An inventor makes a good invention and follows all the proper patenting procedures to create an application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. An advantage of the PCT is that a unitary single application can be filed that is good for over 145 countries worldwide. Additionally, the PCT allows an applicant to delay for at least 30 months before making filings in individual countries. The PCT route is not a procedure for obtaining a single international patent; no such thing exists. Rather, it is a pipeline for the central processing of a single patent application that can be broken up into multiple national patent applications after a 30-month delay. Those national applications under the PCT are called National Entry filings.

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Selling ideas at the intersection of interest

By Francis Moranintersection

I had an excellent and productive meeting earlier this week with the hard-working folks at Startup Canada who are, among an impressive roster of other activities, preparing for a major lobbying and information session on Parliament Hill in November. I have been a proud advisor to Startup Canada ever since Victoria Lennox contacted me when she was first putting together this grassroots movement to cultivate a more entrepreneurial culture in this country, and have watched, mainly from the sidelines, as the organisation has gone from strength to strength.

Startup Canada, which usually concerns itself with talking to, listening to and championing the critical economic contributions made by startup entrepreneurs, quite rightly understands that policy makers, whether sitting in parliaments or in the senior bureaucracy, need to gain a far greater understanding of, and appreciation for, the role that startups play in advancing Canada’s economic, job-creation, innovation and competitiveness agendas. Accordingly, the group has planned an ambitious day of activities this November when they will bring their message — and a good cross-section of entrepreneurs and community leaders who embody that message — to Parliament Hill. Read More

Why confidentiality? (Part 3)

By David J. French Confidentiality-Agreement-Template

In the previous two postings (here and here) on the above topic, we addressed why disclosures relating to inventions, for which patent applications have not yet been filed, should only be made on a confidential basis. The last posting ended with an observation that confidentiality agreements or nondisclosure agreements — NDAs — can be much more extensive than simply prohibiting the disclosure of information. This post explores examples of further restraints that can be included by lawyers who prepare NDA documents.

By Googling “confidentiality agreement 3M,” two useful hits arose at the top of the list. The first was a document entitled, “3M In-House Confidentiality Policy and Guidelines.”

This document is a concise summary of how this large corporation requires its employees to handle confidential information. Two aspects of confidentiality agreements are addressed: 1) protecting the special trade information that is advantageous to 3M in the competitive marketplace and 2) engaging in commitments to maintain the confidentiality of information received from third parties. Every business manager should carefully review this document for what it teaches. It has been professionally prepared. Read More

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