Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

Las Vegas: Next Silicon Valley?

guys with computers

Community is the root of innovation.  If no one ever said that, they should have.  If no one ever said that, I’m claiming the catch phrase.  Trademark that.

At the risk of offending hundreds of respected technology start-ups in California, I’m going to pose a question.  Is Las Vegas the next Silicon Valley?  In the name of full disclosure I’ve become a bit of an adjunct Las Vegas tech community native.  On a monthly basis, I wake up at 3 am in the morning and board the red eye flight from St. Louis to Las Vegas to network, explore, innovate and oh yeah…help Unidev, the software and mobile development company that employs me, to launch our new west regional office which just opened in January 2012.

So why is Las Vegas the next Silicon Valley?  They possess something very rare in an often insulated technology community.  They have community.  This community is “hip”, sort of underground, “quirkishly fashionable” but most importantly it’s not hard to find.  Just search the hashtag #vegastech or handle @VegasTech on a Thursday night and whether you join the meet up on Fremont Street or not, you’re there at the Las Vegas Jelly. That’s right, the “Jelly” (@VegasJelly).

Jelly organizations exist in several communities across the country but the one-year-old Las Vegas Jelly organization can stuff almost one hundred people into a “library” that’s not a library to learn from “start-ups” that are not start-ups. Las Vegas Jelly attracts professionals from Zappos and Microsoft as easily as they attract entrepreneurs from start-ups like Tracky and TicketCake.com.

The point I want to make is that Las Vegas Jelly supports a strong technology community but they’re also part of a larger community of technology support organizations working to promote wide spread adoption of technology innovation at the local, regional and state level.  A few of those other organizations include the Technology Business Alliance of Nevada (TBAN), Nevada Development Authority (NDA) and the Microsoft supported Linq360 Innovation Center.  Silicon Valley, did you know a booming technology community is boiling over right next door?

And this community will boil over in a good way.  Linq360 is quickly attracting big players in the hospitality industry with exciting new launches like Suitelinq’s in-room application developed for the new Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.  Yes, that project originated in Las Vegas. Likewise, Tony Hseih is relocating Zappos into the old Las Vegas city hall building and is fostering a Zappos backed technology brokering community in downtown Las Vegas with the potential to rival campuses of Google’s calibur – but probably with more neon signs and arcades.

Unidev discovered the community in Las Vegas last July when staking out new locations for expansion.  We chose Las Vegas – and we don’t think we will be alone.