This week we’re visiting Downtown Project, an incredibly cool initiative in Las Vegas with a big vision and the funding and expertise to make it happen (founded by Tony Hsieh of Zappo’s). The mission is to empower the community by building co-working spaces, investing in start-ups, sponsoring artistic events and enhancing education.
We drove in yesterday through the high desert and got a full wild-west experience. Sandstorm winds raked dust across our faces and spiny tumble weeds hopped across our path. We had to pull over numerous times to refill our leaking radiator and keep our engine from overheating. Yeah, we’re cowboys.
When we arrived we were met by Steve, their ‘bus guy’ (awesome that they have one of those). We showed him and a few others the bus, swapped stories and then showered in our generously provided apartments for the first time in a while (9 days, I believe… but who’s counting?). Afterward we went out for drinks, dinner, drinks, dancing with the project’s core team and a few other local entrepreneurs.
We found the conversation extremely sharp and interesting. The people on the team are passionate, experienced and are on board with the vision of a next-generation community. The best part is they seem to be aware that it takes a relaxed, fun and open culture to manifest it.
If you haven’t gathered yet, we think Downtown Project is awesome. This is probably the first large-scale example I’ve seen of an entity devoting itself entirely to creating community. It’s brilliant of course; at the end of the day, the people around us are what make all the difference in life. As our culture continues to wake up to this fact and shift accordingly, examples and experiences gained from projects such as Downtown Project are going to be invaluable.
7Cees ultimately has very similar goals and mission, albeit less well formulated and organized. Being here and able to see all the plans they have and actions they’re taking is an incredible learning opportunity for our team. We plan to soak it up as much as possible.