Letter from New York – Walkabout
Well, it’s been a while since our last letter, but we’ve had a crazy full May playing host to family and friends who all came to see us living in the big city, plus our first trip out of New York to visit family in Chicago. Now the visits are over we’re back to normal busy New York life – last week no exception!
The week started out with the launch of Xero Answers after a great effort by the team to design and build something to take questions and feedback on Xero Personal that everyone can benefit from. I’ve found it quite exciting watching the new questions coming in during the week – thanks to everyone who’s visited Xero Answers so far.
We headed Uptown one evening for the annual Museum Mile festival when 5th Avenue closes alongside Central Park and 9 museums open their doors for free for the evening. We picked two that we’d not yet been to, the Guggenheim and the Museum of the City of New York. Such a great atmosphere despite the long lines to get in and it was such a beautiful evening that we walked back downtown through the park – around 40 blocks!
Rackspace hosted a party at a rooftop bar on 5th Avenue one night so we just had to go along to do this very New York thing however torrential rain prevented us from spending much time on the roof. We had our first experience of the New York ‘hard sell’ when talking about Xero – having to face the demand ‘Why is Xero better? What’s it got that I don’t already have?’ However at one stage Craig had someone’s black American Express card in his hand so he wasn’t doing too badly! Also met a guy who’s business is converting US voltage electronics to work in other countries, just that, amazing what you can do in this city!
One night we attended the opening of the Topp Twins film Untouchable Girls at the LGBT Film Festival as guests of SweeneyVesty who were involved in producing the film. Jools and Linda were present and they not only entertained the New York crowd on film but performed a kind of yodeled waiata (song as part of a Maori welcoming ceremony) before the film and tried to teach us all to yodel after it. It was a great trip down memory lane and I had no shame singing along with the songs I knew. It was a really good film, funny, honest and educational – we missed seeing it in New Zealand and it seemed rather crazy to be seeing it over here – made us very proud to be Kiwis.
Yesterday we had a great day touring a few New York tech start-ups – as part of Internet Week they opened their doors for Walkabout NYC, an ‘open office’ afternoon. The vibe in every office (and the customers we’ve visited here so far) is so infectious – certainly a live-to-work atmosphere where entire staff eat lunch together, bring their pets to work, decorate their own offices and yesterday they all had huge flat-screens going with the Football World Cup on in the background. Our matching Xero t-shirts didn’t go unnoticed by Squarespace (design and build your own website); I got to meet another orange community manager when we called on our friends Harvest (time tracking and invoicing) – they gave me a t-shirt and very cool orange poster – thanks! and we had a great tour at Etsy (sell things you’ve made online) and very much enjoyed the amazing creative spaces they have in their office including themed one-person workrooms, DJ/ping pong area, conference room that looks like something out of a 50’s homestead and a full kitchen where a chef comes each Wednesday to cook for the staff (they call it ‘Eatsy’).
Man this is such a great city!