The Discovery Museum

Come Join The Discovery for Chemistry of the Cocktail

The Discovery Museum

Discovery Overload: A term coined by the staff of the museum to describe the reaction that occurs when a child finally reaches the top of the ramp to enter The Discovery Museum and first lays eyes on the all the attractions. The Cloud Climber is the first challenge to be witnessed, and conquered.

The buzz around town is that there will be an opportunity for me to go The Discovery Museum, without any children, and act like a kid. Even better news, everyone else 21 and over is invited. Come help The Discovery raise funds for their wonderful museum with a night of science and cocktails. I’m in.

The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (The Discovery) is offering tickets for the Second Annual Chemistry of the Cocktail event, set to take place Friday, November 15, 2013. This Party with a Purpose benefits The Discovery and supports its vision to be the community’s center that inspires curiosity, creativity and the joy of lifelong learning. Top area chefs and mixologists will take center stage at this fun event to benefit the museum.

What’s Chemistry of the Cocktail?

Guests will love this creative culinary and mixology event featuring a wide variety of gourmet selections from local culinary favorites including Men Wielding Fire, Reef Sushi & Sake, Circus Circus, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Doughboys Doughnuts, Roundabout Catering, and Nothing to It!

Another event highlight will be demonstrations on how to mix incredible cocktail creations from some of the best mixologists in the region including Southern Wine and Spirits and Campo. Guests will also enjoy live entertainment and a fantastic silent auction.

WHEN: Friday, November 15, 2013  6 pm to 10 pm

WHERE: The Discovery 490 S. Center Street – Downtown Reno

TICKET INFO:  $60 Advance Purchase ($450 for Eight-Ticket Package) – $75 at the Door. Tickets may be purchased online.

A STORY FOR YOU: A mother and her daughter were skipping away as they were leaving The Discovery, an employee asked the mother, “Wow, most kids are battling to stay here- your daughter is so cooperative!” The mother replied, “I had to tell her that we are going home to eat whipped cream! “

The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (The Discovery) is a locally founded nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. The Discovery’s vision is to be the community’s center that inspires curiosity, creativity and the joy of lifelong learning. The museum provides opportunities to discover science, art, technology and Nevada history through open-ended, interactive and fun exhibits and hands-on educational programs. Explore a cave, build a house, race across Nevada, and climb into the clouds – these are just some of the many adventures found at The Discovery.


The Biggest Little City

When The Biggest Little City Weeps

When the biggest little city weeps, we weep together.

Paul Klein and I were just talking about this the other day as we are prepping for TEDx- Reno has been hammered with tragedy the past 5 or so years. I will never forget when Brianna Denison was snatched from a friend’s couch, that feeling I felt when that plane crashed into the grand stands at the air races, when IHOP in Carson City turned into a gruesome crime scene, or when shots were sprayed across The Nugget as 2 gangs quarreled… and it doesn’t stop there. A lot of people in our country can only identify Reno with these  types events.

When the biggest little city weeps, we weep together.

Countless hours by a countless number of people have been put forth in an effort to revitalize our town and our town’s reputation. And sure enough, some really wonderful things started to happen in the past year or so. Just last week we landed a great article in the NY Times (thank you Freda Moon) featuring many of our local bars and restaurants, and we were also ranked #9 by… finally! Then, as a trigger was pulled at a local middle school- the Biggest Little City was on every national news station in the country. Just like that, in an instant. A town stopped cold in its tracks.

 When the biggest little city weeps, we weep together.

Our hearts have been broken. But, in times of struggle this town has demonstrated over and over again what a community is. So much pain, anger, and confusion…why? I don’t know why and no one here can tell us why, either. All I know is that two of our own, who woke up and saw the sun rise Monday morning, did not wake up yesterday.

Each time our town is struck, the display of compassion and community leaves me speechless. My heart cries out by all of those directly affected, and I pray that they feel the backing behind them. You are not weeping alone.

Wherever you find people, you will find imperfection. I still choose to be imperfect in this little town.

When the biggest little city weeps, we weep together.

The Biggest Little City

Startup Weekend Reno

Startup Weekend Reno Draws Global CEO

Startup Weekend, a global grassroots business-launching event, is coming to back to Reno, Nevada for the second time on November 22-24, 2013 with one big change. The CEO and President of Startup Weekend, Marc Nager, will be attending the Reno event that weekend. There are many Startup Weekends happening around the world on that same weekend including national cities like Austin, TX and international cities in Spain, The United Kingdom, Canada, Egypt and others. When asked why he chose to spend his Startup Weekend in Reno versus all other participating cities, Nager said,

“Reno has incredible potential to be another hub for startup activity. Having grown up in the area, I’m personally excited to come spend time in the community and hopefully add to the momentum with the second Startup Weekend event!”

