Story of Panu: From Alpine Villages to Concrete Jungle

This is a post by Panu Keski-Pukkila, currently working as a Startup Life intern at Kollabora in New York City
I have never been a fan of big cities and metropolises. I don’t hate them, but the criss-crossing streets and hoards of people hurrying places have never been able to excite me in the way other places I have been. I have spent numerous winters in a small Swiss village where life revolves around simple pleasures and similar patterns: skiing, eating, sleeping and occasional drinking to break that pattern. To me the mountains represent solitude and peace, the total opposite of the bustling life in the boroughs.

Panu cycling his way through Manhattan
Panu cycling his way through Manhattan

My past two months in New York City have been everything but peaceful from the first day onwards. I (hardly) slept for the first five nights here when I was staying in an AirBnB room in Brooklyn without heating. My first weekend I spent glued to the computer, trying to score a room in Cragislist. Getting a sensible (priced) place to stay in here can be very hard, and I have only one advice for that: don’t give up, the perfect opportunity might wait just around the corner. I got pretty lucky, and got a place in the middle of Chinatown where I can score all the turtles and frogs for my dinner from the grocery store around the corner. And our office is just a few blocks away in SoHo. Location, location, location!
Chinatown - turtles for dinner, maybe?
Chinatown – turtles for dinner, maybe?

That’s good since I think I spend way more time there than home. Kollabora has only 8 people working full-time, and the atmosphere is really cozy. Actually a lot more cozy than my tiny room in Chinatown. And since we are building a social community for Do-It-Yourself -people, part of the office space doubles as a workshop where we craft stuff whenever we want. To be honest, days in the office are pretty much DIY when it comes to everything. In a startup this small, everyone has to be able to do everything. Just like anyone who has been working in startup knows: Search engines rock! If you don’t know how to do something but it needs to be done, google it. But watch out, you might learn something in the process, just like Nippe pointed out in one of the earlier blogpost. For example, I have been diving head first into analytics, an area that I have never been meddling with before. Took quite much googling to even get me started with the software, not to mention actually doing stuff with it. But I am feeling more confident each day, and at some point I might even have delusional thoughts of actually knowing something about data analysis…!
Anyhow, despite my love for the small alpine villages, NYC has slowly started to grow in me. Riding my bike through the hectic morning traffic is both exciting and fun, and seeing the skyscrapers in the dawn is pretty cool. Gotta watch out fordooring though, it’s pretty common here. Biking around is a also a good way to spot new restaurants, there’s 40.000 of them in Manhattan. Food here is just great, and you can get to know cuisines you’ve never even heard of! Anyone a fan of mexican sushi or japanese tacos? Try both at the same restaurant around the corner from our office. I am also planning to buy a few live lobsters for dinner some day from the grocery store next door. The frogs I might have to pass. At least for now…but maybe I will post a recipe in the next blog post….?

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