Once upon a time, a local D.C. tech publication very much like this one called DMV Startup founder Brandon T. Luong the “prodigal son” of #dctech. (Throwback Thursday! It was us.)
And Luong has done a lot in the D.C. tech scene over the past years to deserve that title. There’s DMV Startup, he’s a co-organizer of DC Tech Meetup and he’s perpetually working toward making the D.C. tech scene as inclusive as possible. Between all this and Wetogethr, the digital agency he cofounded with Sibyl Edwards, another central #dctech figure, there’s scarcely a tech event in this city where you can’t find Luong’s smiling face, eagerly making connections between attendees.
But times change and then it’s time for a change. All of which is to say that Luong is taking his networking talents and propensity for puns and moving to New York City. While he was insistent that he’s not really leaving, not for good at least (see below), we took the opportunity to sit down for a good old fashioned Exit Interview.
(This has been lightly edited for length and clarity.)
Wait, you’re leaving?! Where are you headed?
I know, I’m sad as well, but I will be coming to D.C. frequently as my business partner (Edwards) and family are in the DMV. So kinda leaving, kinda not. I mean, New York is just 4.6 hours away.
What prompted the move?
Luong story short, I been wanting to live in NYC just to see what’s it like, and it has been a few years since I have lived in a large city. Additionally it will give Wetogethr another market to expand into. Another plus is that we can spread Weinclude, the diversity-in-tech board for people of color, to NYC.
What are you looking forward to about living in NYC?
Just to see what is the hype about NYC. Mariella (Editor’s note: Mariella Paulino, Luong’s girlfriend) talks about her hometown constantly, so now I can see it firsthand as a resident instead of a visitor. Can’t wait to see all the food crazes and other international cuisines I can’t get or are limited here like Cantonese, Dominican, Salvadoran, Jamaican, etc. And can’t wait to check out the salsa and Bachata scene in depth. (Editor’s note: More about Luong’s love of dancing can be found here.)
You mentioned that you’ll be coming down to D.C. fairly often — why and what will that look like?
It’s pretty much a weekly thing and most of it will revolve around Wetogethr work. Don’t forget, this is my hometown after all so I won’t be gone Luong. As the “prodigal son of #dctech,” I’m going to come back.
What will you miss most about #dctech?
The community I have helped build. But I will definitely contribute remotely as much as possible.
Any parting words of wisdom?
Don’t screw up the community while I’m taking a break. If anyone decides to step in my place, don’t half-ass it. Foster it as much as I have and then some. We can’t ascend to the next level if we aren’t collaborating a bit more and working in tandem.