I just resigned my Foursquare mayorship of the Ace Hotel New York.
I’ve been spending nearly every working day there since October, when I first joined First Round. We never had an official office on our own in New York, despite having over a dozen investments here. Howard Morgan held the fort down from his own personal office up on Park, and Chris, Josh, and Phin burned the rails from here to Philly on a regular basis. That left me temporarily nomadic—and the Ace Hotel couldn’t have been a better oasis to embrace that situation at.
I’ve met so many amazing entrepreneurs and innovators there—and creatives, and various levels of celebs. It became more than just a home to me, but a home to the community in a way that no other place was. There’s a vibe in that lobby that reflects the energy going on in the NYC tech community right now. It acts as a collaboration space, welcome center for visitors from other cities, a social venue, and a place to play real life serendipity roulette—because you never know who you’re going to bump into there.
If there’s any lesson I’ve learned from the tech community here, though—is that the best way to make it grow is to let it thrive on it’s own. The Ace Hotel lobby doesn’t need me there everyday to be a place for innovation any more than the nextNY listserv needs me to police it for quality anymore. Enough folks have rooted themselves and taken ownership to make it a permanent tech community beach head—chalk up another corner of the Big Apple where you’ll find awesome folks doing awesome stuff, just like the Shake Shack, Tom & Jerry’s, Coffee Shop, etc.
What’s really important for me now is to import that same kind of vibe into First Round’s new New York City office in Union Square. We want it to be another center of innovation in the city—where people can come an collaborate, meet interesting people, and feel like they left with more than they came in with. No, we’re not going to create an incubator—we’re investors first and foremost, not landlords. Besides, even if we could have a handful of companies come and work here, that would pale in comparison to the number of people we’d be taking meetings with throughout the year, or the number of people who will undoubtedly show up here for meetups, casual lunches, working brownbags, livestreams, etc.—all of which I want to make sure we have our fair share of.
Therefore, I’m resigning so I can focus on my “Mayoral” duties here at First Round—to fulfill the mission I set out to do when I joined last fall—helping First Round get more deeply embedded into the community here, and bringing the community more into the fold at First Round through our office and the people in it. I’ll be actively working with our Governor, Howard, (if EIRs are mayors, then Partners would undoubtedly have to be something more!), and I look forward to bringing a bit of the kind of community we all built at the Ace into our new offices.
Truth be told, it wasn’t going to last anyway… and honestly, I couldn’t really bare to be unseated, so I figured I’d leave on my own terms. :)
I look forward to my next visit to the Ace as just another fair citizen.