The Benefits of Corporate Romance: Left is Right for Me

As you might recall, at ISRE-2015 in Geneva, I presented a paper on romantic emotions (“limerence”), in the context of our affect regulation project. The thing about romance is that like other emotions it is a state characterized by a certain loss of control. Control of what? One’s thinking processes.

One of Left’s Inspirational Walls

Most psychologists assume, or conclude, that emotions are functional. However, not all agree. Thirty some years ago, Aaron Sloman made an interesting discovery, via Artificial Intelligence, that emotions of a certain category, which I later called perturbances, are afunctional. Not everyone read or understood the memo. (One needs to think in terms of Artificial Intelligence to truly understand even human psychology.)

It is easy to argue that romantic emotions serve an evolutionary purpose: although limerence is not intrinsically directed at mating, it is of course, often a trigger for mating and attachment, which are obviously functional. But limerence is not always directed at mating objects. One can have a limerence-like crush on non-human subjects, for instance.

On that note I would like to report that it is possible for an entrepreneur to have a crush on another company (while remaining faithful to his own.) Proof is: I have a crush on Left.

Here’s how it all started. In September, the Honourable Dan Ruimy, our Member of Parliament, invited the founders of Left, Chris Jensen and John Lyotier, Josef Hans Lara (Cirius Messaging), myself, and some public servants to participate in the local instance of the federal Government’s Innovation Round Table. (Cudos to the Liberal government for consulting the country on so many important issues!)

The founders of Left and I quickly realized we have a lot in common. For instance, they are developing a revolutionary new offgrid wireless IP networking platform, WAVE. I was the first employee of Abatis systems which developed an IP management hardware and services. They have interrelated businesses, and so do I.

They generously offered some space from which to work in their Maple Ridge office (close to my home) so that we can informally exchange ideas during our breaks.

I toured their offices a fortnight ago, and that is when I fell in love with the company! The culture is phenomenal. The people are wonderful: bright, enthusiastic, and value-driven. Even the physical premises of the building exude their laudable values and aspirations, which aspirations are literally inscribed on the walls. And their values align with CogZest’s and CogSci Apps’. I can so easily see why they won the “Best Workplace in BC” award.

They have a well-established business, and are developing an extremely promising new one (Wave / Yo!). The Wave platform has many very important applications that will make the world a better place. It enables users to enjoy IP communication and IP services even when there is no connection to the Internet, or when they don’t have a direct (cellular or wireless) connection to the Internet. Example applications include third world, emergency communications (when Internet services are down, e.g., due to catastrophes), and travelling. Their solution dynamically establishes IP networks amongst mobile devices. (See the wave website for more information.)

The company has won major technical and social awards, including a major one yesterday from the Wireless Broadband Alliance Industry: Best Wireless Innovation and Excellence in Social Impact.

They are already successful. Further, I believe they are becoming one of the great technology successes of Canada in this decade.

The last time I had a feeling like that about a company was when I worked at Abatis Systems Corp. What an unforgettably great ride we had building that company! Within 2.5 years, that company was sold for $1.3Billion to Redback Networks. One afternoon in the Left office, and my crush was full on.

I’ve recently been writing about emotion regulation strategies to cope with the political turmoil in the United States. You can add romance to the list. If you’re already in a relationship, find a great ethical business to fall in love with. Or find a scientific problem to love. Or another type of productive project.

So, of course, I accepted Left’s invitation and am now working part-time from their offices.

Fortunately, CogSci Apps and CogZest aren’t jealous, because they realize that this emotional boost with Left is quite functional, and the entire relationship will be synergetic. As with other emotions, the key is to regulate the perturbance while channelling motivation productively.


Ten-Ten space

Left’s Stand up Space and Grand Stand, Flanked by its Library and Foosball Room (Inspirational Full on Mountain View -90° from this Shot)

Published by

Luc P. Beaudoin

Head of CogZest. Author of Cognitive Productivity books. Co-founder of CogSci Apps Corp. Adjunct Professor of Education, Simon Fraser University. Why, Where, and What I Write. See About Me for more information.

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