Carl Martin: London

Security Check: Carl Martin is a business strategist at digital product studio ustwo. He’s responsible for growing the studio and helping brands and businesses understand the ways in which they can utilize digital services. After going through a rough patch in 2013, Carl found an outlet through writing, which is also now a huge part of his life.

What’s your historical London and New York connection?
I’ve dreamed for a long time of living in NYC. As a young man with a passion for advertising, ‘Madison Avenue’ was the only place to be. Around a year ago, I felt the most lost I’ve ever felt, and I woke up to see a picture of Times Square at the end of my bed. It had always been there, but I really looked at it for the first time. That was the moment I knew I needed to be in this city. One year later, I’m here.

Describe your experience in New York as a Londoner.
The transition from London to New York life has been a breeze. I was expecting a huge shock to the system, but New York feels like home. As an extrovert, who loves meeting new people, this city was made for me. I’ve drummed up conversations on the subway, in the park, on a walk. There is a ferocious appetite for connecting with other people – no expectations of any value exchange – just a desire to build relationships.

But it’s not all perfect. The repercussions of wanting to eat EVERYTHING you see, as well as mammoth portion sizes, means I am battling weight gain. New Yorkers eat like pigs, but train like race horses to compensate. That’s a mind shift in itself.

How can New York and London better engage with each other?
I’m not sure about engaging, but they could learn a lot from each other. In New York, everything just feels natural. Every bar, restaurant, and street corner feels organic. London tries too hard to be something. If London stopped trying hard to be something, and focused on being itself, it could spawn something pretty special. And what can New York learn from London? Well, it could probably learn some bloody manners.

Favorite NYC secret spot: I love my new ‘local’, Henry Public. It’s the definition of cool without even trying.

Favorite London secret spot: Lazy Sundays with a coffee and the paper at Konnigans. The dream.

*Want to follow all of our secret spots on Foursquare? Check out our London and New York lists.*

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? I don’t know if I know the exact location of where I would want to live. What I do know, is it is somewhere by the sea (or a stretch of water at least). I lived for 5 years in Bournemouth, England, and being by the sea has the most incredibly purifying effect on the soul. That’s probably all I need.

In flight entertainment:

  • What’s playing in your headphones right now? I’m overplaying Gregory Porter right now. His voice is incredible, and he is introducing jazz to a new generation of people.
  • And what are you currently reading? I’m currently reading ‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things‘ by Ben Horowitz. I’m not quite CEO material yet, but hoping this wonderful book of learnings and knowledge will serve me well when I am ready.

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