6 New Year's resolutions for Vancouver tech

6 New Year's resolutions for Vancouver tech

Hey, it's William. Welcome to (or back to) my notebook – my thoughts, my latest writing, articles worth reading from around the web, and other recommendations.

A few suggestions for ways the ecosystem can operate better

Coordinate calendars

Last year there were so many evenings with conflicting events. That's one way I knew organizations were not talking to each other. Fixing this is easy. Check the central calendars from VTJ, BC Tech, and VEF. Right now, VTJ’s is probably the most active and full – so make sure your events are on it.

Embrace diversity

Speaking of events, not every single one of them has to be from 5-7pm. Let’s test more morning and lunch events, and even latenight for a change (once the kiddos are in bed). That way we can all spend a bit more time with our families. Let’s also get a bit more creative. Move beyond panel discussions with beer and pizza . Yes, I know I’m guilty of this more than anyone. But I'm up for new things: hikes, seawall walks, cold plunges and saunas, and more. (See: Panache Ventures’ Non-Cocktail Networking.)

Talk about failures (learnings)

I read most of the year-end reports and recaps from Vancouver’s innovation organizations and startup accelerators. If these documents are meant to be taken at face value, not a single bad thing happened last year.  Obviously, that’s not true. Startups struggled. Companies were in the red. KPIs were missed. No one had a perfect year. Who’s willing to talk about the things that didn’t go well and what we can all learn from the experiences? Let's do that this year.

Be honest and transparent

On the theme of being honest… this year, anytime we see statistics about job creation and investment dollars, let’s dig deeper. When an organization claims to be facilitating hundreds of millions of dollars of trade deals, for example, I think we need to see the receipts.

Value people’s time 

Last year, someone who wanted my help on a community project asked to book time with me. They said I should set aside 90 minutes to hear their pitch. Nobody has that kind of time (!) –– especially free time. If you want to “pick someone’s brain,” have the decency to – at the very least – buy them a coffee, be brief, be extremely clear with what you want, and do the necessary research on the relevant topic before you meet with them. And many other things. Better yet, compensate people for their time, unless of course, they offer it to you, which, to be clear, I (and others) do frequently because I want to support the ecosystem. Most people I know are generous with their time too, but it doesn’t mean we should take advantage of them.

Be nice

On that note, be charitable when you can. Sometimes that does mean sharing 15 minutes of advice with a founder. But kindness also manifests itself in smaller ways like Liking someone's post on LinkedIn or reposting an announcement on X.

Or something as simple as forwarding this newsletter to a friend.

My stuff

ICYMI, I'm working with the team at Startup TNT now. Are you an angel investor looking for local deal flow? Let's talk.


Semi-local things

Next for Nexii

"After sixth round of funding, Nexii joins BC's unicorn club, valued at $1.55B" – that was the headline of the Vancouver Tech Journal I wrote in 2021 when money was free and every company was a unicorn. A lot has changed, and now, Nexii is under court protection from creditors, to whom they owe $112M. For my piece, I interviewed former Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, the company's executive vice president of strategy and partnerships. He's still listed on the firm's website. ,

Phantom artists

$2 billion in streaming royalties are stolen from artists annually. Vancouver's Beatdapp helps detect this fraud. “If you’ve ever gotten a recommendation for a song and thought, ‘That’s weird, I don’t listen to that,’ now you know why,” explained Andrew Batey of Beatdapp, to the New York Times.

$100M bitcoin bet

Vancouver entrepreneur, author and investor Jeff Booth revealed a $100 million fund to accelerate the Bitcoin ecosystem. "A parallel system bringing truth, hope and abundance to our world is growing much faster than most people realize and we feel super fortunate to be a part of it," he wrote on LinkedIn. ,

Elsewhere in Canada

Toronto AI startup Cohere in talks to raise roughly $500M to $1B.

Six Canadian tech CEOs have been replaced in the past few weeks.

Also of note

"Apple won the last hardware age by such a margin that it has the R&D budget, super fans, developer allegiance, and complementary devices out there to invent a market for the Vision Pro. So instead of building a cheap stepping stone, it built the distant but inevitable future."

Sam and Satya in conversation with The Economist's editor.

A New Yorker profile of Elon Musk's fixer.

Startup investors have fled the Metaverse.

Not tech

"Americans spent more time last year listening to Swift than the entire genres of classical or jazz."


Venture capital crisis

I have a discount code for The End Of VC As Founders Know It?, an event featuring executives from Coho Growth, Fort Capital, Pender Ventures, and Pocketed. It's on February 13 at entrepreneurship@UBC (Robson Square). The code is nevvco

My Vancouver VC list

I put together a list of 45 Vancouver venture capital firms and funds, as well as the key people you need to know at them. It was updated this month. Pay what you want to get it. 

Innovate West 2024 (April 16-17)

Use code WJ20 for 20% off your ticket to Innovate West.