I had the pleasure and privilege of joining Vicom back in April 2003. It’s unbelievable how quickly time goes. Vicom has always been a New York–based company, and that’s one of the things that has always made it special. We are a NY Metro–based company that focuses on customers in the NY Metro area, with just about all of our employees located in the NY Metro area. That area includes New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York state up to Albany and Rochester. The fact that we all lived and serviced customers in the same area created a unique family-like environment that persists in our culture today. It’s one of the biggest reasons that I have wanted to be here for over 18 years.
The NY Metro area is unique compared to the rest of the country for many reasons, but I might be biased because I was born and raised here and still live here. The NY Metro area is the epicenter of business in the US. There is so much business concentration in the NY Metro area, creating a beautiful business and innovation culture and mindset. Companies from around the world want to be located here. Specifically, NY is the epicenter of using technology to make business better when it comes to IT. The NY business climate and drive to achieve success create a culture of some of the most significant and most progressive technology users.
If you are looking to be in the technology and IT world, then NY is the place to be. It is not necessarily in terms of the technology itself but in using technology to better run businesses. I believe that firms in the NY Metro area do that better than anyone else, and the sheer number of IT solutions and service providers located here bears that out. Much of the technology we use may be developed, created, and produced out west, but NY can’t be topped in terms of applying that technology to business use cases.
There is so much business in such a concentrated area; it’s truly like nowhere else. For example, when we work with our strategic vendors, they have reps in other parts of the country who cover multiple states or regions. In the NY Metro area, our partner reps cover just parts of NYC or small parts of counties or specific zip codes. That’s unique.
This has created a unique culture for the team at Vicom. As I mentioned above, we are close-knit like a family, all driven by the goal of helping Vicom (and now Converge) succeed. We’ve always been a sales-driven company (as many NY Metro firms are) with the mindset of just getting things done. Being at Vicom for 18 years is not unique: many people at Vicom have been with us for 10, 15, 20, or even 25+ years. That says a lot.
Have we had many people come in and out of Vicom? Of course; all companies do. But our culture is such that you either fit or don’t, which usually vets itself out very quickly. If someone fits our culture, it’s apparent quickly whether they will be a fit. If they don’t fit our culture, they don’t stay very long. The exciting part is that Converge is precisely that way, too, from what we’ve seen. I’m sure that’s a big reason they acquired us and 20+ other companies like us. We are all very similar in that regard.
Let’s address some NY Metro stereotypes. People from outside of our area think that people in NY are rude. Not so; New Yorkers are some of the most generous and caring people you will ever meet. They will do anything for you. But people from around here can be curt and like to get straight to the point because they want to get things done. That’s where that stereotype comes from. People here are genuine. No pretense – just very clear about who they are and what they are trying to accomplish. I love that and believe most others do too. It’s just others from outside here are not used to it. Hence they may think it’s rudeness – but it’s not.
For our BDRs and telemarketing people prospecting in the NY Metro area, we instruct them not to open a phone conversation by asking people how they are and ask if they have time to talk. Just tell them why you are calling and what you want. New Yorkers appreciate and respect that. When someone prospects me, I can tell right away if they are from out of the area based on that. People who live here and work here don’t beat around the bush. We don’t need a lot of sweet-talking. Just get down to business: that’s the way we like it.
The region itself has so much to offer. NY is the center of culture, arts, business, sports, dining, theater, and many other things to do, all in such close proximity. That is so unique from anywhere else in the country and, I believe, the world. That’s why everyone wants to come to the NY area.
There is so much that makes the NY area such a wonderful place to live and do business, making us unique to the rest of the world. When it comes to being in technology and IT, there is no place like it on Earth, and there is no place that I would rather be, even after 18 years at Vicom/Converge and 27 years in IT. And you know what? Pretty much everyone at Vicom feels that way too, and it’s a wonderful thing. Spend some time here, and you’ll get it too.