Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Best Entrepreneurship Quotes, Week 20

"As CEO, you're sitting on an ice cream cone in the middle of July. You must make decisions quickly."

Tom Jenkins, chairman and chief strategy officer of Open Text, in "fireside chat" with Rick Spence at the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit, June 21, 2010

In our public chat to delegates from around the world at the MARS Centre last night, OpenText CEO Tom Jenkins proved why he is one of Canada's savviest business leaders. He demonstrated Open Text's digital content-management platforms, advised entrepreneurs to seek out promisng B2B niches rather than following the social media mob, and reminded us that Open Text has more users than Facebook!

Today Open Text has become Canada's largest software company, and is on track to pass the billion-dollar mark soon in annual revenues.

Best of all, Jenkins offered this ice-cream metaphor to explain why CEOs are always on the hot seat - and why they must always be prepared to make game-changing (or company-saving) leaps in strategy and tactics.

You can read a detailed account of our conversation, recorded by Financial Post writer John Shmuel, here.
Thanks to Erin Bury of Spouter for the pic (from her Twitter feed).


Recruiting Animal said...

Great read but Jenkins makes the standard claim that the younger generation has "creative functions" that are "far superior to the generations that came before."

This is hogwash. Here's the Digital Nation episode of Frontline on PBS.

Every study I've read says that the multi-tasking typical of GenY makes you good at switching your attention from one thing to another but keeps you at a shallow level of thought. Is that creative?

Rick Spence said...

Thanks for the comment, Recruiting. I think you're on to something.

Is is possible that the creative challenge (or at least, its means of expression) changes every generation or so? Thus making each new generation uniquely more suited to develop breakthrough innovations?

The disruptive Impressionists of the late 19th century were swept away by postwar realism. Vaudeville was killed by movies and their cornball stunts and sentimentalism. Counter-culture op art, BASIC, desktop publishing, and computer graphics all led the way in creativity, in their day.

Now perhaps the creative medium of choice is the mobile platform, the tablet, or the Apps Store.

Who is to say previous generations were less creative? What we do know is that the newer generation is probably more qualified to create lasting innovations in the burgeoning new technologies that they alone have grown up with.