Getting Cultured with Soraya Darabi

Soraya Darabi is the New York anchor for location-based food blogging start-up Foodspotting and veteran of The New York Times


Soraya Darabi is the New York anchor for location-based food blogging start-up Foodspotting and veteran of The New York Times and Betabeat caught up with her recently to ask about Foodspotting, tech and the start-up life.

Q: What is the best idea you’ve had that would never get funded?

A: I would love to see Cher Horowitz’s personal dresser computer program come to life as an application, complete with outfit suggestions based on what you own at home. It’s such awesome, non-existent software. Then again, the brilliant ladies behind Fashism, in some ways, have made this a reality. Their app is very smart, uses crowd-sourcing to complete a look, and it has been funded.

Q: What are the best and worst things about New York’s tech scene?

A: The best part about New York’s tech scene is that there is a general feeling in the air right now that it’s all coming together.  Many of my colleagues and friends from both the media and agency worlds have started entrepreneurial pursuits.  And many of those pursuits are taking off.  I feel as though it’s a very tight-knit community, and we are all proud and supportive of one another.

The worst thing is also the best thing–as we become increasingly busy with our projects, we are seeing less and less of one another.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge facing Foodspotting right now? What can you isolate that will make or break you?

A: A challenge for us is prioritizing projects. It is incredibly exciting to have a lot of inbound requests coming your way, but our team is still relatively small.  I’m not sure what will make or break us, but having a strong team will certainly help us get to where we want to be. And our team is amazing.

Q: When does a company stop being a start-up?

A: I feel like your company stops being a start-up when you hire an HR department. We don’t have one yet.

Q: What’s the next tech revolution that’s coming?

A: I am biased, but I feel we are only on the cusp of the geo-location mobile revolution.  I feel most applications will incorporate location in the year 2011. Soundtracking, the latest application I’ve downloaded to my iPhone, is testimony to this belief.  I start my day with Nike+ as I run and check into a cafe via Foodspotting by breakfast. I’ll use Foursquare to tell my friends where they find me after work or to locate a deal at my local bookstore.  I keep my friend lists tight on location networks because it’s not about broadcasting to the world where you are, but rather, how you like to spend your day. For that reason, a favorite new app is Path, which limits the number of friends you can share personal information with–in their case photos–to 50.

Q: What’s next for geo-location mobile apps?

A: Apps that show you the interiors of houses based on their availabilty for rent or sale and your proximity to them seem likely. ‘Color’ just launched. It shows you photos of people who are nearby. Augmented reality will follow suit. Beyond that, only time will tell.

Q: Fill in the blank: Social media is…

A: Social media is how we engage with news, friends, and products. Social media is a cultural obsession.
Getting Cultured with Soraya Darabi