Business development

PR pro Daniel Waldman is moving to France

One of the Baltimore startup scene's go-to PR guys reflects on the community.

Daniel Waldman of Evolve Communications. (Courtesy photo)
Correction: Daniel Waldman's wife is from Paris, not Nantes, as was reported in an earlier version of this story. (8/2/16, 1:16 p.m.)
He’s been featured in a few times, but Daniel Waldman isn’t out front in most stories about Baltimore startups. Still, he’s involved in a lot of them.

As president of PR firm Evolve Communications, Waldman helps companies strategize, put together content and pitching reporters from publications like this one on stories, among other things.
Stories like Betamore’s relaunch or this recent tour of a Pigtown-based manufacturer were shepherded by Waldman and Evolve. As the company has grown, it has signed clients outside of tech and startups.
Over the next month, however, Waldman’s own story is starting a new chapter. He and his family are moving to Nantes, France. His wife is originally from Paris.

The more people try to find ways to work with each other versus against each other, the more the whole region will prosper.

In a Medium post about the move, Waldman cited a host of reasons for the move, from familial to political. Over coffee at Artifact, he talked about how he was ready to move elsewhere. Other than an 18-month stint split between freshman year of college and South America, the 40-year-old said he has lived here all his life. In both venues, he was also open about the fact that even though he built the business to a satisfactory level of success, he is ready for a break from the grind.
“I’m looking forward to having a slower pace of life,” he said. “There are a lot of personal projects I’m going to be working on, which I’ve deferred for many years because I’ve been working on the business.” First and foremost among those is writing, which may include reflections on being an American in France.
So what are his parting wishes for Charm City?
He can point to Baltimore’s need for better transportation options, and sees room for more consumer-facing technology given the city’s place, but overall Waldman leaves a proud Baltimorean who built his own business here, and helped others.
“I’ve always found Baltimore to be fairly accessible in terms of networking, that people generally want to help each other to some degree,” he said. “The more people try to find ways to work with each other versus against each other, the more the whole region will prosper.”
It can't be all self congratulating. You have to keep a critical eye on what's coming next.

Since getting connected with the city’s tech scene through early Barcamps, he’s seen the benefit of being willing to help folks out. And more anchor institutions in the city have followed suit. Given his vantage point, we were sure to ask how the coverage of the community has changed.
“There used to be a lot more rah-rah,” he said. “I think there’s an attempt to be a little bit more balanced in some ways. I think it’s really important that we have to celebrate our wins. At the same time, it can’t be all self-congratulating … you have to keep a critical eye on what’s coming next.”
That next step may mean something new, whether it’s people, places or processes. Waldman pointed to Betamore’s opening in 2012 as a sign that showed room for new anchors within the community. Talking about recent efforts to expand the innovation economy to more of the city’s population, he reflected on the fact that the new approaches didn’t take away from what was already built.
“There can be a long-term impact of these things, it doesn’t mean they’re going to stick around forever,”
he said.

Companies: Evolve Communications
People: Daniel Waldman
Projects: Exit Interview

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