Jason Shen: New York City

What’s your historical San Francisco and New York connection?
After graduating from Stanford in 2009, I moved to San Francisco and lived there for 4 years, till mid 2013. After a short stint in DC, I moved to NYC in Jan 2014 and live there now.

Describe your experience in SF and your experience in NYC.
It’s hard to separate your experience with a city from the things going on in your life at the time.

When I lived in SF, I was in my early twenties, not earning a lot, and working at (or running) early stage startups. My friends were all startup people who didn’t have a lot of time to hang out — except when they threw an office party after raising a round of funding.

As a result, I spent a lot of time hanging out at home with my roommates — who were also my cofounders so that meant I was pretty damn productive. I did explore the city but less than I would like to admit. Dating was difficult.

Part of that was definitely the lack of good public transit. Lyft and Uber really started taking off just as I left, but I think it’s not a surprise they both found their initial traction in SF. Still, there’s a lot of magic in living in the center of universe for technology — where every coffee shop is buzzing with the energy of creation and growth.

In New York, I’m in my late twenties, working at a more established startup, and making relatively more money. My friends are in a more diverse set of industries — tech, finance, fashion, non profit work. Everyone’s apartment is too small to really host so we all go out if we want to hang out. There are far more beautiful people and it’s forced me to up my game. It’s easy to get around and I think I’ve done a decent amount of exploring in my first 9 months.

Still, I think the interactions I’ve had are a little more shallow — more focused on what fancy restaurant you ate at last night, or cool place you went out to last weekend — than the projects you’re working on or ideas you’re tinkering with. Still, NYC is like the center of the actual world and there’s so much energy here that it’s hard to not fall in love with the city.

What was the biggest challenge of moving between NYC and SF?
The time zones. It’s tricky to find times for calls that work for people on different coasts. Either it’s super late for me, or too early for them.

How can NYC and SF best engage with each other?
I think SF and NYC people get along pretty well. People typically have one city they prefer to live in, but get a lot of energy spending time in the other location. Three day weekends and cheaper flights would make doing the SF <> NYC route far more palatable.

My company has opened up an SF office so I’m looking forward to working out of that office for a week at a time or more. Remote work is still challenging because video chat just can’t replace the super high signal of face-to-face communication.

Favorite SF secret spot
SO. A Korean/Chinese restaurant on 8th and Bryant. Get the wings and black bean noodles. Amazing.

Favorite NYC secret spot
Flatiron Room. Classy place around 23rd St. with live music, great drinks, and a really cool atmosphere. Great for dates.

If you were not where you are now, what would you be doing?
Living somewhere cheap (South America or Southeast Asia) and reading, writing, and working out a lot.

Roadtrip Entertainment: tell us what song/album, TV show, podcast, or web videos you’ve been watching lately.
I recently discovered this great series by Earwolf on three day workshop Seth Godin did with a group of newly minted entrepreneurs in 2012 that’s excellent.

Hardwell On Air is my go to podcast for getting in the zone on a run or at work. 1 hour progressive house and electro pop mix every Friday.

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

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