Dispatch from the road: NYC

NYC grit

As I’m sitting here in our temporary HQ, a lovely little apartment in the East Village, and it’s pouring down like there is no tomorrow, my mind is buzzing. It’s been a few quite intense weeks, and no end in sight. For weeks, my mental horizon (planning-wise) was Cognitive Cities (CoCities). Naively, I thought things might slow down a little after that. Of course this turned out to be complete nonsense, and instead the followup and our current trip to NYC and Austin for SXSW is just as intense, in a very different way. Exactly one year ago, Igor and I were on basically the same trip – first NYC, then Austin – but over the course of this one year, everything changed. Igor was here for his former employer, I was here as a freelancer. It was here that we first thought that working together might be a great opportunity, and from here that we first started the conversation between Igor, Johannes and myself that eventually (and rather quickly really) led to our starting a company together. And here we are, one year later and just about five months into this new adventure, a week after putting together a conference that hit quite a nerve, or so it seems, judging by the feedback we’ve been getting from the participants and speakers. (Maybe everybody’s just being very polite – but I certainly hope everybody truly enjoyed themselves and took away something for themselves.) Of course our secret agenda for coming to New York is to get some decent beans (Ninth Street ftw!). But in between, we also do a bit of work (hard to believe, huh?) and have the pleasure of meeting some fantastic people. So the last 24 hours already brought us a barcamp (Transportation Camp) and a number of great conversations – many of which bring us back to CoCities, and what we’re planning next. And that’s a kind of a big question, right? There are so many options: same event next year/bigger event/same event but different topic/smaller events/going more commercial/going less commercial (hah!)/going somewhere else/etc etc etc. Personally, I feel more concrete ideas emerging, but overall we haven’t really even had the chance to talk this over with the whole CoCities crew. During these conversations I’ve been learning something, though. (Many things actually, but let me focus on this aspect for the time being.) And that is how much CoCities helps us as a company: We’ve been working a lot under NDAs recently, so we cannot really talk about most our client projects. CoCities gives us something public, widely and openly out there, a manifestation of what we’ve been thinking about. It has, to some degree, become a focal point of our energy, but also of the way we’re perceived as a company and a team. To some degree that was to be expected, but the scope keeps surprising me. And so I can only hope that this conversations keeps going, and that more opportunities for collaboration will emerge from all of this, whatever shape they may take. We’ll be meeting many more people over the next few days in NYC and then head over to SXSW, where – if anything – it’ll get more intense. So for the time being, things won’t slow down. But that’s really ok. Because the way things are going now, I could keep going. Although after SXSW, a good night’s sleep might be in order. So keep those ideas for collaboration coming – let’s bounce ideas and see where we can take it from here.

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