This week I attended my first Clickable Interesting Cafe event with Fred Wilson, a VC and principal of Union Square Ventures, providing the talk. What stood for me was how much Fred’s discussion about the growth potential of the New York tech community was about branding, and yet he never couched it in those terms.
Fred spoke of the issue as a matter of perception: the more established web industry players still don’t see New York as one of “the” places to build an influential start-up company. Changing these perceptions will be about building a strong brand for this community.
He had no specific plan about what to do to show off this potential, but he’s sure that “we need to get the word out.”
Well, you may not have tackled the how, Fred, but you laid out some clear brand attributes of the New York web industry.
My favorite of the “factors” he discussed were:
- New York can excel in building web applications
- New York is a media obsessed city
- International trade and business thrives in New York
- New York is the world’s biggest stage, and
- (my absolute favorite) New York will call you on your bullshit
The event also reflects the broad way in which our center thinks about brands–they are not just products, services, or companies. To drive even greater successes for the New York tech community, a brand will need to be built that combines both community and place.
Chris Dixon, founder of Hunch, provided some counterpoint to Fred’s talk, but also sees the potential for a boom in the New York web world (as he noted in his blog this summer). He described the need to “build a firewall” so that the great ideas and minds that form on the East don’t get pulled away to grow in the West.
In the end, I think that innovative tactics to “get the word out” will eventually come, in part, from the new web communications tools that are being built by this very community.
But I also think that a good old fashioned idea and tactic is in order here: the formation of a “New York Tech Industry Association.” The networking is already there (in places like NY Tech Meetup), and leading players like Fred and Chris are in place, maybe it’s time to bring all of this together within a more organized structure.
(For more of Fred’s “factors” you can watch his presentation from the Web 2.0 Expo).
[Photo by Benjamin Ellis (Flickr)]
BY MATTHEW QUINT
This post originally posted by Matthew on the BRITE Conference blog at: http://www.briteblog.net