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NYC Tech Scene Rising

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A look at the New York Tech Scene from the NYCEDC Entrepreneur at Large:

Hey NY Techsters, lots of interesting news to report on the Scene this week.

First, let's get the NY vs. San Fransisco Reality TV Debate out of the way.

Many of us tuned in or downloaded the first episode of Randi Zuckerberg's Bravo series, excited to see what all the fuss was about. Sarah Lacey of PandoDaily had been on the warpath against the series, saying it was 'unconscionable'.

Well, deep sigh of relief -- it didn't turn out to do that much damage. And in fact, was pretty darn entertaining. For sure the 500 Startups meeting with Dave McClure finding Hermonie sleeping under the conference room table was flat-out funny. But the real revelation was that some of the series biggest starts weren't really from the valley. My friend Sarah Austin was awesome, but she's a New Yorker, so hard to credit her as Valley talent. And Hermonie Way -- who is also a fellow SXSW pal -- is from London. So the Bravo series may have exposed a flaw in Valley reality TV -- the wild and crazy characters just aren't in great supply.

But Randi is an East Coast native as well, so she's figured out that if you want crazy characters and real life drama you may need to bring your camera to NYC's thriving tech scene. So Bravo has announced that season 2 of Bravo's Start-Ups series has started casting in NYC.

"New York is a unique and compelling epicenter of business," Randi said in an email. "While Silicon Valley is the first place that comes to mind for startups, we've explored some of the opportunities and personalities that it has to offer, and New York seemed like the natural next step."

So, do you think you've got the spark and controversial nature to be a Reality TV Star in NYC? Then make sure you apply by emailing

To help tech sector, invest in attracting talent

Meanwhile -- Crain's Future of New York City conference had a stellar group of NY tech leaders.

"What we need are great people," said Kevin Ryan, founder and CEO of e-commerce giant Gilt Groupe, at Crain's Future of New York City conference. One of the challenges of recruiting great people to tech jobs, he said, is the lack of technology-focused universities in New York.

"The people who run these universities are waking up to the fact it's happening at MIT and Stanford or Harvard and it's not going to happen here unless we make it happen," said Fred Wilson, a partner at Union Square Ventures, a venture capital firm in New York.

"Right now I think the mayor and his administration are doing lots of good things," said Wilson. "They've listened to the tech industry, and understand the talent problem and the cost problem."

Mr. Wilson said he had a suggestion for the new mayor's first order of business: "Wi-Fi on every subway train in the city." He said busy New Yorkers could use their commutes productively. "All kinds of amazing things could happen," he said.

Office Hours Go Virtual: NYC Entrepreneur In Residence to "hang out" this week.

So, you've got a startup? Or you've got an idea that you think could become one? Chances are you've shared the idea with a few friends who've pronounced it "awesome" and a few potential investors or angels who've asked you a slew of questions you don't yet have the answers to.

Being a startup CEO is hard. Every solution comes wrapped in a problem. Around every corner is a competitor, or a collaborator or both.

As New York City's first Entrepreneur at Large, I've lived the dream. Actually, I'm living it right now as the CEO of, a venture and angel-backed tech company that's grown a big footprint in the emerging video curation space. Running a tech startup is hard, and I love every minute of it.

When I took on the role of EAL, I promised myself two things:

1. I would share everything I've learned about building businesses in NYC with the emerging class of startup innovators.

2. I wouldn't pull any punches in advising NYCEDC about what startups need to grow in the City.

Introducing Virtual Office Hours

On December 7th from 12 - 1pm, I'll break some new ground and hold the first of what promises to be regular Office Hours. But since we're all about tech, I'm going to do it online -- Virtual Office Hours -- using Google Hangouts. Register here.

We can talk about Fundraising, Business Plans, Pitching and Equity. We can dig into what New York City is doing for Startups, and what you think needs to be done to make the city an even better place to build a tech company. Marketing, Release, Broadband access. You name it -- we'll talk about it. And along the way I can share my experiences and challenges in building winning companies in NYC.

It will be an open forum, with lots of back and forth. So come armed with your own questions, ideas, and a New York love of speaking your mind.

And for all you traditionalists, stay tuned for future in-person office hours, too!

Introducing Ask an EAL

Can't make it on Dec 7th? Come up with more questions you meant to ask? No problem. Drop me a line instead. I'll be compiling questions posted here and will publish answers on NYCEDC's website, on a biweekly basis. Don't worry if you're still in stealth mode -- your identity and question will be kept completely anonymous.

This EAL is open for business- so come on in.

Tips, events, or N.Y. Tech news? Email me at Srosenbaum (at) nycedc (dot) com.

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