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Cameron Chell on How to Do the Impossible

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

by Cameron Chell - As seen in APeeling Digital Magazine

Cameron Chell victory pose telling his inspirational story about recovery from homelessness
Cameron Chell Speaking about His Inspirational Story

I don’t believe in impossible because I have overwhelming evidence that when we search our stories, we discover inextricable evidence that the impossible does not have to exist because we find ways to overcome anything.

In My Life, Everything is Possible

Throughout my life, I unwittingly defied the odds and achieved what others believed was impossible for a rural Southern Alberta high school drop-out to achieve.

At 26, I was the head of a three-billion-dollar organization, which was the cornerstone of what we now call the cloud computing industry.

At 32, I was standing at the base of the World Trade Centers wondering why I was alive when so many people weren’t.

At 35, I was bankrupt and a hopeless addict living on the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown East side.

At 42, I was in a loving relationship with a daughter on the way and a lymphoma cancer diagnosis.

At 45, I co-founded a company called UrtheCast, which endeavored to create an unabridged view of the world in one-meter video resolution by putting cameras on International Space Station. Deloitte & Touche called us the most exciting and important tech-company in Canada that year.

The Event that Changed my Life

In 2001, my life was out of control. I thought I was in control of everything, but it was just the opposite. I ran a billion-dollar company, I owned jets, and was on the cusp of bigger deals.

To gain this level of success, I needed to be in control, to do everything you’re supposed to do to be successful.

I was “That Guy”. The guy who was always going to be smarter, better, faster, and at the top of whatever I did. I’d get up early, run all the strategies, did all the self-help things we need to do to achieve more success, and then something happened to unravel it all.

It was the morning of 9/11/01 and I had a meeting at the World Trade Centre. When the plane hit we were in a state of bewilderment, then as events started to unfold, bewilderment was replaced with chaos.

At first, I didn’t understand what had happened, but I wasn’t all that concerned. My first thought wasn’t about the people or the situation. My first thought was: “I have a meeting in Midtown this afternoon and the traffic’s going to be terrible so, I need to cut this meeting short.”

That’s how self-centered I was. I didn’t think I was being self-centered. I thought I was being smart. I wasn’t in the moment, I was always thinking of my next move and how to be a step ahead of the game. That’s how you win, by staying focused on the future. Or so I thought.

All hell broke loose when the second plane hit. It felt like an earthquake. It didn’t feel real. It wasn’t possible. In fact, it was an absolutely impossible situation.

When I got outside, the realization of what had happened became real and I instantly realized I had no control over what was happening.

Here I was, the person who did everything every day to stay one step ahead, to control the situation, the narrative, and my destiny at all times. I was suddenly thrust into a chaotic situation of impossible and possible happening at the same time. There was nothing I could do to move forward, to get ahead, to be certain of my future.

If I stepped right or left, something could fall on me and I’d be dead. If I ran straight, I might live, but I didn’t know. If I stood still, I could live, but I didn’t know.

At that moment, I realized I was completely lying to myself. Every day, I felt I had done the things I needed to do to always be one step ahead, yet in that moment, I realized none of that mattered. I was not able to predict anything. I could not stay ‘safe’ and everything could end.

In the chaos surrounding me people were dying, they were jumping to keep from burning, they were running in different directions and I didn’t know which way was going to result in staying alive.

At that moment, I learned life is completely out of my control and it was the worst thing I could have discovered about my life.

In the Aftermath

I made my way from downtown into Midtown. The phone service was sporadic and it took awhile but I called who I could to let them know I was ok.

When I called California to check on my son, I found out he had taken his first steps. It was surreal. I should have been dead, yet, I was hearing the most amazing news in the world and I all I wanted to do was get drunk.

Up until this point in my life, I was disciplined with my body and my health. I drank in moderation and only socially. I didn’t do drugs and took obsessively good care of myself.

That night, I got completely drunk and that was only the start of my problems.

Over the next six months, my companies witnessed an unforeseen downturn as the tech market collapsed. Daily, I witnessed the stock price of my company go down and once again, I realized I was not in control of the outcome. No matter what I did, I could not change the stock market’s .com meltdown.

I’d done everything I was supposed to do to be successful, to increase the valuation of the company and create wealth for my investors. Yet, I could do nothing about the .com market correction or the regulations governments were putting into place, which slowed technological advancement for a few years.

I was supposed to be successful. I’d worked hard. Followed the process and there was nothing I could do, so I drank.

Drinking turned into drugs and the drugs turned into harder drugs.

