Garrett Wu: New York City

Co-founder & CTO at WibiData

What’s your historical San Francisco and New York connection?
I first moved to the bay area (San Jose) for a software engineering job at Google. While working at a company that has offices around the globe, I decided to take advantage of it and move around. Since some of my team was already in NYC, I visited and ended up just staying for a few years. About four years ago, I moved back to the bay area to live in SF proper to start WibiData. But my girlfriend is still in NYC so I split my time about 50-50 between the two cities.

Describe your experience in SF and your experience in NYC.
I loved NYC when I first moved here. Still do. There’s something for everyone, and it keeps you engaged even as your interests, hobbies, and work change. When I moved to SF for the first time after NYC, I had a tough time. I didn’t want to get a car and deal with parking it, but public transportation wasn’t great, and Uber wasn’t invented yet. I didn’t really understand the appeal of SF. But as I learned how to get around the city, reconnected with friends, and got used to bringing a jacket with me everywhere, I now get it. I’ve enjoyed living in both cities, and could see myself in either. But maybe I’m just not picky. Turns out I just need good food, an internet connection, and an international airport to be happy.

What was the biggest challenge of moving between NYC and SF?
The physical act of moving is actually pretty easy. It’s so common to move between the cities that there are moving companies that specialize in it. I used Oz Moving & Storage. It wasn’t expensive, and they even stored my belongings for free while I looked for an apartment. The biggest challenge is the realization that they are very different cities. Transportation, safety, weather, social norms, and office culture. I was expecting SF to be more like NYC. When I stopped comparing them against to one another, I enjoyed them both more.

How can NYC and SF best engage with each other?
I think they’re doing a fine job.

Favorite SF secret spot
My favorite spot is Southpaw BBQ at 18th and Mission. They’ve got amazing cocktails and beer. Their former chef, Max Hussey, used to make us ridiculous 5-course tastings for only $35. There was a time that I visited more than once per week.

Favorite NYC secret spot
In the winter, I’m actually able to play more beach volleyball in NYC than I am in SF. I’m at the indoor sand volleyball court at the Chelsea Piers Sports Center whenever I’m in NYC even when it’s 20 degrees outside.

If you were not where you are now, what would you be doing?
I’d be doing this anyway. Building great products (or at least trying).

Roadtrip Entertainment: tell us what song/album, TV show, podcast, or web videos you’ve been watching lately.
I started watching A Brief History of Humankind on Coursera. The idea of trying to capture the entire history of humans in a 20-week course is ambitious, but they’ve done a good job. I highly recommend it.

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