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  • 14 reasons you should consider Las Vegas for your startup #VegasTech

    • By sarah
    • |
    • Friday, March 29, 2013

    In early March, CEO and founder of UniversityParent, Sarah Schupp, wrote “5 Reasons You Should Consider Starting Up in Vegas” for Forbes. Anytime Las Vegas is recommended as a welcoming home for entrepreneurs is fine by me. In fact, Schupp mentioned some of the reasons my family and I relocated to Vegas, like, the weather, sense of community, fun nature, affordable living and 24-hour hustle.

    Vegas Tech

    There are so many entrepreneurs who have chosen to make a go of it as part of the #VegasTech community. Some were born and raised here, others have moved across the country to be part of something bigger.

    If you’re considering the move to Vegas, here are a few more reasons it might fit your startup’s style:

    1. Most U.S. cities with a well-developed tech and startup community are already really big. Because they’re so big, they can tend to lose the “small town coziness.” Vegas is different. It is a big community, but yet small and supportive. #VegasTech wants to succeed and so it nurtures a culture of giving and camaraderie. Come visit us on a Thursday night and check out the Vegas Jelly or hang out at the Downtown Podcast. (David Gosse, Tracky)
    2. If I had to pick ONE reason that startups should consider Vegas (there are clearly a few good reasons), I would say it's a good economic decision to be here. Coming from San Francisco, the median price for a one-bedroom apartment is about $3000 a month right now, and they are scarce. In Vegas, you can get 3-bedroom house with a pool for $1800 a month, or buy one for less than $100K. It's easy to run the math and see how you can dramatically increase your runway by cutting the living expenses for your team members. In addition, you don't have to pay your team members as much as you would in the Bay Area for them to experience the same (or better) quality of life. (Jon Sterling, Founder at Interview Circuit and Agent Findr)
    3. There's some really special about coming into a growing community on the ground level. For our team, it was clear from the moment we first heard about #VegasTech that something remarkable was brewing. After visiting twice, we knew it was the place for us. The opportunity to shape a city and tech scene doesn't come around too often. As an added bonus, the other entrepreneurs working on this common goal have been welcoming, supportive, and engaging, which is rare in other tech communities that are more established. (Jackie Jensen, Ticket Cake)
    4. The geography at implementation of our state and the resulting imbalance of resources has always allowed for Las Vegas to be the rock-star, the poster child, the ambitious youngster who gets green-lighted on all its ideas. We've made something out of nothing again and again for the last hundred years and that breeds an innate ability to be open to a new way of doing things. You won't find a stuffy "that's not how it's done here" attitude. Our settlers were trailblazers, our first businessmen were rebels, our political leaders have been innovators all in their own ways. So when you come here with a "crazy" new idea, you fit right in. (Ann Diab, Realtor, Project Evangelist, #VegasTechSXSW)
    5. Las Vegas might be cliché, but #VegasTech isn't. It's only two years old, so it lacks the cliques and traditions of an older community. The community aims to stay flexible too. Sure, leaders have emerged, but if you move into town and you want to get involved, no one is going to discourage you. In fact, innovation and leadership are very much encouraged. "Firsts" take place here every week. It's a great place for a startup to grow. If you're looking for lifestyle beyond work, see below and consider that we actually have more outdoor recreation han you might expect: Red Rock Canyon, Mount Charleston and Valley of Fire within 20 - 45 minutes of the city. (Jennifer Gosse, Tracky)
    6. Switch and inNEVation. Did you know that the largest and most secure data warehouse is in Las Vegas? Well, it is. And, founder Rob Roy has taken his love of technology and Las Vegas and created The inNEVation Center, a state-of-art co-working facility. It is the first public / private economic diversification effort of its kind. inNEVation brings together entrepreneurs, business leaders, mentors, investors, educators and government agencies. In other words, everyone it takes to build an economy of superheroic proportions.
    7. VegasTechFund.  VegasTechFund is a seed stage investment fund focused empowering amazing founders and startups passionate about building community in downtown Las Vegas. If you want to find out more about the fund, fill out their application. Only proceed if you: 1) Are Insanely Passionate; 2) Are Solving Awesome Problems; and 3) Like to Dance in Celebration.
    8. Summerlin. You don’t have to live on the strip to be in Vegas. There are amazing suburb-style communities located across the city.  From custom-living to parks and recreation to famers’ markets, you can have it all within 20 minutes of the stip and downtown Vegas.
    9. SXSW V2V. SXSW V2V is the newest addition to the SXSW family of events and it’s launching right here in Las Vegas. It is an extension and re-imagining of the legendary SXSW experience with an emphasis on the creative spark that drives entrepreneurial innovation. This four day event brings the startup and venture capital communities together with the creative industries that have helped to make SXSW so special.

