Running a Company in DUMBO, Brooklyn

June 14, 2010 - AD60 Dev

DUMBO, a neighborhood located under the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn, NY, is quickly growing into the hub for the next generation of digital companies. Just attend one of the many digital events and chances are you’ll have the opportunity to meet and speak to a number of talented people that work in product development, for ad agencies or one of many up and coming startups.

With so many companies popping up, we decided to put together a list of characteristics we believe make a DUMBO company.

1. High Expectations, Low Stress

If there is one thing DUMBO is not lacking, it’s talent. The district is loaded with it and more keeps coming every day. With this level of talent come high expectations. Just speak to a few people at a local pub and you will quickly realize the skills they offer are top notch. Don’t let this stress you out, because DUMBO brings the ultimate mix. You would think with so much talent, stress to deliver would be high, but its the opposite. A number of DUMBO’s upper management and CEOs come from the stress-filled world that is Manhattan and know how to balance life and work. So when its your time to step up, just remember the final product will need to be exceptional to get recognized, but don’t feel the need to rip your hair out to deliver it.

2. A Wear What You Want / Animal Friendly Culture

Unlike Manhattan, DUMBO is still an animal friendly atmosphere. So many buildings in corporate America are bogged down with rules and regulations its impossible to bring a relaxed feel. Prefer to work in shorts instead of slacks, want to wear your favorite tee (semi-HR friendly) or maybe bring your dog? All of these options are available. As the publishers of a personal-finance portal (, we love knowing we can bring our pets to work and save money on things like dog walkers, etc.

3. A Relaxed, Social, Friendly Environment

AD60 recently had the opportunity to speak with the Wall Street Journal on this topic (article). They called it cyberslacking, but we believe it’s an important part of our company. As we pointed out, the work force in DUMBO is extremely talented, but it is also very young. As a guess, we bet that 90% of the employees in DUMBO grew up actively using the Internet, probably have Facebook / Twitter accounts and of course, to support their fellow local companies, a Foursquare account. If you plan on starting a business in DUMBO be prepared to hire and work alongside employees that use Facebook messages more often than E-mail.

4. Venture Capital or Angel Seed Money

I can’t tell you how many companies I have met that started off with third-party funding. Coming from a position of self-funding, we always enjoy talking to those who took the other approach. This option is not needed to make it in DUMBO, but it is one that is very common.

5. Owning A Mac

Why Apple hasn’t opened a store in DUMBO yet is beyond me. Unlike in the rest of the world, I probably see one PC for every 10 Macs. This place is loaded with artists, and artists sure do love their MacBooks. Apple, if you are reading this, make the decision now and just open a store. It can be 300sq feet, trust me, it will do well. Thankfully we have  “Mikey’s Hook Up” on Front Street to save us every time we need a new battery or adapter.

See something we left out? Send us an E-mail at and we’ll update the list.

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