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Futurist Amy Webb explains why COVID-19 is forcing businesses to ask new questions about data, trust

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The COVID-19 pandemic has businesses driving on ice and too willing to slam on the breaks says, Amy Webb. This Thursday, the noted author and CEO of the Future Today Institute spoke with Debbie Gamble, chief officer of innovation labs and new ventures at Interac, in a fireside chat jointly hosted with Elevate about data, trust, and how businesses can respond to the current pace of technology innovation induced by the pandemic.

“The companies that get through this, that don’t just survive, but wind up thriving, have their eye on the farther future.”

According to Webb, the technological disruption caused by COVID-19 has presented businesses with a new set of challenges and opportunities, particularly with regard to how they approach data. For example, with a new surge in demand for virtual health solutions, new questions have arisen about how health data is collected and managed to ensure privacy is protected.

Webb recounted a conversation in which a prominent CEO expressed excitement for a solution that could immediately test employees for illness each day before starting work, rather than considering issues regarding privacy protection and data ownership risks that could arise with such a technology.

“Data itself is not a panacea,” Webb said. “The problem is that as our systems become more complex, we tend to pull back. And the problem with this is that these very same systems that mine, refine, optimize our data, are also making decisions about us.”

Webb said just as consumers need to be aware of how their data interacts with the technology they use, businesses must also not push data governance to the bottom of the priority list, and should begin asking questions that go beyond the surface-level value proposition of collecting and storing data.

“Yes, you can leverage data to expand your business. But you also really need to think hard about trust, and about data hygiene and risk and making sure that the data that you are collecting are being put to good use,” Webb said. “They’re big questions that we’re going to have to ask going forward, even today.”

Some key questions on data businesses should consider more deeply, Webb said, include: who owns the data, who scraped the data, and is there algorithmic accountability? She added that risk modelling and data scrubbing are things that tech companies are actually disincentivized from doing for financial reasons, but prioritizing data is critical in the current era.

Businesses that want to thrive can’t “slam the breaks”

Webb noted that the COVID-19 pandemic was only a catalyst for the changes being seen, with trends such as wearables that collect biometric data and collect health information already in motion.

“These were already things that we were tracking, and because of COVID, now we’re seeing a big, quick shift,” she said.

Webb also observed that in times where change is happening at an accelerated rate, many companies become myopic. Their first reaction is often to “slam on the brakes” instead of slowing down, keeping an eye on the future, and planning incrementally.

“The companies that get through this, that don’t just survive, but wind up thriving, have their eye on the farther future,” Webb said. “And that farther future, where they’re trying to go, means that they are slowing things down.”

Webb likened the business community’s response to COVID-19 to cars driving on ice. She said although the first reaction is to slam on the brakes, the decision with the best likelihood of success involves slowing down and recalibrating.

For companies, she said, this means not making a few decisions once a quarter, and not conducting future planning just once a year. Rather, looking to the future should be an always-on process, with incremental decisions.

“These characteristics were always important, but they have never been more important than they are right now,” Webb said. “If you know that, the reality is that oftentimes catastrophe can be a great catalyst for change.”

BetaKit is an Elevate media partner.



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Meta Growth Shareholders Overwhelmingly Approve Transformational Business Combination with High Tide to Create Canada’s Largest Cannabis Retailer

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TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2020 /CNW/ – Meta Growth Corp. (TSXV: META) (“META” or the “Company”) and High Tide Inc. (CSE: HITI) (OTCQB: HITIF) (Frankfurt: 2LY) (“High Tide”) are pleased to announce that, at the special meeting of shareholders of META held yesterday (the “Meeting”), the shareholders of META voted in favour of a special resolution to approve the previously announced proposed business combination pursuant to which High Tide will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of META (“META Shares”) by way of a plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (Alberta) (the “Arrangement”), as further described in the joint news release issued by META and High Tide on August 21, 2020. The Arrangement required approval by 66 ⅔% of the votes cast by META shareholders present in person or represented by proxy at the Meeting.

The Arrangement will create:

  • Canada’s Largest Cannabis Retailer with $1481 million in Annualized Revenue
  • Annual Cost and Operational Synergies of Approximately $8 million to $9 million
  • A strong Balance Sheet to Support Growth

A total of 102,113,758 META Shares, representing approximately 43.1% of the outstanding META Shares, were represented in person or by proxy at the Meeting. Of the votes cast with respect to the Arrangement, an aggregate of 102,063,111 META Shares were voted in favour of the Arrangement, representing approximately 99.95% of the votes cast on the resolution approving the Arrangement.

