The other day I stumbled upon a post by Naveen Selvadurai of foursquare entitled “being in the right place at the right time.” It inspired me to write, as it helped me to connect my professional interests and my musings on the relationship between location and “destiny.”
Here’s a quote from Naveen’s post:
“No matter whether you believe in fate or free will, they both affect many paths in life: from the college we go to, to where we live, to the jobs we take and to the people we run into and with whom we become friends and lovers. but i think the most powerful of these factors is location – where we are now and where we choose to live. i think that location, more than anything else, is a powerful determinant of which path one will take in life.”
- Naveen Selvadurai
For some time now I have been reflecting on the significance of location in our everyday lives. On the micro level, I am enamored with how mobile location-based services are revolutionizing the way people interact.
I love the thrill of discovering, navigating, and sharing my adventures with the world. Mobile apps like Instagram, foursquare, Path, and Sonar delight me, as they connect me with others around the unexpectedly remarkable moments I experience from day to day. While Sonar empowers us to meet the people around us who are most socially relevant, Path and Instagram allow us to capture and coyly share intimate glimpses of our lives.
Because the confluence of “occurrence” and “location” creates a unique event that will never happen again in the same manner, it seems of utmost importance to capture special moments when and where they happen.
On a greater scale, location plays a big factor in who we are and who we will become. At times I wonder, “Do I need to stay in NYC long-term to pursue my startup dreams in the mobile / location space? Would I be just as well poised to do so if I moved to Austin, TX, where my girlfriend wants to move, and where I’d be closer to my family?”
Now, there’s something very special about NYC… everyone knows that. The feverish bustle, the density of consumers and businesses and the 24/7 grind that goes on here seems to be the perfect agar for my petri dish.
But my girlfriend is quickly losing interest in the fast-paced life, and both my immediate family and her family live in Texas - quite a ways from New York City. Austin, as an alternative, is considered by many to be a tech mecca of the South, with events like SXSW, and the offices of giants such as Google, Facebook and Apple. However, despite these boons I’ve heard from various sources that Austin may be a challenging place to start certain types of companies.
Forecast is a fun and simple way for friends to share where they are going.
Rene J. Pinnell, CEO of Forecast, an Austin-based mobile startup that allows friends to share where they’re going, once told me that while Austin is very beautiful and vibrant, it may not be the best place for early-stage social media tech startups. Its cultural differences and the type of investors it attracts are a few reasons why many Austin-based startups find themselves relocating to San Francisco or NYC.
Additionally, Austin does not have the same urban density / media profile that New York does – a factor that potentially made Gowalla less competitive with foursquare. Such a spatial difference would certainly affect users’ behavioral patterns – but to a detrimental extent?
In the end, I try to trust God to help me make these types of decisions, but I can’t help but wonder the role that my location will play in my professional future. I do know, however, that while I am here, no matter how long or short this may be, I plan to take advantage of New York with the fierce urgency of now.
Can’t stop the #hustle.