Coworking Columbia

Sometime last year, I discovered Independent’s Hall in Philadelphia. Indy Hall is a coworking organization that was started by the entrepreneurial community, and largely spearheaded by Alex Hillman who saw the community developing and the need for folks to get together and work.

In such environments, the ability to share ideas and collaborate, is of such value that the first steps had to be taken to organize. It’s all about providing a venue and the tools for collaboration and then getting out of the way to allow the entrepreneurial and creative juices to flow. This is the success of Indy Hall and since I’ve discovered them, I’ve kept a close eye on what is going on there.

I’ve seen Alex a handful of times since, most recently at SXSW, where I whined more about the fact that the Baltimore/Washington area needs coworking but that space was so expensive, the community might not latch on, that I was too busy to make things happen. Blah blah blah.

And that’s about what Alex said. Blah blah blah. In fact, he hears these sorts of broken record excuses regularly as he outlines in an amazing post titled, Your Problems Aren’t What Make You Special, Your Solutions Are.

Here in the Baltimore/Washington area, we have a small group that has been working out of Starbucks for well over a year. It’s loose. It’s unorganized. But it’s grown and on any given day, there are three to nine of us working and taking up the space. Starbucks love us because we keep buying coffee. We love each other because we can share our ideas and bounce thoughts around, share a YouTube video, talk about something that some blogger wrote, etc.

One of our number is the CEO of an Air Taxi company. Another is a financial investor. Another is a freelance photographer. And the list goes on. We’re tied together by a common bond of wanting to share our ideas because iron sharpens iron. We want to see the local entrepreneurial movement grow because we all also agree that working in an office sucks.

Last week, we decided to formalize some things. Little steps at first, but we want to lay the groundwork and see how the community reacts. Every Friday, we’re meeting here (for now) at the Starbucks at 6490 Dobbin Center Way, Columbia MD 21046. For the sake of structure, we’re saying 9am-5pm however people are free to come and go as they wish.

If you’re keeping track at home, we are meeting tomorrow, so join us. Join us once or join us weekly. We are community and we welcome you.

And if you want to get on the mailing list (it’s low traffic), join us at columbia-coworking@googlegroups.com. Hope to see you here!

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Calling Maryland Area Internet Startups

If you represent or in some way are connected to internet startups in the Maryland or Washington, DC area, I’d very much like to talk to you. I’d love to hear what you are doing, get a demo if you are prepared to do so, and discover (and share) more of what is happening in this area. I’ve noticed in recent months that the area has quietly grown very active and I’m interested to find out more of what is happening out there.

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The Carnival of Maryland #9

As mentioned earlier this week, Technosailor.com is hosting the Carnival of Maryland #9. Carnivals are a great way to highlight content from a certain group or niche and in this sense, an entire State. While the Carnival is mostly spearheaded by the Maryland Blogger Alliance, it is open to anyone who is in Maryland.

Let’s get right into this edition of the Carnival:

John, from Montgomery County, participated in a field trip to Little Bennett Regional Park where he consumed the beauty of a variety of birds. Apparently, some birds are hard to see in the wild: “On this occasion, we would not get a second look at the summer tanager, though we could hear the bird singing nearby. Brightly-colored birds may not always be easy to spot, but they offer a high reward to those that can find them. On Saturday we were rewarded with stunning looks at great birds.” John is not the only birdbrain this week. The Greenbelt also observes some interesting birds.

The Voltage Gate looks at the blue crab population in Maryland, linking to a story From Science Daily about an invasion of Chinese Mitten Crabs. CMC’s are a dangerous introduction to the ecosystem for blue crabs, a main source of economic (and foodie!) interest in the State of Maryland.

Global Warming Swindle?” is the question asked by David Keelan from HoCoMd, the Howard County Maryland public watchdog blog. He attaches a video that demonstrates the cyclicar method of climate change over the millenia. I think I’ll stay out of this conversation. ;)

Frederick County blogger and golfer Phil Bundy, introduces us to “The Quest“, his personal journey to enter the PGA Tour. Phil writes, “For Phil, his quest is not about winning major championships but about learning the answer to the question, “œCan I make it on the Tour?” As the Embedded Golfer, he will learn the answer to that question.

Soccer Dad, from Owings Mills, discovered that an hours drive can net him gas 10 cents cheaper, but also afforded him the opportunity to instill some wisdom of age into his daughter. The funniest part of this post was when he quoted non-Maryland blogger, Book Worm Room, describing teenage drivers and cell phones.

… the worst teenage threat was the time it takes to dial a cell phone. (Adults click in a number or two, then check the road, then click in more numbers; teenagers just click in the whole sequence, road be damned.)

Funniest quote of the day, in my not so humble opinion. :)

P. Kenneth Burns, the prolific editor of Maryland Politics Today, writes that Governor Martin O’Malley needs to stop placing all the blame on his former nemesis and Governor Bob Ehrlich and start keeping his own campaign promises… something so far he is miserable at doing.

The Annapolis Police have been botching quite a few house raids of late. Atilla of Pillage Idiot tells us about the how the spokesman even seems to have botched the statement:

Dalton said that the warrant “was factually correct,” but since the address where the raid took place was wrong, I have to assume this means that either the police misread the correct address on the warrant, or they simply went into the wrong building.

Leviathan Montgomery complains about renovations happening to the Metro Station in Silver Spring, MD on a gargantuan scale. As I mention in his comments, my guess is that the “enhancements” he is complaining about has to do with future construction of the long argued about “purple line” (thus far, vaporware only). This blogs also happens to be one of the few blogs in the MBA that is run on WordPress (in this case, WordPress.com), so we have to do a shout out.

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