A modest proposal improved
Yesterday I spoke to a class of eager young business students at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. They’ve been reading my BlackBerry book under the guidance of Professor Knut Jensen who issued the invitation for me to tell his class why Research In Motion started its sad downward slide right after the book came out in March 2010.
Readers of my blog will be familiar with my thesis but I had a few new thoughts worth sharing. I told them I was dubious about RIM’s future and not at all convinced that the new BB 10, due to be unveiled in January, will be sufficient to breathe life back into the company. When I ask people who have used the new smartphone how it is, the answer goes something like this: “It’s fine. Success will depend on the marketing.” That doesn’t sound like the new model is disruptive enough. Meanwhile, I’m nursing along my venerable 8700 in hopes it lasts long enough for me to buy a BB 10.
I also told the students about my idea how to keep recent university graduates in the country. If any graduate takes a first job outside Canada, they have to repay the public portion of their tuition. I want grads to stay, help build Canada, and in particular, I want them to start their own companies rather than go to Google or Microsoft. All the money collected by my “toll gating” scheme would help finance startups by their fellow grads. By a show of hands about 40 per cent of the class approved.
One of the students had an interesting add-on. She suggested that if she stays in Canada and starts a company that reaches a certain size that her student loan should be forgiven. I think that’s a great idea. My thought for the threshold is five years in business and ten employees for repayment. Money for loan repayment would come from the toll gating.
What’s not to like about this additional incentive? We need young people who are willing to take a risk and get a reward. I told them the only way they would ever be rich is to run their own company. Nobody gets wealthy working for somebody else. That should be incentive enough.