Startup Life: Does Spec Journalism Help the Startup Community (Betamore’s Opening Gets Lame Coverage)

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I feel that “Spec Journalism” is the Bain of our times.  I refer to “Spec Journalism” as content that is created about current events and products that essentially just reiterate the talking points presented by the vendor and nothing more.  There are countless blog posts and articles published everyday where the only difference between them is the “author” bio at the bottom of the page.  This was brought to my attention by the tepid coverage of what is a very interesting new addition to the Baltimore Tech Scene.


A “Gym for Nerds” has been created in a bastion of hipness in downtown Baltimore.  Betamore opened a few days ago and seeks to be a focal point for Tech Scene activity for the Baltimore area.  They are part accelerator, part co working space, part education environment, and a big part “proof of concept” to try to prove that people should care about the Baltimore Tech Scene.




On the face of it this seems like a great idea, but as with all things in the tech world once you go a bit beneath the surface very real questions arise.

  • Betamore seems like a great way to create a hub of creative and collaboration for our tech scene!
    • The Baltimore Tech Scene can many times seem more akin to a “group” of Spanish Anarchists then what most would consider a community.  Even if Betamore is a world class facility does that mean that the tech scene will support it?  One of our currently outstanding tech outreach organizations is receiving a shocking amount of backlash and resistance from a surprising number of vaguely influential people.
  • Betamore will be using the new Mozilla Badges system to universally recognize participants  training presented in their classrooms as a counter weight to university and tech school certification programs!
    • Are “Badges” deemed important by tech people and employers?  How will badges change the dynamics of modern education?  How does the Badges system actually work?
  • Betamore seeks to revitalize the “core” of Baltimore by situating their facility in the heart of Federal Hill!
    • Is it really wise to create a facility that needs wide ranging support into a difficult area of the city to commute to with poor parking, and questionable security?
  • Betamore requires applicants to be selected in order to join!
    • Who does the selecting?  Does the very process of of having a selection process increase or decrease interest?  What are the requirements for entry and do they make sense?
  • Betamore has been created by an all star ensemble of Greg Cangialosi, Sean Lane and Mike Brenner!
    • Who are these people, and why should anyone care? No… seriously… I’m not being snarky…  The write-ups all simply take as a given that these people deserve respect…
  • Betamore is a COOL coworking environment!
    • Doesn’t coworking seem oh so 2011..?


I personally think Betamore will be a very curious experiment.  It has a lot of good solid business concepts behind it and in many ways makes a lot of intrinsic sense.  On the other hand it also reeks of dogmatic principles that I don’t believe will survive first contact with the real world.  As a community we need open, quality dialog so that we know what to replicate, and what to bury in the backyard.


As a member of the tech community I was originally very excited about this project, but… unfortunately due to real world considerations I can now give them “moral support”, but practically can’t give much more.  Parking and commute times are sadly a deal killer for me. (Moral Support doesn’t pay any bills…)


My point in writing this is not to be snarky, or to be dismissive of a new Baltimore Tech Venture.  The point is that it would be useful if our writings about the tech scene are more thought provoking, and questioning of what is presented.  How can our tech scene take a place on the world stage if we don’t have the ability to openly critique ourselves?


Write-ups of Betamore:





Like it or not Betamore will be worth more then a few article in my Startup Life series…


Eli the Computer Guy

Eli the Computer Guy has 16 years experience in technology being the guy to fix "it". From the Army, to building out new satellite offices for the enterprise, to running his own shop with 9 full time employees Eli has real world experience with almost all systems that technicians will be working with. Eli has 1600 hours of formal technical beyond his Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice on technologies ranging from Avaya PBX/ Audix to Microsoft, Red Hat Linux, MySQL, Cisco and much more.

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