Ok, I think I get it now…

by Yule Heibel on May 19, 2003

I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes, and wasn’t quite able to feel the pain of frustration over the exchanges regarding googlewashing and the problem of newspaper articles disappearing off the face of the internet, even if I understood it theoretically. But I get it now. Here’s why: someone asked me if I had paper copies to hand of the Vancouver Sun articles by Stephen Hume on the fish farm fiasco in the Broughton Archipelago. I had blogged about that back on April 14, so I thought, “Easy, I’ll send my correspondent the article.” But of course — and this is why I get it now — the article is el-gonzo. Disappeared. Vanished. I now understand fully why Betsy Devine called newspapers the dead-tree press and I also understand fully why Dave Winer and other people were getting so bent out of shape over Andrew Orlowski’s hand-wringing at bloggers supposedly clogging up internet search-engines and making it so hard for serious researchers. Ha — as if! It’s not the bloggers that are doing it, it’s the dead-tree press doing it to itself. The latter are disappearing themselves, which is why you won’t find that Vancouver Sun article if you type ‘fish farms’ ‘broughton archipelago’ and ‘sea lice’ into google. (You won’t find me, either, so I’m exonerated as a google clogger.) You will find 519 articles, most worth looking at, but not the well-researched articles by Stephen Hume. The Vancouver Sun is off limits. All of its sister-monopoly publications presumably also are. So who’s skewing what?


Meanwhile, back at the ranch: I wrote about Victoria yesterday, and today came across an article in the sneaky-disappearing-act Vancouver Sun (which I will point to despite the fact that it’s not worth the energy in my fingertips to do so, given that it will be history in a few weeks — who’s ephemeral here?) about the state of venture capital financing in B.C.’s high tech sector. It stars Harry Jaako, co-CEO of Vancouver-based Discovery Capital, a venture capital facilitator specializing in advanced technologies, including B.C.’s famous health & life sciences sector. Jaako notes that the B.C. Liberal Government talked about making the province a “global magnet” for advanced technologies, but that there are too few tax incentives for venture capital investment. I’m no fan of voodoo economics or of trickle-down economics or of tax breaks for the upper 2%, but Jaako has a point. B.C. “has produced 239 spin-off companies from universities in the last decade or so, compared to 229 in Ontario, 110 in Quebec, and 816 in all of Canada.” We have lots of talent in this province. But while Quebec raised about $2billion in new venture capital, and Ontario raised $1.44billion, B.C. only came up with $168million. To drum up more investment capital, Jaako wants the government to end the cap on tax-sheltered venture funds, which is currently set at 30% up to an investment of $80million. What’s in it for the average citizen? Payback for the government treasury, which in turn is supposed to translate into government services for the citizenry: “The reason why the knowledge-based payback is so fast is so much of what you’ll spend money on with knowledge-based businesses is people. You’re not building a $500-million plant with bricks and mortar that’s paid off over 25 years, you’re spending money on people, and the minute you hire that person, they’re making money and they’re paying income taxes.” Sounds good, as long as the corporations that are thereby created pay real taxes, too.

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