Thursday, January 10, 2013

New York, I'm all in.

Or alternatively, taking the Kenya option off the table.


That's right. You heard it here first. After two arduous months pounding the pavements, I've decided to take the plunge and stay in New York despite the continued job uncertainty. Looking back on when I arrived, I assumed that it would be difficult for me to break into the startup world here. After all, I haven't lived in the US for over two years, and I haven't worked in New York since the summer of 2008. A long time ago. But in the weeks since, I've gotten to speak with a number of exceptional companies, and to my great surprise, they've all been happy to meet me. But the largest moral of the story is that timing has played a much bigger role than I anticipated. No one seems to argue my qualifications or credentials – whether or not they need a product manager at that given moment is a thornier issue. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense. I've picked a role for myself where there's one of me to every five to ten engineers. Startups only need a PM at a very specific point in their life cycles. So after a great deal of thought and soul searching, I've finally decided to stay and see how it plays out.

It was no easy choice to make, and whether it was truly the right choice continues to elude me. Only time will tell. What I do know is that I love being 24 in New York. For the first time in my adult life, I have the prospect of staying in one place indefinitely, without a standing deadline to leave. That may not sound like a lot, but after living in five different places in the last five years, the thought of being able to stay in one place for more than a number of months sounds like paradise. Still, it's not totally in my character to turn down an incredible opportunity (the Kenya option) without an equally incredible alternative. But here I am. New York, you've got me. Chew me up; spit me out. I'm yours.

On a more practical note, you may wonder what my plans are for the interim while I continue to hunt for this perfect opportunity. Funny you ask! I've been wondering too. At the moment, I'm considering consulting with friends' startups, teaching tech business stuff, and writing. If anyone feels like they may be able to help me find opportunities to do any of those things, please let me know! I was also reminded today by a dear friend that I didn't decide to stay in New York just to work. I came here to enjoy the diversity of this incredible, multi-faceted city. So I plan to have a little bit of fun too. And of course I'm always open for help making that happen.

So here's to taking big risks! 2013, I hope you prove as fruitful as the years leading up to you.

3 comments:

Drew Meyers said...

You've got the NYC bug like I do. I haven't taken the plunge yet, but am close (just need to raise money to pay to live first).

Look forward to catching up with you next week!

Zain Pasha said...

Great to hear Ben! Let's meet up soon.

ekeene said...

Love this. So glad you're here. I'm eager to see what you end up doing - I'm sure it will be exciting, and if nothing else, an exciting ride.