The Power of Place

At a recent Public Forum, Rachel Haot,
the Chief Digital Officer of the City of New York, unveiled .NYC a new top-level domain [TLD] which, as conceived, will “leverage the assets of New York City in a digital world.” 

“We want creative and meaningful uses of .NYC,” Haot urged.  “But the TLD must have geographic integrity. It must have ‘meaning.’ Those who apply for and own .NYC must have a physical address in New York City.”

That evening, I chose to engage in a break-out session titled:  “The Future of .NYC.”  Paradoxically, I was seated next to a bi-coastal Entertainment Promoter with roots in Los Angeles.  “I grew up in the LA area, business brings me to both Coasts but I am most comfortable here in New York,” she summarized, by way of an introduction.

“Welcome to New York,” I said, “I grew up here; lived in LA for about a year and have recently returned to New York.”  And so our geographic convergence and associated acquaintance began.

 Public Forums, like the one our respective geo-based integrities and interests convened, always guarantee a disparate audience of presumed stakeholders.   Normally, attendees absorb and extract what is most relevant to their interests; sometimes contributing to the at-large agenda and then depart, resuming their respective trajectories among many spheres of consequence, impact and importance.

But paradoxes invite reflection.  And when they derive so consequentially from individual topographic narratives and the abstract intentions of a city like New York, questions surface and assertions about space, place and meaning are born.

“What brought you to tonight’s meeting?” asked my LA / NYC acquaintance.  “As a New Yorker who has been in the tech space for 20 years, I am interested in the intersection of the digital world and the City’s tangible assets, its landmarks, neighborhoods or, as some say, its real-time experience.”  “You know,” she said, “without a targeted marketing plan, .NYC will be just another TLD, among the rest.”  “Yeah, especially since a physical address is required,” I said.

Unexpected lessons which deepen my awareness and understanding are my favorite kind, so I was very pleased to receive a link from my LA / NYC acquaintance about Los Angeles-famed  Dr. Pat Soon-Shiong 
whose company Nantworks, LLC aims to develop and deliver a diverse range of technologies that empowers the digital revolution of the 21st century.

NantWorks’ six entities include NantMobile.  Its core product, iD Browser, is a mobile recognition platform that allows people to browse the physical world around them, unlocking digital experiences, coupons, content and information from featured brands, media and retailers that they know, like and trust. The underlying platform of NantMobile is intended to be and is web-enabled.   The “assets” of the physical world are central to its adoption.

Rachel Haot will soon leave her current post to take a similar job in Governor Cuomo's administration. She will serve as deputy secretary for technology, a newly created position in the governor's office.  Haot will oversee the state's presence on the web, on mobile platforms and on social media.  With her new and expanded role, will physical addresses continue to matter?  Or, will her new sense of place awaken a new sense of space?

Perception is a Choice.

Not long after I declined attending Law School [an undergraduate goal] and opted for a Technology Future, I joined the Interactive Division @ Thomson & Thomson; where it was my mission to build a 'virtual community' for the multi-layered client base of the company's Intellectual Property holdings.

Trademarks were the core commodity.  It was my job to find the coalescing electronic [interactive] 'truth' among the law firms; marketers and branding strategists whose use of Thomson & Thomson's services and databases facilitated their specific and collective success domestically and internationally.

Back then, the Internet [the World Wide Web] was @ the beginning of its Timeline.  Projects which had a whiff of high returns [profit] were the way deals / ventures were, generally, structured and dealt.

  In part, my team of computer programmers; graphic artists and veteran in-house database experts were not immune to this 'spirit' of Web Finance / Funding.  What set our work apart, however, were the reputations of brands like Starbucks.

Several years ago, when I received my Gold Corporate Starbucks card, my sense of  having 'arrived' was altered.  My corporate identity [right_hook] had begun years before; post Journalism school @ Columbia University.  When my classmates were entering 'corporate' Journalism I was venturing to destinations uncertain but sound.  My Journalistic passion sustained me; and so did my corporate trademark.

It was obvious to me while @ Graduate School that 'print' was soon to be a 'yesterday'; the future was unquestionably digital.  That was why, in fact, I chose Thomson & Thomson's Interactive Division, as a means to my professional ends.

Advertising, branding had long fascinated me.  So, when I learned that Starbuck's trademark [that green logo prominent on its hot beverage 'sleeves'] was a crowned mermaid [during a passing conversation @ Thomson & Thomson]; my sense of perception shifted.  My new knowledge caused me to look again. . . . at what I had not seen in the first place.

Perception.  In part, it is a choice.  Our speed-driven mobile lives do not inspire pause.  Our smart-phone-driven apps hinge on the opposite, actually.  But slowing down makes our real, just that.      . . . more than transient.  More connected; is Our advertised / promoted aim.  But the verbiage of  21st Century marketing / promotion / branding urges a question : When? When will we give time; make time for what we know. . . . or think we know.

Take a look @ my corporate logo [above].  What do you see?  A mermaid?  Or something nothing like a being from the sea.

Gaming in the Cloud

Sidney Johnson
Newfane, Vermont.

LA Urban Green

"You'll need a car," cautioned a Philly friend.

Such is the culture. 
 "Here in LA;  People love their cars."  

But what's on the Other side?  

This New Yorker [hearts] LA.

How does she show her Love?

She never rides without a helmet.

and a portable re-fueling [H20] station.

Present-day Action Items : Car-sharing and biking for an Urban Green LA.