New Realities

With some notable exceptions, the Canadian technology sector has largely been ignored by investors for the past five to six years. After the tech wreck, and during the commodities boom, investment banking talent has been focused on mining, materials, and O&G. As institutional and retail brokers pumped exploration deals in far-flung barely functioning states, capital for innovation and research into information technology became harder to come buy, and more expensive. Investors didn't care because copper and moly were at historical levels.

I think that this may have a long-lasting impact on Canada's ability to compete once the world emerges from this current recession. Without adequate capital, our tech companies can no longer keep domestic talent, nor attract international talent.

As a veteran of the sector, I remember Canadian technology players attracting some of the best technical minds from Eastern Europe, China, and India. We are likely to see intellectual power flowing the other way for quite some time to come because China, Korea, and others may emerge as a major design and engineering centers once the world economy is shaken out by this recession. Capital follows innovation, which creates wealth.

The bottom line is that Canadian investors still feel compelled to invest in holes. Despite the the opportunity to become a significant world IT player during the past decade, we are likely to emerge as a middling player in the most important evolution in history. In the meantime, the Canadian economy will likely follow its traditional boom-bust trends of the past; tied to the holes.

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