Last week xibo went to New York in order to visit some of our clients from across the pond. Our aim was to communicate some of the exciting things happening at xibo, including the launch of three new packages: Direct Messaging, Community Building and Event Listing. I was lucky enough to get to hop along, and, although writing isn’t necessarily my forte, the trip was definitely worth an article, so here goes!
We started our trip with a flight from Gatwick Airport. Nothing major to report here, apart from that my eagerness to get to New York seemed to make time drag – with every minute feeling twice as long as it should have.
But we finally arrived at JFK Airport late in the dark of the evening. I tried for the first time to hail a cab, which inevitably failed miserably – I quickly realised I was one of around ten dozen people attempting to do the same.
Driving from JFK, we passed a lot of the stereotypical American white picket-fenced houses, with the American flag taking pride of place on most of the porches – that is until you cross the East River, and then it becomes a whole different story.
The New York skyline at night is exactly how I’d envisioned it, having been cemented into my consciousness since childhood – but so much bigger, and so much better. All previous perceptions of Cardiff’s “high rise” buildings were completely dwarfed by New York’s literal skyscrapers – it’s a pretty intimidating view.
Due to a long day of travelling, Hannah (our lovely Sales Manager) and I, did some last minute preparation and tried to have an early night to get a jump on our jet lag before our first early morning the next day.
The next morning we woke up pretty early (no luck at all escaping the dreaded jet lag). We didn’t want to waste the day, so we headed for a small deli on the corner for breakfast. I have to say, I’ve been across the pond a couple of times, but the option to have pancakes with a side of cheeseburger was a new combination even for me! Having a total lack of knowledge of where we were, Hannah managed to hail us a cab (with a lot more finesse than my fumbling attempt), and we headed downtown to meet our first group of clients. We ran through the new addition to our direct messaging product, Google+, and got some great feedback on the introduction to Event Listing — exciting stuff!
We then had a pretty substantial gap before our next meeting, so we decided we should start ticking off the tourist “to dos”, and went to visit the Rockefeller Center’s Top of the Rock. If any of you have ever been up, you’ll already know of the incredible panoramic views New York has to offer; but, for those of you that haven’t, these photos do not do it justice, you HAVE to see them for yourself!
Once we finished our final meeting of the day, we decided it was time to try and get our bearings in the city and have a wander. We found ourselves walking through Madison Square Gardens (where there was a group of people doing some seemingly peaceful yoga next to a puppy park), past the Flatiron Building, onto a very busy Broadway, and then an even busier Times Square. Up till now I hadn’t really considered the hustle and bustle of the city and, with the exception of Times Square, I was pleasantly surprised by how spacious and steadily paced the city was. I had thought it would be something of a struggle to find room on the “sidewalks”, and that’d I’d have to constantly battle with the beeping of taxis – but it wasn’t like that at all.
Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of beeping. But, everyone was so civil and considerate going about their daily commute. Plus, the streets are so wide that even the massively imposing buildings never felt oppressive in the same way that London does.
One of the highlights of the trip actually happened that night. After we had walked for what seemed like miles, we took up one of our client’s recommendations to head to a roof terrace on 230 and 5th. We were so glad we did. The day had been scorching, and with the weather set to get even hotter throughout the week, we took a chance to cool off with a cool drink and reflect on the discussion of the day – plus, the view wasn’t too bad either:
Day two, and Hannah and I are in full meeting flow. Three more meetings were scheduled for day two, and, for the second day in a row, we meet some of the nicest people on the planet.
We had some really open chats about our Direct Messaging product – that the clients already use – and all were really receptive to the new additions, like Event Listing. Plus, they were full of recommendations of where we should head next.
So, next on the tourist “to do” list was the Empire State Building. I’m positive it’s the most commanding building I have ever been in, and I’m confident that there are few in the world that could compete. Being a staple image of New York’s skyline, I was pleased that it most definitely lives up to the hype. The building is just incredibly grand, inside and out.
Our week concluded with a final day of meeting more of our New York clients, all of whom were super accommodating. Being early adopters of both Direct Messaging and Community Building, it was really great to see how our efforts have worked so we for them.
Our final day in New York fell on the 4th of July, which we were both really excited about. We managed to squeeze in some other New York gems, including getting up close and personal with the Stature of Liberty, Elise Island, and the watching the Today Show which was being filmed in Times Square just before we were due to fly out. Not to mention that Marcy’s July 4th Fireworks, which were beyond incredible!
So, in conclusion, the trip was a success on a business front, with introductions to new clients and old ones. With new partnerships and opportunities created, and lots of great discussions and feedback under our belts, we had plenty of food for thought.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our clients that took time out of their busy schedules to meet with Hannah and myself whilst we were in town. We were overcome by the hospitality and willingness to participate openly in all the meetings, and we are incredibly grateful to be extending our work with you to build bigger and better campaigns. As you can probably tell, we had a fabulous time. I sincerely hope we can visit again soon!