Virginia? Maryland? Huh?

January 19, 2009

The plot thickens.  I keep reading “Who’s Your City” and things get more complicated veez-a-vee the ParaTow’s best locational future.

Greater San Francisco remains Number One on the lists of cities where people are open to new ideas and experiences, welcoming of weirdos, thick with patents and better-educated, followed by the other cities that I’ve actually heard of and still hear about: Austin, San Diego, Boston, Seattle, Houston, New York City, DC/Baltimore, etc.  (Alas, Muncie Indiana didn’t get a mention.)

But there’s more to it than that.

Like I regurgitated before, the regions are specializing.  And when it comes to naval architecture and marine engineering, that’s all collecting in just two places.  For stuff having to do with drilling for oil and piping it around the seabed, that’s all in Houston/Galveston.  And for everything else, like involving ships and submarines, it’s Norfolk Virginia, part of the Hampton Roads tip of Southeast Virginia, at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay home to the Norfolk and Newport News Navy shipyards.  That’s where basically all people in the entire USA who have experience with this sort of thing live.

Huh.  I don’t know a thing about southeast Virginia… or Virginia in general, frankly.  I’ve heard of Chesapeake Bay, but only in the context of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Also, I looked up where American blimps (or blimp-shaped tethered “aerostats”) come from, and lo and behold, it’s also the Chesapeake region, with T-Com in Columbia Maryland and ISL Dover nearby Dover Delaware.

Wow.  Joe Biden is the first I’ve heard of Delaware since… pretty much forever, again excepting the Revolutionary War and high school history class.

So huh.

The very same writer of “Who’s Your City”, Richard Florida, also invented the “Creativity Index,” which has to do with a bunch of demographic and economic factors.  San-Fran is of course at the tippy-top and dead last is Memphis Tennessee, second only to… wait for it… Norfolk Virginia. Further up the list lie such bohemian cauldrons as Las Vegas, Grand Rapids, Oklahoma City, Louisville and Detroit.

Dammit!  My first guess is that the whole region has gotten its paychecks from the government (US Navy) for so long that… well… it has come to specialize not just in that kind of work, but a certain kind of thinking that’s cool with that kind of work, day in day out, lifetime after lifetime, where almost all personal and professional relationships are within an hour’s drive.

Okay, well, if I instead wanted to be closer to where the ParaTow’s airborn parts (the big parafoil kite with the fat blimp section in the middle) come from, I’d probably end up in DC or Baltimore.

To the red-stater in me, a DC mailing address would feel vaguely incriminating, and Baltimore has a pretty poor reputation too.

So. I’d appreciate any stories, anecdotes, recollections, cheers or jeers that anyone here can give for either of these two areas: DC/Baltimore Maryland and Norfolk/Hampton/Newport News Virginia.  All I’m going on so far is wikipedia pages and real estate websites, so I’m dying for something more real.

Nothing you say will be used against you.  I’m just going to have to get over there sometime, rent a car, and feel the place out.  But whatever I can learn beforehand will be very much appreciated.

2 Responses to “Virginia? Maryland? Huh?”

  1. ekpaulson Says:

    Your decision of Delaware vs. San Francisco might depend on what eventual source of funding you hope to get for the project. San Fran has been teeming with venture capital, whereas Delaware (+ Norfolk to some degree) is in the D.C. sphere of influence, which is loaded with federal money.

    The way that you should develop and pitch your project is also dependent on which sources of money you are after. I believe that venture capitalists are a lot more open to “outsiders” and “long shots” whereas government support looks a lot more at credentials and expertise (but is less concerned about a fast-track timeline, giving you more opportunity to develop before they pull the plug).

    In the current climate of frozen credit and 800 billion dollar bailouts, you might be better off targeting government support. To do that, you would need to enlist the support of “experts” in a relevant field. One way might be to find a university professor (or military researcher) who you can convince to support the project. You might even be able to become a graduate student (+gain credentials, income and support while you work on your idea) with the specific goal of working on this project.

    If I were going to move across the country, it would be so that I could work with specific people or institutions. I would want to visit and establish contact with those people before I ever moved.

    If you want to move just to get a change of scenery, go to SF. The east coast is crowded and full of cranky people (who just happen to control the government and major financial institutions in our country).

  2. craigrmeyer Says:

    Thank you for all of this, Eric. You’re definitely making sense to me.

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