What’s your historical San Francisco and New York connection?
I immigrated to the U.S when I was 16, on a flight from Beijing to SFO. And since then I have spend multiple stretches of time in SF, most recently for a year in 2012 when the startup I worked at was acquired.
New York was the city I moved to after college. I came here to work for a startup, and have seen an incredible growth of the ecosystem in the past 8 years. I’m also an improviser and singer, and New York was the city that introduced me to the amazing world of improv.
Describe your experience in SF and your experience in NYC.
San Francisco is an extremely friendly city. It feels more personal and well-curated. Working in the tech startup world, San Francisco is also the biggest hub for our industry. There is an interesting dichotomy – on the one hand, you have one of the most spiritual and peaceful culture, a mixture of the hippie movement with the sophistication of highly educated young demographic. But on the other hand, you have the ultra-competitive and fast-moving culture of silicon valley entrepreneurship. Living in these two extremes can be a thrilling and humbling experience. You need a circle of close friends to be your support system. I picked up yoga, meditation, and lots of hacking skills during my time there.
New York is a melting pot of all cultures and you constantly feel like you are at the center of a whirlpool. Sitting at a cafe, you will see a student studying for a test, a spec writer working on a film script, a business man closing a deal, a house wife walking her chiwawa, and probably a homeless person sleeping right outside. It’s a city with access to anything you want, and everyone is here on a mission. It’s very exciting if you are a high-energy person who wants to take in the world.
What was the biggest challenge of moving between NYC and SF?
Housing is very expensive in both cities and it gets more challenging if you are constantly moving. The long flight + time difference isn’t ideal either.
How can NYC and SF best engage with each other?
A lot of people in my work life travel between New York and SF. I think the tech world ties both cities together. However, it happens largely on an individual level. I think some type of organized exchange would help people discover the cool things about the other city.
Favorite SF secret spot
The Sub is a group of interesting people who are into cool things like technology and art. They have a huge loft in the Mission and always have cool activities going on.
Favorite NYC secret spot
Not sure how secret this is – but I love the promenade at Brooklyn Heights. It’s a beautiful stretch that overlooks downtown manhattan, with Brooklyn Bridge Park right beneath. There are also new bars, restaurants popping up every week – these days I stick more to places in Brooklyn.
If you were not where you are now, what would you be doing?
Hmm… I’m pretty happy working on Wildcard with an incredible group of people… If I had to pick something, I’d probably be an independent inventor? I like making things and talking to smart people. So anything involving the 2 things, I’d be pretty happy.
Roadtrip Entertainment: tell us what song/album, TV show, podcast, or web videos you’ve been watching lately.
SERIAL!!! Who knew podcasts can be so engaging?