Over the past 7 days, I experienced an overload of meetings, conversations, connections through various events and rendez-vous in Manhattan. It only took a few days for me to see how powerful and prominent the internet start-up, technology, media and social innovation communities are. After witnessing the vibrancy of these networks in NYC, I asked myself the question:
Would SoJo be more successful if we based ourselves in the Big Apple?
Knowing that such rich and vibrant communities exist in NYC and SoJo penetration in the city will be integral to meeting our goals - I had the foresight to reach out to a handful of Canadian friends who are well connected in the States. To my disappointment, not a single introduction was set-up from a Canadian referral, yet I managed to coordinate an entire week of meetings on my own. I signed-up for events, introduced myself to total strangers and set-up follow-up meetings later in the week. Someone at an event suggested I connect with the Canadian Consulate and a few days later I was having with the Technology and Innovation Officer who connected me with more people – and so the domino effect kicked in… No hard feelings on my Canadian friends, but this further demonstrates the importance of a physical presence.
Funding, partnerships, advisors, referrals to supporters all stem from relationships. It is much easier to establish relationships in person with face-to-face contact. The population and dynamics of NYC allow for larger clusters of people and resources which will undoubtedly increase the probability of meaningful connections arising.
Don't get me wrong, I love being based in Canada and am extremely mindful of everything that has been accomplished in the past quarter – progress I don’t think would have been possible as a lean start-up in NYC.
As exciting as these conversations have been, and the value received from connecting with like-minded individuals – I am equally excited to go back to Canada and get some serious work done and make SoJo one step closer to reality.
Recognizing that powerful forces exist in NYC, I hope to be back again soon…