New York

An open letter to Mayor de Blasio: The future of NYC’s tech community

new york city buildings NYC

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

My name is Todd Krizelman, CEO of MediaRadar.  I run one of the more than 900 technology companies here in New York City.  MediaRadar employs over 300 people, half in our Manhattan office. I took a tech company public here in 1998, I was in the inaugural class of NYC EDC Tech Entrepreneurs in 2010 and was one of the many NYC residents in the community here who really did support Bloomberg’s efforts to recruit and retain technology companies.

Since your landslide election win, there is building concern among the tech industry that the de Blasio administration doesn’t particularly care for high-tech in NYC.

Despite many in the tech community supporting your social and educational initiatives, your campaign seemed to be anti-tech, or at best apathetic to it. While it’s great to talk about the positive qualities of manufacturing (this is still on your website), you’ve said very little about investments in tech businesses. You should be championing Made in NY technology companies that are disrupting some of the least innovative industries across the United States.

Here are some reasons your adminstration must embrace technology in NYC:

 

  1. The tech industry employs a huge number of people and brings in tax revenue. According to a new study conducted by HR&A Advisors and commissioned by the Association for a Better New York, Citi, Google and NY Tech Meetup, the tech ecosystem employs 291,000 people, about 7% of New York City’s workforce. The tech industry however brought in 12.3% of the City’s 2013 tax revenue – $5.6 billion, almost twice its proportional share. If we want to pay for all the new social programs promised during the campaign, we will need this revenue.
  2. Tech is one of the fastest growing segments of the work force. Meanwhile, the manufacturing industry in New York City has lost over 75,000 employees since 2001, according to the NYC EDC. It’s not that I am against manufacturing or traditional jobs (like you, my grandmother worked sewing dresses), but tech companies have added 45,000 jobs from 2003 to 2013 (HR&A Advisors).
  3. Tech jobs pay well. Tech workers in New York City earn 49% more than the average city-wide hourly rate. And these jobs aren’t just for highly-educated workers: up to 44% of jobs in the New York City tech ecosystem do not require a bachelor’s degree (HR&A Advisors).
  4. Technology employees are socially conscientious! For example, a Mashable article revealed that 2 of their top 5 favorite socially conscious websites are based in NYC: Challenge Post and Collaborative Fund, and a third, Evocative Packaging, is upstate. Tech companies are a good cultural fit for the de Blasio efforts to better this city.
  5. Tech benefits the outer boroughs. Comments made by your administration surrounding technology suggest that you want to emphasize investments outside of Manhattan. There is no question there are inequalities between those in and out of Manhattan, however, tech companies come for the same reason many other companies do: fantastic transportation, available infrastructure, and convenient distance to clients. The people employed by tech companies are as varied as the borough they live in. For example, 90% of MediaRadar employees live outside Manhattan, pumping their earnings back into local communities.

The prior administration courted the technology industry in an effort to build a major tax base outside finance. Bloomberg was a tech entrepreneur himself, building the giant data company that shares his name. It was his advocacy that set up NYC Tech incubation labs, signed NYC Open Data into law (Introductory  Number 29-A), created BigApp NYC, and rallied aggressively to win Cornell Technion, a new technology college in the city.

As you have now cleared your 100 day anniversary in office, this community looks forward to hearing more about your investments and your outreach to continue to make technology in NYC a global leader!

Sincerely,

Todd Krizelman

Todd Krizelman is the co-founder and CEO of MediaRadar, a NYC-based company that specializes in marketing intelligence and delivering near-time analysis to magazines, websites and newspapers, featuring advertising, editorial and social media insights on over 1.7 million brands.