The Vegas Jelly Movement

Hands down, the most important event of the Las Vegas tech community right now is the Vegas Jelly. Anyone who wants to learn and understand something about Vegas Tech should start by attending the Vegas Jelly. Every Thursday evening (yes, pretty much all evening) members of the Las Vegas tech community gets together at The Beat Coffeehouse and Usr Lib to share a drink, co-work, network, connect, share war stories, help, and have fun together as a community.

I don’t think that Dylan Bathurst knew what he was doing when he started the Vegas Jelly. I know I certainly didn’t. Dylan likes to regularly remind me my response when he first told me about the Vegas Jelly. I told him it was unlikely that I’d be making it out to a Vegas Jelly. Almost a year later, and I go to the Vegas Jelly as much as possible.

I first attended as a way to support Las Vegas Startup Weekend. That Vegas Jelly was the perfect event to bring together the Tech community before spending the weekend together hacking away. Plus, I quickly realized that the Vegas Jelly was becoming as much about meeting and helping people as it was co-working (Dylan’s original vision). So I was hooked.

I love some of Dylan’s comments on the Vegas Jelly website from those first jellies. Here are a few:

“Leading up to Startup Weekend Las Vegas on June 24-26, 2011 we’ll be having a number of Jellies to get people interacting and sharing ideas with one another. Don’t worry we’ll continue having them after SWLV as well.”
Seems like quite the understatement now.

It’s on and catching on! Jelly #2 was once again totally awesome. We had a couple more of the awesome Ruby meetup dudes come hang out. We also had Josh, a freelance web developer, that is living/traveling with his family around the US in an airstream! As he and his family rolled through Vegas they heard about the Jelly and stopped by.
The serendipity started as early as the second Jelly with Josh and his family showing up. So cool.

“I’ve noticed that some of people that have met at the Jellies are starting to chat/collaborate/work together outside of the Jellies. This brings a proud tear to my eye. So don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you.”
I bet he’s shed a lot of proud tears with how great the Vegas Jelly is now.

Extending the Vegas Jelly Movement
What I don’t think any of us expected was how the term Jelly would start being used for all sorts of different meetups in downtown Las Vegas. Here are just a few examples:

SoundFoundry’s Jelly and Jam – Bring your instrument and play! (21+) Writing a concerto, need help mixing your latest dub-step, looking to collaborate, or just want to hang out and play? This meet-up is for musicians, by musicians… & open to all music aficionados. What is Jelly & Jam, you may ask? Jelly: a casual working event. Jam: a musical act where musicians play (i.e. “jam”) by improvising without extensive preparation or predefined arrangements.

Content Jelly – Do you blog? Write poems, short stories or novels? Create narrative or documentary films? Produce a podcast? Have a passion for photography? Write and/or perform music? Design games? If you answered “Yes” to any of the above, you are a “content creator”. We’ll meet every other Wednesday for an hour in the /usr/lib/ classroom for a quiet “get to know you” and updates on the various projects & initiatives going on around town. After that first hour, we’ll head down to the Beat for drinks & casual conversation.

Green Jelly – A gathering of Las Vegans interested in making downtown Vegas greener and more sustainable.

I’m sure there are other Las Vegas Jelly events as well that I either don’t yet know about or are in the planning stages. For example, I know there’s some people working on a Vegas Jelly West (although, I think they’re going to use a different name). That will be nice for those that live on the West side and provide a great outreach to many Las Vegas tech startups who don’t necessarily want to come downtown.

Tonight’s another Vegas Jelly and it should be a packed event. Here’s the breakout sessions they have on the agenda:

Hackers & Painters by RayMorgan and Mark Johnson!!!!

Pitch practices by:
v-by – Deborah
shipping containers — Kat — Patrick Gibbons
Wishfrogs – Dan Worthington
CleanTechOpen – Lori Glauser
Bob Sweitzer – Business Models – turning clicks into dollars

Get a seat early for these breakout sessions. I’m sure it will be standing room only again this week. I wonder when we’ll get the live video stream going.