Three Events You Can’t Miss

Ignite Baltimore Logo


The self-organizing tech community event has finally come of age here in Baltimore.  Here’s three events you can’t miss.

My new company, Roundhouse Technologies, is a sponsor of all three, and I’m speaking at Ignite Baltimore and am event co-chair for SocialDevCamp.  Each of these events is an example of the kind of self-organizing community events that I believe will shape the next wave of tech on the east coast and which I believe will give rise to the next great wave of innovation. And this time, that innovation is going to happen in places besides the towns along 101 and Interstate 280.

I’ve not talked a lot about Roundhouse yet publicly, but we’re methodically building things up, and we’ll have more to say soon. Stephen Muirhead and I are heading up the company. Stephen is an experienced executive and entrepreneur, and among other distinctions is the former president of Microprose Software, maker of the Sid Meier Civilization games, (ironically now owned by Atari, with which I had a long association, though under a previous incarnation).

So, anyway, lots of stuff is happening.  Ignite Baltimore should be amazing.  If you have not RSVP’d yet, please do so now to be sure you can get in.  The space is limited.  SocialDevCamp East was heralded as one of the top tech events on the east coast, and we’re expecting another amazing day on November 1.  And if Twin Tech II (held a couple of weeks ago in DC) is any indication of the scale and energy we can expect at Twin Tech III, we’re in for a heck of an event.

Tech is very much alive and well in DC, Baltimore, Philly, and New York.  Watch it unfold in the coming months and years!

SocialDevCamp East Returns!

SocialDevCamp East Fall 2008

In May, several of us put together SocialDevCamp East at University of Baltimore.  It was an incredible day, filled with deep technical content as well as excellent discussions of business strategy and the very real challenges that east coast companies face breaking into the consumer-facing Internet space.

The day was universally hailed as a success, and maybe even a little bit of a breakthrough: for the first time, the “Amtrak corridor” tech communities had come together to face the challenges of the future together as a unified ecosystem, not just as individuals.  The result was a phenomenal mixing of technical, business, and artistic topics and in my mind, was a glimpse of the future.

So, we’re back at it on November 1st, 2008.  You can sign up on the barcamp wiki or on Facebook.

We’re looking forward to another great event, and another awesome afterparty at Brewer’s Art.  Go ahead and start your juices flowing for what sessions you would like to see, and post them to the Wiki.

We’re also looking for sponsors for both the event and the after party.  To find out more, please contact us.

See you in November in Baltimore!

SocialDevCamp East: Awesome People, Awesome Day

I just want to say thank you to everyone that showed up to make SocialDevCamp yesterday such a huge success. I say it was a success not as an organizer, but as a participant. I learned a ton of practical information yesterday and made contact with dozens of talented people, most of whom are either nearby or a short train ride away.

I can rant and rave about how great yesterday was, but here’s what others are saying:

  • “Dude – we were surrounded by talented folks – I think I talked myself out – so many interesting things happening.” — Bear
  • “I think its official #socialdevcamp is the best event Baltimore has seen in a LONG time.” — Greg Cangialosi
  • “Thanks for setting up #socialdevcamp yesterday. I thought the discussion was quite insightful & well-organized.” — kyeung808
  • “@chrisbrogan Morning chris, you missed an awesome SocialDevCamp yesterday” — Jimmy Gardner
  • “Good day at socialdevcamp (always a good day when you make friends with an MIT post doc)… also, I’m Bill Pardy.” — James Lombardi
  • “Socialdevcamp was perfect. Met so many great people. Totally worth the sore vocal chords.” — Amy Hoy
  • “What a day! socialdevcamp was seriously a lot of fun, the after party even a little more so.” — vees
  • “After working with the highly esteemed @cyberhorse for 5 years, I met him for the first time today at #socialdevcamp” — Keith Casey

Honestly it all makes me a little emotional.  This is our community.  These people are the future of innovation, and we’re committed to making a go of it here along the silicon rails of the Amtrak east-coast corridor. I am so incredibly proud to be associated with this community, and the notion that we all have a stake in making the east coast a better place to start and run businesses.  More on that later.

I also want to especially thank all of the people who helped make the event possible on the unimaginably short time schedule of 25 days notice: our sponsors (listed here) as well as Melanie Kelleher of Kelleher Consulting for her invaluable assistance with the venue, the catering and at the registration table, Jen Gunner with the Greater Baltimore Technology Council for their support and encouragement, my wife Jennifer Troy for her help with a thousand details and the afterparty, and of course the event co-chairs Ann Bernard and Keith Casey who enlisted the support of their networks and helped shape and promote the event.  People wondered how we could do this so quickly, and it was because everybody involved is a superstar in one way or another; you couldn’t ask for a better event team!

We also need to make special mention of one person who was indispensable in making the event the success that it was: Jim Kucher at the University of Baltimore deserves huge kudos for securing the terrific space at the Thumel Business Center at a deeply discounted price.  Without the University’s support yesterday, as we all experienced it, would not have been possible.  Lots of folks mentioned that the space was really exemplary as a Barcamp-compatible space:  a large common area for mixing and meals, a great auditorium with theater style seating, and four, easy-to-find and easy-to-use breakout rooms.  We really could not have asked for a better space.

Also thanks to Brewer’s Art for putting up with the flash mob that colonized their Saturday happy hour.  We warned them that we were coming, but they might not have expected the sheer numbers and zeal that the SocialDevCamp crowd exhibited yesterday!

One thing is certain:  yesterday was a big success and it affirmed our belief that there is a need for exactly this kind of event and community in our region.  We will be planning a second event, SocialDevCamp East Fall 2008, for September.  Date TBD soon!

I will be writing more about my reflections on yesterday in the coming days.  Right now, I need to finish a presentation for the O’Reilly Where 2.0 conference on the initiative I am working on, and get on a plane to San Francisco at 6:00.