Some Thoughts On London On Our Way Home
We are heading back to NYC today. The Gotham Gal has been in Europe since July 4th. Our kids have been here for parts of that stay. I have been here for most of it with one trip back to the states in the middle of the month. The Gotham Gal has been travel/food blogging the entire trip and there is a treasure trove of advice on Rome, Tuscany, Zurich, London, and Normandy on her blog for those interested in visiting those places.
Our family rented an apartment in London and my daughter Emily did a program at Central Saint Martins the past month. The rest of us tagged along for parts of the trip.
I was able to get a fair bit of work done over here. I'd like to thank the people at Index Ventures who provided me an office, wifi, and a few lunches too. I enjoyed doing meetings at VC hangouts like The Wolesley and The Soho House. The Wolesley reminds me of Balthazar and I vastly prefer the London version of The Soho House to its NY cousin.
Speaking of cousins, London feels like NYC's cousin. The cities are very similar in many ways. The language, the culture, the nightlife are all close to each other. It's easy to live here if you live in NYC.
But there are some interesting differences. The most striking is the Middle Eastern, Russian, and Indian wealth that is resident in London these days. I was walking up Bond Street in Mayfair one afternoon by myself. I was walking faster than everyone else and passed at least a dozen groups in a four or five block span. And I noticed that hardly any of those groups were speaking english. When you walk into the most expensive stores, there aren't many brits or americans in them. But they are full of people from countries to the east of europe. It is a stark reminder of where the wealth is being created in the world today.
I believe the tech scene is alive and well in London and growing throughout much of Europe. I covered a bit of this in my post on Seedcamp. London feels like NYC did five years ago. There are a bunch of strong entrepreneurs and startups but the investment community is still pretty thin and there aren't enough active angels. Like NYC, London entrepreneurs are commonly recruiting engineering talent in less expensive locations and there are plenty of those places a few hours plane time from London.
Throughout our month in Europe, I was using Foursquare to checkin. Since we left NYC on July 4th, I've checked into 133 locations in five countries (including my trip back to the states). That's roughly four checkins per day. I have found that Foursquare is actively used in Europe. We found checkins and mayorships in almost every venue we visited. However, it is much easier to gain mayorships in Europe. I have no mayorships in the US right now but I have accumulated six while we've been in Europe.
I really love the ability to map my checkins that I blogged about a few weeks ago. Our apartment was in Mayfair but we traveled all around London while we were here. And yet, you can see that my checkins are very much centered around Mayfair and Soho.
We are excited to be going home. We've missed our apartment, our beach house, our friends, and most of all our dog Ollie. But we really enjoyed our time in London. I hope to be back soon.