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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Time management mantra

September 27, 2009

I was in search of the latest technology for time management.  Must find a cure for my saturated life. I found these words of wisdom more useful than any wired application:

Protect your time; this is how to banish pollutants.  I know a fierce painter here in the Rockies who hangs this sign on the chain that closes off the road to her house when she is in a painting or thinking mode: ‘I am working today and am not receiving visitors.  I know you think this doesn’t mean you because you are my banker, agent, or best friend.  But it does.'”

Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.

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Generation Why?

June 29, 2009

I’ve heard bizarre stories (borderline unbelievable tales) passed down from our wise elders to mature adults and delivered via text message to my generation – Generation Y.

Y = Why?   Why are we losing touch with each other despite the increased Tweets, Facebook applications, text messages, and gchat natter?

The crazy tales from my predecessors leave me feeling a bit hollow.  Friends really used to call each other on the phone?  Dinner didn’t involve a parking garage full of cell phones stacked on the table?  Really?

I am guilty of and grateful for the increased communication via today’s technology.  On a normal day, I’m a big fan of all the tools listed above, hence, I’m utilizing a terrific platform for dialogue through WordPress.  I digg (I use it too) all of it.  I’ve even been addicted at times.  I use it, and I abuse it just like any average Tweeter.

But here and there I find myself wanting more.  I catch my friends more stimulated on their iphone than by the conversation taking place right there – right there with their own friends.  It’s offensive.  But beyond that it makes me worried.

I don’t believe the answer is to ignore all technology and live in a van down by the river.  Although, I am quite confident that living in the wilderness would be a fulfilling lifestyle, and I’m not opposed.  For the average person, today, let’s be real.  We have oodles of amazing knowledge thrown at us from every angle all the time – there must be a way to find some balance.  I’m sure the harmony varies from person to person, but I find it sickening to think that people are more interested in their hand-held devices than their own surroundings.  Recently on a date, I received an eye-opening compliment.

Every woman loves flattery – especially on a first date.  I was complimented in an odd form.  A few hours into my date, the gentleman told me that he felt like he shouldn’t take out his iphone while with me because I never pulled out my cell phone – not even once!  I feel like this should be obvious.  When on a date, you should give the person across from you your full attention (and this really doesn’t just go for dates).   Your cell phone should only come out if it’s an emergency.  The whole concept seemed like common sense to me.

This form of etiquette should be obvious.  But with all the technology in front of us, we’re all playing with our toys in the gray zone.  The etiquette involved seems to no longer be black and white.

It’s a discussion that will continue to flourish as we all figure out where technology fits into our lives and how we can get the most out of it without it sucking even more out of us.

Maybe we start small.  Be present.  Enjoy the people in your life and don’t waste their time by your mental-absence.  Be honest with yourself.  Most of those emails you are checking are not emergency, and they can wait until your dinner is over.  Put the Blackberry down and take the control of your life back in your own hands.

I’m making baby-steps as well.  I officially logged out of gchat for the first time in many months.  It’s embarrassing that this is a step forward.  I don’t plan on signing back on.  Friends can call, and I just added hours back into my week – a few more hours to write or create perhaps.

Are you doing anything to make a change?

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