LumiQ CEO Michael Kravshik with RIM CEO Jim Balsillie

Two Years Ago Jim Balsillie Rejected Me; Here’s the Story of How it Turned into a Collaboration

August 6, 2019

Two years ago I wrote about how I met Jim Balsillie for 30 Seconds, he rejected me, and I thought he was great.

I had received the ‘slow no’ rejection so many times, that I appreciated his straightforward honesty, and ended my post with:

“So, in the unlikely scenario that you read this Jim: Thank you for a great rejection!”

Turns out, that scenario was more likely than I thought…

One day I received a call from Neve, one of Jim’s colleagues, looking for the person who wrote the post. It had made its rounds in their office, and eventually landed in Jim’s hands.

To my great relief, everyone (including Jim) seemed to enjoy it, and Jim asked me if I’d like to have a coffee.

In our discussion, Jim expressed his concerns around Canada’s approach to, and understanding of intellectual property (IP), especially as the ideas economy takes over the majority of value creation:

“Canada has an innovation problem . . . All our policies are tuned to make the foreign rich richer. Does anybody know what Google’s payroll is in Canada? About $150 million. You know what the revenue is? Several billion. They get the IP free from universities, or near free. They buy small startups and exfiltrate the IP. The traditional trade economy, based on comparative advantage, has an incentive to cooperate. Where the ideas economy, because it is rent-based, has landlords and tenants, It’s much more rivalrous.” – Jim Balsillie (see more of his thoughts here, here, and here).

Being a CPA himself, Jim pointed out that a CPA’s skill set is really well suited to IP management. We talked through CPA’s proficiency around process, risk management, and compliance; all key for IP management.

CPAs have always been the experts in controlling tangible assets, why shouldn’t we also be the experts in controlling intangible assets! And so we hatched a plan…

Lucky for us, at this exact time, the Luminari team was in the early stages of dreaming up LumiQ, a new CPD podcasting platform for CPAs, and the synergy was obvious.

So, for over a year we’ve been quietly working with Jim, Neve, and their team to put together a totally unique IP educational experience directed specifically to CPAs. The ‘Innovation Controller’ certificate program will ultimately consist of:

1) Lecture-based modules, developed in collaboration with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO)

2) Real-world case studies, shared by the people who experienced them first hand (including the inventor of BlackBerry Messenger, one of the lead purchasers of Nortel’s IP assets, Jim Balsillie himself, and more).

CPAs have been controllers since the beginning of our profession, but we’re entering a new era where CPAs need to reinvent themselves to continue to be relevant. We believe that becoming Innovation Controllers is a great step towards that goal. The opportunity for CPAs in IP is massive and represents another path for us to add tremendous value in today’s (and tomorrow’s) new economy. We’re excited to help bridge that gap starting with our first episode featuring Jim Balsillie, now live on LumiQ.

So what have I learned from this crazy roller coaster of an experience?

Put yourself out there, you never know, Jim Balsillie may ask you for a coffee.

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