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Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

Flex Your Intellect @NYCSW: 5 Things Agencies Can Learn From Hackathons

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Jess Seilheimer
Last weekend I attended Startup Weekend NYC—a 2 ½ day hackathon—an open call for entrepreneurs, designers, developers, creative strategists and the biz dev obsessed.

Startup Weekend is headquartered in Seattle has been around for 4+ years and is found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the world come together for weekend-long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies (if they so choose).

Some history for you: popular startup tech companies such as Zaarly, Foodspotting and LaunchRock all emerged as a result of Startup Weekend.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same model:

  • Day 1: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote)
  • Day 2-3: a 48 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation
  • Day 3: The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders/judges with another opportunity for critical feedback

Disclaimer: I’ve decided NOT to recap the entire weekend— rather explain my POV on how the marketing & advertising industry can learn from hackathons. If you really want to read about who won and why—you can visit my friend Adam’s #NYCSW recap post here (he was one of the design mentors at the event).


NYC celebrates tech innovation & launches “We Are Made In NY”

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Today, Mayor Bloomberg announced the launch of “We Are Made In NY,” a campaign to celebrate and support the growing tech sector in NYC and the expansion of the Made In NY mark to include tech and digital companies for the first time. I know Rachel Haot was behind this effort- she is amazing.


New York City is home to the most innovative creators in the world. The “Made in NY” initiative and logo represents New York City’s efforts to support these creators in the fields of film and television production, the digital and startup industry, and theatrical production. It also serves to celebrate NYC’s evolving media, entertainment and technology industries via the marketing efforts, educational and workforce development programs.

The New York City is at the heart of a new digital economy and is home to more than 900 tech companies hiring for over 3,000 jobs. To learn more about these opportunities and to find resources to grow your digital company, visit



NYC: On-demand in the palm of your hand

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Time has become a luxury in our fast paced world & some of us don’t want to use it trying to find out how to get things accomplished. Back in the day CraigsList was our answer for everything “classifieds-related” when we had a need, but over the past 2 years we have seen mobile tech/platforms bring individual solutions into the palm of our hand.

My Twitter stream & inbox are overflowing with the over-discussed the trend of mobile connectivity and how everything we have known in the past has been reimagined to work in the palm of our hand, to add to the positive arsenal of tools we use to get through the day—see Mary Meeker’s latest 2012 KPCB Internet Trends Year-End Update from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for more evidence of that.

Being a NY’er (and someone who focuses on digital marketing & technology) I know the majority of us move pretty fast- walking, talking, working… my to-do list seems to get longer every week and I’m always looking for new and convenient ways of getting stuff done, NOW.

My top-5

Here’s a macro view of the top 5 categories of mobile products that have aided my on-demand lifestyle in NYC. When evaluating, I’m always looking for mobile products wrapped in a consumer-centric service to make my experience better. Most times when things are positive, we just want to share what we like (hence this post).

Some apps I have been using for years/months, some are emerging & I think have major possibility—–clearly I have an arsenal of choices :)


#Sandy & Social: A Case Study

Monday, November 5th, 2012

my favorite topic :)

Sandy. 5 days of post-apocalyptic thoughts, mobile photos & video

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

What have I learned over the past 5 days? I’m a lucky girl. My apartment lost power at 9pm Monday night and was just restored this morning, Saturday November 3rd.

Big f’n deal. I have my health. I have my apartment- its unscathed. My family sold their central NJ house & NJ beach house and moved to Delaware months ago; they are safe- unscathed. I can’t say the same for the rest of the tri-state area like Queens, Staten Island and my beloved New Jersey inclusive of towns I used to live in such as Hoboken and various beaches along the jersey shore. A lot has happened over the past 5 days and I feel like I’ve had it easy.


I saw an apartment building’s entire facade fall off right around the corner from me!

rescue trucks looking for people stuck in the building. I was told this apt building was a brothel. not confirmed (but would explain the similar decor and the fact there were only beds in there)




I have no idea how this guy knew to video tape this- but it’s crazy the collapse starts around the :40 mark.

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Afterwards, I watched my landlord scream when he found out the apartment’s rubble fell on HIS car. I watched the NYPD try to keep calm in the face of chaos on the street as the biggest storm began to surge at 7:30pm.

my landlord screaming

Not once on Monday night did I turn the news on- I was  glued to Facebook & Twitter real time updates from my friends.  My friend Jason set up a public Facebook group called Post-Apocalyptic Hurricane Sandy Resource Center for all our friends to communicate through- (which reached a high of 502 ppl as of today) In fact, after I heard the building fall next to my apartment, within 3 seconds I saw a tweet from a girl in my neighborhood who confirmed the facade fell off a building. News doesn’t travel any faster than that.


