« Freakonomics Radio

205. Could the Next Brooklyn Be ... Las Vegas?!

2015-05-07 | 🔗
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has a wild vision and the dollars to try to make it real. But it still might be the biggest gamble in town.
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book published since the Bible. That one was from oh look that was from Steve Levin mom anyway, when to rob a bank. Is the new book go get you copy right now and then drop us align at radio at freakin, comics dot com. But I know you think and now, the LAS Vegas Rossini at the corner at Ogden Avenue and LAS Vegas Boulevard North. in LAS Vegas, Nevada, Nevada. It is the better that I gotta have on the whole, I always try to be so respectful of the way that places pronounced in the place where it is like organ
now I'm probably right now, you're running it, isn't new year, see right we're looking up at the Ogden. The Ogden is a luxury kind of building in downtown LAS Vegas, not on the strip famous pertinacity, with all the huge hotels and casinos litter he old downtown about five miles north of the strip, but still LAS Vegas still in a state of. It with me that a apartments in the Ogden cell in the low timid, six figures there, how long I've lived there a year and a half, and you are Maggie Shoe and I run as its development for downtown hijacked. The downtown project is, as the name implies, a project to make downtown thing again in LAS Vegas an area where a lot of people might actually want to live Vegas in our union.
you have a family kids. I animals in a less appealing to have an apartment downtown. So ever really trying to do is go up the amenities. So you have a dog cart nearby. You have restaurants within walking distance value. Here, it's more than just that. More than just boosting amendments, the downtown project founded in January, two thousand twelve- comes with a big vision and a big prices which is being funded primarily by one man answered the initial allocation of the project was three hundred fifty million dollars fully funded as a form of entities by tony Tony Shea. That is each as each is already a business conquests, He founded Zappos the online shoe and clothing retailer he's still the ceo presided over a corporate culture- that most corporations wouldn't recognise among his priorities having fun empowering.
his call center employees and making customers happy at almost any cost, we ve written about Shea and Zappos before how, for instance, company me things are sometimes held in a bar and why customer reps are encouraged to talk to accustom refers. Long as they want all without a script and how their authorized to settle problems without calling in the supervisor they can even fire customer who makes trouble for them and how samples gives new employees a chance to quit their brand new job and even get acquitting bonus about one month's pay because tone,
Shea figures? He would rather weed out anyone who doesn't really really really want to work at apples. All those gambles paid off in two thousand nine Amazon dot com bought Zaparos for about one point: two billion dollars now Shea is using some of his money for an even bigger gamp, try turning downtown LAS Vegas into a very different kind of city. So, in this episode of economics, radio we'll do what most have you think about doing. Whenever you visit LAS Vegas, ensure we. around the camp fire and chat with Tony Shea and camp fire? Appropriate beverages not really normally amusement, and this is your first Peter having ever it tastes like beer, We had a Burnett shudder earlier for those of you Turning in
I'm happy from the w and my see this is freaking out radio. The pot casket explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your host Stephen Dogma, compared to the rise of LAS Vegas itself on gambling and entertainment. Mecca in the middle of nowhere through the moxie of some jewish gangsters. women, bankers and other colorful characters. The downtown project that Tony Shea envisions isn't quite so bold, but for anyone who cares about cities and about the future of cities,
worth paying attention to the idea for remaking downtown Vegas began when Shea relocated Zappos headquarters from Henderson on the southeast edge of LAS Vegas into downtown, but Shea being Shea didn't. Settle for some random address, Zappos moved into the old city hall. So today the former LAS Vegas City Council chamber is now an auditory him for his elbows company meetings. The old jail has been converted into play Jim and ones that was made over city Hall, Tony Shit, it began to wonder if downtown itself might need to make over one of its main inspirations was a Harvard economists named Ed Glaser, who, for years ago, published a manifesto called triumph of the city. How our greatest invention makes us richer, smarter, greener, healthier and happy. So, let's start there
Professor Glaser. I Stephen how you I'm very well. Thank you. How are you great that's and where are you today in Paris, France, poor fellow? How are things there is a spectacular April day? in Paris, and now we should just established for the record. You do not live in Paris, so just give us quickly. You're geographical, bona fides you de I live outside of Boston, and I am currently on sabbatical attempted to civilised my children by by taking them to a variety of different cities. Very good and you have a particular interest in cities. Do you not, sir? I do indeed I do love cities very much have spent almost all of my adult life studying cities, and that's also one of the reasons why I am here in Paris
so ass- you grew up in New York City, so you may be biased, but just rank for me. If you don't mind your five, let's say: favorite cities in the world, oh come on. That's like ranking your favorite children. That's that's highly! Don't everything that many children so its proud easier, but certainly I love New York and I love Boston and I'm very, very fond of Hong Kong, and I think Singapore is still remains. The best run place on the planet and Europe is filled with wonderful cities, full of charm in history, that I also very much if you had to pick one since you're in Paris right now. Maybe it would be. Paris have yet pick one western european city to make your top five list wrote to me. Oh certainly, Paris is great. I also
