Monthly Archives: August 2014

The New “Vegas Bucket List” (Tech Edition)

Who doesn’t have a Vegas bucket list? But if you’re a technologist visiting Vegas for one of the over twenty two thousand conventions held here each year, this is the bucket list for you.

We all know Vegas casinos are fat with technology, from the security to the slot machines, digital signage to the property management systems. But this Vegas Bucket List will get you out of the casinos and off the strip to discover the emerging technology sector Las Vegas is beginning to be known for.

The number of companies doing amazing things you would never image coming out of Las Vegas is too large for a single list. Below is my top 5 list of a few thing that should be on your Vegas Tech Bucket List.

#1. TOUR A SWITCH SUPER NAP

The coolest Las Vegas company you’ve possibly never heard about. Las Vegas is home to a growing number of Switch Super Naps. Huge, world class, data centers. And when I say data center, trust me, a Switch Super Nap is not like any data center you’ve seen before. It’s not surprising that companies of all sizes are gobbling up rack space in their growing number of locations. In addition to their data centers, Switch has opened the Rob Roy InNEVation Centeras a collaborative work environment for technology companies, to support economic growth in Las Vegas.

#2. VISIT ZAPPOS.COM HEADQUARTERS

Acquired by Amazon.com in 2009, the 1.2 Billion dollar company has become one of the world’s largest online shoe stores. Zappos is commonly referred to as a company that has redefined the customer service model and is consistently ranked in the top 25 on Forbes “Best Companies to Work For”. Take one of the company tours of it’s Las Vegas headquarters (Zappos purchased and moved into the old Las Vegas City Hall building in 2013) and you’ll be in for a eye opening approach to Customer Service.

#3. WALK THE NEW LAS VEGAS DOWNTOWN FREMONT EAST AREA

When Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh needed to find a new home for the rapidly expanding Zappos, he considered building a corporate campus in the same vain as many of the Silicon Valley giant tech companies. He and his team chose a different path, instead of building a community of just Zappos employees, why not embed the Zappos family into a larger more diverse community. From that the DownTown Project was hatched with a $350 million investment to transform Downtown Las Vegas. Designating $200 million to real estate investments, $50 million for small businesses, $50 million for education and $50 million to develop a tech startup community through the Vegastech Fund. The Downtown project offers tours of much of the redevelopment and new development that is turning Downtown Las Vegas to a rich vibrant community of tech startup companies.

#4. EXPLORE THE #VEGASTECH SCENE

The #vegastech scene reaches far beyond Downtown into all areas of the Las Vegas and Henderson communities. While Switch, Zappos and Downtown Project are the anchors for the new and growing tech community, there is a growing number of established and startup technology companies calling Southern Nevada home. A short list of some of my favorite #vegastech tech companies include:

AliceReceptionist Banjo CheckiO CrowdHall DocBeat Equiinet Fandeavor iStreamPlanetJobHive JusCollege LaunchKey LocalMotors MoveDocs Moveline OrderWithMe PrimeloopRobocoin Rolltech Shift SkyWire SkyWorks Tealet TechCocktail Tracky TurntableHealth.Vegas WorldViewExperience Wedgies Zuldi

#5. SEE THE WORLDS LARGEST SOLAR PLANT

On the Nevada-California board sits the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generation System, currently the world’s largest solar power plant. Owned by NGR Energy, Google and BrightSource Energy, the site can produce nearly 400 megawatts – enough power for 140,000 homes. There are currently 89 solar companies at work throughout Nevada employing 2,400 professionals. Nevada ranks 5th in the county in installed solar capacity.

BONUS: DISCOVER WHERE DRONES FLY

In December of 2013, Nevada was named one of six states by federal officials to develop test sites for drones and was cleared in 2014 for the FAA’s first drone test site flight. Nevada has a rich history with drone technology with pilots at the Creech Air Force Base located in Nevada, flying many of the US military oversees drone missions. This is a bonus item because, well, it is a highly secured military base, so use good judgement. With the recent federal designations, Nevada may soon be at the forefront of commercial drone advancements. In fall of 2014 UNLV will begin offering students a Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Minor program to educate students in this fast growing technology. Already local companies like SkyWorks are moving forward with commercial drone development.

The future of the technology sector in Las Vegas is bright and a sure bet to continue it’s rapid growth for the foreseeable future.

Who knows, you may just find a reason to come back to Vegas more often to do business with one of these companies, and having another reason to justify a Vegas trip is never a bad thing.

Written by: Mike Yoder

Twitter – @mikeyoder