“ It’s A different kind of Vegas.”
Collision Conference invaded and innovated downtown Las Vegas, Nevada Cinco De May and 6th.
The 48 hour “crash course” included 7500 attendees representing 89 different countries, with a legendary guest-list that included: 200 WorldClass Speakers, 1000 Startup Businesses, 451 Tech Investors, and countless “smart” entrepreneurs.
Equally as interesting to the individuals that attended the conference, was where the event took place, “The Downtown Project” (Psst..If you haven’t heard this name get familiar with it, you’ll be hearing a lot about it.)
It’s there, just 6 miles from the infamous Las Vegas Strip, a small Startup town is brewing. The cutting edge urban revival project was heavily invested ($350million) in by Zappos frontman and startup cultural icon, Tony Hsieh.
His business model; to create a community of happiness, in an other wise depressed and dilapidated city centre… which leads us into lesson #1.
Lesson #1 Recognize potential and invest in it’s possibilities.
Startups Entrepreneurs are familiar with taking risks and getting comfortable in the uncomfortable. Tony Hsieh didn’t see the “Fremont Experience” and think let’s avoid this rundown area at all costs. Instead he said let’s immerse our company, culture and entrepreneurial energy into the infrastructure, and make old bones dance.
Lesson #2 Conferences, especially tech. conferences, need female minds in attendance.
Collision Conference acknowledged the fact that tech conferences tend to be sausage fests, and did something Different. They invited the top 150 females in technology to attend the conference complimentary, there by subtly shifting the dynamics of a male centric space.
Lesson #3 There’s an organic type of networking, it’s called Collision.
A Collision with another person, moves away from the hunt and gather mentality of standard networking events, and allows for the natural serendipity of individuals paths to cross.
Colliding with the right people at right place, and the right time, can become a natural and common occurrence.
Lesson #4 Never underestimate the power of food and lasting impressions.
Each morning upon entering the “event” attendees were treated to freshly baked blueberry muffins. The DoubleTree may have started this trend with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, but the result remains the same… A feeling of being welcomed, comforted, and wanting to return for more.
Lesson #5 Collaboration is the easiest way to breed successful innovations.
In the chaotic sea of 1000+ Startup Businesses prepping and pitching to investors and want to be investors for funding and mentorship. I found myself wondering, how many of the Startup entrepreneurs conversed and collided with one another to exchange ideas and information? (please tweet us @startup_garage if you have a great Startup to Startup Collision story)
It seems that Collision Conference was the perfect landscape for new startup business ideas to emerge, and preexisting ones to flourish with new insights. However, my experience was everyone was there with laser focus in the hopes swooning the VC or Angel.
Lesson #6 You can’t talk Marketing without the other M word… Millennials.
#Millennials isn’t just a trending hashtag, they’re a population of 77 million people, 1/4 of the American population, who are socially and economically savvy. Millennials have big brands via-ing for their attention and approval. As a generation with an insatiable appetite for quality content and the Tinder mindset (swipe left and move onto the next) marketing power is shifting into the hands of the consumer.
Lesson #7 Innovation never sleeps.
Innovative ideas and solutions have no On and Off switch, they’re a constant switching in the mind of Startup entrepreneurs. It’s not enough that there’s a solution, the questions remains whether it’s the smartest and most effective solution possible.
There’s Startup towns brewing, do you hear it percolating?
A Tech Startup conference shifted my perception of Vegas from an epicenter of gambling, strippers, and intentional debauchery to a sustainable community of like-minded entrepreneurs, that when colliding together, have ability to transform even the most unsuspecting places.