Nico Perez: New York City

Security Check:
Our passenger this week is: Nico Perez, the co-founder of an internet radio startup called MixCloud, which he founded in London.

When he first started MixCloud, there was no money or funding, so they lived from a warehouse on an industrial estate in northwest London. There also wasn’t any Internet connection and so they bought some of the very first 3G dongles – but couldn’t even stream their own radio shows or mixes because of the data caps! 

Most of his job revolves around business development, raising their awareness stateside, and doing content or commercial deals. Besides wearing many metaphorical hats at MixCloud, he’s also a bit of a nomad. He has 3 passports, speaks many languages and has travelled to over 60 countries – including the 3460 Mile gap many, many times!

What’s your historical London and New York connection?
I resisted living London for about 2 years after graduating, before finally succumbing to it’s gravitational pull in 2008. I then spent about five years in the Big Smoke, living first on the northwestern outskirts before moving to the Old street area for proper #startupcred.

Earlier last year in 2014 we decided that we needed someone on the ground in the US, so I volunteered to take the plunge – even though I had gained British nationality, and swore allegiance to the queen, just before I left!

After a year living in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, I’ve moved to a spot in the Lower East Side, approximately 5 minutes walk from a zillion bars and bagel shops.

Describe your experience in New York as a Londoner.
New York City is London shifted up a gear.

The relatively compact size of the city affords so much more spontaneity, and the ability to improvise and not need to plan an evening with friends 2 weeks in advance.

It’s so easy to cross town by bike or in a cab in 20min to go drink pear wine in a Korea town karaoke spot, or go for a full breakfast at 3:30 AM or PM.

How can New York and London better engage with each other?
Next to jumping on a plane and flying to the sister city, I can recommend Google Hangouts.

Last weekend we did our first transcontinental “friends” Hangout. It was funny using something I usually associate with work and itemized agendas, but in a completely different context, catching up with friends in various locations around the world.

Favorite NYC secret spot:
Red Hook – I love Red Hook, and keep escaping there on weekends. Sunny’s bar, Brooklyn Crab and Pioneer works arts especially.

Favourite London secret spot:
The lookout spot at the top of Primrose hill, or Hampstead heath in good weather.

Passing Clouds or Plastic People (RIP) for dancing.

I’ve got a whole list of places to eat (send me a Twitter message if you want in), but top 3 would be: Ottolenghi, Koya Udon, and Saint Johns in Soho.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? 
NYC is my spiritual home, although the winter months have me thinking about escaping to a Central American surf shack, or southwestern desert.

In flight entertainment: 

  • What’s playing in your headphones right now? I spend most of my time listening to radio shows and mixes. Here are my favorites.
  • And what are you currently reading? Just finished ‘Godel, Escher, Bach – An eternal braid’ by Hofstadter, and started trying to tackle James Joyce. (All the best Nico!)

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