Great Social Services Have East Coast Roots (+New Website!)

I put together a little re-design of my personal homepage.  Am pumped about it – I wanted something that presented my love for New York City alongside a useful collection of links for where I “hang out” around the web.

Here’s the final design:

amanda peyton

In putting this project together I realized that all of the social services I use and love most vehemently are all deeply tied to either New York City or the Northeast, no matter where they are currently located.  More on that below.

First – the site was influenced by this map of Manhattan (which, if you live here, you’ve likely seen at some point), originally produced by Ork Posters.

The placement of each web service on the map was deliberate and aimed at visually connecting the personality of a neighborhood to the personality of the service. And for the 7 people who think about NYC neighborhoods and web services in the same way I do – would love to hear your thoughts.

For everyone else, here’s the thinking behind each placement:

Twitter + Wall Street:  Frenetic, Jumbled, Terse, but incredibly powerful

Foursquare + East Village:  The roots of the service were in the EV and the best foursquare tips are still found here; bar-hopping, hypersocial, where-you-at mentality

Tumblr + West Village and Meatpacking:  Coolness to a fault

Blog + Gramercy:  I currently live in this neighborhood, so it was most fitting to place it there

Email + Chelsea and Times Square:  Large, unmanageable, swelling, but ultimately the pulse of everything

Bnter + West Chelsea + Hell’s Kitchen:  West Chelsea is the biggest up-and-comer neighborhood in lower Manhattan

Delicious + Midtown: Incredibly useful, but somewhat soulless (post-Yahoo) and unchanging

Facebook + Upper East Side:  The center of the “establishment”

Quora + Upper West Side:  Hyper-academic, hyper-artistic, hyper-self-reflective

Hacker News + Spanish Harlem:  Steadfast, growing like a weed though few people notice, culture-rich but somewhat insulated

MessageParty + Washington Heights: Scrappy, and how could I miss an opportunity to post this video on my blog?

Putting aside the services that were started and headquartered in New York (Foursquare, Delicious, Bnter, Tumblr), Facebook was founded at Harvard and Mark Zuckerberg is from the NYC suburbs. At least one of the Quora founders went to prep school on the East Coast. Y Combinator/PG used to spend half the year in Boston. Most interviews with Jack Dorsey talk about bike messengers in Manhattan as being the main influence behind the idea for Twitter. While I am not saying that all these companies are east-coast through and through, there is certainly elements of east-coast-ness that flow through all of them.

I wonder about this – is there something about NYC/the Northeast that facilitates this sort of idea generation? Sure, we talk ad naseum about venture dollars and startups in New York, but I’d more be interested in theories around specific products. Is it the density and awful winters that somehow push us to want to communicate digitally?

Or is it just that there’s less fear of failure in New York because general survival is such a feat on its own and originality is paramount?

Thoughts for a Sunday.


P.S. If you’d like your own NYC map, hit up AthenaBelle on 99Designs. I submitted the idea and the design was all her. The whole project took me a few hours total – writing the brief, linking up the image, etc.

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May 8th, 2011 | View Comments

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