Last week I participated in Advertising Week New York 2014 where 90,000 people from the ad and media community gather across a host of venues in the city debated the very latest in digital marketing, social media, advertising and mobile marketing. As the fastest growing mobile agency in North America, New York certainly held a magnetic appeal for my business Fetch, and has now become the next logical place to open up an agency to complement our operations in other tech capitals like London, Berlin, San Francisco and Hong Kong.
New York is the city for 'fast': fast culture, fashion, shopping and food. So no surprises for me that it's become a thriving hub for technology across all of these categories.
Firstly, it has the attitude, plus an enviable diversity of culture which is delivering its own unique and particular breed of new mobile apps. We're already working with a couple of home grown New York apps businesses such as Gilt, the designer sales shopping app.
Secondly, New York has recently had the rubber stamp from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has supported its development with the unveiling of a brand new department dedicated to growing tech innovation from across the city. Last but by no means least, both Facebook and Google have now opened doors here and are already very active: Google recently acquired Long Island music curation start up Songza for a reputedly cool $39m. With all this in mind, it would be remiss of us as a mobile agency that works with some of the finest and most disruptive businesses in the world to be able to resist diving right into this melting pot.
But actually we did resist a bit, at first. When we originally launch Fetch in the US from our HQ in London, our friends from within the ad community immediately expected us to open an office on Madison Avenue, but instead we headed west to San Francisco - because of our desire to be in the most tech-centric and innovative place in the world; we wanted to surround ourselves with other visionary companies in a place where technology was part of the DNA. Today, New York has begun to flourish as a tech centre - it's been quick to embrace technology, and whilst its community is arguably more scattered than in San Francisco's tech hub that's precisely what make its mobile app community really unique. It has a vibrant (and successful) start-up community which weaves its thread alongside the big corporates across the city, and has spawned brands like YPlan and Kickstarter which many of us from further afield would have assumed came from Silicon Valley.
As mobile continues to hit the critical mass, we can no longer focus solely on the west coast; for that reason this year's Advertising Week New York is set to be the most disruptive yet, with more coverage on mobile than ever before.
The promise that NYC offers to the mobile marketing industry is considerable. With more than 9 million people here there's no shortage of talent. Add to that the world's most valuable stock exchange; this city represents infinite possibility and most of all scalability. Ultimately it's this value and talent which the tech industry is beginning to reap.
What do I predict to be prominent themes this year's Advertising Week? Programmatic buying on mobile is definitely on the tip of everyone's tongue and I expect it to be one of the buzzwords heavily used throughout the week. But it's not a concept which has been fully realised yet and falls into the "must do better" category for our industry; it's a challenge our team of mobile experts are tackling head on.
In amongst the fast and furious debate across New York's city's Advertising Week venues, I sense that very exciting times ahead in the mobile world.