Not for me. On New Years Day, I officially moved to New York. So far, it’s been a dream too good to be true; part of me is just waiting to wake up. Fortunately the Chrysler building proceeds to stare back from the window every morning. For now, I’m still in a sweet sweet dream.
I came to the city last month for a job interview, though in reality I didn’t care much for the job . As fate would have it, they didn’t care much for me either. I was then able to continue with my real reason for coming up: to learn more about the NY tech startup scene.
The great thing about the tech industry is that it lives online. Everything is open, connected, and completely accessible. Startup offices don’t have front desks or secretaries. There is no barrier to entry. If you really want, you can waltz right in to startup headquarters with no appointment, no affiliation, not even a suit or tie. So that’s what I did.
I visited the offices of a few startups, including Grooveshark, Skillshare, and 33Across. I attended a Foursquare talk. I talked with fellow free-lancers at co-working spaces like the New Work Community. I’ve been able to meet talented and forward-thinking people like filmmaker Jason Silva who are willing and kind enough to dish out helpful advice to a tech newbie like me. Not coming from a tech background, I initially wasn’t sure what niche I could fill. My training has been in producing content, but all I have are a few bylines and reporting standups to my name, none of which are entirely relevant to a digital cutting-edge world. Anyway, the question remains: “How do I stand out?” The answer is still being drafted.
For the time being, I’ve found some part-time gigs to pay the bills and quench my entrepreneurial thirst. I’m working as a personal and editorial assistant for the owner of a vintage wine shop in Harlem. While it’s slightly comical that I, of all people, am charged with organizing someone else’s life (if you looked at my room right now, you’d laugh), I actually think I’m suited for the job. I flex my social media muscle, build online strategy, help write a wine column, and drink wine! All while learning about the serious business of owning a local business. It’s completely different from academia, but I’m intrigued. It has since spurred my interest in learning about strategy behind some of the most successful small businesses. Walk the streets of New York and there are so many examples of ingenious business brands. Since I am charged with the task of ramping up social advertising/PR efforts for the store, I am using the city as my textbook.
In the meantime, the flexible nature of my work allows me to continue dabbling in other fields I want to experiment in, mainly:
– Networked Knowledge
– Emerging Technology
Eventually, all of these will converge. Here’s to moving in, 2012.