The building of an E-Community

A few communities in Canada and the United States have become Learning Communities. The whole vision of these communities is focused on learning. They work to help increase literacy and foster ideas that promote learning as a way of life. Whether at work or at home, learning is the focus. I have a dream for my local area. I live in a town called Truro. Truro is located in the province of Nova Scotia. I can see my town taking this idea one step further than a Learning Community, and becoming an E-Community. Now when I say this, I don’t mean we are all going to be plugged into our computers all the time. Our computers will be a tool for a greater end. After all, being on a computer too much is not healthy. My wife and girls tell me this and I am striving to find a great work life balance.

So what is an E-Community? I see an E-Community as a community that is not only fostering learning, but it is focused on connecting and communicating electronically for business or personal use. An E-Community is E-Business friendly. Business is critical to the health of a community. The people in an E-Community promote community life, learning, business, and entrepreneurship. Strong computer essential skills are important. An E-Community is a “light house” that attracts good people, good businesses and good opportunities. It shines a light globally for all to see. We are entering an age where learning and engaging with others is becoming more critical; whether for business or personally. An E-Community is not a bunch of people spending way too much time on their computers. I need to make myself clear and qualify this point. It’s about quality engagement with others, learning and blazing trails into new areas. I believe Truro and our local surrounding areas can be an E-Community to the world.

So how could this happen? The first thing that needs to happen is access to high speed Internet. The faster the Internet, the better. Those farther out will need to get high speed Internet quickly as well. Nobody wants to use a slow Internet. Businesses that put the technology in place need to help connect communities with high speed. To be an E-Community, high speed Internet service must be a given. Truro has high speed Internet, but the areas surrounding Truro, like Tatamagouche, need to be updated with high speed Internet. Remember that an E-Community is inclusive and raises up areas around it. It is worth noting that cities are playing around with an umbrella Wi-Fi strategy. In this instance, the Internet is available to all those under an umbrella area. This could also be a strategy that an E-Community would also apply.

The second thing needed for an E-Community is location. A great E-Community will be a great place to live. Truro is already located centrally in the Province of Nova Scotia. It is called the “Hub of Nova Scotia”. All major road and rail traffic pass through Truro. Truro is also one hour north of a major city center. Why is this important? The residents and businesses in an E-Community need quick access to parts and infra-structure. Furthermore, the Truro area has room for growth and can accommodate more people as the E-Community expands. Personally, I like living outside of a city. I like the idea that I can work anywhere in the world from my office. I just finished talking with my friend Chris Voss who lives in Los Vegas. Chris explained to me that he can work with his clients virtually from any location. The beauty of an E-Community is that people like Chris Voss can have the best of both worlds; a great place to live and a great place to do business.

The third thing an E-Community needs is great education institutions nearby to support and train the new trades for the E-Community as it continues to develop and evolve. The NSCC and the Nova Scotia Agricultural College are important assets to the E-Community vision in the Truro area. Education in an E-Community also allows for “Out of the Box” learning. As I talked with Chris Voss, we talked about the idea that one size does not fit all. We talked about how we learned and what worked for us. An E-Community allows for customized learning that gets people to where they need to go. An E-Community allows for entrepreneurship training and out of the box thinking. Just think of this; there are trades that do not even exist yet, that will be needed in the near future. How will people be trained for them? There are businesses that do not exist yet that will require out of the box thinking as well. An E-Community allows for various ways to achieve great ends. An E-Community also promotes learning outside of institutions as well. It recognizes the value of learning from others outside of the community. This is way engagement with others is a pillar of an E-Community. This will require people to think in new ways as well as old ways that achieve great results.

So what will an E-Community look like to business and the residents of an area? An E-Community is about connecting with others to create great people. It will help new people who have moved to our area to connect with us. This in turn should help people connect face to face. This should always be the end result of an E-Community. E-Community people have strong relationships with others. We are not just great electronically, we are great in person. I know this sounds idealistic, but if we do not aim high, we will only achieve low results. I enjoy my connection with Chris Voss and others like him. I would like to think that knowing Chris makes me a better personal and a better business. Connecting and collaborating is key to an E-Community.

An E-Community is also about being a magnet to attract more business to our area. Hence, the Light House Concept. People looking in see something that is worth connecting to themselves. The Truro area just recently tied for third place in Canada for the best place in Canada to do business. An E-Community should help businesses provide better customer service because they are listening and responding to their customers. Great customer service is attractive to everyone. We know that the art of business is changing. Some businesses will cease to exist and other new ones will develop. An E-Community moves along with the changing trends to stay viable in this new economy.

I like the idea, “If we build it, they will come”. Embracing an E-Community vision for our area will place the eyes of the world upon us. We will be a light house that shines new light in a darken world. I am a great believer in the “Blue Ocean” concept. The last thing my area needs is the “Red Ocean” concept, whereby we are fighting over the same scraps as the rest of the world. It’s time to do something big in the world. It’s time for an E-Community.