1. Agencies. Media agency lobbies like GroupM and Mediavest are 21st century bazaars where sellers pitch buyers in hopes of getting a share of the next media budget. Even as agency holding companies consolidate, media shops will continue to be important in getting deals done.
2. Startups. New York’s entrepreneurs work in relative anonymity compared to Silicon Valley founders. But New York’s smaller market helps these companies stay focused and build real businesses. Not all will make it, but the ones that do will see a significant result for their efforts.
3. Sales commissions. As stock options are to Silicon Valley companies, sales commissions are to New York media companies. Commissions unleash the industry’s animal spirits and keep the whole thing moving.
4. Media company offices. Media office buildings define much of New York’s skyline. For example, the new Hearst tower was built atop the older, historic building to an incredible effect. The environment-friendly structure includes a voluminous dining area where powerful executives, fashionable media sellers and the occasional model break bread.
5. Boondoggles. Thanks to publisher expense accounts, media agency executives can escape the harsh New York winters with trips to conferences in warmer climates. And even when the weather is fine, there are “must-attend” industry events in glamorous places like Cannes and Montreux.
6. Industry journalists. Unlike Silicon Valley, New York’s industry journalists tend to be more circumspect and sardonic. The experienced ones have seen it all— from blowhard media CEOs making ill-conceived acquisitions to heralded startup founders who don’t quite live up to the hype. New York’s best industry journalists are street-smart and often very funny.
7. Celebrity sightings. A job in media can trick you into thinking that you’re more important than you actually are, especially at television upfront parties and other events where you get to rub elbows with celebrities.
8. Twitter. The micro blogging service wasn’t invented in New York, but it might as well have been. Media people love to hear themselves talk, and Twitter feeds this need with 140 character missives and an unlimited number of potential followers. When industry drama happens, you can usually learn about it on Twitter.
9. Innovation. New York is a frothing sea of media innovation — especially below 34th Street. Companies like Buzzfeed, Thrillist, and PureWow are redefining what it means to be a media company in New York.
10. People. Most professional jobs today involve staring into computer screens for long periods of time. Media is no different, but the people you work with are usually fun and colorful. They come from all walks of life, although sometimes it seems like more than half of them attended Syracuse University. The best media people are smart, entertaining and usually a little crazy.