    Don’t take our word for it. Come visit #VegasTech for yourself and see if it’s a fit for you and/or your team. Tweet the entire community by using the #VegasTech hashtag or email me at sarah@tracky.com.

  • 10 Tips For Using Google Analytics #VegasTech

    • By sarah
    • |
    • Monday, December 10, 2012

    It’s not everyday you get a personal Q&A session and training from Google Analytics (GA) team members. Last week, that’s exactly what #VegasTech got from GA’s Adam Singer (@adamsinger) and Linus Chou.

    Hosted at state-of-the-art co-working space, inNEVation (@innevation) a dozen startup founders came to get a better handle on their Google Analytics knowledge. This is one of the benefits of being part of such an active tech community focused on continually improving their products.

    If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics, it’s a Google product of free (and premium) web analytics, including: content, mobile, social and more. They’re disrupting an entire industry by giving so much away for free. You can measure sales and conversions and get insights into how visitors use your site, how they arrived on your site, and how to keep them coming back. Because it’s such a robust product, many times companies work with Certified Google Analytics Partners to help them set up and/or manage their accounts.

    Startup teams already know the pains of limited resources and may not have the budget to afford a GA partner. That’s why the GA team dedicated a portion of their Las Vegas visit to educating the #VegasTech community. (Thanks Adam and Linus!)

    Here are 10 of the most important takeaways and tips from the two-hour training session:

    1. If you’re only focused on your mobile site and mobile marketing, you’re losing out. Your website is still paramount to your online presence. In fact, to be truly successful, you “need a mix of ‘own’ (i.e. your website) and ‘rent’ (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) for a complete web experience,” says @adamsinger. For 2013, make sure your website is easy to find (via search), navigate (check your analytics) and to find again.
    2. Don’t underestimate social. It’s important to understand that social media influences micro conversions. These are all of the things that lead to a purchase later (versus right now). When you don’t spend time monitoring social behaviors and traffic, you’re missing out on micro conversion opportunities. The GA social reporting product allows users to: measure, track referrals, discover what people are sharing from your site and more.
    3. The best free tool no one knows about? THIS --> Insights for Search.
    4. On any public Google+ post, if you click "view ripples" you can see all of the public shares and comments. (To view Ripples for a public post in your stream, just click the dropdown arrow at the top of the post you’re curious about and click View Ripples. To view Ripples for a specific URL, open the Ripples dialog, and in the top corner, enter the URL you want to see Ripples for. You’ll see a visualization for all the public shares on Google+ of that URL.)
    5. Learn about Trackbacks. Trackbacks are like automated Google Alerts for all of your pages. It’s great for relationship building, SEO and micro conversions. GA’s Social reports allow you to view all backlink URL’s, post titles, and more right within the new Social reports.
    6. If you’re logged into @googleanalytics go here http://j.mp/12hhRmd for a completely customized dashboard. Sweet!
    7. Did you know there's a heat map overlay in the free version of@googleanalytics? Now you do. It’s nice to know where people are clicking the most on your site. Update accordingly to create the best possible user experience.
    8. Find out what your site sends to GA. “The Google Analytics team built a Chrome extension that is intended to help you debug your implementation. This extension loads the debug version of the Google Analytics Javascript for all sites you browse using Google Chrome. It prints useful information to the Javascript console. These messages include error messages and warnings which can tell you when your analytics tracking code is set up incorrectly. In addition, it provides a detailed breakdown of each tracking beacon sent to Google Analytics.”
    9. GA has a complete self service set of tools: Help Center, Google Analytics Blog, User Forum, YouTube Channel, Developer Resources and Analytics IQ.
    10. If you’re new to GA here’s a setup checklist and getting started guide.
  • What's a Launch Party Without Some Delicious Noms?