As such I spent a month in Barcelona, which I also love and look I'm passionate about London as well. You ve shared with us your five or seven favorite cities, noting that what makes him your favorite is not necessarily universal, where on your list and this list can be law long as you want of cities in the world. Where would LAS Vegas Rank on that list? Since again, I gave you cities that I loved. I am not sure that I'm comfortable making any sort of a list, but certainly there's a lot too like about the dynamism in LAS Vegas. Las Vegas was one of the fastest growing american Citys. For many decades it was
place that until the boom succeeded marvellously as many american sunbelt cities do at providing vast amounts of affordable housing for ordinary and income Americans, and that's terrific. It cannot be faulted for its pro business policies. All of these things are to be are to be loved. It is true that what when people, often think of as the core of LAS Vegas LAS Vegas Strip, which is really in the unincorporated city, that's it that's a thing which has a as a lover cities. I'm I may marvel at it's hard to sort of fall in love with it is, I think, historically, the great weakness of LAS Vegas has been education so much so that in you know, my earliest work documenting the connection between education and urban growth. Las Vegas was an obviously huge outlier because it grew so quickly and had so little of a basin
terms of share the population with a college degree and in the city. You still have about twenty one percent of the LAS Vegas adults with a college degree, which is a lot closer to Detroit in oceans about twelve percent, that is to say at all, which is about fifty percent, and I continue to think that that is a LAS Vegas is greatest challenge is making itself attractive to a wider range of of skill categories. This message: the need to attract I leave it to keep people got through to Tony sharing and the other architects of the downtown project. One of them is that where whose a general partner at Vegas Tech Fund, the venture capital arm of the downtown project, the work that we first found really, I think so the seeds for what would become the downtown project was glaciers book. I was very flattering Terry reached out to me. He read my book and seems to have been excited by steeply flattering. Obviously an end Zappos take me to come out
talk to their workers? And I got to spend about three days with Tony hang out and the downtown area of LAS Vegas. I thought it was fascinating what it is doing and I thought the always seemed like it was an uncertain bat. The bed was whether Tony Shea could use his fortune to reshape downtown, not, however, by building big attractions that draw visitors, but rather by reconfiguring things for the law Zack where again so in Tony's case he set about, on the real sit side to acquire a fairly large contiguous area of land, in this perspective was I don't necessarily need to build everything? I don't want it. I don't want a programme, the neighbourhood, I'm not someone who can do that, but what I can do is be a force as best as I possibly can so our seas weather in. If you have me, if you wanted to have restaurant, the Bookshop New BAR co, working space and so forth, with co existing together, our secret sauce
was that downtown project and all the property The idea is that when you look at co spaces offices, cities the magic in and creativity, it happens. Places is as a result of random, encounter and conversations with people you otherwise wouldn't know to reach out to couldn't reach out shoe didn't know existed. They have a word for this collisions. Collisions are the most important metrics that, where say, have in mind, that's engineering environment, to support, collisions to inspire collisions and being very mindful debt. a master plan. Single idea can be very risky that letting in the neighborhood to revolve itself is what makes our our minds long term MAGIC cabin Ed Glaser says this vision is very different than most visions about how to build or grow city. When you look at the globe and what in building cities, usually
It means that somebody has come up with couple billion dollars to build some form of project convention Centre, a sports stadium, maybe something to do with transportation, when they try to rapid city around it, and sometimes it works at least half of a time. It doesn't, but its very much of the view that what cities are physical structures and let the people you know follow that Shea was remarkable, because his view was that the structures should actually follow the people. That's that's a view. I largely share that actually focusing on the real heart of the city, which is always the humanities dwelling in that city is the right thing to do, and it was very much a view that that the neighbourhood will grow organically, that it would originally be housed in older buildings and have businesses housed in things like shipping containers. It would focus on the social
works on a bumping into each other of different people. It was a very exciting vision. Now I think it's hard to make dense downtown area work in LAS Vegas right and in the entire sunbelt area. In the. U S is an area that built around the automobile non back on the street with Maggie Shoe runs business development. The downtown project was about five p m on Tuesday in February Vegas, was just recovering from a cold snap. It got gotten into the forties. There'd been snow on the surrounding mountains. Zappos had been planning a charity event featuring Britney spears and a bunch of zoo animals. Brittany spear we still gonna show up, but the zoo animals were kept at home because the ethical so were the very beginning. The downtown project here LAS Vegas in Ogden, so if collision colliding inclined ability in collision ability, etc are what you're after it's in a prime time,
afternoon and where the only people in the corners and there too cars within eyesight, so they're all colliding with her at not providing interacting with each other. How more urban. Does it need to get before the stuff that you want to happen starts to happen, and I think it's a mix of increasing the residential density, but also facing mobility, and so LAS Vegas is a very car central nature and people are used to driving places. There's nothing surprising in this. All of the world's urban areas are built around the transportation technology that was dominant in the era in which they would be produced. So you know who the western cities, which are postwar typically were built around the car LAS Vegas as much as as any?
