Sunday, June 23, 2013

Observations from the city

So, this was one of those perfect weeks to be in NYC.  I met a ton of interesting people working of really cutting edge technologies (and some others that should probably go find a day job).

1) The Citibikes are very cool looking and really to give NY an even hipper feel.  I really wanted to try one out for a little tour of the city but ultimately all of the bad press and fine print scared me away.  For residents the $95 annual fee is clearly the way to go.  You get unlimited 45 minute trips for that flat $95 fee.  However, for those of us just visiting, you are stuck with the option of a $25 7 day plan or a $10 1 day rental.  These also limit you to just 30 minutes before you start racking up late fees.  Then there is the issue of a 3 speed beast with fat tires trying to maneuver through NYC which is surprisingly hilly in parts if you've never been.  There are other issues like the full rack below

- if the rack you are trying to go to is full, you have to keep going to the next one and get there before your 30 minutes are up.... and the countless stories of racks not accepting returns or not releasing bikes.  For a non-biking NYer, I could see Citibikes being worthwhile.  For the cost of a Walmart, three speed you don't have to worry about air in the tires, storing a bike, etc, etc.  However, for the tourist market (which coincidentally represented the bulk of the bikes I actually saw being used) they don't make a lot of sense unless you are just looking to do something new.

2) Zombies are hot.  From World War Z to the Walking Dead zombies are everywhere these days. I always considered them a thing of geek fiction until I tried to walk uptown at 10am on a weekday.    In the good old days, EVERYONE in NY was in a hurry.  Walking was a sport and often a contact sport at that.  So imagine my surprise when I hit the street and everyone is doing the Walking Dead shuffle - okay I'm exaggerating but the point is 90% of people were walking like they were out for a   summer stroll in Cape May.  After running over the 14th person under the age of 30 on the street, I decided to figure out what the BLEEP was going on.  Arrggh!  Apple and Samsung strike again!  Everyone has to text and walk, 4Square and walk, youtube and walk, yelp, tweet and facebook and walk.  Obviously, this leads to slow a slew of Walking Dead style 20somethings trying to figure out who is going to the opening of that new hop-infused brew pub tonight.  Maybe instead of banning big sodas Mayor Bloomberg could ban texting and walking which would increase the average walker's heart rate allow them to burn off the calories of their 64 oz Mountain Dew!

I'll have more on the NY tech scene in coming months hopefully, but suffice to say NY is really starting to challenge California in the start-up world.


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