I started disappearing for months at a time to get away from the impossible situation I’d found myself in. Whenever I wanted to escape, I’d get on one of my jets and go hide somewhere, I wouldn’t tell anyone where. Eventually, I went broke, completely bankrupt, and ended up on the street in the Downtown East side of Vancouver, Canada’s poorest and drug-filled four blocks.

I didn’t have to live there. I had friends who would come pick me up. In fact, they’d hired private investigators to find me, and forced me into rehab. However each time I’d let them down and return to the street looking for the next high.

Eventually, I’d pushed my luck too far. My friends realized they had to allow me to hit rock bottom because I didn’t want to be saved. I’d let them down too many times.

The Event that Changed my Life 2.0

While I was living on the streets of Vancouver I offended a local gang because I was still too arrogant and cocky for my own good. Whenever this gang would find me, they would beat me up for fun. One day, they beat me so badly, I ended up in the hospital. While lying in my hospital bed, I realized as long as I stayed on the street they would find me and the next beating would kill me.

I didn’t want to die.

When I got out of the hospital, all I had were the dirty clothes I’d gone in with and the spare key to my Jeep, which I’d miraculously managed to keep.

During one of my rehab moments a friend bought me the Jeep and for some reason I didn’t sell it for drugs. However, that didn’t stop the gang from taking it from me when they beat me up. Now, I needed it back because it was the only way I had to get out of Vancouver.

I found the Jeep parked on the street and the spare key still opened the locked door. As I was getting in, I heard a yell from down the street. It was one of the gang members and he was coming to stop me from taking the Jeep back.

At that moment - it was crystal clear, if he caught me, I wouldn’t live to the end of the day.

I didn’t know how close he was, I didn’t know if he was chasing me, I didn’t know if other people were coming after me. I just drove East.

quote Keanu Reeves broken kindness badass angel boat out in the water alone
Cameron Chell is a Badass with the Heart of an Angel

In the Aftermath 2.0

After I left the city of Vancouver, I pulled into a Safeway parking lot. I was shaking. I’d gotten away from the gang member, I’d taken my Jeep back, but I was a mess. I needed help and knew nobody was going to give me money.

I’d bee wearing the same clothes for weeks. They were cut-up, bloody, dirty, goodness knows what I smelled like. I hadn’t eaten for a couple of days. I had no upper teeth because I had knocked them all out during different seizures and overdoses.

I had no money. I was driving a Jeep I couldn’t prove was mine because I had no identification. I had no idea how I was going to repair my life, get clean, get my family back, and get out of bankruptcy. I didn’t know how I was going to live to tomorrow, let alone what to do when I got there.

At that moment I asked myself, “Cam what do you want?”

I wanted to be safe. I didn’t want to die. It was the first time in years I realized I didn’t want to die, at least not by getting beaten to death on the streets of Vancouver.

I decided, I wasn’t going to die. That was the only decision I had to make and the next question I asked was, “How do I stay safe?”

This is key to understanding how we achieve the impossible.

It’s three simple things. In that moment I answered those three simple things to do the impossible, live to tomorrow.

1. What’s important to me? – To live

2. What’s the solution? – I need to get to my brother’s place

3. What can I do right now in this instant to get closer to my brother? -- I need to drive East.

How do I make the Impossible Happen?

The only answer I could come up with was, I needed to ask for help. Everything in my entire life was about me doing it, me accomplishing it, and me being successful on my own. Standing there in the parking lot of Safeway, dirty, smelly, and scared, I had to ask for help.

I was finally at a place in my life where I had to ask for help and I still had friends willing to help me.

I knew the first thing I needed to do was call my friends and ask for help, so I went around the parking lot asking strangers, “Can I borrow your phone? I need to call and ask somebody for help.”

Amazingly, people let me use their phones to make calls. I couldn’t get a hold of some of the people I called. Some who answered hung-up when they heard my voice. I couldn’t blame them.

Finally, I got my former CFO Blair on the phone. Blair knew my shtick. I’d called him plenty of times lying about needing money for rent and used the cash to get high instead.

I’d let him down many times before. Blair’s a smart guy. He could have hung up on me or told me no. But he didn’t. Instead he said, “Cam I’ll do something for you. I’m going to send $12.95. First of all, you need to know the exact number because there’s no way Western Union will give you any money because you have no ID, you smell, you’re ugly, you’re an idiot. So, you need to know the exact amount of money. I don’t want to give you enough money to get yourself in danger, so I’ll send you $12.95. What you do with it is up to you, but when the $12.95 runs out, if you’re still alive, I’ll help you again.”

