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My Favourite Quotes From Collision Conference

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Image: Sonya Davidson

This past week, Toronto played host to thousands of tech industry leaders, movers and shakers at the 2019 Collision Conference. With over 700 speakers, over 25K attendees from over 125 countries, over 1K start ups, and hundreds of exhibitors and investors, the conference is considered the fastest growing tech conference in North America according to Inc. Magazine. Overwhelming is one word to describe the event but it was also exciting, inspiring and left us with more than enough fuel to move us at lightning speed towards the future.

Guest speakers and panels took to several stages throughout the conference. Literally something for every interest from mental health, cannabis, sneakerheads, music and entertainment, and small business to corporations. So much to absorb in so little time. Here are some of my favourite quotes from the conference…


We just want to start by thanking the Prime Minister for being our opening act. That was very nice of him. We asked for someone good hoping maybe Rush but then they got the Prime Minister and he killed it. So, thank you very much…we’ll open for him in return anytime he wants.

– Seth Rogan, actor, filmmaker and co-founder of Houseplant (Hollywood and Houseplant)


Education is something that in order to create customers that trust us more and the brand that we are proud of and again, is trusted, we’re trying to not just hopefully have a good product that is pretty but also to let people understand how to use it in a way that is most conducive to their enjoyment.

– Seth Rogan, actor, filmmaker and co-founder of Houseplant (Hollywood and Houseplant)


Creativity can be difficult. Where you hit that joy, that kind of flow state is not when you’re focused on the red carpets and the attention at the box office. I do think that a lot of social media platforms today, they really emphasize the attention. What are your goals? You can get followers. You can get likes. When you set out to make something whether it’s a song, short film, story or whatever, and your ultimate path is going to be posting on one of these platforms, then you go through in your mind and you start thinking while you’re in the middle of writing or singing whatever — Is this going to get a lot of likes? Or how many followers is this going to get me? … I think that’s not really good for the creative process.

– Joseph Gordon-Levitt, actor, filmmaker & entrepreneur, HITRECORD (Creativity and Technology)


When inspiration is not coming, you just walk away from it. I don’t try to get frustrated with it. Because I don’t like to be beaten.

– Timbaland, multi-platinum and Grammy award winning producer and artist Mosley Music Group (Finding Your Beat)


You’ve got to do what you love to do with the people you love to deal with. I think it’s a very simple generic thing to say but I think it’s a very human thing. If as long as you love what you’re doing then you don’t need anything else in return, right?

– Steve Aoki, Grammy-nominated producer, DJ & entrepreneur (Sleep When You’re Dead? Lessons from EDM)


Quality is usually easy to define. But creativity is more ethereal. It’s that critical spark essential for delighting and entertaining. There is no recipe for creativity, you can’t force it. It has to almost magically occur.

– Shawn Layden, Chairman, Worldwide Studios at Sony Interactive Entertainment (Playstation)


We’ve got to think about what responsibility we want companies to have because when we give them responsibility, we also give them power.

– Alex Stamos, Stanford University (Move Slow and Fix Things)


The moment I can’t enjoy my personal life and I can’t find peace is the moment I know something is going wrong…Every Thursday afternoon I go back home, and I don’t have my phone, I don’t have my computer. I just have my notebook. The only goal is to think about what I’m not thinking about.

– Mathilde Collin of Front (Third Degree Burn Out: It’s time to prioritize your mental health)


The reality of any type of technology is that it’s constantly evolving. So, it’s really up to us as users to decide what we want to use that for. Do we want to use it to do cool stuff, interesting stuff, positive stuff, or good stuff? Or do we want to use it to do bad stuff, negative stuff, take advantage of other people, you know? But not because a minority of people are going to use it for bad stuff means that the technology should go away altogether.

– Christopher Leacock, Musician, Jillionaire LLC (Remember When People Loved the Internet)


Sometimes I might cross a line with a joke, and then my followers will let me know. But that’s kind of cool, it’s almost mirroring doing live stand up. Because you get that instant feedback. Usually they are laughing with me, sometimes they’re not.

– Daymon Wayans Jr., actor and comedian (Remember When People Loved the Internet)


Attention wins. Period. The cheapest way you can generate attention, which is the same reason that reality TV dominated, change the business model. People talk about saving publishing or saving news. How about we create something way better?

– Ev Williams, Founder & CEO of Medium (Life After Twitter)


You’re coming in as the underdog. So that fear? You have to delete that fear. You got to come into anything you decide to do completely fearless.

– Akon, Global artist & chairman and co-founder at Akoin (Desire and Dedication)


In an era of big tech, independent companies have never been more vital to the future we’re all going to live in because people deserve choices. Do what’s right for your customers, and they’ll do what’s right for you.

– Patrick Spence of Sonos (Thriving in a World Dominated by Big Tech)


You know, there was a time when we all believed that the camera didn’t lie, that what was in an image truly happened. But that all changed with the advent of Photoshop and other digital image manipulation tools and as a society, we no longer trust photos.

– Derren Hendler of Digital Domain (The Rise of the Digital Humans)


One of the really interesting things Toronto has in common with many of the great cities of the world, is that they’re struggling with the success. Cities that are growing have to be able to accommodate the growth and what we’re seeing here in Toronto is that affordability is a huge problem. People who don’t have money are getting pushed further and further away from centres of opportunity.

– Dan Doctoroff of Sidewalk Labs (It Takes a Village to Build a City)


The impact of interactive entertainment on an individual is profound. It impacts the way people learn, the way they engage, and how they problem solve. In fact, I believe it is potentially one of the largest differentiators among generations ever. Passive entertainment puts you into a kind of an autopilot mode, it’s often solitary, it helps you escape out of the world. And it requires no thought, no problem solving, no creativity to progress. Interactive entertainment is very different. It pushes you to perform, it pushes you to win, it pushes you to your optimal performance. Nothing lights up the brain like play.

– Laura Miele, Chief Studios Officer of Electronic Arts (A Future Powered by Games)


When I see Pokemon Go, I also see training wheels for augmented reality, as in, it’s this kind of augmented reality experience that is training people to understand that they can augment their view space with real time 3D imagery to make the world better and to have fun. Just imagine when this can power education, social aspects, learning navigation so we can bring stories to the real world. It is the silent revolution that’s happening. It’s technology that’s already here.

– Clive Downie of Unity Technology (Adapt or Get Left Behind)