ACHIEVEMENTS: The San Francisco expatriate is one of America’s most gifted futurists. He tracks “mega-trends” at his website, Ubercool.com (most recently the move to wearable technology and the use of drones for consumer purposes), and considers the way they’ll shape our long-term outlook. “When I speak, I basically hold a mirror up to audiences, and often they don’t like what they see,” says Tchong, who moved here in 2010. “But I have to be the cheerleader of the future and say, ‘Look, your values have changed. You’re no longer interested in what you used to be interested in.’”
RUNNING SOME UPGRADES: Tchong believes the Consumer Electronics Show has had its day and needs to be replaced with something more idea-centric. He intends to produce a series of events that “push the innovation envelope”—tech salons, brainstorming sessions. “[Vegas] need to be proactively involved in pushing the [tech] industry forward,” he says.
NEEDS DEBUGGING: Compared with a tech-rich business culture like that in San Francisco, where “change agents” are more readily accepted, our business culture is more “monolithic,” Tchong says. There’s a wall between the way Las Vegas has traditionally done business and the way it could in the future, and he hopes to make the city “more open-minded” toward change—with help, of course. “Tony Hsieh is teaching the city the ethics of a startup culture,” he says.
GOOD NEWS FROM TOMORROW: Tchong is bullish on Downtown Las Vegas, likening it to a pre-tech boom San Francisco. “This place,” he says, “is going to explode.”