It is expected that META will apply for a final order from the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in respect of the Arrangement on October 28, 2020. Completion of the Arrangement remains subject to receipt of required regulatory and court approvals and other customary closing conditions, which are set out in the arrangement agreement between META and High Tide dated August 20, 2020, a copy of which can be found on the SEDAR profiles of META and High Tide at www.sedar.com. Assuming that the conditions to closing of the Arrangement are satisfied or waived, it is anticipated that the Arrangement will be completed on or before the end of November. Further information about the Arrangement is set forth in the materials prepared by META in respect of the Meeting, which were mailed to META shareholders and filed under META’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

About META

META is a leader in secure, safe and responsible access to legal recreational cannabis in Canada. Through its Canada-wide network of Meta Cannabis Co.™, Meta Cannabis Supply Co™ and NewLeaf Cannabis™ recreational cannabis retail stores, META enables the public to gain knowledgeable access to Canada’s network of authorized Licensed Producers of cannabis. META is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (“TSXV”) under the symbol (TSXV: META).

About High Tide

High Tide is a retail-focused cannabis company enhanced by the manufacturing and distribution of cannabis lifestyle accessories. Its premier Canadian retail brand Canna Cabana spans 34 locations in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan, with additional locations under development across Canada. High Tide has been serving cannabis consumers for over a decade through its numerous lifestyle accessory enterprises including eCommerce platforms Grasscity.com and CBDcity.com, lifestyle and licensed entertainment brand manufacturer Famous Brandz, and its wholesale distribution divisions RGR Canada Inc. and Valiant Distribution.

High Tide’s strategy as a parent company is to extend and strengthen its integrated value chain, while providing a complete customer experience and maximizing shareholder value. Key industry investors in High Tide include Aphria Inc. (TSX:APHA) (NYSE:APHA) and Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB).

Forward Looking Statements

Neither the Canadian Securities Exchange (“CSE”) nor its Market Regulator (as that term is defined in the policies of the CSE), accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. Neither the TSXV nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSXV) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Certain information in this news release constitutes forward-looking statements under applicable securities laws. Any statements that are contained in this news release that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are often identified by terms such as “may”, “should”, “anticipate”, “expect”, “potential”, “believe”, “intend” or the negative of these terms and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to anticipated revenue, operational and annual cost synergies of approximately $8 million to $9 million, receipt of regulatory and court approvals, the completion of any capital project or expansions, the anticipated timing for closing of the Arrangement and the satisfaction of closing conditions of the Arrangement, including, without limitation, obtaining applicable regulatory approvals and a final order from the Court of Queens Bench of Alberta. In particular, there can be no assurance that the Transaction will be completed. Forward looking statements are based on certain assumptions regarding High Tide and META, including expected growth, results of operations, performance, industry trends and growth opportunities. While High Tide and META consider these assumptions to be reasonable, based on information currently available, they may prove to be incorrect. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements also necessarily involve known and unknown risks, including, without limitation, risks associated with general economic conditions; adverse industry events; marketing costs; loss of markets; future legislative and regulatory developments involving the retail cannabis markets; inability to access sufficient capital from internal and external sources, and/or inability to access sufficient capital on favourable terms; the retail cannabis industries generally; income tax and regulatory matters; the ability of High Tide and META to implement their business strategies; competition; crop failure/conditions; currency and interest rate fluctuations and other risks.

Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list is not exhaustive. Readers are further cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as there can be no assurance that the plans, intentions or expectations upon which they are placed will occur. Such information, although considered reasonable by management at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect and actual results may differ materially from those anticipated.

Forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement and reflect our expectations as of the date hereof, and thus are subject to change thereafter. High Tide and META disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

_________________________

1 Annualized based on META and HITI’s most recent publicly reported quarters

SOURCE Meta Growth Corp.

For further information: Meta Growth, Mark Goliger, Chief Executive Officer, Meta Growth, Tel: 647-689-6382, [email protected]; High Tide, Jess Moran, Tel: 519-494-5379, [email protected]

Related Links

https://metagrowth.com/

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Harley-Davidson is getting into the electric bicycle business – TechCrunch

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Harley-Davidson has spun out a new business dedicated to electric bicycles and plans to bring its first line of products to market in spring 2021.

The new business called Serial 1 Cycle Company started as a project within the motorcycle manufacturer’s product development center. The name comes from “Serial Number One,” the nickname for Harley-Davidson’s oldest known motorcycle.

The pedal assist electric bicycle company is being launched amid a booming ebike industry fueled by growing demand in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The global eBicycle market was estimated to be over $15 billion in 2019 and projected to grow at an annual rate of more than 6% from 2020 to 2025, according to Harley-Davidson.

