Porn Shops and Tech – Toronto's Silicon Valley

Startup activity in Canada stalling? VC investment dying?

Well folks, problem solved.

050829lIt’s hard to know what to say about efforts like this. I guess that where I believe physical clusters are a sign of success, government officials and universities believe that they are a precursor to success. To that end, more money is being spent building the new Silicon Valley North, this time it is smack in the middle of the porn shop and peepshow strip in Toronto.

Pun intended?

What frustrates me the most about things like this, and other projects is that I know there are smart people working within government who understand what technology, software and web startups need, but as those people plug away trying to help startups, programs and projects like this are announced that undermine everything the smart folks have done.

Everyone wants to go big right away. To hit a grand-slam home-run if only we can just build the right building, or create the right program. There is no evidence however that any of this stuff has ever worked before.

If beaurocrats and politicians want to have an impact here, then the reality of what needs to be done will be a lot less glamorous. It means Democamp’s at the Imperial Pub and StartupEmpire‘s at cheap nightclubs.

The only good part of this announcement is that Ryerson is in on the action. I think that school is great and a place that turns out hard workers and great entrepreneurs.

In the end, it doesn’t matter, Toronto’s tech community (for whom I am not the voice, but just one voice) has long given up on government programs and venture capital. We have focused on getting really good at finding the winners early on, and we are going to start capitalizing on that skill soon. We have to.

So, the next time you walk up Yonge Street looking for a Kabab or a fake ID, take a look around and imagine, for just one second, what an office on the top floor of Zanzibar would be like.