True Patriot Love

What a time to be Canadian, eh? Our rowdy neighbours to the south are not only putting on a spectacle, but they’re also giving us one more reason to be feeling proud and patriotic.

All this crazy American fanfare has truly made me more grateful than ever to be Canadian—but I’ve always tended to favour our home and native land over world domination.

Over the years, as I’ve launched multiple businesses in this market, I’m often asked why I build companies directly targeted at Canadian consumers. Most of my brands have been by Canadians for Canadians with little opportunity (or interest) in expanding over the border.

It has been more of a personal decision than a business one, based on my philosophy around building brands and cultures. I don’t need to be a “unicorn” (VC speak for a $1B plus venture). To me, success is building a sustainable business, that becomes a brand cherished by consumers and an organization where employees get as much as they give, and therefore love to work at. And I certainly don’t need 300 million potential customers to achieve that. The size of the Canadian market, coupled with the generally positive and welcoming attitude of its constituents, is just fine by me, thank you very much.

And I know I’m stating the obvious to my fellow Canucks, but there are a few tried-and-true Canadian-isms that have served me well, both professionally and personally (and perhaps that internet troll of a US President-elect might consider trying them):

Being nice is always the right thing. Nice guys may sometimes finish last, but they sleep better at night.

Saying sorry is a good thing. Even if you’re just saying it to keep the peace.

Diversity is not only nice to have, it’s a must-have. It makes the world go round. It makes us and our children more empathic, engaging, and enlightened. It is something to be leveraged not limited.

And finally, size matters, but big isn’t always better. What you do with smaller budgets can be more creative and profound than unlimited funds. Doing amazing things for the Canadian economy, local workers and minority groups can be a lot more meaningful than riding the wave in Silicon Valley and owning your own emu. (I don’t know why I said that, but really rich people tend to do really weird things.)

Anyway, that’s my two cents, or should I say toonie, on living (and loving) this True North, strong and free.