‘Return on collisions’ - or How 1 Entrepreneur Changes Everything in DownTown Las Vegas.

‘Return on collisions’ - or How 1 Entrepreneur Changes Everything in DownTown Las Vegas.

Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 14:29

I spent last week in San Francisco. I wrote an earlier blog on the time I spend in that gorgeous city with my family last year, but now I was back there alone. For work. Payed for with the income I earned with my own coaching business. So in one word: Yes!!

I was in SFO to be part of Wisdom 2.0, a conference focusing on ‘how to live with wisdom, awareness & compassion in the digital age’. To sum it up, the conference was one enormous inspiration extravaganza. I could probably write this blog about Wisdom 2.0 alone, as many of the speakers where such amazing examples of conscious entrepreneurship. I was very inspired by the team of influential Googlers that implemented mindfulness meditation into Google’s daily business and by the ladies of Inner Explorer who are on a mission to bring a daily mindfulness practice to every classroom in the US (& I hope they’ll reach the Netherlands soon!).   

But that’s not my intention, as I was particularly taken by one story. Let me tell you about it.

Downtown Project

Have you ever been to Downtown Las Vegas? Personally, I haven’t, but I’ve heard it’s not a fun place. Or at least, it didn’t use to be. Since two years though, there’s a lot of positive change going on there.  

That change is largely due to the effort & money of one guy, Tony Hsieh. Hsieh is the founder & CEO of Zappos, an online shop for clothing & shoes. Hsieh caught my attention when I read his book Delivering Happiness, in which he explains $2-billon-a-year-Zappos’ extremefocus on employee & customer happiness.

At Wisdom 2.0, Hsieh talked about his new enterprise: DownTown project.


With DownTown Project, Hsieh & his partners are trying to completely rejuvenate Downtown Las Vegas.
They’ve allocated $350 million to improve this part of Vegas by buying & improving real estate, bringing in interesting people from around the US and funding local business ideas. The bottom line: they’re trying to get as many ingredients for serendipity in place as possible.

Serendipity, ‘looking for a needle in the hay stag, and then finding the farmer’s daughter’ (definition by THNK), is a beautiful concept. Chance meetings change the course of a day, a business and, eventually, a live.

Return on Collisions & Luckiness

DownTown Projects wants to transform Downtown Vegas into ’the most community-focused large city in the world.’
One of the approaches for this, is to bring together a high amount of interesting people in a relatively small area.

Hsieh’s idea is, that because of this high density of change makers, wiz kids and creatives, the chances that people accidently meet & inspire each other are highly increased. One of things that really spoke to my imagination is the fact that Hsieh bought several hotel-like buildings where he offers (free) office space & housing to interesting people he meets, so that they will accidently meet each other.

And through that, Downtown Vegas grows into a Hot Spot of creativity and entrepreneurship.

Instead of Return on Investment, Hsieh & his team say they’re interested in Return on Collisions & Return on Luckiness. I don’t believe they’ve found viable ways of measuring though J

Can I just say: Wow!

Is it just me, or is this really GREAT?! Being Dutch, I am very much not used to anyone but the government taking care of city revitalization projects. Hearing about DownTown Project may have forever changed my perspective of what is possible in corporate responsibility. Well, I don’t even think that term describes what Hsieh et all. are doing in Vegas.

I believe Hsieh is an example of an entirely new breed of entrepreneurs, who seamlessly intertwine their dream of what the world should look like with their businesses AND their immediate surroundings.  

So, can we do that in the Netherlands too? Could some of our conscious entrepreneurs take on enterprises like this? And how could we ourselves do? (albeit on a much smaller scale J).
I would love to hear from you. You can send me your comments via rosalie@rosaliepuiman.com


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