As most of you know I spent last week in New York City creating the first U.S. Digital Entrepreneur Dinner. Something that takes times and lots of effort but nevertheless something that is critical to the success of Digital Entrepreneur as a global dinner network.
I spent a week in the city meeting entrepreneurs, visiting venues and getting to know how the city operates as a base for entrepreneurs - New York city is a city planners dream - it is based on a grid system with streets left to right and avenues going up and down (apart from Broadway).
The underground or Metro was great with a MetroCard costing $10 for a few journeys and cabs are everywhere. I noticed whilst using Uber that they actually offer much more than what is on offer in London including hand delivering stuff which makes sense.
The venue we finally used was called MIST in Harlem on 116th Street - this venue was also being used for the Periscope Summit so it was full of the crowd - the food was great (South African) and the staff were awesome. The venue for next month move to the Upper West Side - The Ribbon, 20 W. 72nd St.
Something I really liked about the city was that because of the buildings, everything is pretty near however the entrepreneur scene is still broken up with specific industries focusing on specific zones.
A great report by Endeavor Insight tells us that New York has become the secound largest tech hub in the world with entrepreneurs employing over 53,000 New Yorkers and between 2003 and 2013 the city tech sector grew twice as fast as Silicon Valleys with its companies raising more than $3.1B in 2013. That is a huge amount of money for a city that is so accessible.
The average tech founder in New York is 31 years old when she founds her company - in London we have only ever had a few ladies attend, amongst them are Penny Power OBE and Claire Jarrett - both are extraordinary entrepreneurs but that is not enough for the four years we have been running.
In the build up to the New York dinner I found that the balance was much better with plenty more female entrepreneurs available. Laura Mignott attended our first dinner which was great.
Take a look at the report, it makes a lot of sense and I think the findings match in general what I found when visiting.
When compared to London, tech seems to be a little more advanced than in London - I guess this might be because of how much tech comes out of San Francisco and New York then scales in the US first before jumping across to London.
Where scale is critical, London is important as it seems to be considered the launch pad for the rest of Europe - scale in the US, then build up a base in London and manage a European team from London - London liaises with the US team in English but employs foreign speakers - seems to make sense.
The route seems to run from London to New York then perhaps on to San Francisco or vice versa - but where in Europe does it then go next? Is it Berlin, perhaps Madrid?
I am in NYC this week, I arrived at the weekend - great flight with American Airlines - they even bumped me to business class which was great. Unfortunately we had a 3 hour wait at customs due to the fact that my passport is new but the flight was great. www.aa.com
Got to my hotel in the city, stayed at the maritime which was awesome, superb pillows, comfortable bed and the staff were very friendly. www.themaritime.com - I booked it with hoteltonight.com who do get some of the best rates if you can book last minute.
Ollie called me at 6am to let me know he was struggling with his homework so after 15 minutes of pretending to be awake (he thought I was 6 hours ahead, not behind) we called it a day deciding instead that Google would make more sense than me. Instead of going back to sleep however I ventured out in to NYC at 6:30am to get breakfast and have a walk around.
I made my way down to the financial district and eventually came across the 9/11 memorial, I lived in the states a few years ago when the word trade centre was hit the first time round, I think it was around 1994 - a bomb had exploded in the car park underneath one of the towers and caused enormous damage but obviously failed to bring the tower down. I remember at the time thinking how terrible it would be if one of the towers did ever come down.
To then watch (with 2 billion others) both towers collapse a few years later was shocking to say the least, completely surreal.
Walking around the memorial which is mostly underground like the Louvre in Paris it struck me as odd that the site would be turned into a museum but I suppose it is no different to the WWII memorials and museums I have visited in France and Belgium.
If watching it on TV was surreal then I had no idea how being upfront with it all would feel and whilst at first I was a little hesitant to go ahead with the visit I decided that as I was in NYC and it was September I should go ahead nevertheless.
Something that jumped out at me from the very start was the number of emergency services personnel that responded to the crisis and ventured in to both towers and as a result perished - these guys were going up whilst everyone was coming down - they were going up because they knew people at the top had no way of getting down and needed help. I wonder how scared they felt? Did they know there was a risk it would collapse?
Not much survived the collapse although parts of the planes were found - however another thing that did survive was a part of the antenna at the top which is pictured on the left.
Some of the stuff was very difficult to handle, the "jumpers" video was very very difficult, people jumping out from above where the planes hit. Also, in a room there is a looping video of family members talking about the people who lost their lives.
The memorial does not focus on just NYC but also the other locations that were targeted - the messages people left for loved ones were heart breaking.
I re-emerged in the sunlight to find I had spent almost 2 hours wandering around inside the memorial and spent the rest of the day noticing the best of NYC. In a store uptown where I was buying some shorts a guy was buying a homeless person clothes, in a supermarket a guy was buying cans of soup for a soup kitchen.
I really like NYC - it has a special energy, something I certainly never noticed back in 1994 - it used to come across as quite cold and tough, it was in all the movies all the time and was almost untouchable, almost fairy tale like - perhaps this energy is as a result of 9/11, maybe not - either way there is a gentle, kind nature to the city and the people and it makes you feel like "giving something back" - strangely addictive.
A few months ago I purchased an Apple Watch, like many other people I was looking for something to help me with my day to day - help me remember stuff, let me check on people calling me in meetings without appearing rude, track my health and so on.
After a few weeks I decided I needed something cheap and simple for the weekends and holidays so I bought a Casio for £12.99. A great watch that could last a decade.
During a blab interview with David Kainth yesterday afternoon it suddenly dawned on me how this piece of tech on my wrist could change everything, including Apple. With Emotional Analytics the possibilities are endless.
Watch my interview with Steven on Youtube by clicking on the following link.
For sometime I have been thinking about creating my own blog - mostly because I am interested in a variety of different subjects from motorbikes to abandoned buildings, from #BigData to Digital Marketing, from networking dinners to live streaming and would like to create a single base where I can focus my thoughts.
I don't want to just focus on using Facebook or Twitter - I want something independent, something I am in control of, somewhere with no adverts.
Most of my business interests have a website and some already have a blog but it would not be appropriate to write about my latest project, a 1980 Yamaha 500cc on that website or blog and yet it is something I would still like to share my thoughts about so here goes.