to the shape vision of a sort of a dancer walking area was always a little bit at odds with that. Although LAS Vegas was always somewhat quirky because of the desire of tourists to be able to walk places, so it always had more densely more walk ability. Then, let's say Phoenix did or Oklahoma City and I think the the attempt, a sort of creatively, reuse, old space, the attempt to focus on social connections or that sea. Exciting visionary, if, indeed, something of a gamble, downtown project is now when the biggest landowners in downtown LAS Vegas. It directly employs more than two hundred fifty people and estimates that it has helped create at least nine hundred jobs through its startup investments. It owns and operate some properties
the container park and open air shopping in eating in entertainment zone, a grocery store, boutique hotel and the gold spike. That's a bar and restaurant that also serves another function. Gold spike that used to be a casino with dollar strict blackjack him off are interesting games and we converted into a co working space. So don't notice power outlets free, WI, FI, it's actually great place for startups that don't have offices with these guys over there co working? Are they just drinkin I'm so the gentleman in the corner, actually runs our food and beverage operations and so he's having a meeting a little bit of both the gold spike is perfectly inviting, but only a handful of people had taken up the invitation, at least on this one,
the afternoon he felt a little bit like a really nice model home version of a bar. It doesn't have to be perfect when you first open it. It was intentional also being able to understand how people use the space and the best examples the backyard, so the backyard actually was a parking lot. When we first opened and one day, someone said why not build a nice rank right, so we built out what we called the cold spike. We had ice rank these rural decorated as gingerbread houses. Not many people went ice skating, so we decided to re tool and what really stood out in the upper views and customer feedback was these giant games so we decided to get a vice rank and build this area full of giant games. There were indeed a bunch of giant games out there, including the classic Backyard contest known in some parts of the country as Cornhill. It is basically a bean beg toss toward a sloped board hole in it,
How do you score in the whole is something and on the board is something Alice. Three on the board is one: where do we shoot from I'm looking up from this line? What's our wager, one bedroom apartment in the agenda that to is therefore not size for another. Strange later. Ok, you got in uniform, three total of four zero suddenly running back there?
are you a shudder? Tony's vile, tell you, the girl, after Cornhill Detour, continued on the west side of the street Ass, a Fremont experiencing and its business and preventive strikes casinos and strong predates the guy's a bed and a lot of it was the original strategy. I think right over her kindness, east of free monies, for lack of a better name, but many these restaurants and bars were around around for several years and existed before Zappos move downtown and they were kind of this unique spot where part Henderson, and the owners and the restaurants would go to other people's restaurants after work, and so is this naturally support of community. And what Tony saw there was something that you had. They begin
really brain you make space rosner. a burnt land or not. If you know Brooklyn or Austin, it might seem impossible tat. We make the old downtown section of LAS Vegas in their image, but remember the downtown project has a secret weapon and urban economist adviser who believes that the key to an effort like this is tracked, a certain kind of entrepreneur, Ed, you wrote a paper beckoned, two thousand nine called clusters of entrepreneurship, and it seems as though Tony is following this plan quite closely I'll. Read you the beginning of your abstract employment growth is strongly predicted by smaller average establishment size, both across cities and across into
these within cities and Tony, as you know, is trying to import a lot of trying to start up and encourage a lot of small businesses, restaurants, shops, bookstores, and so on. Talk about that four minute. Obviously, that's the right way to go. Why is that the right way to go? How does that work in cities? Well, you know, I think this is may be best illustrated by the counter example, which is Detroit, so Detroit goes from being one of the most entrepreneurial places on the planet in eighteen. Ninety right, which is filled with a cluster of smart people, just trying to do the new.
