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PETTI FONG How is this run at politics different from the one you made 15 years ago?
TERRY BEECH There have been such huge changes, even just in technology. Back then, I was teaching myself how to code so I could set up a website for the campaign.
PF When you did get elected, do you remember your first significant act?
TB I suggested city councillors should get computers. Some people thought, No way should taxpayers be paying for computers. A lot of councillors didn’t have computers at home back then. Saying a computer was a research tool and a way to communicate with residents seemed like a big deal.
PF What was the first thing you really wanted as a kid?
TB My dad was a janitor/part-time handyman, and my mom went into home care. Money was always tight. When I was eight or nine, I saw a Nintendo, and I went to my mom and asked. She explained to me for the first time in a way I could understand that we didn’t have the money for that. My twin brother, Doug, and I got three paper routes, held puppet shows with a 25-cent entry fee… We did end up buying one for ourselves much later.
PF You come from a working-class background and made it to Oxford on scholarships, yet you want to run for a party led by a man whose prominence and position are largely linked to his family name. Doesn’t that go against your beliefs?
TB Justin Trudeau was born with many benefits, but he’s a hard-working guy and he truly cares about Canada. We need to focus on the middle class in the next election. If you want an economy and a country that are going to grow, you need to make sure you’re investing in innovation and have a strong, educated, and empowered middle class.
PF How does being an entrepreneur train you to campaign, door-knock, and ask for votes?
TB Entrepreneurs and politicians require similar skill sets. A lot of people think you need great hubris to do either: “My product, my platform, is the best and I will be the best at serving.” But I find that if you want success in either of these positions, you need humility. The reason I’ve had success in business is because I’ve invested time and energy into the things that I’m not good at.