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Running faster is not the solution to Canada’s productivity challenge

By Denzil Doyle

Canada’s debate on productivity is one in which the country’s high-tech industry has both a right and a responsibility to participate.

If you read what passes for conclusions in the many reports that have been written on the subject over the years, you would be left with the impression that all we have to do is run a little faster on our individual treadmills and apply more sophisticated manufacturing equipment; in no time, we would be as productive as our largest trading partner, the U.S.

Unfortunately, most of these reports are flawed because they fail to take into account the forces of globalization, particularly those that impact on a branch-plant economy like Canada’s.

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Why confidentiality?

By David French

This post is about why it is appropriate to limit disclosures of new technology under confidentiality agreements or understandings. This applies to “confidentiality agreements,” and “nondisclosure agreements – NDAs,” which are essentially the same thing.

Everyone has heard about confidential disclosures and everyone knows something about them. I’ll attempt to consolidate many important issues and clarify others.

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Are developers responsible for how their products are used?

By Francis Moran

Ottawa finally got its version of the C100′s terrific Accelerate conferences last week and it was a stellar event from beginning to end.

The C100 is a group — or mafia, as they like to call themselves — of mainly Silicon Valley-based Canadian entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and others keen to support Canadian technology companies. Its 48 Hours in the Valley twice a year brings 20 Canadian companies to the mecca of technology for two days of networking, pitches and meetings. For several years now, The C100 has been bringing itself to Canada through Accelerate events, usually day-long conferences. I have been to several Accelerate sessions in Montreal and Toronto over the past few years and have long yammered at Atlee Clark, C100′s chief organiser, that Ottawa needed one of its own.

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You are what you think

By Bob Bailly

Humans have relatively big brains, and certainly it’s our defining characteristic, as much as a trunk is for an elephant, or the size of its neck is for a giraffe. While brains are actually amazingly similar among all primates (and for that matter, among all mammals) the added advantages our species enjoys thanks to our big brains are abstract thinking and language.

More than anything else, these two characteristics have allowed us to pass significant amounts of knowledge along to contemporaries and to subsequent generations, and it defines our species from all others. Because we are able to generate original thought that can be expressed through language – both verbal and written – we have become the first animal that can trade in ideas.

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House renos and the art of customer service

By Francis Moran

Regular readers of this blog will know that we have something of an obsession with customer service. At first glance, it might not seem obvious why a technology market blog might be so preoccupied with this. Except, as I have written many times, customer service is based on what I have come to call my first law of competitive differentiation, the proposition that, in an age when almost any technological or cost advantage will rapidly and inevitably be eroded, the only sustainable competitive differentiation for most companies is to treat their customers like the centre of the universe, which they are.

Based on recent experience, I have to say there’s nothing quite like doing a major round of house renovations to expose the good, the bad and the carpet layers of customer service.

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