BaltTech in 2012
This is the year of BaltTech.
No, not necessarily my blog. But Baltimore Tech.
I'm going into my fourth (calendar) year of blogging about Baltimore's tech scene, and my oh my, how time flies.There's a lot percolating these days, but more on that in a moment.
I started blogging about Baltimore tech in June 2009.
According to my blog dashboard, I've written 757 posts (and each one was a journalistic jewel, of course) and received 2,499 comments -- of which, probably a third were complete and utter spam. (Boo. )Along the way, I've seen my own approach to how I "do" journalism evolve. I think I'm fairly open about the stories I work on, and often solicit feedback, leads and story ideas on Twitter and Facebook. (The community-powered Baltimore Tech Facebook group rocks it, btw. My Facebook page is here -- like it up for BaltTech updates.)
Most of the time, I'm flat-out overwhelmed by the responses, comments and pitches I get. It's hard to keep up. But without question, the "crowd" has a huge impact on my work, my reporting and the stories that I ultimately end up producing. It's pretty darn cool.
Looking ahead, I have some thoughts about where I want to take my coverage of the tech community this year. (And, of course, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.)
* Biotech: I feel like I am not writing enough about Baltimore's biotech industry. I'd like to do more and I'm open to ideas and pitches. I've done a bunch of "big picture" stories in my time on the beat, and I think in many instances, I need to be looking for broader trend stories. There's very little in terms of "hard news," because big breakthroughs, discoveries and projects often take years to put together. But, I think there's a mix of powerful motivations in biotech. You have researchers who want to cure major diseases, and companies that want to do the same -- plus make a ton of money. And our universities sit in the middle of the mix. Then you have economic development officials and political leaders here in Maryland really taking big, long-term bets on biotech as a major industry in the state. There's a ton more to write, and I've barely scratched the surface. How are those state biotech tax credits really working out, btw?
* InvestMaryland: It's the state program championed by Gov. O'Malley last year that's supposed to pump around $70 million in Maryland startups in the next few years. It's a complicated beast. How will it play out this year? What companies will get funded? Will it really make a difference in the startup ecosystem in Maryland? I expect to follow it closely. The first deadline is Feb. 1st -- that's when insurance companies are supposed to express their interest in participating in the state-run auction to sell off tax credits, to raise money for investing in startups. (Here are links to all I've written about the program.)
* Baltimore's tech scene: I feel like there's an interesting story to tell about Baltimore's tech scene right now, when one looks at it in terms of the universe of the Greater Baltimore Tech Council and the Emerging Technology Center. There's been a lot going on, from leadership changes to the launch of a new accelerator by the ETC. (And at least one more that's apart from the ETC effort, by entrepreneurs Greg Cangialosi and Sean Lane.) There's a lot of debate within the community about whether efforts are being spread to thin. And then of course, you have the big news of Millennial Media, which brings me to my next point......
* Millennial Media: Even before its IPO announcement last week, I had been watching Millennial pretty closely because I knew they were poised for IPO or acquisition. The good news for Baltimore is that Palmieri & Brandenburg and crew are sticking to their guns and going for IPO. This is big news for their business, and the mobile ad sector, of course, but it also has the potential to be extremely influential in Baltimore's tech-and-startup ecosystem. Founder success usually begets new founder success. Mid-level execs who are currently working at Millennial may one day have their own idea for a startup, and with their connections and talent, spin off and do their own thing. In many ways, Millennial has the elements of a deliberate and classic startup story. How Millennial handles its IPO and growth will be an ongoing story that we'll all be watching.
Adding to the mix, I pay attention to cybersecurity, social media and work/life trends at the intersection of technology. I'm following various companies and startup ventures to see how they progress. I also do regular Q&As with Baltimore biz folks, including techies. What am I missing? What would you like to see me cover more of?
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech