The Internet mogul responsible for the online shoe outlet Zappos and an expansive urban renovation project in downtown Las Vegas, Nev., is heading to Santa Fe to talk about the science of city growth.
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and Geoffrey West, a professor at the Santa Fe Institute, will talk about city growth and infrastructure needs at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday at the James A. Little Theater, 1060 Cerrillos Road.
Hsieh led Zappos from paltry sales to more than $1 billion in annual gross revenue. Internet retailing titan Amazon bought Zappos in 2009 for $1.2 billion. Prior to that, Hsieh had sold a tech startup, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265 million.
More recently, Hsieh made national headlines for making a $350 million bet in Las Vegas to encourage urban redevelopment. Hsieh invested most of his personal funds into real estate development and spread $50 million to promote educational efforts, tech startup development and small businesses.
The Downtown Project’s website boasts the effort has created 825 jobs since 2011.
While Hsieh won’t be bringing his money to the city of Santa Fe, he will bring his knowledge. A news release says he will talk about the Downtown Project’s successes and challenges, as well as what Santa Fe might glean from the experiment.
“So much of Santa Fe’s promise lies in entrepreneurship, innovation and community building,” Mayor Javier Gonzales said. “This is the perfect moment for our community to be motivated and inspired by Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project.”
West is a theoretical physicist and worked as a researcher at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He also served as the Santa Fe Institute’s president from 2005-09.
The Santa Fe Institute, Creative Santa Fe and St. John’s College are sponsoring Wednesday’s event.
Tickets, $20 for general admission and $5 for students, can be purchased by calling 988-1234 or visiting ticketssantafe.org. Organizers said in a news release that they expect the event to sell out.