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Unicorn in the Woods

Unicorn in the Woods

264 pages
Published:   September 22, 2020
Non-Fiction  /  Biography & Memoir
Hardcover:   9781773101514    $29.95

A Globe and Mail Top 100 Selection
Longlisted, National Business Book Award
A CBC New Brunswick Book List Selection

As tech investors the world over search for elusive unicorns (start-ups valued at over $1 billion), acclaimed business journalist Gordon Pitts asks whether there can be a place for high-tech innovation and unicorn-like value creation outside of major urban centres, whether in Atlantic Canada, rust-belt New York, or Northern Ontario.

Journeying back to the origins of Radian6 and Q1 Labs — two New Brunswick companies that sold for a combined $1 billion — in the basements and offices of a group of geeks and dreamers, Pitts tells a story of two remarkable companies and the legacies that continue to this day. But theirs was not a simple tale of overnight success; there were sellouts and firings, comebacks and vindication, and still unfulfilled promise.

This is a story of high-tech value creation far from Silicon Valley, a story of the mythical unicorn in the woods. Are the stories of Radian6 and Q1 Labs outliers, rogue datapoints that should be discarded, or the foundation for a new knowledge economy outside of the mainstream?
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Gordon Pitts is a former senior writer for the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business. He is the author of seven books, including The Codfathers: Lessons from the Atlantic Business Elite and Stampede: The Rise of the West and Canada’s New Power Elite, winner of a National Business Book Award.


A Globe and Mail Best Book
A CBC New Brunswick Book List Selection
Longlisted: National Business Book Award


"Gordon Pitts, the dean of Canadian business storytelling, expertly maps out how a province with ‘too much infrastructure and not enough people’ produced not one but two of Canada’s most successful start-ups of the early 2010s. " — Sean Silcoff, co-author, Losing the Signal: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of BlackBerry

"The behind-the-scenes skinny on one of the most compelling Atlantic Canadian business sagas in recent memory. Gordon Pitts provides entrepreneurs with a roadmap for what is possible when ambition and smarts meet opportunity, regardless of geography." — John DeMont, author of The Long Way Home and Chronicle Herald columnist

"You can’t beat Gordon Pitts. No guff, straight-up, Pitts always gets to the guts of things and keeps the story moving. Unicorn in the Woods is an engrossing read for anyone interested in the future of Canadian innovation and the promise of a new age of prosperity for a part of the country looking to write a proud new chapter in its economic history." — Howard Green, author of Railroader and founding anchor, Business News Network

"A must read for the thousands of entrepreneurs building their companies, progressive policy makers, and business and community leaders. It’s also a real story about the challenges and excitement of building new ideas and new companies in emerging markets." — Annette Verschuren, OC, author of Bet on Me and CEO, NRStor Inc.

"Gordon Pitts has written a remarkable, readable book on a nerdy subject." — JDI Roundtable

"From deals and development to the biographies of their creators, Unicorn in the Woods presents a series of events that educate readers not just about business development, but the kinds of relationships and vision that lead to extraordinary results." — Midwest Book Review

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