Surprisingly, (After a bunch of cajoling) Western Union did give me the money Blair sent and I put gas in the Jeep. Then I started driving until I was low on gas again and I started looking for another Safeway and did the same thing. It took me ten days to get back to Alberta, to my brother’s place, to safety.

A lot of those days I was in the back of the Jeep puking my guts out and wondering what to do next.

All I really cared about was being safe, to live, and to get to my brother. To get there I needed to do the next thing to get one step closer. I in the moment focusing on the next step, the one right in front of me, that moment - not looking down the road to tomorrow. I could only look at the task right in front of me at today.

Once I did one thing, I’d ask, “What do I need to do now to get safe?” Then I’d focus on the next thing. Each step geting me closer to my goal, my brother, my safe place.

Doing the impossible isn’t about doing everything and knowing the whole plan. It is only about doing the next thing. To keep taking steps to move towards what you want, for me it was to be safe at my brother’s place.

When I finally made it to my brother’s place, something amazing happened, my arms were around him and his wife and they were literally carrying me into the house. I asked, “Why are you going to help me this time?” My brother responded, “You have ten days clean?” During my escape from Vancouver to his place, I didn’t think about staying cleaning for ten days. I only thought about doing the next thing to get to safety.

Against all odds, I had 10 days clean by focusing on the next thing. That is how we accomplish the impossible.

Cameron Chell's Life Lesson

I can’t do it on my own.

No matter what you do. No matter who you think you are. No matter what, if you think you are doing it on your own, if you think you’re the solitary hero, you will not accomplish the impossible.

Show me any person in history who was successful, and I will show you that the reason they were successful was because of the people around them.

We all need to ask for help and stay focused on the future while being in the moment to do the next thing to get to where we need to be.


Cameron Chell is considered a ‘serial entrepreneur’ with his first ventures beginning at age 14 and a trajectory in business that spans more than 25 years. He is the co-founder and CEO of the Business Instincts Group (BIG) and BUILD Impossible. He has launched numerous successful tech start-ups such as Draganfly Innovations (CSE: DFLY) (OTCQB: DFLYF), ColdBore Technologies, Raptor Rig, Urthecast, KODAKOne and CurrencyWorks (TSXV and OTCQB: CWRK). His entrepreneurial success is based on principles of clear vision, quantifiable results and tireless pursuit of goals.

A sought-after speaker, Chell has addressed audiences of thousands in settings around the world. His presentations include speeches at the United Nations, Tony Robbins, and TEDx Montreal Women. His talks touch on themes ranging from technology to homelessness as he shares his life experiences of overcoming hurdles and doing “the impossible.”


How I met Cameron Chell

- by Shannon Peel (MarketAPeel)

It's a funny story... I came across Cameron's story online I think it was a video on LinkedIn and when I heard it, I knew I wanted to publish it. I didn't know him and was too timid to reach out and say 'hey' let me write your story. I wasn't nearly as confident as I am today.

In the summer of 2019, I was travelling and loving it. I'd gone to meet a client in Calgary and stay with her for a week. I got some stuff done, including a message sent to Cameron asking if he'd be interested in being a part of an anthology I wanted to write. One day, I was bored so I checked out the local dating scene... because well, I could. I got chatting with a nice guy about business topics and he asked me to meet him and his business partner at a nearby pub. Cool... Why not.

In talking with them about my time working in the Calgary financial market, the business partner and I started talking about the people we had in common. At this point he says, "Do you know Cameron Chell?" Cameron Chell, the Cameron Chell? "No, but I want to meet him and write his story." Turns out he is an old friend of Cameron's and he encouraged me to contact Cameron using his name. When I got back home to Vancouver, I messaged Cameron again using his friends name and he set me up with his PR person. And just like that... I had an inspirational story to publish in the APeeling digital magazine to inspire others to do the impossible and keep taking that next step.

Cameron invited me to his Monday calls and I learned a lot from him about what it means to be an entrepreneur and how everyone has doubts and feels overwhelmed. If you get the chance, attend one of his sessions. Go to Build Impossible and sign up for their newsletter to learn more.

It really is a small world. Cameron recently did worked in the entertainment industry through his drone company Dragan Fly in a partnership with Enderby Entertainment, which is run by Rick Dougdale. I grew up in Enderby with Rick Dougdale and was in his older brother's grade and he was in my younger brother's grade. I worked in the local video store with him and he told me that he was going to go to LA and be an actor. He went to LA and owns a successful company which he named after our hometown. It really is a small small world. Damn... now I have that annoying Disney ride's song stuck in my head. I bet you do too...

