The first week of September, we headed from Eazl headquarters in Chicago to Washington DC to film the second episode of our new series about entrepreneurship and innovation, What’s Next. While here, we based our operations in Falls Church, Virginia –about a 15 minute drive from the White House.
Thanks to cousin Pete for hooking us up with the sweet digs in such a lovely town!
The area is beautiful and, clearly, city planning is a priority in DC (and in this area of the United States in general). Where city governments in the south would bulldoze and put in a strip mall, DC works to build around the living beauty. It’s green and lush, with trees lining the roads, and there are restrictions on building that both maintain the city’s charm and create dense living spaces.
The fact that so many are drawn to live and work here –including a whole slew of staff from Obama’s 2008 campaign who felt so inspired they changed zip codes– can sometimes make you want to escape to a less popular area for a little bit of breathing room…or at least to find a parking space that won’t cost $20. Uber will be your savior in DC, friends!
A city where paintings of the most respected US Presidents line the walls of pubs and citizens speak in acronyms during happy hour, it is clear as day that some –if not most– of the country’s important activities happen right here in DC. And it’s intoxicating.
So intoxicating that, if you work virtually, you might find DC to be a great place to spend time or even lay down some roots.
Here are the main takeaways from our experience working virtually in DC:
- There are a ton of smart people
If you are a person who cares about working on your brain, lifelong learning, and thoughtful discussion + debate, DC is the place for you. There are more people here working on cool things that matter than anywhere I’ve ever been.Move over all you techies in Silicon Valley who claim to be changing the world with a food delivery app!Residents are well educated and have very balanced views on policy, considering the fact that they are so close to where it’s all happening, they either work in government (or closely with it) or know many who do, and have a much less filtered interaction with the political process.
It really is elite and that’s a great thing for the right kind of person.
- Crowded, dense, and high traffic
Just as with any other desirable place for living, the city is dense and you might often feel like you are living on top of other people. There is much attention to city planning as far as aesthetics go, but some of the traffic flow and road situations get surprisingly complicated.
If you plan on being in the thick of it and making use of co-working spaces or coffee shops right in the heart of DC, opt for Uber or Lyft instead of making the drive.
- People are open for collaboration
Compared to some of the other cities where we’ve attempted to collaborate with locals, we found DC to be easy going and we were able to infiltrate much more easily than we would have thought. Highly experienced and talented people aren’t afraid to say “yes” to collaboration opportunities, they are forthcoming with information, and we didn’t find a single standoffish person in our entire pool of interviewees.
This is a place where people create and get stuff done. They realize the value of working with other smart people.
This is quite different compared to the talent in places like San Francisco and New York.
We’ll leave DC this weekend with the thought in mind that it would be a great place to move Eazl Headquarters sometime in the near future.
Keep an eye out for the episode where we speak with leaders in policy and innovation in DC about entrepreneurship’s role in society. It will launch this November.
Check out the pilot episode here.
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