I appreciated getting invited to Deloitte's Tech Appreciation dinner last night at 20 King in Kitchener/Waterloo. Waterloo is the home of RIM, Open Text and Bill Gates favourite university - the University of Waterloo. UW has an awesome reputation for maths and computer science. Deloitte are the accounting rock stars of the Waterloo tech space having figured how to stay close to entrepreneurial techies moving out of the unviversity - and how to keep young companies alive through SR&ED tax credits.
The Waterloo tech crowd is - a typical tech crowd - bright and interesting. I was fortunate enough to sit beside an ex-client and good friend Flavio Gomes of Logisense Corporation. Flav is turning Logisense into a serious player in the IP billing space.
Hot off Pubcon last week, I was pretty clear that if there's a threat to the internet as we know it - it's from Google's overwhelming dominance.
Flav disagrees and his perspective makes a lot of sense - the real, and serious threat is from the carriers, and the ISP's - the guys who've layed the road, own the road and control the toll booths - and have stood by to watch Google and others create billions of dollars of value while the highway business has been turned into a commodity. From Flav's perspective the road owners and the tool booth guys aren't going to stand around forever - they're going to claim their share of the action. The technology exists to do it - including categorizing all the different types of traffic, and charging a fee for each. If he's right - and the logic seems compelling - the wild west days of the current internet business boom could be in serious jeopardy - or not, providing you're in the business of helping collect tolls, like Logisense is.
Other interesting conversation was with Tobi Jenkins - banker, VC and wife of Open Text CEO Tom Jenkins. Tobi has gone into property development - setting up a cool spot called TechTown near UW's incubator center. Tech town is high tech offices, day care, banking and a state of the art health club all in one spot. A consumate business person and marketer, Tobi had brochures at hand for anyone and everyone. If I heard her correctly, TechTown is scheduled to open in May 2007. Get your runners ready.
All in all an outstanding evening put on by the Deloitte group in Waterloo for their technology clients.