Where to Find Cameron Chell

Today, Cameron is helping start ups through his company Build. He's making an impact in the Crypto Currency world and strides in the Technology industry. He hosts a Monday group session where he talks with start up entrepreneurs to help them find solutions to common problems all entrepreneurs face. Follow him on social media, you will be glad you did.

There isn't anything this guy can't do or hasn't done. He's written a book. Put cameras on the space station. Has credits on IMDB as a producer of the Kodak ONE story - Which he helped create by the way - He has been interviewed on National TV about his drone company Draganfly. He's partnered with Hollywood producers. Country Music Singers. He leads companies in the startup financing industry, drone industry, crypto industry, and pretty much has his fingers in lots of different pies. His life is an inspiration to those who know him.

Cameron Chell's Companies:

Cameron Chell on Social Media:

Podcast Interviews with Cameron Chell:

Cameron Chell On Being Once Homeless And Building A $100 Million Business

Cameron Chell has been an entrepreneur since age 14 and is currently the CEO of Business Instincts Group, a Venture Creation Firm with a focus on building high-tech startups. Cameron is the cofounder of Urthecast, Cold Bore Technologies, Slyce, Raptor Rig, Trace and Trax. Most recently, Cameron has served as an advisor to KodakCoin, one of the first compliant cryptocurrencies.

Welcome to another episode of Action and Ambition. Cameron Chell is a serial entrepreneur with his first venture beginning at age 14 and a trajectory in business that spans more than 30 years. He is the ...

INC Article by Cameron Chell

5 Universal Rules Every Entrepreneur Can Live By

Creating something from nothing, and leading it from the front, presents the kinds of challenges and rewards that are impossible to replicate in any other business environment. The unbridled freedom and opportunity for creativity to reign are precariously balanced against the nights of zero sleep and cold sweat stress.

During entrepreneurial journeys, from inception of a founding idea through development, growth, and life-saving pivots, to victories (or harsh realizations), there are countless lessons learned. For entrepreneurs, these hard-earned pearls of wisdom come to form the fundamental principles they live by when creating their businesses and the best pieces of advice they can share.


Academic excellence isn’t a ticket to entrepreneurial success. Debates on whether experience outperforms book smarts when driving a new company might well rage on forever. The truth is ... Click here to read the full article

Article on Start Up Mindset about Cameron Chell

Cameron Chell, Tech Entrepreneur, Describes His Triumph Over Adversity in “Power of Success” Event

As the CEO and co-founder of Business Instincts Group (BIG), Cameron Chell has been integral to the foundation of several well known companies, including Draganfly Innovations, UrtheCast, and Slyce. However, his path to success has been an up-and-down journey, one he’s undertaken with the help and support of his family, friends, and former colleagues.

In July this year, Cameron Chell joined motivational speakers Tony Robbins, Niurka Iam, Dr. Scott Wilson, Phil Town, Ryan Mitchell and Vivian Risi onstage at the Vancouver Convention Centre at Robbins’ “Power of Success” event. Here, Cameron shared some of the highs and lows he’s faced over the years, and how he rebounded from failure when it seemed all was... Click here to read more of this article

Cameron Chell's Bio on About Me.

Originally from Alberta, Canada, Cameron Chell has more than twenty-five years as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist and management advisor. Cameron Chell is also the author ofThe Sustainable Startupand has contributed as a writer to a number of publications.

Naturally curious, Cameron’s initial foray into the tech sector came at a young age when he began designing and creating wireless irrigation valve.

In 1997, Cameron established his first company that brought in outside investors, FutureLink with a $2 million capital investment. FutureLink was the first Application Service Provider which was the precursor to the modern Cloud Computing company. Microsoft was the first partner of ... Click here to read more about how Cameron Started out.

BC Business Article about Cameron Chell

Cameron Chell's captivating message of overcoming adversity

Not everyone gets the burden—or the chance—to rebuild their life from scratch. Cameron Chell did. And his journey is an inspirational tale that might surprise you.

“I don’t know if I will ever have the same financial status that I had back when that’s all I ‘cared’ about,” he says. “It’s not the same kind of priority that it was, but in terms of having a great life and a family and not living on the streets anymore, I now have greater happiness than I ever thought was possible.”