The new Harley-Davidson brand Serial 1 didn’t provide performance details or other specs of its new line of electric bike products. However, the company did release several photos of its first model.

Harley-Davidson-ebike

Image Credits: Harley-Davidson

The new business launch also comes at a critical time for the Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer, which has seen its sales slow as its core customer base ages out of its motorcycles.

In July, Harley-Davidson cut 700 jobs from its global operations as part of an internally branded restructuring plan called “The Rewire.” The plan, which Harley-Davidson chairman, president and CEO Jochen Zeitz first spoke about in the company’s first-quarter earnings call back in April, followed the launch of the company’s first production electric motorcycle the Livewire.

“The formation of Serial 1 allows Harley-Davidson to play a key role in this mobility revolution while allowing Serial 1 to focus exclusively on the eBicycle customer and deliver an unmatched riding experience rooted in freedom and adventure,” Aaron Frank, the new company’s brand director said in a statement.

Harley-Davidson said Jason Huntsman is president of Serial 1 Cycle. The rest of the executive team includes Ben Lund, who is vice president of product development and Hannah Altenburg as lead brand marketing specialist.

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Greater Vernon businesses honoured for excellence – Vernon Morning Star

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Businesses in the Vernon area received some well-earned accolades last week.

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce announced its 2020 Business Excellence Award winners Friday night, with awards handed out in 12 categories during a virtual gala.

“It was an exciting evening as the winner in each category was announced, and this year was truly a celebration of entrepreneurial spirit, vision and thinking outside of the box as our businesses and non-profit agencies navigate the challenges created by the pandemic,” said Krystin Kempton, Greater Vernon Chamber president.

The winners of the 2020 Business Excellence Awards are:

  • Business of the Year sponsored by Valley First: The Med

(Honourable mention: Intermezzo Restaurant & Wine Cellar, Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery)

  • People’s Choice Award sponsored by Total Restoration Services: Turning Points Collaborative Society

(Honourable mention: Sterling Centre Remedy’s RX Pharmacy, J.C. Tompson Construction, The Bridge Educational Society)

  • Small Business of the Year sponsored by Community Futures: Anna’s Vitamins Plus

(Honourable mention: Home for Dinner, Kalamalka General Store, Ritual Barbershop)

  • New Business of the Year sponsored by MNP LLP: Fill – Vernon’s Refill Store

(Honourable mention: Bottle None, Boarding House Cafe, Cheese on Wheels)

  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year sponsored by Nixon Wenger Lawyers: Alysia Lor-Knill, Teassential

(Honourable mention: Mitchel Derksen, Numu Consulting; Elmaz Wilder, Ritual Barbershop; Kayley Letendre, Sugarbees Ice Cream Company)

  • Businessperson of the Year sponsored by Kal Tire: Tony Dyck, Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

(Honourable mention: Brad Pelletier, Predator Ridge Resort; Richard Finn, Wayside; Joe Pearson, Remax)

  • Employer of the Year sponsored by City of Vernon: Sproing Creative

(Honourable mention: Community Futures North Okanagan, Valley First, The Home Depot)

  • Customer Service Award sponsored by Okanagan Spring Brewery: Sterling Centre Remedy’s RX Pharmacy

(Honourable mention: Intermezzo Restaurant & Wine Cellar, Vernon Teach and Learn, Olive Us Oil & Vinegar Tasting Room, Okanagan Restoration)

  • Manufacturer of the Year sponsored by Tekmar Control Systems: UnderGround Kombucha

(Honourable mention: Kekuli Bay Cabinetry, Summit Tiny Homes, Planet Bee Honey Farm)

  • Non-Profit Excellence Award sponsored by Community Foundation North Okanagan: Social Planning Council North Okanagan

(Honourable mention: Venture Training, Greater Vernon Museum & Archives, North Okanagan Valley Gleaners)

  • Community Leader of the Year sponsored by De Vine Vintners: Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

(Honourable mention: The Fig Bistro, Lake City Casino, Vernon Teach and Learn)

  • Innovator of the Year sponsored by TD Bank: The Med

(Honourable mention: Caufields Engraving, Turning Points Collaborative Society, Martens Holdings)

The winners will be invited to a private event to receive their awards in person.

With the People’s Choice Award, partial proceeds from online voting will establish a scholarship for a local business student while other proceeds will fund Chamber initiatives to support local business.

The gala featured video messages from Ken Holland, general manager of the Edmonton Oilers; and Jillian Harris, founder and creative director of Jillian Harris Design, former Bachelorette and co-host of Love It Or List It Vancouver. There was also a live performance by Andrew Allen.


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

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