Software developers and designers as well as individuals with business skills (i.e., marketing, PR, graphic design) are encouraged to sign up for Startup Weekend Reno. Registration is open to everyone, though spots are limited to ensure a great experience. Register online at

If you are interested in sponsoring, mentoring or helping to organize the event, please email us at

About Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend™ (a nonprofit organization) supports the development and expansion of entrepreneurship through events worldwide that educate aspiring entrepreneurs by immersing them in the process of moving an idea to market. Startup Weekend has built a network of more than 55,000 alumni, thousands of volunteer organizers and 100 trained facilitators spread across more than 300 cities in 100 countries.

On Friday night, attendees pitch their ideas in 60 seconds or less. The remainder of the weekend is spent in groups formulating the most popular ideas—often Web and mobile applications—with the help of mentors and seasoned startup entrepreneurs. The weekend is a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing and market validation. It culminates with presentations in front of entrepreneurial thought-leaders, bankers, venture capitalists, and marketing and sales gurus, who provide critical feedback.

We hope to see you there!

#biggestlittlecity #swReno


Preparing for TEDxUniversityofNevada

I am sitting here staring at my computer screen, notes galore. I am supposed to be working on a TEDx speech (which, by the way, feels like putting together a jigsaw puzzle at this point) I feel intrigued to write about this whole process.

So, who’s TED? TED isn’t a person. TED is a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It started 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. TED’s mission: Spreading ideas. They believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.

The two annual TED conferences, in Long Beach/Palm Springs and Edinburgh, Scotland, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). These talks are recorded, and published on And, they’re fascinating.

What’s TEDx? It’s TED, but local! TEDx is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis. TEDx is returning to the University of Nevada in 2014, in hopes of outdoing it’s  wonderfully successful 2013 program (I was there, it was great).

Paul KleinI am part of a duo that has been selected to speak at TEDxUniversityofNevada in 2014. This guy over to the left, yeah that’s Paul.  Paul Klein is the Creative Director for the City of Reno, and I am thrilled to be sharing the stage with him. Paul has spent many hours on helping the brand of Reno, and he is extremely talented; check out his blog Defining Reno. Both Paul and I are MBA students at the University of Nevada and have worked closely together on the Biggest Little City movement that was launched on June 5th of this year.

What do you do when you live in a city that is a wonderful place to live for numerous reasons, but is constantly combating outdated notions and stereotypes? What do you do when your town gets nationally recognized for all of the wrong reasons? Together, Paul and I will be speaking on the issue of cities with poor reputations. We will be using the Biggest Little City movement as an example of what a small city did in an attempt to change the conversation. We will be discussing the importance of a grassroots effort, and offer a formula that could apply to any town in the world.

The goal of our talk is to offer assistance to other towns that are facing the same types of issues. The talk is not about Reno, in fact, we are challenging ourselves to not say “Reno” once in our 15 minute speech. It’s about showing others how they can make an impact in their own town- regardless of where it is.

The ultimate goal of a TED or TEDx talk is to have your talk go viral on YouTube. Yes, on the day of the speech you want to fare well with the crowd; laughs are good, nods are good, applauding is good, even tears are good…but that’s not the point. Your idea will live on and has the potential to touch millions via YouTube if you do it right. You want to present an idea that will resonate with all, not just your audience, and not just your town.

I will keep you posted on the process. The process itself has become a strategy; mastering the strategy is most of the battle. Practice. Practice. Practice.


Biggest Little City

A Grassroots Movement: Does Reno Have What it Takes?

What does it take for a city to create an effective grassroots movement? I am not talking about a short-lived trend, a clique, a blip on the radar… I’m referring to a groundswell; a tectonic shift that forever moves the town. I just finished reading Startup Communities by Brad Feld, an entrepreneur-turned-venture-capitalist. Feld has spent the past 20 years in Boulder, CO and uses their startup community as an example. Reno draws a lot of parallels with Boulder, and Boulder has been extremely successful. So, does Reno have what it takes to create a grassroots movement and change it’s reputation?


First and foremost a movement amongst a community must be started by entrepreneurial leaders. This is key and the #1 ingredient in the recipe. A sustainable change will not take place if it is created by government, universities, investors, mentors, or service providers. That’s not the basis of grassroots. Small-business people are the “roots” and “pillars of their community” as their businesses have a tight co-dependency with their community. Also, no one knows how to fight through adversity and failure quite like an entrepreneur. In a grassroots effort, there will be failures and there will be naysayers.


