What Canadians and Europeans Do Well

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Mar 03

I recently read an Ottawa Business Journal article about three Ottawa-based entrepreneurs (Treasure Chest Marketplace’s George Borovec, Aetonix System’s Michel Paquet and Zighra’s Deepak Dutt) who recently visited Silicon Valley for two weeks. They found it a life-changing experience. 

I’m not surprised. 


What I’ve found is that Canucks and Euros do 2 things really well—design/build—while Americans do four things: design/build/market/sell.

When I talk to Americans, they’ll say, “We’ll be at 3 million users by Xmas” while Canadians say, “We hope to get to 50 users by year end.“

And then the Yanks’ll raise $1 million in 24 hours of which $650,000 will go into marketing and sales, and $350k into tech development.

Meanwhile, Canucks and Europeans will raise $50k,which will have taken them 8 months of hard sledding to do, and then they’ll have to spend every penny of it ontech dev because that’s all they have.

If you give your competition that much of a head start, it’ll become more and more difficult for nations like Sweden to produce more Spotify’s and Canada to generate more Shopify’s.

The key as George, Michel and Deepak found is to, first, raise expectations of yourself and, second, raise more funding.

@ profbruce @ quantum_entity

Postscript: a reader raises the question, why does it matter? Perhaps Europeans and Canadians, she suggests, should focus on what they do well–design/build–and leave the rest to Americans. 

Here’s the issue with that. The only thing we are sure is in infinite supply is… ideas. Infinite supply of a thing tends to suppress its price. Take for example, the making of a pair of sneakers. The largely female workforce that makes a pair of sneaker mostly in Asia probably receives less than a $1; the company that designs, markets and brands them probably gets $90 while the store that sells them receives $120. 

Sales is the teeth of any organization and its where most of the money in a supply chain that extends from mining and harvesting materials to fabrication, transportation, design, marketing and sales is made. 

So unless Canadians and Europeans are going to be content to be clients of American sales organizations making pennies on the dollar, this approach isn’t going to work.

And, oh by the way, sales brings a company into direct contact with customers, which almost always leads to changes and improvements not only in design but also in business model.

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.