I'm the co-founder of Silicon Halton, a grass roots member oriented networking group who are passionate about hi-tech in Halton Region. This group consists of 100 people and/or organizations who live and/or work in Acton, Burlington, Georgetown, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville. There are more smaller and equally important towns in Halton that entrepreneurs and professionals work and live in as well.
Rick Stomphorst and I founded Silicon Halton in October 2009 because, as professionals working and serving in the hi-tech industry, we felt there was a need to have a grass roots "hi-tech movement" that would, at first, focus on finding each other, learning about each other and connecting with each other.
Since October, Rick and I, during our spare time have been working hard (well Rick harder then me!) in making Silicon Halton happen. We've put Silicon Halton "out there" for the world (err....region) to see, judge and most importantly encourage members to evolve it into something they want and need for their businesses and professions.
Up to this point we've been seeing how things went and whether the members see value in building Silicon Halton into something special for them and for the region. I am convinced, based on experience, that grassroots community based initiatives like barcamps, tweetups and meetups combined with social media (exactly what we are doing with Silicon Halton) enable people to establish a collective that can work together to make something happen.
We're only five months in so we're still learning. But there is interest:
- Membership is at 100 and growing weekly
- We've had four meetups (Oakville and Milton so far) with about 30-40 people attending per on average.
- We've had a mayor attend a meetup and a member of parliament.
- Joint business development opportunities are starting to surface.
- We've discovered some amazing companies who are fueling the Halton economy and talented people!
- My dream of bumping into a hi-tech leader at a Williams Coffee Pub or Artisanos has already come true.
But, this post is not a progress report (the new Silicon Halton website will have that) it's about friction.
Friction is defined as:
The rubbing of one object or surface against another. Conflict, as between persons having dissimilar ideas or interests; clash.
Recently the term "friction" was used in reference to Silicon Halton in a conversation taking place with an Economic Development person from one of the towns in Halton Region. My first thought was "what?!". However, the more I think about this the more I think this is fantastic! Silicon Halton creating some friction in the region!
Before you call me insane, consider Michael Porter's Cluster Development concept. In developing strong economic clusters friction is a critical condition that needs to be in place for an industry to be vibrant and grow. Friction creates competition, competition forces people and organizations to get better, getting better makes us more successful as people and organizations. (Side note: Thanks to Brad Niblett the CIO of the Michener Institute for drawing this to my attention).
The opposite of friction is complacency so lets keep rubbing together, let's argue, lets compete and lets debate! Let's challenge each other to get better..to build Halton region into a hi-tech powerhouse (I feel that it already is in many ways, we're just starting to find that out...but we have to get better!).
So let's show the world that Halton is a very competitive, innovative and entrepreneurial region that is becoming the global hub for hi-tech and its supportive industries. Friction is good. Let's create some more!
By the way, our next Silicon Halton meetup is March 23rd in Burlington. While this is a members only gig you're welcome to attend as my guest. Go here for more posts and videos on Silicon Halton. To join Silicon Halton (must have a company in Halton or live and/or work in Halton) sign up here.