a lot like Silicon Valley, the nineteen sixties and it succeed so well that it creates these massive massive automotive companies that provide fantastic wages on credibly productive emitted has a seventy or run that is almost unimaginable in terms of its urban triumph, and yet the very success of those companies basically kills off the tradition of entrepreneurial human capital. It trains, people who make super company men, but not scrappy entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. Like anything else, the matters is a skill summit
its built and if you spend your life working for General motors you're, not likely to be the right person to start up some. You know scrappy new electronic greeting card company, if General Motors falters- and that's really, I think, what the that papers about and what the sort of long litany of evidence trying that shows. This or of role of proxies of entrepreneurship is predicting urban success, suggested just as normal human capital share. The population with a college degree is very predictive of which areas do.
measures of other types of human capital, like the amount of entrepreneurial skill in the area, also predict urban success and I think that's what Tony Shea is trying to do is trying to create enough of a cluster of entrepreneurship, both because those entrepreneurs will themselves create employment, but because some of their entrepreneurial skill is likely to be infectious. The people learn from each other and your create an overall cluster of this, and that's why the downtown project is helping fund all kinds of small entrepreneurs so far, it has put money into more than fifty businesses and through the Vegas tech fund, a hundred texts startups here again is Zack where in our case we said- and there is an amazing shuffle- wants to start a restaurant. How can we get behind here are two or three really awesome tech company ideas that we think are really awesome. Companies invest, and let's do that and end the idea Russia has always been create value by creating diversity. Try not to bet on one thing, but rather have a hunt.
red amazing idea, interesting ideas where twenty percent- thirty percent forty second fail, and you still have a very diverse active economy and an ground activity rather than choosing one big gigantic thing like a stadium in or a big building that can fail, and when, fails the whole neighborhood resound with it. The epicenter of the downtown project, the densest small business incubator you like a cross between an outdoor, mall and accounting fair. So this is, this is looking like I don't know what to describe this, like Public Plaza, playground d, their kids and people play being on stuff in but shops, almost signs. So what does this business that container per day it was an old motel sex that we tore down? I'm wanted to build both a retail space, retail incubator for for a time, entrepreneur, as well as a space for families and children, and so both components were equally important. So you,
however, on the outside a lot of first time, owner operated small dishonours that can test out their concepts in a small space and if they succeed, they can move to stand alone, bricks and mortar or they can shift location. So we actually had a few stores go from second Florida. First works are successful. They needed more footage and then, at the same time we had this giant us family Robinson Tree House, a middle with three slide play space for children and we can actually take a walk round the permanent. So, just then if you would just look around and tell me the name of some of the shops here and if the name doesn't contain what they do. Tell us what they do and so bigger in spite of a q, is barbecue
and the owner is coming named Ernie and he was working at the call center at Zappos and his passion was barbecue. So, with another small business investment funded him, he was going out of the back of the truck for a while, and this was his first ever store and I believe he's now. The you know that the top or second gross food and beverage outlet in the entire park and when the park opened, he got up on singing and I remember he was crying, and this was life changing opportunity. Then we'll go into the toys for cargo toys, so Lizzie and her husband Trevor are from Austin Texas and they were attitude store. Several thus were therefore south myself West somewhat upon the store, and they were asked we're going out of business, and so we said he know why not open a toy store in
downtown biggest what you think about that, I'm it seemed like a really national fit with the kids, and they ve been here ever since, and their absolutely amazing what they can do there national owners have even less media. My signature, honeydew, explained to me just one hour subsidized business, and how does it work? Subsidize Mihai would explain this business specifically because we are part of that fully funded like autonomous group, so we're which small business I would call it. I see this venture capital and on which I would see a subsidy in so much as investment risk. So what's, if you were to be the business owners
in that scenario, and what are you thinking about is like a hot Hetty measure success? And how long can you go without being as successful as you might be? If you didn't have that MECCA now, if we ve done business for ten years now, specifically in the toy industry and one of the biggest difficulties in such a weird nation industry, especially since the whole banking crisis has been finding capital, and so what we re he appreciated over all from working before is. Is it a huge pressure? Is off like we can focus on what we do best and we're not constantly stressed and we're not constantly having to also learn how to like fine funding and organise everything like it's in a funding that we can really work on the business and constantly forget about where an excellent of credits coming from you goes or a couple
