Disclaimer: The writer is not only the Editor of Tech Cocktail, but also worked to produce the Celebrate Conference and is pretty damn proud of the entire event.
Tech Cocktail Celebrate Conference went down in Downtown Las Vegas earlier this week, and the beautiful, aptly-named Inspire Theatre played host to the bulk of the events.
Here, attendees found collaborative panel discussions on stage in the main theater offered by speakers from startup accelerators, civic entrepreneurship programs, coworking spaces, corporations, and other roles that have been created around the country to help grow communities led by entrepreneurs. Throughout the venue, attendees found spaces to meet, mentor, network, and form connections with others who are starting or running their own business, or stimulating innovation with funding, partnerships, and mentorships.
The first panel of the conference was called “Creating a Collisionable City“, where leaders from Washington DC, Denver, Las Vegas, and Dallas told of their successes and observations in growing density and collaboration in their own communities. The general consensus was the idea of entrepreneurs and members of the community being willing to learn, collaborate, and put their egos aside.
When Rocketship Podcast sat down with some attendees during the conference, they noted how many of these key elements are present and growing in the Las Vegas community. They spoke to George Moncrief, longtime Las Vegas resident, tech company founder, and currently the Entrepreneur in Residence at VegasTechFund. The recipe for community success in Las Vegas, according to Moncrief, is “really down-to-earth people that really have a bias toward collaborating and wanting to prop each other up.”
As far as the explanation for what Sacca noticed when he moved to the community two months ago? “Intros flow very freely because everyone knows that there isn't any benefit to holding something close to your vest. A rising tide raises all ships. It's ‘GroupThink'. Everyone wants to see each other succeed, so everyone freely hands out intros and welcomes everyone into the community.”
Listen to the Celebrate Conference episode of the Rocketship Podcast here.
In addition to the inspiring and informative session content (find a recap of all sessions here), attendees found that the space allowed for quick opportunities to get some work done, prepare for a meeting, or get caught up on email. Between the 2nd floor patio, cubbies throughout the building, and the rooftop, you could see Celebrate attendees staying engaged but being productive as well.
Did I mention how fast and reliable the WiFi connection was? There is no doubt about it that the upgraded services provided by Cox Communication insured that everyone at the conference – everyone! – was always on, on every device. Try to find one complaint. When we go to conferences, we expect WiFi, but we also understand when it gets laggy. This did not happen at Celebrate Conference. Thank you, Cox!
The mix of attendees was exactly right. 50 startups came from over 30 cities to compete in the Nation's Hottest Showcasing Startup competition, and the founders and team members mixed and mingled throughout the conference despite the growing jitters they experienced as they prepared their pitches. Leaders building educational programs, partners managing Venture Capital firms, founders of successful companies, thinkers and doers of all types were able to collide and collaborate at Tech Cocktail Celebrate.
“I just can't put my finger on why this event is so much better than [event name redacted to protect the innocent],” an animated attendee was overheard telling Carrie Walsh of Silicon Valley Bank. Las Vegas' welcoming attitude of wanting to provide the opportunity to make connections was contagious.
Tech Cocktail wishes to thank all of its supporters, attendees, speakers, sponsors, and staff for helping to create an amazing event. Watch for more highlights, videos, and news surrounding Tech Cocktail Celebrate Conference!