When I moved to Las Vegas back in August 2013, the Downtown Project was just blossoming into the chaos it would fully become, and I was able to meet a lot of people doing a lot of interesting things in short order. When I was hired on at Intel in January 2014, I was afforded an opportunity to meet a great many interesting people doing interesting things well beyond the self-imposed boundaries of the Downtown Project, and it was good.
By comparison, I found the Downtown Project effort to be a little bit of a mess. This was a result of a variety of things, what I have compared to The Last Mile problem
, where actual execution by various startups and entrepreneurs and creative peoples of their ideas and plans was left to them, despite a lot of positivity before they arrived. I had kicked off one of my podcasts, FFS Talk (all links to podcasts and whatnot are on my Buy Dan a Coffee
profile page!), talking about this problem, and it is a topic that I think is worth revisiting as a learning exercise.
The good news, there is something of a reboot going on with the startup scene. How tightly this next wave (I am calling it a reboot, some might argue that they are continuing along the same path they were since before the Downtown Project and the VegasTech Fund and whatnot, and I would say we’re both correct) is coupled to the thinking of this previous tech explosion epicentered downtown remains to be seen, but I have kicked off the same plan I had before, way back in 2013, getting out and meeting people doing their things to see what goes on.
One concern I have, which I am feeling out in these travels, is whether there is an over-fit on the VC Funding+Exit business pattern. I participated in an accelerator program hosted by my alma mater during the great lockdown of 2020, and on day one we were told by the main facilitator, that there are really only two choices when it comes to a startup, a legitimate plan for a successful exit for investors, or don’t bother. To me, this was disheartening.
I am hoping that this next wave of entrepreneurial characters (whether in tech or not) will not believe this type of thinking, and I am considering making my part of this, facilitating a Bootstrappers Breakfast
chapter here in Las Vegas. My hope is to elevate and enable others with a similar bent, wherein we pursue our endeavors outside of the Fund-and-Exit template that seems to be, unfortunately, the default thinking too often.
Stay tuned for more about this…