otherwise those over me everyone eyes. I think this is the best birth control thing you could ask. We get really cute kids in and I love and every time I started thinking seriously about it will get a little nightmare on and off the signal at another year on title are waiting period. We started discussing what were they dockers? What are your big sellers? You're toys? Yeah? We wait. We really set it up so that we keep in staff that sells well on there's not much. We have it doesn't move. Brody is a personal favorite. I've worked with this company for years, so they're bound see, ponies there made in ITALY there actually useful, they're beautiful. So there you see that design on their over thirty years old. Both of them are safe to four hundred pounds so having so, even though the kids toy it totally adult friendly,
and there's somebody drunk grown ups on them every Saturday night, we won't be here, you can, I bother them so much. Energy is above Maggie. you and I had out of container park where the density falls in a hurry. So, as need is all this is where encountering very few actual humans. Is that, because of time of day day of weaken temperature, it's still less than Then you would find in many other cities and downtowns by you, ll notice, tat. What we try to do is build blocked by block, so the container park a year ago would have even less traffic, so we built that extra block you extract container perk. We ve started activating further down we're about to walk to the bookstore and will say a few more people, so we're making that journey and the thought as we build more of that out, so we're building a music area on the right with the bank house, which is
The venue, the wheel house, which will be a wind Howard stage and a record so fat opens you have even more so as this one walk, walk strategy and part of that strategy is to attract technology startups. I asked a Glaser what kind of text or ups downtown Vegas should be thinking about if there with some tech cluster that you could clone or import or steal what kind of tech cluster would it be? What did you know if you could transplant something? Would it be like a silica oh you're route, twenty eight corridor or a provo environment. Or do you want a different kind of industry represented than the kind of current traditional tech industry? What would you bring in to Vegas if you could bring in anything that you think would help it to succeed
I would thank the more that you go towards Europe, things like Silicon Valley, where you're focusing on making faster and faster transistors. I can't imagine that that has any synergies with LAS Vegas. That being said, think about what Tony shave found attract about the LAS Vegas area for oppose. It was the consumer oriented workforce, people who came out of working and hospitality industry. People came out of the entertainment industry, people who were fantastic manning, the phones for Zappos now. The question is what other sort of consumer service tech companies could potentially take advantage of that what What other areas are their synergies with the traditional strengths of LAS Vegas Maybe that's another angle to play, but if Tony
Hey, wants the downtown project to do more than just make life a bit more interesting for Zappos employees. That is a much bigger challenge. I think it all depends upon whether or not there's going to be enough on our ship that he can attract into the air, in particular enough educated entrepreneurs. I think this feels fairly central to me is whether or not he can attract more people like himself into the area and probably not just people who are in service industries. He needs to go, get something more of a chain of you know, tech people who decides if this is a whole lot, cooler on a whole lot, cheaper than other places that they could move to. Let me propose something where we'd be killing we're tawny shape could be killing a couple birds with one stone. What would it take
for you to bring your family to LAS Vegas, downtown project for let's say three years to establish a kind of triumph of the city, urban the tooth will you'd be the star attraction and you'd work there and lived there and then the other I q would flow how much this tony shiny need to pay you per annum. I don't know but money, I think the problem is that my welfare function depends critically on having people who are smarter than I am around me, and I would need to make sure that my kids also had a lot of people were smarter than they were around them, and if you can guarantee that you know it's, I think I'd be willing to go that in some senses. The challenge that we face and in starting a new city is to serve attract cluster of of cluster of talent. The can feed on itself now I dont know how well
how feasible? That is a website that will be achieved, but even if you judge the project in the abstract I mean, if it were me doing it, I'd be pretty sure that I would screwed up right, I mean, but he is remarkable guy, with a remarkable track record? Who is a deeply charismatic in many ways, so you would have lost money in the past bidding against Tawny Shea. So I'm not sure I would be have to start betting against him. Now coming up. I reckon on trading we finally get around the camp fire with Tony Shea himself to hear what he's got his lot of city. Revitalization, projects are really top down. Master plan were really can't. I that is really more about backing the entrepreneurs in their passions and don't forget to pick up a copy of our brand new freak anaemic spoke when to rob a bank
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what's in your wallet terms, apply cap, But one and a member of the icy from w, and why see? This is freakin onyx, radio, here's your host, Stephen Dublin after our tour of the downtown project we head to the outskirts beer in the streets here are very quiet, sidewalks, empty skin dark. Now we turn right and come upon a guard shack, We get Wade through where, with the ban and now we find ourselves standing in what looks to be a very funky trailer park,
