Cynthia Schames: San Francisco

What’s your historical San Francisco and New York connection?
Our roots are in New York, and we’re a New York company. But we’ve been in the Bay Area for a few months now as part of 500 Startups Batch 9, and are succumbing to the considerable charms of California.

Describe your experience in SF and your experience in NYC.
NYC has a vibe and a hustle all its own. I love the diversity of viewpoints and industries that you’re exposed to in New York. San Francisco has a completely different attitude: at the risk of offending every person reading this, I find San Francisco to be simultaneously more and less progressive than NY. The other interesting contrast for me has been the realization that in NY, most investors made their money through finance, and they’re evaluating early stage startups based on quantitative metrics. Whereas, in SF, the investors have typically made their money from startups, and they tend to evaluate the team, idea and market size first.

What was the biggest challenge of moving between NYC and SF?
To me, the biggest challenge has been acclimating to the communication style differences. In New York, people are very direct. In SF, there’s a general tendency to have a strong opinion but keep it largely to yourself. Unless you’re Marc Andreesen.

How can NYC and SF best engage with each other?
I’d love to see more SF investors actively courting NY companies, without requiring a relocation. The New York startup ecosystem is healthy and growing, but would benefit greatly from an infusion of the “Valley dreamer” mindset.

Favorite SF secret spot
I don’t know yet!

Favorite NYC secret spot
Marie’s Crisis, a fantastic piano bar in the Village. It’s filled with wildly talented people whose Broadway dreams never came true, but they routinely belt out fabulous sing-a-longs of Broadway and pop classics.

If you were not where you are now, what would you be doing?
Working in early stage venture capital.

Roadtrip Entertainment: tell us what song/album, TV show, podcast, or web videos you’ve been watching lately.
Vooza is my guilty pleasure.

From the 2905 Miles newsletter: connecting NEW YORK CITY + SAN FRANCISCO

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