WalkAbout NYC is a day in which many New York City companies open their doors for the public to attend open houses, take tours, and ask employees questions about their startup or business. In their own words, WalkAbout is a chance to “go behind the scenes and meet the people shaping NYC’s technology movement.”

On May 18, companies such as Harvest, Aviary, Sonar, and OMGPOP participated in the day long event. As a New York native, I was disappointed in myself for not going to previous WalkAbouts. However, recently getting into the startup, Silicion Alley, and Silicon Valley scene, I’ve quickly picked up on the atmosphere, culture, and personalities behind the startup scene. I have become immersed in a world where any idea is possible, everyone has a positive attitude, and everyone is supportive of one another. Rather than the dog-eat-dog culture I was used to with the corporations in New York, startups opened my eyes to the opposite end of the spectrum.

Fellow InfoSpace blogger Chelsea Orcutt and I decided to go to take on the day together. Starting out at Voxel in West Chelsea, we took a tour of their data center and learned about the proper care of servers and hardware migration. Heading over to lower Midtown, Chelsea and I talked to the folks at Tumblr about their community, jobs, muse, and their own pomeranian intern, Tom. Quickly rushing downtown, we heard a lecture from the staff of TED about how they choose speakers for their talks, how their office is organized, and what goes into making their website visually stimulating. Concluding our day, Chelsea and I stopped at Indaba Music, where music lovers aim to create connections between passionate musicians and their own creations.

Each office was visually different, but undoubtedly embodied the characteristics that create a warm and thought provoking environment. Tumblr’s offices had different sectors for engineers and designers while Indaba had a large open space for all employees. TED’s offices were highly concentrated with desks and employees, yet still had an open space for discussions and TED talk viewing sessions. Although we didn’t see Voxel’s offices, the employees were quick to describe the colors and energy of Voxel’s offices. Every company we visited was filled with charisma and unique unto itself, which made every visit more exciting than the one before.

Visiting these companies only confirmed my enthusiasm for the atmosphere, culture, and personalities of startup life. I’ll be working in the Syracuse area this summer with the Syracuse Student Sandbox (an incubator) to continue familiarizing myself with the world of startups and serve as a project manager for students who are trying to build their own companies. WalkAbout made me even more excited to continue familiarizing myself with startups across the country world and was a great beginning to a start-up filled summer.