walking on a very nice Astrid turfed, not trademark s, return, artificial grass, walk away with colored lights in a comic canopy and structures are some Eritreans, but also a lot of tumbleweed. Is that name brands, tiny tiny and how many many residences or how many buildings are? There are now twenty years streams intent and are they all full? It's one of the residents is Tony shake. Under and CEO of Zappos, the man who is his own money into the town and project we began as apparently many get to others begin with Tony Shea, with a shot of his favorite dream. It is an italian more that certain forty herbs, including ginseng tasting, smells like chinese message. Sixty seconds for drink it you're something it's just if actually gets rid of mergers
language learning and advancing years in two years time Everything This is the wishes that, like I hurried through just out of the only one with a bottle you'll see ass, you can and you money the south doors are, and I don't know what's out, there is a great spotted there on top of our sugar or we can do next to the camp fire, so he can. Get that everyone's background. I like that Don't you just going to set the scene like say where we are and what happens here? We are in a half a city block, and so this was just a completely empty lot going to happen to go
a bunch of us decisive move in as a living experiment, and the original idea was: let's see what happens if we do in urban version of burning Mary, I think there's probably fifteen or serve us. Live here, but then we also have a whole bunch that are set up as guest Airstream. in general are you're living here now you sleep every niner I've been here, over three months of November report. Looking so useless in the area and bright, and so do you when you say you see literally, don't live there anymore, you kind of Montana there. This is, this is temporary rate now. This is really yeah, I've, probably them back there five times. Well, timed Zan by yourself. You have an yeah. It's the one behind. Ok, so Maggie walked round and gives great baffled that you ve been able to do what you ve.
Done so far in even more baffled that you wanted to do what you ve done, because it seems like such massive undertaking not just physically and logistical and financially but psychically. So that's right, want to talk about is worded. The psychic part like what made you wanna reinvent, a part of a city, where did that? I am worried that desire come from, I guess For me, it wasn't really about reinventing like this area, wherein nerve free money switch an error that must first don't know about already system and just by magical coincidence, it was a few blocks from The former city hall, which is now at the headquarters and You didn't have any desire idea to do this until Zaparos move there originally. Actually, we were looking to do what a lot of corporate camps as to where we were looking to buy
they potter land and then can build, little community for the company. So we actually toward canvas Apple Maggie in Google that have these amazing campuses and then ask our employees for ideas for what happened during campus. and we literally got hundreds and hundreds of suggestions where we realise that this can be physically impossible to fit sanctions. Actually the number one request we got from employees was actually doggie daycare which rank significantly higher than human. And so is that because more your place have dogs and kids? Are they care more about their dancing? Kids do now, I'm guessing being people have dogs enticing, but as we got all these
class. We realised that it was indeed physically impossible to fit all of them under one roof and The other thing we realize was that all those other campuses that we had looked out were great from place, but actually insular, really in a greater contribute to the surrounding community. So we started thinking what have we actually turned in higher concept. Inside out, and rather than just focusing on ourselves. We, an approach that was more now yes and why you were the campus plans and with the city, and you don't really know where one begins, the other ends. What? Why did you care about? That? I mean I mean aesthetic, we I understand- and I personally happened to agree it's a nice idea, There are all these other corporations that I mean the typical corporate camp Ashraf she been very segregated from where people live. What what made you think that was worth doing, I think based on a lot of different research reply.
I read so we were talking about a glacier earlier and I and then there's also Jeffrey more. That's done research on cities, every time the size of a city doubles innovation and product productivity? President increases by fifteen percent, but the opposite generally happens with companies if they get bigger innovation productively per employee Joan goes down so part of it. It was wanting to avoid and really think that how do we over time gets apples too, more, like a city, unless I got typical bureaucratic com? How much of that from year end was a desire for business and how much of it was a desire like a kind of aesthetic choice, for you, like you thought, would be better nicer cooler if your company could be like that as was to necessarily the product productivity and the things it was a few different things. There's the productivity part of
and then there is also the YE attracting retaining employs more than if employees that we're looking for one part of an urban environment, then that was different part of the motivation, but then the other interesting researchers that most innovation actually comes from something outside your industry being applied here, and so I think, kind of companies that are just four walls ultimately end up being less innovative because they don't have the interactions with people from other industries and so on, or on a typical, suburban campus, most people No, you know who you are. I know what you ve done would consider you innovator. I mean that's kind of and in addition to being a success, a business, that's what you're known for Do you think that, having
