50 Coffees #49 – Rick Antonson


49 weeks ago I read a theory that going for 50 coffees with people you’ve never met is the entrepreneur’s equivalent to the theory that doing anything for 10,000 hours will make you an expert on it. While I get the idea, 50 coffees is far easier than practicing something for ten years, and while I’m far from lazy I decided to set out on a fairly simple mission: over 50 weeks I’m inviting 50 interesting Vancouverites, most of whom I have never met before, to go for coffee. I’m using this as an exercise in networking for myself and for V.I.A. while also using it as a platform to introduce you to some people who are doing really cool stuff in the city you live in.

Name: Rick Antonson
Occupation: President & CEO
Beverage: Dark roast coffee

Meet Rick Antonson. President & CEO of Tourism Vancouver which, in case you’re somehow unaware, is a destination marketing organization which markets development of Metro Vancouver as a convention, incentive, and leisure travel destination. He’s a world traveller who moonlights as an author of books, his most recent being Route 66 Still Kicks which you can learn about HERE.

I’ve known for years that I should connect with Rick. As what we do here at V.I.A. is very similar to what Tourism Vancouver does – except that we market to you folks who live here as opposed to folks who are interested in coming here from other places – I imagined we’d have a lot in common and that we should not only meet but perhaps even bring our two organizations together and collaborate. It wasn’t until I saw him speak at Sam Sullivan’s most recent Public Salon that I knew our meeting could wait no longer. In his talk he introduced the audience to the concept of Cathedral Thinking when it comes to our city and its future. Basically Cathedral Thinking is about establishing long-term goals that require decades of foresight and planning so future generations can enjoy their full realization. Like the way they built actual cathedrals back in the day, which took decades upon decades from start to finish. “Like cathedrals, world cities aren’t formed overnight,” said Rick. “Shaping Vancouver into a world city will take a lot of work – work based on a vision beyond our own times.” And that means we need to be strategic, take stock of our resources and continue forward even if we don’t anticipate seeing the end result.

Over coffee in Rick’s office we chatted about Vancouver Is Awesome and where this thing came from, about Tourism Vancouver, about Rick’s books, Sam Sullivan and a few other subjects. I walked out smiling, knowing that we’ve got some work to do in the years ahead, together, as I also hope to help make Vancouver a “world city”… and I know that doesn’t happen overnight in a silo.

Stay tuned for one more 50 Coffees!