Posted on: 4 September 2023
Ph.D - Chief Experience Officer
Akendi US: Starting the NYC office
This year, we opened Akendi’s latest office in New York City. Here is an interview with Dan Iaboni, Akendi’s Chief Experience Officer, who shares thoughts on heading up the office and what he sees ahead for Akendi US.
What motivated you to open a new Akendi office in New York City?
When we moved to New York it was immediately clear the incredible opportunities it holds. New York offers endless possibilities for growth and advancement both in Akendi work and my families life. Its dynamic economy and numerous networking opportunities made it an attractive choice for someone seeking to make their mark and thrive in the UX strategy, research and design field.
The city is known for its vibrant culture, bustling arts scene, and thriving industries, especially fintech and healtcare. The city’s diverse population and melting pot of cultures fascinates me. My family and I are drawn to the idea of immersing yourself in a place where you could experience a multitude of perspectives, broaden horizons, and challenge yourself personally and professionally.
So, we made the decision to move to New York because it felt like the perfect place to embrace our ambitions, immerse ourselves in a vibrant community, and embark on an exciting next chapter.
What factors did you consider when choosing the Akendi office location in New York City?
I chose to establish our office in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn for several reasons. Firstly, Dumbo’s location just across the Brooklyn Bridge offers the advantage of easy access to major transit lines, making it convenient for our clients, research participants, and future team. This location allows us to maintain quick and efficient travel to clients in Manhattan as well.
Furthermore, the vibrant and creative atmosphere of Dumbo played a crucial role in our decision. Dumbo is renowned for its thriving community of tech startups and innovative businesses, which perfectly aligns with Akendi’s culture and goals. Being surrounded by like-minded organizations fosters valuable opportunities for collaboration and networking.
Additionally, the amenities and services available in Dumbo. The neighborhood offers an impressive array of restaurants, cafes, parks, and recreational spaces, creating a delightful and stimulating environment for our UX team. This ensures that our team can enjoy a well-rounded and enjoyable work-life balance.
What about New York has been different from Toronto so far?
First and foremost, the energy and pace of life in New York are on a whole new level compared to Toronto. Toronto feels fast paced compared to the rest of Canada, but New York dials up the energy to 11. NYC seems to be in a perpetual state of motion, with an infectious buzz that permeates the streets. There’s a palpable sense of ambition and drive that’s hard to ignore, as people here seem constantly pushing themselves to succeed.
The scale and grandeur of New York’s iconic skyline is something that continues to awe me. The towering skyscrapers and iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building create a distinct visual backdrop that defines the city’s identity. It’s a constant reminder of the impressive architectural feats and the history that has unfolded within these streets.
On a more practical note, navigating the public transportation system in New York has been a learning curve. While Toronto has an efficient transit system in areas, the subway system in New York is seriously expansive and complex. Adjusting to the different lines, transfers, and crowded platforms has definitely been an adventure, but it’s also opened up a new level of accessibility and exploration within the city.
Each day brings new discoveries and challenges, making this transition an exciting and transformative chapter in my life.
What from Toronto do you think you are bringing to NYC?
In addition to my professional knowledge and experience, my Canadian background brings forth several traits that go beyond mere politeness. Canadians possess a team-oriented mindset, adaptability, and optimistic attitudes.
My preference for prioritizing success with collective goals over individual achievements fosters a cooperative and supportive work environment. As I lead the growth of Akendi US and collaborate with clients, this team-oriented mindset will enhance effective collaboration, problem-solving, and overall positive and productive dynamics.
Coming from a country with diverse climates, I have developed adaptability and flexibility. While New York’s weather may be less variable, this characteristic enables me to embrace change, navigate uncertainty, and adjust to evolving circumstances effectively.
Lastly, our experience with long, cold winters has instilled in us an enduring positive attitude. This attitude serves as a catalyst for motivation, resilience, and a can-do mindset. I firmly believe that every problem has a solution, and I eagerly anticipate assisting our US clients in finding it!
Ph.D - Chief Experience Officer
Dan firmly believes that technology must be created with the user in mind. Never shy to critique a bad design, Dan uses the Akendi blog to shine a spotlight on usability mistakes…and their solutions. Leveraging his background in engineering, computer science, psychology, and anthropology, Dan offers a unique perspective on the latest UX trends and techniques.