Keen readers may have noticed that this blog has been a bit less…active…than usual. What can we say? We got busy. Even shrimp gotta eat. Me and The Captain can’t spend ALL of our time bringing our trademark combination of wit and incisive commentary to The Holy City. Recent events and the resultant isolation have given us time to regroup, reflect, and get writing again in between the torrent of Slack notifications from less-remote-experienced colleagues trying to figure out how to turn on virtual backgrounds in Zoom.
What you should know by now is that Shrimp And Bits is a machine fueled by exaggeration and bombast. We almost literally live on hype. When all hype is gone, what is left to satirize? We are not about to try and build something of value on our own – a ludicrous idea, indeed. But what then is the topic of this present missive? Today we will expand in some detail about our lack of subject matter. That is, we will type about lack of hype and wonder at the terrifyingly marvelous dearth of bluster prevailing in the Silicon Harbor.
How tweet it is?
Every great great of hype-rbole has its own rag, and ours was Silicon Harbor Magazine. Our beloved digital broadsheet has not tweeted since June of 2018 and has not posted any articles since Nov 2017. Our crack editorial staff have reached out on a variety of channels with no reply. We fear that The SH(a)M may be gone forever. Nothing could replace it in our hearts, but it seems like somebody ought to be able to replace it in our inboxes. C’mon, even Faux Country News is still going strong.
The venerable and much-abused #chstech hashtag feels less active than it once was. At time of writing, the most recent tweets on there were Benefitfocus, Boomville, and SparkyBoooze fishing for hires, some fun satire from an angry squirrel, and the Digital Corridor welcoming new members with suspicious names and apparently functional business models.
Anybody that talks about Charleston BarCamp is seriously dating themselves (or rather himself – let’s not pretend that there is more than one person talking about this). The Digital Corridor’s CODEShow didn’t make it out of 2015. Refresh seems to have given up tweeting for new year with their last activity in the twilight of 2018, and their web site has been inactive since early spring of the same year. The SyntaxCon 2020 schedule is looking very blank and they have just returned from a long Twitter hiatus.
It’s not all darkness and empty beer mugs. Cheers to Booz Allen for carrying on the SPARC tradition of hackathons, albeit with fewer pirates and less grog. We suspect Tech After 5 (still going strong) was not producing their needed volume of candidates with government security clearance. Pecha still Kuchas, although now under the auspices of the Charleston Music Hall. DigSouth is already planning its next orgy of marketing speak and social media influencers in 2020. There are still other tech-adjacent events going on in Le Charles, but the tech gets diluted with every retired entrepreneur that falls in love with and moves into our fair metropolis.
Avid S+B readers will remember that the Harbor Entrepreneur Center has long been a topic of our interest. We’re happy to report that Patty B and The Funky Bunch are still sounding the horn. They’ve moved out of The Neck and back down below sea level near the marina, lured the JRS Coding School (blessed is The Wilson, hallowed be His name) into their pond, and netted a quorum of would-be founders for a 12th cohort (more to come on that).
Charleston Open Sores
There is one local organization which has not slackened its hype pace at all. Not rain, nor snow, nor adherence to reasonable naming standards will keep Charleston Open Source from its appointed tweets. It is no secret that we’ve long been critical of this group. We are not against advocacy – we ourselves have some good things to say about living and working in tech in The Town of Chuck. It is the tone-deaf way its being carried out that ruffles our gills. Even all these years later, we can’t even get past the name. Charleston Open Source is in no way connected to open source software. Ugh. Anything would be better. The Charleston Area Tech Alliance. The Holy City Digital League. The Sorry About The Civil War But We Are Real Good at HR Platforms Now Association.
The gale-level gusts of hype from a few years ago have slackened to a stiff breeze, but that is still enough to push around our little journalistic skiff. There is some cool stuff going on around here. Sparc and PeopleMatter, where we cut our teeth, proved they had created real value by getting acquired by serious companies of respectable size. Boomtown, Atlatl, and Phishlabs continue to expand. Even Jack Russell finally seems to have accepted that it is really Tabula Rasa Healthcare. It is for this reason that we are crawling out of the tidal mud of semi-retirement to make fun of the lame and point out the good (by making fun of it). We are here for you Charleston – at least until the virus makes another inter-species jump and we are forced to seek the isolation of the deep.