Peppermill Donation to the Biggest Little CityNext, in order to have effective leadership- there must be solid followership. Also known as “participants” or “feeders” of the community shift, the followers are the 2nd most important ingredient. All of those organized groups (stated above) that can’t quite lead a grassroots movement, play critical roles in terms of support. The Biggest Little City movement has seen support all over the town from feeders. Feeders would consist of the Peppermill, who so generously donated $100k to the movement, The City of Reno, Sparks, Washoe County, Reno-Tahoe AMA, EDAWN, RAD, and so many others that I am leaving out (sorry). Lastly, the PEOPLE of Reno have been crucial feeders of the movement.

Let’s not forget that we have a university here. Oh, yeah! That beautiful tree-filled campus up on N. Virginia… that place is a breeding ground for fresh ideas, innovation, ambition and, voila! Entrepreneurs. Not many cities can say that they are the home of a university. We can. The University of Nevada can be, and should be, a key to the success of Reno’s future.


Be inclusive. If a grassroots movement is going to, well, move… then it must include everyone and everything. When the Biggest Little City campaign was being developed, they considered all businesses, all citizens of the town- regardless what walk of life they come from. The Biggest Little City movement is for everyone; no one will be left out.


Size. Reno is the one and only “Biggest Little City.” Big enough to be nationally recognized, yet small enough to still see familiar places EVERYWHERE you go, small enough to be called a town, small enough to create a grassroots movement. I am from Orange County, that will always be home to me…but, could you ever see Orange County being able to maintain a grassroots effort? No.


There are many more elements, but these are the major pieces of a grassroots movements- starting with the group of entrepreneurial leaders. The Biggest Little City is so unique in so many ways and has the potential to do some serious moving and shaking. Reno does have what it takes to change the national conversation about their town.

Brad Feld, if this hits your radar- I am trying to reach you! Respond to my message. :)


Biggest Little City

A Grassroots Movement is Born in the Biggest Little City

Have you ever sat and watched a runny facet? The slow stream of water gathers at the mouth of the facet as a drop begins to form…then, the drop falls. The drop lands into a small puddle of water and causes small ripples that are sent throughout the whole puddle.

In February, a couple dozen Renoites gathered into the conference room of the Reno Gazette Journal for reasons unknown. Everyone was invited to hear some news, but no one really knew what was going on. The people in this room consisted of entrepreneurs, students, professionals, small business owners, City of Reno employees and more. Everyone in that room was from the same industry, they were all marketing professionals. Many people in that room compete with one another on a daily basis for clients, many people in that room had never met one another. But, as soon as everyone realized the purpose of the meeting- they left their egos, job titles and companies at the door. Immediately, they were all just citizens of a town that they all loved and that needed some help. They were all listening.

Tired of watching other campaigns fail, tired of watching ad agencies in New York trying to brand them, tired of another tagline, tired of letting other people tell them who they are, and tired of continuously getting kicked on the shins- it was time for the citizens to come together. They wanted to come together to create something that would work, something that would stick, and something that would change the conversation about Reno, Nevada.

That meeting lasted hours as everyone went around and discussed why they love and live in this town. The passion in that room radiated, that room was on fire. Everyone realized the potential of the group, this was the group that could create a groundswell and have a lasting impact on this town.

How the hell are they going to do this? Combining the thoughts, ideas and opinions of dozens of leaders to create an organic, grassroots movement was going to be a monumental task. But, if any one could do it- it was this group.

They met once a week as whole, and frequently in smaller teams from February to June. Finally, a creative movement was organized and the group did a call out to anyone who would listen, and invited a couple hundred people from the community to show what they have done. On June 5th in an empty unfinished building Downtown, these volunteers presented their gift to the city in hopes of people liking their idea.

On June 5th, that drop fell into the puddle… and the ripple began.


Biggest Little City

Reno Meets The Tipping Point

Change is in the air and it has been undeniable for a couple-ish years or so. Reno has finally reached a tipping point.

Malcolm Gladwell defines The Tipping Point as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.” And, here we are.  A beautiful formula has been brewing; between the University of Nevada graciously expanding, MidTown, The Arch Project, Reno Rebirth blogs, TEDxUniversityofNevada, TEDxReno, attempts left and right from various groups to change the perception of Reno, new taglines, our tech community… I am barely scratching the surface. But, Reno has reached a boiling point and a new attitude is being brought forth.