Recovery often is first measured by the depths of despair. For Chell, who had amassed a fortune and business success at an early age, the low point came when he thought he would die on the streets of Vancouver. Plagued with addiction, hounded by street thugs, he just tried to survive every day.

“At the moment I got clean, I didn’t realize it,” he says from Venice, Calif., where he now lives with his family and from where he has co-founded several companies, including Slyce and UrtheCast, which was named the No. 1 fastest growing technology company in Canada for 2016 by Deloitte.

“For some reason in that moment, I knew ... Click here to read the BC Business Article

Country singer/songwriter sensation, Parker McCollum – better known as The Gold Chain Cowboy – is making history this month with the release of his 2022 Fan Club NFT on MusicFX, the latest NFT platform from CurrencyWorks(CWRK), an award-winning developer of NFT marketplaces. Parker is the singer-songwriter behind the platinum-selling single ‘Pretty Heart’ and has just released his latest music video, ‘Falling Apart’ from his acclaimed hit debut album Gold Chain Cowboy.

Korea IT Times interviewed Cameron Chell, co-head of MusicFX and Executive Chairman and CEO of CurrencyWorks to learn more about its mission to provide music fans and collectors with the ultimate consumer-focused NFT collectible experience.

Interview with Cameron Chell in the Korean Times

Cameron Chell, CEO of CurrencyWorks: MusicFX Transform NFT's Relationship with Music Industry

How did the partnership between CurrencyWorks and MusicFX come to fruition? what void are they trying to fill?

CurrencyWorks has been working on commercializing NFTs for some time now, after we quickly identified that this was not only a great financial tool, but also something that could be adapted for use within consumer markets, and therefore gain a much wider appeal outside of those interested in cryptographic transactions. The Company’s board encompasses people with a wide range of backgrounds and that led us to become involved in the film industry with Enderby Entertainment, and the formation of VUELE the world’s first NFT film distribution platform.

It was while we were working on VUELE that we were introduced to Billie-Jo Aasen and Jake Crownover at Crown & Ace who were looking at how NFTs could be used within ... continue

Cameron Chell at U of A

On October 4, as part of the Alberta Health Services Leadership Series, entrepreneur, author and speaker Cameron Chell is coming to campus. Born in Fort McLeod, Alberta and currently residing with his family in Venice, California, Chell has garnered international accolades for his keen eye for business and his inspiring personal story.

Here are three things in which Cameron Chell is a true expert and reasons to learn more from him at his upcoming talk "How do we do impossible?"

1. Innovative thinking

Cameron Chell is considered a 'serial entrepreneur' with his first ventures beginning at age 14 and a trajectory in business that spans more than 25 years. He is the ... continue reading

Financial Post Article about Cameron Chell

Draganfly CEO Cameron Chell Will Speak at Canaccord Genuity Inaugural Global Sustainability Event

an award-winning, industry-leading manufacturer and systems developer‎, announced today that the CEO of the Company, Cameron Chell, will speak on the Sustainability/Rethinking Impact 2021 panel hosted by Canaccord Genuity.

The virtual event takes place on March 4, 2021 at 10AM PST/1PM EST. Cameron Chell will join a panel to discuss: Rethinking Autonomy and the Drone Economy moderated by Ken Herbert, Managing Director, Canaccord Genuity Equity Research. The panel will ... Read full article

The Coming Drone Revolution interview with Cameron Chell

Cameron Chell, CEO and co-founder of Draganfly and co-founder of Business Instincts Group, is a leading entrepreneur whose work has led to groundbreaking success with the development of drones. In this episode, he discusses use cases for drones today, how humans need to expand their intelligence with new neuropaths, and the vast challenges humanity must overcome in the coming decades... Watch the interview with Cameron Chell

Crowdfund Insider interview with Cameron Chell

Over his three decades as a tech entrepreneur, Cameron Chell has shown a knack for identifying transformative technologies early on and he believes he’s done it again.

Chell is the executive director of CurrencyWorks, a developer of digital currencies and related systems, and co-head of Vuele, a direct-to-consumer, full-length feature film NFT viewing and distribution platform. Vuele recently announced it will debut Anthony Hopkins’ new movie Zero Contact exclusively to consumers as an NFT. The campaign surrounding the release has generated plenty of buzz due to Hopkins’ involvement, and that will help consumer awareness of NFTs to grow rapidly.

Just like he did with cloud computing in the late 1990s and commercial drones, Chell quickly saw blockchain’s transformative potential. After learning about the ... Read the article

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I was standing at the base of the World Trade Centers wondering why I was alive when so many people weren’t. snow rider 3d


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