Nor do I know how they're being chosen or by whom. I've asked a couple of times. The question has been ignored.
But I think I can assume the I/O directors aren't on board yet, so to speak. Which means that the troika pulling Ottawa's new economic development engine - the mayor, the chair and the CEO - have free rein. Or to put it another way, there's no one else to blame.
Blame? For what?
Well, they've moved to a building where there's no parking. I can't begin to describe the inconvenience this causes all kinds of people and is certain to cause many more every day I/O is open for business. It was a stupid place to put any office that expects significant traffic, and if I/O doesn't expect traffic I don't know what business it's in.
But hey, the CEO hadn't even been appointed when the lease was signed. He has to live with it, but it's not his fault. The city picked the building. Perhaps the mayor will accept blame for parking.
And while personnel changes are to be expected, it's somewhat jarring when the three most senior executives are summarily displaced. It's tempting to point to the long association of these three in particular with OCRI's techno-centric orientation and connect their departure with the relative diminution of tech within the I/O culture aborning.
But hey, it's a new CEO's prerogative to reassess and realign the team he's been hired to lead. Let's watch whom he recruits and how they perform. Time will tell.
Then I received notice of the first-ever - or at least, the first I'd heard of anyway - "Invest Ottawa Partnered Event." It took place on June 7 at I/O's parking-challenged office on Aberdeen Street. The "event" - which cost $199, plus HST (deeply discounted to $59 plus HST for the now disbanded OCRI membership) - was about selling out.
To quote the promo from I/O, "2012 will be a banner year for M&A in software, IT and related technology companies, due to a perfect storm of favorable (sic) conditions, in particular the large amount of cash held abroad by major U.S. strategic buyers. It's the perfect time to sell, but are you ready?"
I don't object to any entrepreneur selling what he or she has built at any stage in the process to anybody in the world who wants to buy. A loonie in hand is worth a toonie in future. But is it the job of the local economic development agency to encourage that entrepreneur to do so? I don't think so. Somebody needs to be blamed for this I/O-partnered event. Not fired. Not disgraced. Just told not to do it again. Because "selling out" is the wrong message for I/O to be delivering. At a time when more and more industry leaders are decrying the "hollowing out" of Canada's undervalued and vulnerable tech sector, the I/O message should be, "Don't go, Julie, don't go. If you need help to stay, we can help."
I asked I/O about it in an e-mail: "This event is about helping companies sell themselves advantageously, often to buyers in other places. Yet I/O's business is to help these same companies grow and develop to maturity right here with local ownership if possible. Is there not a shade of counterproductivity in this?"
The question was ignored.