Kudos to Fred Wilson for being among the very first investors to understand the potential of Twitter. Fred was rightly celebrated by the New York Post as “New York’s tech godfather.
Fred has been a huge force driving the growth of the NYC tech community. Now, he has announced that he will do what he can to elect a mayor who will take us “aggressively forward”, which means he will campaign against Bill de Blasio and/or Bill Thompson, because they both want to “head backwards”. Fred wrote in his blog: “As Joe Lhota said in his victory speech, all you need to do is travel around to parts of the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn that fifteen years ago one could not walk into without taking their lives into their hands and marvel at the renaissance in these neighborhoods. We need more of that in NYC not a return to what NYC was like in the 90s.”
We couldn’t agree more. In Chapter 13 “A cool place to live in” of our book we reported Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philosophy (from a speech to the Economic Club of New York, March 23, 2009): “The fact is, every city creates its own future. If you believe you’re at the mercy of larger forces beyond your control, you’ve already lost. Those larger forces affect every city, but successful cities learn how to adapt. New York learned that the hard way in the 1970s. Some of the lessons from that era now seem obvious: you can’t borrow to meet operating expenses. You can’t ignore petty criminals who breed a sense of lawlessness. You can’t let housing abandonment destroy neighborhoods. You can’t let the public school system become something that the middle class is afraid of. You can’t drive the biggest taxpayers out of the city, thus increasing the burden on everyone else. And you can’t allow quality of life to suffer, and that means keeping the parks clean, the subways safe and reliable, and the hospitals in good shape. These lessons may be obvious enough, but getting elected officials to apply them successfully is not so easy in part because politics and special interests always get in the way.”
We asked “Will these lessons be forgotten by whomever succeeds Bloomberg as mayor on Jan. 1, 2014? Possibly. Any success cannot be taken for granted.”
Let’s hope that newyorkers will remember those lessons when they go to vote for the new mayor.