Wednesday: Canada’s Wireless Telecom Battle Begins


On Wednesday, March 14, 2007, the battle begins for Canadian wireless phone providers. Why? Because wireless number portability (WNP) finally kicks in after a VERY long waiting period. We are already seeing a flurry of activity in the plans of the wireless carriers, namely, Rogers Wireless, Bell Canada, Telus Corp, and Virgin Mobile Canada. Virgin and Telus are butting heads over who claims to have the “happiest clients” and are both prepared to go to court over it. Instead of paying lawyers millions of dollars … come up with an innovative plan, increase your marketing, or actually give subscribers what they want.

According to a 2005 report, PricewaterhouseCoopers expects 850,000 numbers to be moved from one carrier for another.

Implications? What can we expect?

  • These companies are going to spend more money on advertising and marketing
  • More cost-effective phone and data plans to be more competitive
  • For consumers, its good time to take advantage and get locked in to a ‘likely’ great rate while these companies are fighting over subscribers
  • Upcoming quarterly revenues/EPS may fall shorter than expectations due to increased costs and/or lost customers (who is going to be the big gainer?)

Also, another exciting event happens on Wednesday! Research In Motion (RIM) is finally releasing their latest BlackBerry 8800 into Rogers stores. Hmmm … I wonder if they are going to try for a big promotional event in correlation with WNP? My suggestion, go out and see what deals you can find. Who knows how long they’ll last?

Indian Billionaires


There are 946 billionaires in the world, that’s a lot. As far as developing nations are concerned, China is projected to boom before India. But, interestingly, India leads Asia billionaire club with 36 billionaires; comparatively Japan has 24 and together Hong Kong and China have 41. In today’s economy, those with money – make lots more of it!

A problem in Canada is that there aren’t enough High Net Worth individuals backing venture funds to infuse capital into start-ups and growing companies. In the US, there isn’t that same problem; in California there is over US $13 billion in venture funding to businesses and much of it originally came from those high net worth individuals.

So … what does this mean for Chindia? Well, if these billionaires setup more venture funds in India, my bet is that you will start to see a lot of high-tech companies emerge and compete internationally to fuel the Indian economy. Will China be left in the dust?

Global Warming, Cleantech and Canada


The world is ranting about global warming, and it should be. There is a very real problem, and finally politicians are appearing to try to combat them. Is their rationale money, power, influence or an actual regard for the sustainability of Earth?

In recent news President Bush announced an Ethanol deal with Brazil, which will work to increase the development of ethanol; Brazil produces much of its ethanol from sugar cane. Also today, the European Union heads of state agreed on a long-term strategy on energy policy, which followed agreements made in February 2007, when they agreed to cut greenhouse emissions by 20% by 2020. In Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that Kyoto targets are unattainable, as the former Liberal government committed to a reduction of greenhouse gases to 6% below 1990 levels … Canada is currently 35% over that mark (Vancouver Sun). So … what is Canada going to do to address this issue? Maybe allocate an increase to the investments in startups that are focusing on environmental biotechnology or cleantech solutions? Wow, that sounds like a good idea!

There are currently a number of Canadian company developing cleantech technologies, but certainly not enough. Of those companies innovating that space, most are grossly underfunded as many don’t even have websites! As the Toronto Star tech reporter, Tyler Hamilton, mentions in his cleantech blog – Clean Break – Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) , a fund created to finance cleantech startups, invested only $43.4 million on 15 new projects in 2005. The Alberta government is currently experiencing massive surpluses in the order of billions, its about time to start financing cleantech and environmental biotech startups so that Canada can remain competitive in the energy, or “Clean Energy” space in the future. Getting an early foothold in the market just seems like a good idea to me …

Canadian technology happens to be some of the most innovative in the world, so says Len Brody, who’s keynote address I saw at the Canadian Venture Forum. Nice guy, I managed to get myself a signed copy of his book Innovation Nation: Canadian Leadership from Java to Jurassic Park. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but if your patriotic and want to find out a little more about Canadian business … maybe grab yourself a copy. In any case, if Canadian technology is so innovative, then INVEST IN IT. The lack of funding at the early stage, is crippling the growth and development of Canadian companies. CEOs are constantly chasing money, to stay cashflow positive and burn rates are minimized, which doesn’t allow these start-ups to effectively execute on their business plans.