I tried to keep up with Twitter’s hashtag #Sandy Twitter stream but it was making me dizzy– I had never seen such rapid activity like this on any social platform.

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Lights out

My apt in NYC lost power at 8:38pm on Monday night after an explosion at the Con Ed substation on east river rendered all of lower Manhattan DARK within seconds. After the blackout, that’s when people stopped communicating a lot, we were all trying to reserve power in our devices.

Credit: Instagram GeorgeWeld


see the full video here: go to .22 for the explosion and notice how the left 1/2 of Manhattan goes dark, immediately.

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Credit: Instagram Nick Summers


Day 2

Like the rest of lower Manhattan, I spent the past 5 days hopping from place to place, first staying with an uber generous friend Gemma with a device obsession and penache for PPT just like me (and a cute dog to boot!)



Checking in on other friends, trying to get work done/ trying to connect with co-workers during the entire ordeal was tough. The agency I work for had no power all week & no email for the first 2 days of the aftermath and less than 75% had cell service– but EVERYONE was on Facebook. So we created a private group for our agency called the HavasLifeNYC #Sandy Comm Center and soon enough connections were strong and communication was flowing. I personally felt better hearing from my most of my colleagues that they were ok.


Day 3/4: Getting back to normal. Kinda.

I went home mid-week to empty my freezer and fridge and my neighborhood was a ghost-town. Tumbleweeds were blowing up and down 14th street. The only signs of life I saw were small vendor tables selling flashlights and batteries.

I worked on a lot of PPT watched a lot of NY1 (best station/Sandy coverage ever) and followed Con Ed on Twitter incessantly waiting for updates on the power situation in the outer boroughs. It wasn’t until Wednesday that I really understood the magnitude of what had occurred in other places besides Manhattan. I started seeing posts my friend Joe had written from Hoboken and Normandy Beach on their Facebook Page, my beloved New Jersey (raised there & proud of it)  near and dear to my heart. I saw the mass destruction at Breezy Point/Queens, The Rockaways and Staten Island and I. COULDN’T. STOP. WATCHING. I was so restless.

Day 5


I woke up Friday and decided I had to do something, I couldn’t just sit in a hotel room all day and wait for emails to come through- I had no hard deadlines at work that day and there were people who had no running water, food or power and who knew what kind of deadlines they had? I searched around twitter with the hashtag #SandyVolunteer and found @OccupySandy who linked me to Occupy Sandy Relief NYC Facebook page and they had boatload o f donation centers and volunteer opportunities listed- mostly on the LES. I spread that news across every social channel I had access to in an attempt to evoke the humanitarian in all of us to come out. I  headed downtown & couldn’t believe the # of popele that were there, cars & bikes all with an influx of supplies for us to take with us.
My group headed to the Lillian Ward houses (16 buildings) most of them 15 flights up that had no power, running water for 3 days- 50% of them elderly. We packed up loads of bottled water, food, supplies and flashlights and climbed up the stairs and knocked on every door providing them what they likely didn’t have access to. Most were so grateful for our efforts and thankful for the water & PB&Jelly sandwiches.

Pretty sure this was FEMA bringing in supplies

The con ed substation that blew up Monday night


a sad halloween on the streets

some people were still in good spirits


Volunteering. Just do it!!!

Occupy Sandy Relief NYC is a community relief effort organized by Occupiers to help residents in the hardest hit areas of NYC recover from Hurricane Sandy.

They not only bring in relief to areas that are not experiencing government aid, but also build & work with existing organizations to build strong community centers. They are building a relief effort that will still give communities access to necessary resources 5 yrs from now. People who’s homes were lost and businesses destroyed may not have the resources to rebuild their lives. These are the people who are forgotten by short-term shelters and Red Cross tents, because they require a sustainable, local, long-term approach.
The most up to date volunteer efforts for Saturday 11/3 & Sunday 11/4 are listed here.
and there are hundreds more listed everywhere you search for them (hail hail social discovery/SEO!)
I’m still not feeling settled at all. I can’t help but think of all the people who lost their homes, those that lost their children and those that still dont have power or food or peace of mind. I feel very fortunate for my situation and will continue to do all I can to assist with the relief efforts. Oh, and I’m praying for NO SNOWSTORM on wednesday! For crying out loud!
Will end with this Banksy image I stole from Facebook. NYC. Still beating.

Banksy. Still beating #NYC

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