With popular consumer companies like Etsy, Tumblr, and Foursquare, New York City is quickly gaining national recognition as a hotbed for tech. As a New York City native and founder of a global life sciences technology company that’s been headquartered in Manhattan for 13 years, it’s great to see the newfound love of my hometown. However, I’m also aware there are still a few misconceptions about our fair city that could make it appear unattractive to budding businesses. Here are a few myths I’d like to bust about starting a business in the greatest city in the world:
Myth #1: New York real estate is too expensive
Sure, when you compare the cost per square foot of real estate in New York City to other places around the world, office space here is expensive. But when you think about the “backyard” that comes with that office space, you’re not comparing apples to apples; you’re comparing apples to the Big Apple—and it is no contest! New York is unlike any other city, in that you and your business are exposed to an extraordinary range of people, services, and possibilities, and it’s all available in a very compressed space. And did I mention that New York City is open 24 hours a day? What makes New York City a great place to live and a great place to run a business is that you are statistically more likely to find whatever you need nearby—talented and innovative potential employees, customer prospects, inspiration and support from other technology companies in the area—than you would anywhere else in the world.
Myth #2: New Yorkers aren’t friendly
It may not be as prevalent today as it was in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but New Yorkers still have a bad reputation for being mean. I don’t think that’s the case at all. Perhaps we don’t take as much time, for example, to exchange pleasantries in the morning while buying a cup of coffee, but that’s not because we’re a city full of bad people, it’s because we’re a city full of busy people. New York is, simply put, a results-oriented place, and that is a great environment to grow a business in. Plus, I would bet you are just as likely—if not more likely—to see someone hold an elevator, help someone who’s lost, or do something charitable in New York City as anywhere else. There is a sense of civility, courtesy, and community that is a necessary instinct when you are living so closely together.
Myth #3: Technology doesn’t live in New York
When people think about New York City, they don’t necessarily think about technology and innovation. But in reality, we have a number of top-tier universities that infuse the city with highly innovative and technically adept potential employees. Plus, with efforts from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and its Center for Economic Transformation, there is a renewed focus on finding opportunities for innovation and initiatives to support technology in New York City. Of course, it’s not just technology expertise that you can find here. Whether it’s finance, design, science, medicine—you name it—the city that never sleeps has the kind of people you need to start a business. Think of it as a chemical reaction—with all of these interesting molecules (people, skills, etc.) moving around so closely together, constantly bumping into each other, interesting things are bound to happen. If your goal is to find one of these interesting reactions and use it as a catalyst to grow your business, I can’t think of a better place to do it than New York City.
Glen de Vries is the president of Medidata Solutions, a leading global provider of cloud-based clinical development solutions that enhance the efficiency of customers’ clinical trials. For more information, visit www.mdsol.com.