A farm client came into an ATB branch back in the fall, and was asked by the branch manager how things were looking. “Not too bad this year,” replied the farmer. And THAT response—for an Alberta farmer—is about the best review you’re ever going to hear! In the language of the rest of us, the “not-too-bad” really means things are unbelievably fantastic.
In my book, The Boiling Frog Dilemma, my co-author and I talk a lot about what it will take for Canadians to compete in a very rapidly changing global economy – and avoid (metaphorically) being boiled to death in our complacency. Last Friday, I had the opportunity to visit and tour one such Canadian company that exemplifies what we describe in the book as being THE NEW CANADIAN ENTREPRENEUR.
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Pop culture is full of beloved characters and compelling heroes, but common among many of them is the lowly sidekick. Batman had Robin. Archie had Jughead. Frodo had Sam. The sidekick lives in the shadows—never quite as popular, but you root from them anyway.
Economically, the United States has its sidekick: Canada. For reasons having to do with our history, our congenial attitudes, and our self-effacing character, we’ve contentedly lived in America’s economic and cultural shadow. To borrow from the old cartoon, America is Fred Flintstone, and Canada is Barney Rubble. The affable next door neighbor was always a tag-along to the brasher, louder Fred.
Playing the guitar is a driving passion for many teenagers. But with the drama that often accompanies the teen years, it’s easy to imagine the angry protests of a budding axe player wanting a very high-end guitar on which to take lessons. While it’s true that an expensive new Gibson might help even a novice sound a bit better, it’s clear what is required: practice, practice, practice. Oscar Lopez on a cheap dollar store guitar will still sound better than an inexperienced beginner on the world’s priciest instrument.