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Techless Vegas

tech Las Vegas
Phil Chu
Phil Chu
Making software since the 80s

One thing that surprised me in Salt Lake City is the ubiquity of fiber. Every apartment I looked at had fiber connections (and made them a mandatory add-on part of the lease, so keep that in mind when you’re checking out the rents here).

In Las Vegas, on the other hand, I only saw fiber listed at one high-end ($2000/month or more) apartment. The clubhouse wifi at my last apartment there was so bad that I was better off using mobile hotspot and going to the cat cafe for their wifi. My condo building in downtown Vegas was wired for fiber, but I didn’t find out for three years because the sales office apparently didn’t think that was a feature worth advertising (and neither did my real estate agent when I tried to sell it).

Internet performance is just one aspect of the Vegas tech problem. When I got that condo, it seemed there was a budding tech scene downhtown: a bootcamp that held regular talks, including one by Nolan Bushnell, a University of Phoenix VR center, a WeWork-style coworking building, and a self-driving bus that circled the block around Container Park.

Five years later, the coworking building is shuttered, the VR center is a small tech incubator, the bootcamp is now a design firm, and the self-driving bus is gone (it didn’t work that well, anyway - jaywalking is a huge problem in Vegas, so the bus stopped every few feet).

Of course, the pandemic happened, but I think that was a lost opportunity. If you’re going to work remotely, you could make a pitch to move to Vegas for the same reasons I did - low cost living, affordable real estate, 24hr lifestyle support (for those time-shifted and time-crunched programmers), and a short flight from California.

But nope, the closest they got to bringing in some Silicon Valley is giving Elon Musk a license to build Tesla tunnels.