I’ve only been getting to know the D.C.-Baltimore Cyber Corridor for about six months now, but I am prompted to ask: Is Baltimore the San Jose of the #CyberCorridor?
A lot of things would say yes. Both cities are at one end of their megalopolis regions.
Baltimore population: 622,000. San Jose population: A somewhat more sprawling 998,000
Baltimore distance from D.C.: 38.3 miles. San Jose distance from San Francisco: 48.4 miles.
Both cities host or are adjacent to major research universities (Johns Hopkins, Stanford), have easy access to three international airports, and are connected to their slightly more cosmopolitan neighbors by two major direct freeways and an under-used train system.
Baltimore has the edge in major sports teams that bear its name (Orioles and Ravens). Though in addition to the Sharks, San Jose effectively now hosts the “San Francisco” 49ers and perhaps someday the A’s.
Baltimore has managed a respectable share of major technology wins in Advertising.com and Millennial Media. San Jose has the edge here in Adobe alone, but both cities seem to have upside to host a bigger share of the great start-ups in their region.
One difference has struck me between the two. San Jose declares itself the “Capital of Silicon Valley.” Fair enough, and certainly good marketing for the southern anchor to the US’s 5th largest Megalopolis at 8.5 million people. Does Baltimore even consider itself the northern terminus of the US’s 4th largest Megalopolis, population 9.4 million?
In the Bay Area, any company you can drive to is “local.” Do Cyber Corridor investors seem a little unwilling to cross state and district lines? I know I’m never going to bring Ravens and Redskins fans together. But can we all agree that a start-up succeeding in Baltimore is great for D.C.? And that a multinational tech company opening an office in Northern Virginia is great for Baltimore?
I live on the very edge of the Cyber Corridor in Baltimore County. But I’m at the other edge at Mach 37 (right by Dulles) at least once a week. Their companies and content and connections are amazing! 71 miles to see a dozen great companies at once? No problem. This is totally standard in Silicon Valley where great companies are spawned in Sonoma, San Ramon and Santa Cruz.
So divide up your sports teams however you need to. (I remain a little conflicted as a National League partisan who is coming around to the Orioles.) And thank you to all the great regional economic development agencies who understandably have to acknowledge those imaginary lines. But if you have a checkbook and an EZ-Pass (or MARC Pass), let’s make the tech start-ups all over the region as successful as possible. Especially the cyber security companies in the Cyber Corridor!
The San Francisco Bay Area:
The Cyber Corridor (same scale): And hence, the Inner Loop logo: