Tech Christmas in Calgary

Last night I attended the Christmas Bash hosted by CCAT (Calgary Council for Advanced Technology), WiTeC (Alberta’s Wireless & Telecom Association), Digital Alberta (Alberta’s Digital Media Association) and TheCIS (The Centre for Innovation Studies).  It was a packed room at the Chicago Chophouse in downtown Calgary with well over 60 people in attendance.

There were quite a few interesting Entrepreneurs in the room, including the guest speaker, Paul Vickers.  Many people know Paul as the night club/restaurant Kingpin who is owner to such infamous names as Coyotes, Tantra, Ceili’s, and most notably Cowboys.  (all of which are owned under the Pennylane Entertainment Group)  He wasn’t there to talk about the entertainment business…instead he spoke about his new venture, US Flood Control, and how he saw the future of entrepreneurship in these turbulent economic times.  (Rule #1 – Perseverance.  Rule #2 – Don’t get food poisoning in Dubai.)  US Flood Control proves that innovation can happen anywhere if you look hard enough.  It’s one of those businesses you hear about and think:  I can’t believe we haven’t done it this way for 50 years!  What do you have too much of when a flood is coming?  Water.  What do you not have time to do when a flood is coming?  Shovel sand into sandbags.  Why not make a dam that inflates with water?  Genius.

It was interesting to hear an entrepreneur’s perspective from outside of the “tech sandbox” as I sometimes get the feeling we think the path is more difficult because we are working with technology.  Regardless of the industry you can’t just have a good idea, you need a great idea.  Starting a company is difficult no matter what…managing sales, hr, product, and that little thing called capital.  Don’t be afraid to take risks…the payoffs can be huge.