in an innovative business necessarily has inherently too. you into an innovator in this kind of thing, this kind of social urban experiment I mean: are they Is it one and the same? Is it necessarily related, or is it just something that's kind of outgrowth of who you are as a person what you like to do? I think it's more about because never interested in anything related to urban, revitalization or anything or real estate, until relic we recently in and for me, ten or fifteen years I used to throw a lot of listen. I would think about Are you design the space so that people collide with each other and interact with each other, and so, for example, if there's two hours at a party then would shut down the first bar, that's closest mansions and then
eventually finds the other and and then maybe an hour or two later open up the first car than that promotes the simulation. And then within an office environment at Zaparos Cultures really important to us, we want people to have those equivalent of what conversations and so would you a thinking about how do you create more collision? So we would do weird things like in our Henderson Office and in building. I was in the parking lot behind the building in the previous ten and actually had all their doors on of four walls, the building and employees would go in and out, whichever door was most convenient, so we actually shut down those doors and had everyone actually walk around in entire building and commend the front entrance which created which, which ended up making the reception error. This collision point were guess, Syn his wooden colliding and
have evidence that that leads to better outcomes. Part of it is just a personal experience and an adult on in me, really care of its empirically a lot better, because you know when I talk to what about you recently? He said that as much as he is no kind of sleep to the data at the end of the day like, if he's trying to do thing is consulting with the business or with an NGO or with the government he's gonna take. Even if these. one percent advantage in scenario a over be and that my require doing something that most people think unpopular he's going to do it because it's gonna be better and he said the tiny doesn't care at all. The aiding like that is tony. Just cares about people be,
happy and people having a good time and was apples. It's been incredibly successful but leave it like, for instance, wasn't sure at the success was due to their happiness or maybe orthogonal thug annulled the happiness so dude, no due care I do care- and I guess, interested in whatever data research that maybe you guys can come up with. But if you read books, good to greater travel leadership, there's a clear at least correlation right, if not cause between companies. do well in the long term financially and the good culture. Although if you look at the good too great companies, have you looked at those lately, while so there's a power but that you come up with, which was how the mighty foller failure and sir that's also interesting reading, but generally great company.
Whether it and go to greater or in general, have strong cultures- and so some people might think, is the strong culture that the long term financial results in some people could say the other way round. Because rare you have the ability to develop your culture if you're being successful, and so I can also tell you just from I guess personally, and ran from experience at least of the close friends. I have its apples, then that I talk to you that when you're working with friends and super engaged, just time flies angry you want to do the best job ass will not because you're insane into that. Just because you have that entrance motivation, you grab marine marine coming just north of things in a kind of
borderline rural, suburban. What was it like, was in the suburbs and you went to college. Where went to Harvard? Would you study computer so he lived in Marine County than you lived in in Cambridge. What did you think of cities like what we're at had you been in cities allotted you lived in? The cities in which cities did you love No? Actually, I guess I mean, as aside from Cambridge women Did you go into Boston? Much sure I think I went twice during call. Him So today I was never a city person, but I did. the community aspect of living in the darkened by right wing. Soon then, Obviously, when unto do a whole bunch of things, including Zappos, were you still What are your favorite cities now in the world,
I love this New York. Amsterdam, downtown Vegas San Francisco Is it about those cities that makes you happy, I think, probably nation of the walk ability and the accessibility of really whatever you want, if you're in them mood for some random type of indian food. You can I find it or if anyone something delivered, you can find it so we're we're sitting here doesn't resemble what most people think of his city is all. What's your ultimate dream of we're we're sitting right now, which is feels more burning man at the moment, then the middle of a city? Do you want to have this fuel like it's? What Brooklyn nephew like some or no
not really no Brooklyn that well, but young one of the a few years ago. the easiest way to describe what we are trying to do from downtown project perspective was Jane TAT. The conference meets south southwest meets burning man, but as a lifestyle and serve as an annual event and I think more generally its. I guess, a lot of city river, position projects are really talk down master plan and were really can't. I it's really more about backing the entrepreneurs and their passions and so our goal is to help accelerate, I'll make downtown Vegas a place of inspiration. entrepreneurial energy creatively, innovation, upper mobility, discovery and all that,
commissioner creatively in entrepreneurs. So lasers, thing is that the dense you have, cities creates not only put, typically, but a whole lot of other gains that are not necessarily pretty people are not necessarily than that measurable adjust the density in the propinquity of all the people coming together, terms of value and in terms of intellectual property and stuff, just totally changes. The game just curious, like how would I do see Glaser is a kind of guru for what you're trying to do, and how did you come to like him so much yeah I mean basely. After reading his book, it was probably big part of formulating the strategy behind what we're trying to do so about Cities are ultimately about the Excel idea flow in different industries
