Bilal Zaidi: New York City

What do you do? 
Hi, I’m Bilal! I’ve been working for Google for the last 7 years in London, Dublin and now New York. I work with fashion & sports brands on their digital strategy & marketing.

What else should we know about you?
I recently launched a podcast called Creator Lab, where I have honest conversations with leading entrepreneurs, non-profit founders, award winning designers, educators, artists and everything else in between. If you fancy a listen, my favorite episode so far was with Scott Harrison from charity: water.

I’m also a spoken word artist and perform around New York city in the evenings!

What’s your historical London and New York connection?
Born and bred in East London, as a kid I often came to New York to visit family in Queens. About 5 years ago, I started working with our New York office and decided to make the switch permanent 3 years ago to get the full experience!

Describe your experience in New York as a Londoner.
Both are incredibly diverse, HUGE and there’s an unlimited number of things to do and see. The only things you run out of are time, money and stamina 🙂

The thing that surprised me the most before I lived here was how go-with-the-flow you can be in NYC. Many people who move here say the first 6-12 months feel like a holiday. That feeling of spontaneity and anything can happen hasn’t worn off yet.

How can the two cities better engage with each other?
I think they actually have a pretty good connection already in most cases. But specifically in my world: the tech & the startup space – I’d love to see the silicon roundabout area in Old Street have a more seamless entry point into the hubs we have in NYC, and vice-versa. It’s sometimes hard to know where to turn up to when visiting for the first time, because there are so many options.

Favorite NYC secret spot:
Not so much a secret, but my fav place is the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

Favourite London secret spot:
Not a secret either, but definitely less known to my American friends than the famous Tayyabs. For the best lamb chops and authentic Pakistani/Indian food, got to love Lahore Kebab House.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

If I could speak Spanish, I would do laps around South America.

In flight entertainment: 

My fav album this year has been Kaytranada, 99.9%.

Sapiens: A brief history of humankind.

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