This was a busy weekend. We’ve been working hard on designing the early childhood care center, but Friday was Crowdstart Las Vegas, Crowdfunder’s second event. It was the first time I had ever been at a competitive pitch event, and it was a great experience. Everyone there was excited about what their companies were doing, and the crowd was full of budding entrepreneurs, community members, and friends and family of the competitors. I had the chance to meet some local entrepreneurs who I hadn’t met before along with the out of town competitor. Seeing some friends complete was a welcome treat as well. This event wouldn’t have been out of place if had been held in Silicon Valley or NYC (in my novice opinion), but walking out of the Plaza and heading home was a whole different story. That involved wandering through the Fremont Street Experience on a Friday night, and it reminded me that it is easy to forget than a tourist saturated alternate universe exists a block away from what is arguably the most ambitious urban revitalization ever. It is a weird dichotomy to say the least, and one that is easy to forget about at times.
Saturday started off with a bit of fun, watching the Alabama Crimson Tide roll over Arkansas at a Crimson Tide alum’s place. I got to mix a bit of work in during that glorious outing when I had the chance to meet with Mayor Julian Castro and talk to him about Venture for America and the Downtown Project with a few of my friends and co-workers.
We got to show him an awesome video that was made during a challenge at training camp and also talk about the progress that we have seen in the month and half that we have been here. It was a bit of a surreal experience. How many recent college grads get to talk to talk to a mayor of a major city (and keynote DNC Speaker) about their job? San Antonio is trying to do a similar revitalization, being headed up by the 80/20 Foundation, who’s Executive Director, Lorenzo Gomez, had actually been visiting the Downtown Project the week before. Cue “It’s A Small World”.