Tech Entrepreneurs Have 212 Area Code Lust

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Even in our technologically abundant world, scarcity remains. Caroline Waxler reports on the half-silly, half-interesting trend of New York entrepreneurs trying to acquire (or proudly noting or lusting after) 212 area coded phone numbers. eBay, apparently, does a brisk business in 212 numbers, and there is even a dedicated reseller website (212areacode.com). I guess it's just another way that tech entrepreneurs are like rappers (504 Boyz, anyone?).

The most coveted accessory in New York's tech scene isn't a new iPad app or an invitation to a private beta. It's a status symbol that comes from the city's analog age -- something that evokes the days of egg creams and subway tokens, not Silicon Alley: a 212 area code...

"A 212 can also make it seem like you are an early adopter -- like you had a cell before they even devoted area codes to them. They are a conversation piece," says Allison Mooney, a media and marketing theorist at Omnicom's MobileBehavior. She adds: "Since your phone number is quite literally your calling card, those numbers can say a lot about you and connote a certain savvy,"

Read the full story at Metropolis on The Wall Street Journal.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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