and so on, and so just being more purposeful about that approach. Verses. Let's, something I think he refers to as the edifice complex in his book. So verses. Let's build a giant right whatever and then that will magically Republic revitalize the city. But for me it was more the progression of we talk about the looking at party. Pressure within an office getting employs the phone Clyde, since the same concept just said, a grand scale, but getting residence collided talk to each other in an just knowing that the often that happens statistically, the magical happen on its own,
Will the magic cabin on its own is obviously too early to say, but should stop you from rooting, for it is cities? Are your kind of thing as they are for me and for Tony Shea, even though he came to them late and as they are for it: Glaser Let's say that, fifty years from now or a hundred years from now Downtown LAS Vegas is turned into one of the most dynamic, an original and productive and even aesthetically pleasing cities in the United States. In the rest of the world and you and I will presumably be long gone by, certainly a hundred years from now. What does it feel like to be? the economist who studies Sid he's in how they thrive and how they ve triumphed. How would that field? You have played a not insignificant role in that triumph. That would be, that would be lovely
course, if it doesn't do well, I have to take the boats fruit, for that is for that as well. But to be clear, I think you know if I'm one hundredth of one percent of this, that would be a lot. This is the dream in the energy of the downtown project and Tony Shea and his people, and I think there is often a tendency, people to point academics and say look look at this. Fancy harboured economical, gives meaning premature for the idea that I want to do anyway, and I think that you know, what's its lovely from it, a puff myself up with importers and think that I played some huge role in this. I think really. The vision was in in Tony's head and the people on the on the ground, but look I'm not trying to dodge responsibility for goes badly. I certainly you know
I certainly didn't say that it was a bad idea in a major way to him. So if it does crash, you can come knocking on my door and Toby. I screwed up like us answers. As you heard earlier, Ski Levin I've just published a new book called when to rob a bank and next week on the pod guessed you will hear what have When we go in front of allied New York City audience and talk about it, what will we say? No idea, I'm taping this promo before the actual event so makes it anything asking the questions will be faith. Sally sets next week, If we can have a radio and do me a favor once you ve read when to rob a bank, let us know what you think you can drop. Is a line at radio at reconnects, dot com or reaches on twitter. Facebook is set it up using
Fr Economics Radio is produced by W and Y see in Dublin productions are staff includes Gregg resolves Ski Caroline English Susie Lichtenberg Merit Jacob in Christopher Work, with help from David, Herman, Anna Hyatt, Rick, Kwan, Daniel De Zulu and Paul Schneider. If you want more frequent onyx radio, you can subscribe to our podcast on Itunes or good.
Economics, dot, com, real fine, lots of radio, a blog, the books and more hither, Stephen dubbing again one more thing: if you like for economics, radio, I think you'll also like the latest episode of people, I mostly admire the podcast hosted by my free economic, spreading co, authored, Steve, Levin. Here's what it sounds like a guest today, Sue bird. She collects championships she's for W Nba championships, five euro, the best about championships to end she ate championships for International Basque. a federation world cups and for limpid gold medals. I'd like to talk about the economics of Professional Basque about so the average player in the NBA made eight point: three million dollars into the nineteen and
in the W Nba, the average with eighty thousand is frustrating just now. I think. Actually, if you look, at twenty twenty? Our minimum is now higher, but we all put in the same amount of work. So is it. Hard to swallow, knowing that somebody else's work is being rewarded at times by I live in reality? I understand business and economics. Some people look at us as like charity they go will will help them out like an it in a terrible. What sense? Not unlike this business, investment way. Everything do look at us as an investment immediately its talked about how we don't make money- and it's like fifty years ago in the nba- did either, but people are willing to make that investment get behind it and growing people. I mostly admire you can find
on your favorite Pakistan Hither Stephen dubbing again one more thing: if you liked the episode you just heard, we think you like something else in the freak anomalies, radio network. Look for this interview on the new pod cast people. I mostly admire with host Steve Level, but my guest today Subaru she collects championships she's for W Nba championships, five euro, the best while championships to end she ate championships, for
international basketball, federation, world cups and four olympic Gold medal. I would think that, in order to be the player you are, you would have to be a person who acted gets better under pressure rather than worth. Well, obviously, there are people who are known for heading big shots at her, no one for playing, while in big games that exists for sure, but I think we kind of frame it the wrong way. It's not that you're gonna make nine ten, it's that you might make three at a ten but somebody else's making zero. It's on whose mode successful. It's like who's, the most successful the least successful that is people, mostly admire. You can find it on your favorite podcast app subscribe now, so that you don't miss single episode
Transcript generated on 2021-01-30.