Thursday, January 10, 2013

Early Charm Ventures

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi

I'm pleased to announce the creation of Early Charm Ventures, LLC. (

Actually, it's a renaming of an old company, MBM Technology, LLC - but there is a lot more to it than a name change. Our new name, Early Charm for short, has its roots in our home, Baltimore, "The Charm City".

But to understand why we like the name so much, it would help to understand a bit about how The Charm City got its name.

In mid-70's Baltimore (before Harborplace, Maryland Science Center, the National Aquarium, and the prominence of Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland Medicine) was perhaps best described by native son Mark Kram who wrote in Sports Illustrated at the time, "is an anonymous city even to those who live there, a city that draws a laugh even from Philadelphia, a sneer from Washington, with a hundred tag lines that draw neither smile nor sneer from the city: Nickel Town, Washington's Brooklyn. A Loser's Town."

So the mayor, in 1975, asked Baltimore's leading advertising executives to re-brand the city. One of those execs, Bill Evans, wrote 'Baltimore has more history and unspoiled charm tucked away in quiet corners than most American cities out in the spotlight.'

Soon the ad execs began calling Baltimore "Charm City." Indeed, a charm bracelet was displayed at the bottom of each ad; there were only about five of them. But "Charm City" had been born, and set into Baltimore legend. The ads ran in The Sun, and featured the charm of Charm City: White steps, steamed crabs, beer, Mount Vernon, the Preakness, Mencken, museums, quiet neighborhood streets, Babe Ruth, row houses and raw bars.

Local disk jockeys created music to promote the slogan. They gave it their best. But it was an idea whose time had not come. The city did not have the money [or, yet the attractions] to sustain the program and it died. abbreviated from a Baltimore Sun article.

Well, it really didn't die. It just took a lot longer for the name to match the reality than the Mayor wanted. Today, that vision of a few and commitment from the many has transformed Baltimore into the Charm City.

And, so, at Early Charm, we celebrate those who know that creating change is hard, but want to do it anyway. We support those who see the opportunity and are willing to carry it through the grime. And most importantly, we share their spirit that it could BE different.

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