Welcome to Marketplace Tech, now coming to you every weekday from New York City. From our new homebase, we'll go anywhere that technology and innovation is changing our lives and our society. During this first week, we're going to take a look around out our new neighborhood, and see how this city-already a center of finance, fashion and media can also laying claim to a serious culture of tech innovation.
One of the first places we visited is New York's Meatpacking district, where it's less about wholesale beef and more about young technology firms. Josh Miller, CEO of a start up called Branch, which launched in New York, moved to the heart of high tech, California's Silicon Valley. Then this spring, he high-tailed it back to NYC. Why?
"The folks that we want to work with are in the media and the publishing space" said Miller. "The publishing world's in New York. So it just seemed like the best place to go."
Branch is a kind of invitation-only system for online discussions on a variety of topics. Almost like an amped-up Twitter, where instead of getting 140 characters to make your point, you get 750. And the thing about New York, for a tech project involving media, finance, fashion--the list goes on--so much expertise and money is close by.
"Being able to hop on a subway and have five different meetings with five different publishers, it's amazing," says Miller. "You also find that all these other industries in New York that wouldn't previously have worked with technologies as much in the past, you know, they open their doors to us. And it's this really exciting dynamic. We really want to talk to them and they really want to talk to us. Just being around those kinds of people is amazing."
The word of the day, apparently, is "amazing." And if there were a mayor of New York's Silicon Alley, Miller's mentor Scott Heifernan could be the guy. He's the CEO of Meetup.com, a popular online forum that brings people face to face from babysitting circles to political rallies.
"In New York," says Heiferman, "We're kind of smashed together, we have to smell each other on the subway, and we're not hermetically sealed in our cars."
That closeness--good and bad--is part of why Heiferman argues New York will be at the center of the digital revolution's next wave.
"The internet is a network of people not a network of computers," says Heiferman. "And so as people are using the internet to 'get off the internet,' and realize that they can rent from each other, and sell to each other, and do things with each other--it really kind of resembles the kind of dense, urban environments like New York City. So it makes perfect sense that it's this fertile ground for this next wave of most interesting innovations."
We'll be exploring the rest of New York's tech scene all week, but don't worry--we'll be focussing Marketplace Tech on plenty of communities around the country and the world. Want evidence? Check out our interactive map of the country's other sillicon alleys, corridors and valleys way beyond new york.
Innovation Nation. Click through to see how your state ranks in terms of high-tech jobs and wages. Explore the interactive map.