From rushing between panels to hob-nobbing with some of the tech world's best and brightest, Internet Week New York was a haze of good times and even better learnings. This year, the buzz was all about video and mobile, with all major players in the online startup scene — including yours truly — turning the focus toward the portable content experience.
Today, most perceive tech as being centered on the West Coast. They're not wrong, but this year (IWNY's sixth birthday), it was clearer than ever that when it comes to media, creative, and advertising companies, NYC is hardly a lonely place to be. And, while we could get all jargon-y on you, the main thing we learned this year — as if we didn't know it all ready — is that the line between tech startups, big-name firms, and general mass-market players is blurring by the second. The consensus on multiple panels this year seemed to be that if your company isn't behaving like a startup — regardless of its actual age, size, or budget — then you're doing something wrong. Scrappy is the way to be, and too much bureaucracy does nothing but stifle talent and innovation. What's more, users and clients are savvier than ever, and if you start going the road of the boring, cubicle-ridden corporate world, they'll know and be turned off.
For our part, we heard a nugget of advice from our own founders that we think rings particularly true at R29. As our co-founder Philippe von Borries said in a panel on social media and advertising on Monday, becoming overly compartmentalized is a major threat to startups as they grow. While we're proud to have amazing design, editorial, marketing, and ad sales teams (to name only a few), we all know that our best work is done when we work together and let the ideas flow freely from desk to desk and department to department. It's actually reflective of the nature of the Internet as a whole — the isolation of ideas is a thing of the past, and that's a piece of advice all successful companies need to take to heart.
Photo: Via IWNY 2013.