PLAYBACK (2015): Could the Next Brooklyn Be ... Las Vegas?!
Freakonomics Radio
Sun, December 6, 2020
Podchat Summary

Tribute to Tony Hsieh: Revitalizing Downtown Las Vegas

In this episode, host Stephen Dubner pays tribute to the late Tony Hsieh, former CEO of Zappos, by replaying an insightful interview from 2015. Hsieh's vision to revitalize downtown Las Vegas and create a vibrant, livable area is at the heart of this episode.

A Vision for a Vibrant Urban Environment

Hsieh's downtown project aimed to transform Las Vegas into an urban environment that fostered collisions and interactions between people. He believed that cities with a high density of people and diverse industries were more innovative and productive.

Backing Entrepreneurs and Passion

Rather than following a top-down master plan, the downtown project focused on backing entrepreneurs and their passions. By investing in small businesses and tech startups, Hsieh aimed to create a diverse and dynamic community.

An Experiment in Inspiration, Creativity, and Innovation

Hsieh saw the downtown project as a long-term experiment, hoping to create a place of inspiration, creativity, and innovation. The success of the project relied on attracting educated entrepreneurs and fostering a cluster of talent.

Inspired by "Triumph of the City"

Hsieh drew inspiration from the book "Triumph of the City" by Ed Glaser, which emphasized the importance of cities in driving economic growth and innovation. This book played a significant role in shaping Hsieh's vision for the downtown project.

A Campfire Conversation with Tony Hsieh

The episode concludes with a campfire conversation with Tony Hsieh, where he delves into his motivations and expands on his vision for the downtown project. This intimate conversation provides further insight into Hsieh's remarkable ideas and aspirations.

Join host Stephen Dubner as he pays tribute to Tony Hsieh and explores the visionary ideas behind the downtown project in Las Vegas. Discover how Hsieh aimed to create a vibrant urban environment, back entrepreneurs, and foster inspiration, creativity, and innovation. Gain valuable insights from Hsieh's campfire conversation, where he shares his motivations and vision for the future of downtown Las Vegas.

Original Show Notes

Tony Hsieh, the longtime C.E.O. of Zappos, was an iconoclast and a dreamer. Five years ago, we sat down with him around a desert campfire to talk about those dreams. Hsieh died recently from injuries sustained in a house fire; he was 46.

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