Just yesterday I spoke about the terrible idea of selling off Vancouver companies like Hootsuite. And coincidentally the same morning the article was released Twitter bought Summify, closed all new registrations, and is moving Summify to San Francisco.
At first I was amused then astonished at the accuracy of thinking in the Hootsuite article. It’s no joke: Silicon Valley wants Vancouver’s talent and they’re going to do everything they can to come and snatch it. And Vancouver is going to lose if no action is taken, because the opportunity of growth and creative jobs is going to move with it. We’re thankful that Japadog was able to appease Zuck and keep Hootsuite at home. However, the loss of Summify shows us that we’re not doing enough to keep our creative companies here and give them a boisterous ecosystem of investors, creativity, and buyers.
Some insider news: this was the best possible outcome for Summify because they had nowhere else to go. There was no bigger company here who had the potential or deep pockets to acquire Summify. From the beginning the Summify team knew that they would have to become the best at what they did to attract a buyer from California. They knew that they wanted to move up and become a part of bigger things. But we know Vancouver would have the potential to provide this ecosystem if we only focused on giving it to them.
You might remember that Ryan Holmes has sworn himself to commitment and business development. He is setting an example that every Vancouver tech businessman needs to follow. Hootsuite has a strong opportunity to begin developing the local ecosystem and if only the circumstances were different they might have been the ones to purchase Summify. However, Hootsuite will need some other companies to rise up locally to help them “perch” on top of the tree.
Although we can argue that these are only “social media” companies being purchased and touted, the truth is that there is an economic demand for them. Creative talent in general focuses on upward trends. However, if all of our talent is gone we will have no one here to begin creating more great services. Did you learn what Summify will be doing at Twitter? Read the Summify blog post and you will learn that they’re joining the Twitter growth team. Or in other words, they’re going on to more creation and the biggest difference is that they are providing economic benefit outside of Vancouver.
What will it take to mobilize the city to start acting on economic development around the tech sector? Green technology still hasn’t paid off, and city policy needs to adapt. Remember Ballard Power Systems? They’re still operating at a net loss which means they’re in the red. However, while green technology has been unbelievably touted we’re seeing companies like Nitobi and Summify being bought left and right because people want them! Measuring the economic value of an industry can be estimated by how many people want to acquire companies within that industry.
Don’t know about you, but maybe I’ll start taking a closer look at COPE’s economic policy.