Greetings from Astoria: A letter from RJMetrics alum Matt Monihan - Philly


Mar. 24, 2017 7:28 am

Greetings from Astoria: A letter from RJMetrics alum Matt Monihan

The Philly-bred product manager left town last summer and started a company in Queens. Here's how he's doing.

Astoria Park and Robert F. Kennedy Bridge.

(Photo via Pixabay)

Writing Home is a series where Philly tech expats write to us of their new lives. Wanna write one? Email editor Juliana Reyes at

Dear Philadelphia,

I’m writing you from my apartment on Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria, N.Y. It’s about 30 degrees on St. Patrick’s Day, and I’ve spent most of my day writing Ruby on Rails code and listening to the Joe Rogan podcast. Aside from the holiday, today is pretty typical.

For those that don’t know me, I’m from Lafayette Hill, Pa. (near Conshy), graduated from Drexel in 2010 and am a RJMetrics (now Magento Commerce) alum. I spent a few of my Drexel co-ops living in a shoebox under the Queensboro bridge, and it was there that I fell obnoxiously in love with NYC.

Now, I find myself in Astoria, about a half-hour subway ride from the madness that is Times Square and what a lot of people think of when they think of NYC. I’m often asked: “Is NYC intense? Is it exhausting?” And my answer is, “It depends.” I think if you live in most parts of Manhattan, then yes, it is intense and at times, exhausting. Queens on the other hand, is a whole different animal.

The most striking thing about Queens is the diversity. There are more languages spoken in Queens than in anywhere else in the world. It’s amazing, really. I can walk out of my building, turn right down Ditmars Blvd. and proceed down a corridor of the best Greek food in the country. Or, walk straight down Steinway and find the best Middle Eastern food. And, I should point out that I’m only talking about Astoria, and furthermore, only about 5 percent of Astoria.

And, it’s in this diversity that you can really choose your own adventure as far your experience is concerned. Want to spend a night in Manhattan in the West Village going to comedy clubs? Go for it. Want to spend the night in a suburban-like setting and not have to worry about hour-long taxi rides and navigating sketchy people in the subway? Stick around Astoria. It’s that ability to throttle up and down the experience that’s most appealing to me.

manhattan skyline

The Manhattan skyline. (Photo by Matt Monihan)

Let me tell you what I’m working on these days. I founded a company called Voyager Scientific. Our mission is to give non-tech businesses the same tools that startups may take for granted. We do that by developing systems of record for small businesses who would otherwise manage all of their data using paper and spreadsheets.


For example, we’ve digitized a time-tracking and payroll process with a construction company in Philly. They’ve experienced tremendous growth and their paper process was difficult to scale. Now they have every time sheet available in the field on iOS and Android.

If your business needs guidance on what tech to buy or build, get in touch with me at

OK, time to grab a Guinness. Sláinte.


Companies: RJMetrics
People: Matt Monihan
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