Our kids are smart, our banks are sound, our health care system is humane, our democracy is stable—but technological change is about to disrupt our economy and threaten our way of life. Canadians aren’t ready for the race to the future. Can we still catch up—or even win?
Yes, says Anthony Lacavera, one of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. But we need to change the way we think and talk about our own abilities—dream bigger, aim higher and go for gold, not bronze. We also need to change the way we do business. Our dominant business culture, Lacavera believes, is fundamentally unCanadian: traditional, backward-looking, insular, timid, greedy, unoriginal—everything that Canadians themselves are not. And that unCanadian business culture, protected by outmoded regulations and government policies, is stifling our economic growth. It dumps roadblocks in the path of entrepreneurs who want to build the kind of powerhouse businesses that will create jobs and fuel our economy.
Anthony Lacavera faced those roadblocks himself, when he was building WIND—an epic battle against the big three telecommunications giants in Canada. But he’s certain we have the talent and the brains to tear those roadblocks down. He gives us vivid portraits of some of Canada’s most important natural resources: our talented, innovative entrepreneurs, who want to change the world for the better (and, yes, make money while they’re at it). But we are shipping far too many of them to the United States, gift-wrapped in our tax dollars. They don’t want to leave—they’re forced out because it’s just too difficult to build big, bold businesses in Canada.
How We Can Win explains what we need to do to keep them here, and what all Canadians must do to ensure our future prosperity. Our biggest problem is not that we are a small country, but that we think too small.
We can be a nation of big dreamers and bigger doers. Not by aping Silicon Valley, but by focusing on uniquely Canadian strengths and then doubling down on them. If we bet aggressively on ourselves, and our future, rather than clinging to the status quo, we will create a new, more solid economic foundation—one that allows us to win the race to the future without leaving home.
ANTHONY LACAVERA founded Globalive in 1998 and serves as Chairman. Anthony also founded and was CEO of WIND Mobile, which he sold for USD$1.3 billion after it grew to become Canada’s fourth largest wireless carrier. A serial entrepreneur, he started his first business out of university with a small business loan from the Royal Bank of Canada. Anthony is also the founder of Globalive Technology Partners, an investment company focused on commercializing machine intelligence and blockchain technology where he serves as Chairman and CEO.
As a venture capitalist, Anthony has a significant stake in dozens of startups in Canada as well as the United States. As a mentor and investor, he is heavily involved in accelerators and incubators, including MaRS, Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), NEXT Canada and the DMZ at Ryerson University. Anthony has done business in more than thirty countries, ranging from producing plays on Broadway to raising almost CAD$2 billion in private capital. He is a regular television commentator and speaker on artificial intelligence, entrepreneurship and the telecommunications industry. He was educated at the University of Toronto.
“[How We Can Win] sinks its teeth into Canada’s commercial ecosystem, chewing over all what Lacavera considers problematic about how Canada treats entrepreneurs and how those entrepreneurs measure up against the world’s best.” —The Globe and Mail
“How We Can Win is a passionate call for Canadians to take advantage of our collective talents. It is an excellent read for anyone seeking to gain a snapshot of the Canadian competitive position and to understand the entrepreneurial viewpoint.” —The Bull & Bear
“A breath of fresh northern air that has cleared my view of the future—and what we need to change to succeed together.” —Chris Hadfield
“How We Can Win delivers an urgent message: we don’t have the luxury of waiting to sort things out. The world economy is evolving quickly and Canada needs to catch up in the ways this book so beautifully demonstrates.” —Ajay Agrawal, Peter Munk Professor of Entrepreneurship, Rotman School of Management
“A critically important book for anyone who cares about the future of the Canadian economy. The incredibly raw story of how Tony Lacavera started WIND—trying to shake-up the Canadian telecom industry—should be mandatory reading for all Canadian entrepreneurs, and for anyone else who is trying to weather this country’s business and cultural ecosystem. Not only is How We Can Win a courageous telling of the hard truths we need to hear, it is a real page-turner.” —Michele Romanow, a Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den and co-founder of Clearbanc
“[Lacavera] dares us to push the status quo and ask the hard questions. Canada has everything it needs to thrive. How We Can Win challenges us to go for gold and stop settling for anything less.” —Alkarim Jivraj, CEO of Espresso Capital, BetaKit
“Both manifesto [and] blueprint . . . for how Canadian businesses can compete with the rest of the world.” —The Globe and Mail