Omar Qari: New York City

What’s your historical San Francisco and New York connection?We started Abacus in New York last year, but then moved out west to join the YC W14 batch this past January. After spending 3 months cranking, it was time to come home.

Describe your experience in SF and your experience in NYC.
It’s really not a fair comparison because my time on the west coast was literally 3 guys in a townhouse, cranking 16 hours a day / 7 days a week. I grew up around NYC my whole life, so it’s home. That being said, I really got a kick out of watching news about the polar vortex back east while sitting in the comfort of our ever-temperate weather in Cali.

What was the biggest challenge of moving between NYC and SF?
This has more to do with my unique circumstance, and of course I went in eyes wide open, but it was tough being apart from my wife for 3 months. On the one hand, having literally left everything in my life back in NYC, it was a phenomenally productive period, but on the other, it in many ways certainly felt like life was on pause.

To extrapolate this out to other would-be founders that want to build momentum, if you want to have a phenomenally productive 3 months, get a house far away from everything you know and just crank.

How can NYC and SF best engage with each other?
I find them to be complimentary. SF gives me energy – you can’t help but feel motivated surrounded by all the ambitious projects underway at other startups. NYC jolts me back to reality – it’s 1,000 cities in 1 and there’s no better place to get a pulse on the world’s pain points.

Favorite SF secret spot
Aston Motes took us to this awesome spot for Katsu curry called Muracci’s on Kearny & Bush, where we grabbed it and took it up to the roof of this nearby open air mall.

Favorite NYC secret spot
Molly’s Cupcakes on Bleecker & 6th Ave, hands down best cupcakes you’ve ever had – the genius is that they’ve found a way to leave a raw cake batter core in the center of the cupcake that oozes out as you take a bite – get the ‘birthday cake’ flavor and thank me later.

If you were not where you are now, what would you be doing?
Assuming I wasn’t working on another startup, I’d probably be taking advantage of the opportunity to spend a lot more time with my family

Roadtrip Entertainment: tell us what song/album, TV show, podcast, or web videos you’ve been watching lately.
NPR had this well researched podcast the other day describing what happened in 1984 that discouraged girls from coding and led to the divergence between boys and girls that we see today in computer science.

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