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FEBRUARY 18, 2023 - Thirty years ago, I moved to New York City to attend NYU. The energy and pulse of this place — the capital of the world — was palpable and invigorating.
It was New York’s electric environment of boundless audacity and creativity where I felt the jolt of inspiration to co-found a company. What started in a Manhattan dorm room three decades ago has now skyrocketed into the largest translation services company in the world.
Today, TransPerfect employs 8,000 highly-skilled professionals in 43 countries, translating more than 10 million words per day for some of the largest and most important organizations and institutions on the planet. And I’m immensely proud to report that in 2022, we generated $1.16 billion in revenue — a 4.6% growth over the previous year. Thirty consecutive years of revenue growth from what began as a bootstrapped startup by an NYU grad student who planted a seed right here in New York and grew an oak of a business.
One key to our recent, post-pandemic success? Getting employees back to the office more where they can work together, develop chemistry, and learn from each other — all while bolstering the local business economy surrounding our Midtown office.
Study after study shows that people working together, in person, perform better. In fact, researchers at the University of Michigan found when people spent more time interacting with others — talking, socializing and connecting — saw significantly increased cognitive performance. Meanwhile a group of MIT researchers found when people were in physical proximity they were three times as collaborative and saw greater output in academic papers and patents.
But the secret to our long-term success is much simpler: New York City.
I’ve traveled the world over many times and visited most major cities on the globe. And while each has their own strengths and appeal, no metropolis can match what New York has to offer. Here in our beloved city, we find the fearlessness to innovate, the hunger to upend obsolete business practices, and the most dynamic pool of ingenious thinkers and doers any company needs if it truly hopes to achieve great heights.
Unfortunately, the past few years have brought grave challenges. The ravages of a pandemic, widespread economic tumult, astronomical cost-of-living increases, and public safety fears have all conspired to put New York on its back foot. We see the fallout everyday — riderless subways, empty sidewalks, deserted business districts emptied by remote work, all while the post-pandemic effects of millions of square feet of vacant commercial office space stretch wide across the local economy. Empty offices have led to a cascade of shuttered restaurants and other street-level businesses that depended on daytime worker traffic, all leading to lower property values and fewer property-tax dollars for the city’s coffers.
But I’m not giving up on New York. In fact, I’m doubling down on the future promise of our great city, and its role in TransPerfect’s future. By early April, we will launch a new corporate headquarters in Manhattan that will house nearly 1,000 team members.
Our inventive team will discover new breakthroughs and innovate new products and services that only the stimulating atmosphere of in-person work can deliver. And our TransPerfect family will be fully committed neighbors, patronizing local businesses, and staying involved in local community affairs.
Our company may be a global leader, but New York remains its heart and soul.
New York is coming back strong, and I’m confident our city’s brightest days still lie ahead, but not without diligent care by lawmakers to attract the investment and infrastructure to help our city thrive. We need Albany and Washington to join this crusade for our future with the same enthusiasm and commitment as companies like ours. This means new laws, but also the resources to match the rhetoric.
New York has endured much through its long history: a British occupation; World Wars and the Great Depression; a catastrophic terrorist attack and a devastating superstorm. But no matter how daunting the crucible we have faced, New Yorkers have always pulled together to overcome adversity and emerge stronger than before. That’s because the resiliency of New York wins the day every time.
Thirty years later, I’m just as passionately in love with New York as I was when I first arrived here as a teenager in 1992. I will always be in awe of its amazing power to break tired norms, and to boldly set the course for the world’s future. And as long as I’m CEO of TransPerfect, the doors will always be open at our New York City headquarters.