LAS VEGAS IS GROWING AGAIN
By Chet Yarbrough
February 10, 2013
The City of Las Vegas is growing again. Is Las Vegas growth a myth or a Las Vegas vision? It may be a myth to some but it is Oscar Goodman’s and Tony Hsieh’s concrete and steel vision.
Can one person make a difference? Yes and no, one person can be a change agent; i.e. someone that has a vision. However, a vision is not fulfilled by one person; i.e. it is fulfilled by choices and actions of many participants that deconstruct the vision to satisfy individual ambitions. The original vision evolves into a more complex and nuanced reality. Oscar Goodman and Tony Hsieh (pronounced “shay”) are quintessential change agents.
Oscar Goodman became mayor of the city of Las Vegas in 1999 and, from the beginning of his election; Goodman became champion and change-agent for downtown revitalization. In his first term, Goodman uses the city’s power of eminent domain to acquire a 61 acre parcel of fallow land owned by Union Pacific Railroad. Goodman sells the vision of tall buildings and cultural development in downtown Las Vegas. The result is Symphony Park–a giant cultural step for Las Vegas to become a more closely knit community.
Hsieh, a 39-year-old entrepreneur, is moving Zappos (an online retail shop for shoes and apparel, owned by Amazon.com) to the former City Hall of Las Vegas, Nevada. In that relocation, Zappos is increasing permanent employment in the City by 1,000 jobs. Hsieh’s vision is to make the city of Las Vegas more than a place to vacation, play, dine, and depart. Eating and pitching dice in City restaurants and casinos are benefited by Zappos’ relocation but the real impact is the influx of youth, technology, and investment in downtown Las Vegas.
Hsieh is not the first entrepreneur in Las Vegas to see world market potential for Nevada; i.e. “The Strip”, with 62,000 hotel rooms, is an “all American road” (Las Vegas Blvd) to the world market but it is also a road that leads to downtown Las Vegas.
Goodman set the table for downtown revitalization; people like Hsieh brought the dinner.
Successful businesses make decisions based on job growth, human resources, market opportunity, and financing. With real job growth, more entrepreneurs are attracted to downtown Las Vegas; Hsieh’s vision expands the concept of market by using the world-wide-web. Clark County, the home of the “Strip” and the City of Las Vegas, has become a call-center mecca for banks, telecommunications, and niche businesses. Hsieh is nudging technology and attracting entrepreneurial talent to downtown Las Vegas; not only for food and entertainment but for education, world-wide-web merchandising, and technological innovation; he is promoting, and financing entrepreneurs that recognize opportunity in a community that has great weather, great restaurants, great entertainment, and a growing art community; all within walking distance.
Without youth, economic and cultural decay is inevitable; youth inherits and changes the world and Hsieh is bringing youth to downtown Las Vegas.
TONY HSIEH VIDEO TALKS ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP: http://www.youtube.com/embed/16HhJl-zheg” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Take an 8 block walk down East Clark Avenue or East Ogden; or walk the 5 blocks between the two avenues, and the impact of Hsieh’s change agent’ influence seems everywhere. http://goo.gl/maps/Oyh6K
Goodman and Hsieh are easily classified as change agents in Las Vegas; the difference is that one represents government while the other represents private enterprise. In either case, it is the decisions of many that determine the course of events; not the decision of the one.
Other entrepreneurs are busy building new businesses in downtown Las Vegas.
Both Goodman and Hsieh deserve praise for what they have initiated to broaden and improve the quality of life in the City of Las Vegas; the rest is up to the many that follow their lead.