Let it not be said that no one is having fun in the Canadian venture capital landscape (see prior post “Balsillie to take helm as Wellington Financial’s Chairman” April 1-12). I’d figured that folks would, you know, remember that Sunday was April Fool’s Day, and take that into account when they read the blog post. Jimmy to join a small boutique specialty finance shop? That’s crazy, right?!?! How wrong I was.
The interview requests started to come in late on Sunday afternoon, and by Monday morning, even my pals in the fourth estate were looking for the inside scoop, or even a quote or two on the big “news”. A delay in our email server meant that the folks who sign up for push blog emails didn’t get the April 1st post until the 2nd; adding to the confusion / faint credibility of the story.
Perhaps people think we can only ever be serious, or maybe the Twitterverse has meant that people Retweet first, and think second.
In our family, my Mother was the one who delighted the most in the pleasure of April 1st. She had a rule about Noon being the cut-off deadline, but that’s too predictable in the blogosphere. Given last year’s utterly ludicrous April 1st post: “Wellington & O’Leary Funds to merge“, I’d figured you’d all have seen it coming.
The first mistake that people made was thinking, for a moment, that Mr. Balsillie would step from RIM to Bay Street, even if there’s a venturey flavour to the role. It’s not that we wouldn’t be delighted to have him involved in our business. Of course we would. As every entrepreneur in Canada will attest, it’d be an honour to have lunch with the guy, let alone benefit from his regular advice about starting and growing a business.
As for Chairman? A techie’s wet dream.
How many people have helped lead a tech company to $18 billion in revenue? Anywhere in the world, let alone Canada? Few, indeed.
The second mistake was thinking that Ken Rotman, our actual Chairman and our partner since our first deal together in August 2000, is going anywhere. We’ve had lots of fun over the years, and even Jimmy’s telegenic persona isn’t going to unseat the success we’ve all enjoyed to date.
The third mistake was thinking he would do anything other than agree to a “Co-Chairman” role, as Vincent Minichiello joked on Twitter.
The fourth mistake was thinking that Mr. Balsillie is actually geared up for the next new thing just yet. I know he’s blessed with boundless energy, but a 20 year run has earned him at least a few months off. I’m told that cycling is all that’s in order for him this summer, not venture lending.
The folks who do eventually land Jimmy will be a lucky crew indeed.