Lane Merrifield’s journey from apathetic, frustrated student to tech wunderkind, Disney exec and Dragon’s Den investor.
By Laura Bickle
Photo: Courtesy of cbc
Describe yourself in elementary school.
Scattered. Energetic. Small. I was always the smallest person in my class. Sitting down and being quiet was hard for me. My brain just works differently than what school at that time was built for.
Describe yourself in high school?
Struggling. Apathetic. Artistic. I threw myself into arts. I had difficulty memorizing and was always behind. I just wanted to get my diploma and get out of there.
What was your favourite subject in school?
What was your most challenging subject and why?
Anything to do with math. My friend and I built a tree house with zip line and elevator, but I was barely able to pass physics because I couldn’t memorize theories. I wish project-based learning was happening when I was a kid. I also had horrible handwriting, so I taught myself how to type: I can credit that for getting me into computers.
Who are your favourite historical figures?
Anyone who stood up against the establishment and paved new ground. Abraham Lincoln. Jackie Robinson. Rosa Parks.
My favourite extracurricular activity was …
Drama and music. I taught myself how to play drums.
I would always design the class float at the homecoming parade. I made these elaborate floats with pyrotechnics, water features and animatronics. One year, I converted my go-cart into the Batmobile.
Quality you most appreciated in a teacher?
Those who looked at students as individuals, instead of as a collective.
Most important life lesson learned at school?
If you could create a new course to be taught at all schools, what would it be?
Financial literacy. I don’t think there’s any other skill that’s so desperately needed right now.
Best advice that a teacher gave you that you still think of?
My sixth-grade teacher had a sign on her desk: A lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part.
Is there anything from your school experience that prepared you for Dragon’s Den?
Being able to talk to and connect with a variety of people.
I went to a big public school so I learned to interact with many different types of personalities.