    • By jennifer
    • |
    • Friday, April 6, 2012

    Tracky Launch PartyWe might be geeks but our palettes crave more than pizza and Rock Star. In fact, most of the developer and design geeks that we know are also foodies. So when it was time to plan the food and drink for our launch party, we knew that it had to be really good. Plus, with the growing movement to support local businesses, we hoped that we could highlight other local and regional businesses. And it worked! Swimmingly. The fine folks at Sammy's Woodfired Pizza, Retro Bakery and Las Vegas Distillery made Tracky's launch party a culinary night to remember. 

    Sammy's Woodfired Pizza

    Sammy's Woodfired Pizza - Thai Chicken Skewers - Tracky Launch PartyAs you entered the foyer, guests were greeted by the lavish fountain flanked by tables of cold tapas from Sammy's Woodfired Pizza. The hummus, pita and crudites whet the appetite for what was steps away on the patio. Outside, an abundant spreads of chicken lettuce cups, Thai chicken satays, garlic parmesan bread and crust-tastic Margerita and goat cheese pizzas sated the appetites of attendees.

    A special thanks to Christina Brill from the Centennial location for heading up the coordination for the Sammy's team (our team frequents her restaurant), and to Dena Tecson, regional manager for Sammy's. The restaurant started in San Diego but has branched out to numerous locations in Southern California and Las Vegas. Even though it's a small chain now, it very much feels like a local restaurant and the food tastes very super fresh (not packaged or trucked in). We love Sammy's because of the fresh and healthy ingredients, Mediterranean flavors and personable service. 

    Las Vegas Distillery

    Las Vegas Distillery at Tracky Launch PartyWhat to pair with the tapas? Besides the usual sodas, beer and wine, we had the pleasure of a sponsored open bar from Las Vegas Distillery. We featured the custom-crafted "Tracky Rocks" which utilized the Distillery's unique White Rumskey, a new unique spirit double distiller from a fermented molasses/rum base and whiskey mash. It's barrel aged in whiskey barrels, giving it a distinctive depth of flavor for a rum spirit. Other cocktails featured their Nevada Vodka, which is made from wheat and corn grown by Winnemecca Farms in Paradise Valley. Now, that's local!

    If you haven't visited this artisan distillery, it's a great experience. You'll get to see one of the most unique and beautiful stills in the world. The distillery is open Monday through Saturday; tours are free and are given by George Raicz, the man behind this soon-to-be legendary local business. He is a gem of a guy and full of passion for the family business that he and his wife are building to pass onto their son. It really touches your heart. 

    Retro Bakery

    Retro Bakery cupcakes at Tracky launch partyWhen you want something sweet, delicious, locally made and family-run, where do turn? Retro Bakery in Centennial Hills. Kari and Brian Haskell donated 250 cupcakes and 200 cookies to the event and they were: de-lish. They take their buttercream and creative flavors seriously at Retro. When you bite into the dense, moist cupcakes, you realize that you're not just indulging in a treat, you're biting into something made with love. And love them we did.

    Kari started Retro Bakery with her husband, Brian, in 2008, and since then, while raising two adorable daughters, they've been churning out some of the Valley's sweetest cupcakes, cakes and cookies and growing their boutique bakery to the rave reviews of locals and folks from around the country. I've learned a bit about the baking industry through Kari's down-to-earth blog about the realities of building a bakery, and it's clear that the baking industry isn't all sweets and treats. You've got to be tough and have tons of energy. But somehow, Kari  does it all - plus, she's as kind and generous as her frosting is sweet. 

    The Launch Party Illuminated the Meaning of Community

    It's so great to see Las Vegas home-grown passion bubbling up here and to be the recipients of such generosity from local businesses. Whether your passions are in food, drink, technology, bio-tech, green initiatives, customer service, professional services, manufacturing or hospitality, there's a ton of potential in this city. And now, there's a growing community in #VegasTech, #ShiftVegas, the Downtown Project, Switch's upcoming InNevation, Nevada biotech and green projects. 

    So, THANK YOU to our launch party sponsors and to the community for coming out to support Tracky and to celebrate what's been accomplished in VegasTech and what's ahead!

    Oh, and if you haven't seen the sponsor wall pictures yet, you may enjoy browsing some fun antics in our launch party photo album

    Cheers! 

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