Collecting neighborhoods 2.0

October 18, 2010

People collect knives, trolls, horrific dating adventures, and other intriguing jewels. Regardless of the collector’s particular fancy, the item often represents a sentimental accessory – an ongoing story dangling in time. Not every collection can be stored easily in a cellar, shelf or album. Nabewise, an online platform that explores and showcases neighborhoods in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago, has revolutionized the way we now collect.

Photo Credit: Ann Baldinucci

Ann Baldinucci, the Founder and CEO of Nabewise and a dynamic woman that has moved 35 times in her life, shared, “I really feel like I’m made up of all the places I’ve lived in throughout my life, and I love finding new ones. I’m a collector of places.” While many transient people store multitudes of memories and experiences in their cerebral cortex, they can now also share places, more specifically neighborhoods, on Nabewise.

Diana Sonis, the Director of Business Development at Nabewise, is known for her avid global travels; she’s explored neighborhoods throughout 4 continents, 21 countries, and 66 cities. Diana noted, “Ann is the mover, and I’m the traveler.” Diana, however, is currently on the prowl for her next apartment with her husband. She shared her neighborhood desires, “I want the most people, no green spaces, cafes, outdoor tables, and cobblestone streets in my neighborhood.” Diana’s search keywords on Nabewise: safety, trendy, and beautiful people. Tribeca it is.*

Photo Credit: Diana Sonis

A unique and endearing aspect of Nabewise is the company’s focus on not only bringing neighborhoods to life, but also on creating stronger communities. “We highlight art projects, community gardens, and farmer’s markets. Those are the things that are shown to strengthen neighborhood ties. Nabewise wants to be a part of strengthening communities. I’ve moved so many times in my life (35!) and in many of my neighborhoods I didn’t know how to get involved so I never did. … We will show you where people are organizing,” Ann added. Nabewise also allows community members to share their personal gems with other local and global wanderers.

Ann found her own neighborhood secret near the Nabewise office in Flatiron District, “I am obsessed with finding local secrets – there’s an antique shop on 20th by Spoon and the owner has a massive bird cage with a variety of birds, and I found two baby doves there. I stop by there all of the time and watch the birds during lunch.”

Ann’s a self-starter. “I don’t have a tech background, but I taught it to myself. I’m continually learning every day. … I have an unconventional background. I’m a big believer in people reinventing themselves. No one will ever tell me that there’s a job I can’t do if I want to do it. I really embrace people with unconventional backgrounds,” Ann commented.

“While we are generating new content on Nabewise, we are also aggregating the content that is out there – we are pulling local data from Four Square and other sources in a smart way that actually captures a neighborhood,” Ann noted. The Nabewise tech team is clearly killer, and Ann stressed their importance, “Everyone at Nabewise is smarter than I am.”

Diana shared, “I’m amazed at what someone can do with a non-tech background and no money in the short time that Ann has conceived and then launched Nabewise. … I would describe Ann as a hustler. I think it is the number one quality you need in a start-up. Ann is incredibly persuasive. She is also amazing with the team. The team loves her. She is very conscious of how people are working and what people need. And Ann gives it to them. She’s built this loyalty in the team which is so important for execution – that’s why I think Nabewise will be a success.”

Every leader needs a fire starter. Ann shared, “In a start-up you need people that can roll up their sleeves and get sh*t done. I can’t direct people all day long.  I can give it to Diana and she will get it done … Diana can do anything she decides to do. Everything she’s done, she’s nailed which is rare. She had a full ride scholarship to NYU. She worked in finance with a journalism background. She nailed it in finance and got her CFA. She started her own business with her husband.”

Impressed yet?  Then get involved.

Love your ‘hood? Write about it. Gloat, critique, adore, etc. Most importantly, share your neighborhoods with Ann, Diana, and the Nabewise community.

*Although Diana did not move to Tribeca, she is still in search of her new home.  Suggestions?  Reach out to Diana on Nabewise.

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