Nihao, NY, Week One

The first week in New York.

New York might be a scenic spot, a shopping paradise, a media and culture center, an ideal city to work and live in, or a fashion platform, according to different people. For the first week of our New York Module, we have been experiencing the Big Apple from the perspective of entrepreneurship.

New York is becoming another center of entrepreneurship in the US or even in the world. I am lucky enough to open my eyes to look at what is happening on this land. The first 5 days of lectures and company visit is not long enough to know the city, but at least it offers me a chance to start feeling it.

One of my favorite things is to enjoy the faces coming towards me when walking in Central Park or window shopping along 5th Avenue. They are so different, always making me forget which country I am in. People say that about 65% residents in New York now are not real New Yorkers. They are from various districts and countries. The super-diversified origins results in a multicultural city, which sets the tone for the personality of the entrepreneurship in this city. To some extent, this enables the entrepreneurs to come up with more non-tech ideas that end up with more cross-industry businesses, such as Rent the Runway. Personally, I assume that it is probably one of the main differences between New York and Silicon Valley.

This might be a possible explanation why many of the newly emerging businesses in NY are not tech-oriented ones like those in Silicon Valley. Some of them are built up as a combination of the inventors’ personal experiences and internet-based technology. Once it meets the needs of the market, it becomes a disruptor to the traditional industries. Nowadays you do not have to be an expert in tech nor have a group of tech people to work for you, which facilitates more people without tech background to start up an online startup successfully and become a billionaire more easily.

The more inspiring part of the tour is that people do not just drown themselves in their own business, but try to return the favor that they have received from the whole community. This is a healthy interaction. The entrepreneurs and the ecosystem have formed a mutually dependent relationship. All the related parties are nursing the ecosystem together. They are open to talking about their failures and success, sharing some of the resources, and even working for each other when possible and necessary. This may be the No. 1 takeaway for me.

 

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