Stealth Gonorrhoea


If you’re a Canadian or an American, you’re in luck … mostly. In many countries internationally, namely Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland and Denmark, many sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests came up with false negatives! Why? Because at some point, one strain of the bacteria underwent a series of mutations that has changed its expression profile for the enzyme prolyliminopeptidase (PIP) … which was the protein tested for by doctors to determine if you had an infection. If you have, or thought you got rid of your case of gonorrhoea, you might want to go back to the clinic and ask for 2 tests that check for different proteins/enzymes to ensure you got rid of your infection. For the full article see: ‘Stealth’ gonorrhoea on the rise.

To get some more information about STIs, there are many books out there that can help get you informed whether you are an average Joe, or a scientist. For the average Joe, please check out Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Colour Guide and for the scientist in you, order Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

“And remember … don’t be a fool, wrap your tool.” – Van Wilder

Hey Cancer, We Can See You!


Two recent articles discuss diagnostic and medical imaging technologies that help researchers to identify cancers and look deep within. Another discusses some “preventitive medicine” that has no prevention, only costs.

Headlines indicate that Holographic Images Use Shimmer To Show Cellular Response To Anticancer Drug, and another study demonstrates that PET Imaging Identifies Aggressive Kidney Cancers That Require Surgery. The Holographic imaging research is at the cutting edge of technology, specifically, it is “the first time holography has been used to study the effects of a drug on living tissue,” mentions David D. Nolte. He is the leader of the research group from Purdue.

Some smokers and/or lung cancer candidates have been screened for presence of tumours or micro-tumours in the lungs by multi-detector CT scanners. While the technology found 3 times the amount of tumours than expected, earlier treatments for these patients didn’t yield better results as the mortality rate remained the same. Dr. Peter Bach, who is a lung physician and epidemiologist, and the study’s first author said, “Early detection and additional treatment did not save lives but did subject patients to invasive and possibly unnecessary treatments.”

But, Dr. Bach … you should focus on the fact that you were able to find 3 TIMES the amount of tumours originally predicted. Right now, current treatment regiments don’t allow for an increase in the number of lives saved, but as technology improves and more clinical trials come to market, many of these micro-tumours will be stopped in their tracks by new therapeutics, chemotherapies, cancer-targeting viruses, or perhaps nanoparticles linked to toxins which target tumorigenic tissues. Maybe the process of surgical excision should be rethought; maybe only certain tumours that have a certain genetic profile should be removed early. Genotype the tumour, and THEN deploy the necessary tactics. Don’t just cut out anything that looks like it “could” be fatal, surgeries often have complications and implications for the patient’s health.

Refrigerator Will Toss You Can of Beer


“When John Cornwell graduated from Duke University last year, he landed a job as software engineer in Atlanta but soon found himself longing for his college lifestyle. So the engineering graduate built himself a reminder of life on campus: a refrigerator that can toss a can of beer to his couch with the click of a remote control.” See the rest of the article at Wired.com.

It’s no wonder this kid built one of these — it’s about time there was a beer launching fridge! Every University student should get one upon graduation. Hey John Cornwell, go negotiate that with the beer companies and every major US University and you should be able to retire young …

Organizing WHO you Know!


I was just following-up on a speaker, Don Tapscott that I was able to see on Monday of this week at the Canadian Venture Forum. This guy knows what’s going on. Don is the author of the new book called Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, and I highly suggest reading it.

In any case, I found a deck of slides he gave at another conference and there was a great slide on how to organize your connections with other people to maximize your network. Check out slide 35 from this presentation: http://www.newparadigm.com/media/2007-NGenBriefing.pdf. Now, if you’re lacking a network of friends, or acquiantances to organize, you might want to read another book that will help to maximize your business contacts; go and read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell immediately. You’ll become friends with more mavens, connectors and salespeople before you know it …

Is Your Memory Erased While You Sleep?


“The authors speculate that memories are stored in both the neocortex and the hippocampus. Then, during sleep, the hippocampus, acting as a temporary storage system, is cleared for another day of learning, while the memories are retained in the neocortex, which provides permanent storage much like a computer hard disk.” See full article at SciAm.com.

So, I finally gave into the Web 2.0 era of interactive content and user-generated communities. Also, I’ve had it was emailing out interesting articles to my friends everytime I come across something else on the web that is newsworthy, or at the very least noteworthy! Thus, here it is, post #1. Thought provoking, huh? Well, go to sleep, it might be erased! Come back tomorrow and be provoked yet again…