This town has been kicked in the shins over and over again. Thank you: Reno 911, The Muppets, Las Vegas, every other “Top 10 Worst Cities” list ever written, and the list goes on. Reno can’t and won’t deny what exists- yes we are a 24-hour town, yes gambling is legal, yes we have casinos, yes we have homeless people, YES WE HAVE SOME “SEEDY” AREAS, OK! That’s not a secret, but it’s not who we are. For some reason, the beauty and incredible lifestyle of this town has been kept a secret. It’s time to tell our story, and share with the world why over 250,000 people call this place home…500,000 if you want to include surrounding cities. 250,000 people wake up in the Biggest Little City every morning- that’s not a fluke.

Let’s talk about those 250,000 or so people… That’s our nucleus, that’s who we are. Not everyone that lives here loves this place, there’s a lot of grumbling going on in this town- and that is issue #1. There is no point in arguing the poor national attention that we have been receiving if a percentage of our own citizens don’t even like it here.  Here’s what I have noticed most about the grumblers, they have either: lived here their whole lives and don’t realize how uniquely awesome this town is,  and/or are unhappy with themselves. That’s just a common theme I have noticed, a complete generalization. The Biggest Little City needs an internal shift, that single drop to cause a ripple affect. Then, perhaps one day, the national stories will reflect our pride and confidence. The time is now. We want to tell our story.

I am honored to live in this town at this very moment. Something is changing and it’s too good not to write about.

I don’t think the core of Reno has necessarily changed, but I think the attitude of the community is growing stronger and louder. People are telling their same stories that they have always told about why they love this town- now, they’re just telling it a little louder, and it’s becoming contagious. The Biggest Little City wants to be heard, and we want to be heard for reasons other than the old, tired and expected kicks to the shins. There are a lot of things that are worth talking about here, it’s time to start talkin’.

Stay tuned for a little play-by-play as to what is going on in Reno, NeVAda. #biggestlittlecity

Biggest Little City

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Photo: Digiman Studio

Laura Zander of Jimmy Beans Wool shares a life lesson

Photo: Digiman Studio

Photo: Digiman Studio

I have had the privilege of listening to Laura Zander of Jimmy Beans Wool speak four times now, and each time I am so impressed with how down-to-earth this woman is. Her story is so inspirational. Laura and her husband Doug are software engineers who ditched the industry when it busted in 2000. They traded-in their San Francisco city lives for the quaint mountain town of Truckee, CA. By the means of fate, Laura stumbled into the yarn business and opened a tiny shop in Truckee. 13 years later, Laura and Doug are running a $7 million online retail business selling, yes, yarn.

Laura Zander has made yarn damn cool. I want to share one of her stories that really stuck with me, and has so many underlying messages in not just business but, in life.

Laura has a 5-year-old son named Huckleberry. Once upon a time, when Huckleberry was 2, Laura and Doug were boarding an airplane with him when the pilot walked by and caught Huck’s eye. Laura leaned over to her starry-eyed 2-year-old and whispered, “Hey, you should go ask the pilot if you can fly the plane.” Fly the plane? Really? Come on. “He is probably going to say no, that’s what he should say. BUT… what if he says yes?! Could you IMAGINE? You could fly a real-life airplane!” Huck looks over at the pilot excitedly, jumps down from his seat and makes his way to the front of the plane. The young boy speaks, “Can I fly the plane?” The pilot is stunned, and at a loss for words he says, “Sure.” Huck jumps into the pilot’s chair and goes crazy. Buttons, throddles, wheels, channels are all poked, prodded, and turned. The kid can hardly focus on what he is doing because he is so full of excitement. He is flying a real plane.

Many trips were taken after that, and each time, Huck prepares himself for a big-fat NO, and asks the pilot if he can fly the plane. Sometimes, the pilot will say yes! Sometimes, they say no and Huck understands, because after all, he was expecting it.

There was one occasion when Huck asked the pilot if he could fly the plane and the pilot replied, “I am sorry buddy, I can’t let you do that. BUT… I can let you under the plane to check out the cargo.” Huck looks over at his mom, and she says, “AWESOME! You never know what could be down there! There could be a whole circus down there, cotton candy, maybe even ice cream, and that would be way cooler than flying the plane! You never know!” Grinning ear-to-ear little Huck followed the pilot to the cargo.

You never know what kind of opportunities are out there if you don’t ask. And often, even a “no” will lead to an open door, if you are looking for it…a door that could be way cooler than the one you were originally trying to open.

Thank you for sharing your story, Laura.

Runners Come Out for the 1st Annual Downtown River Run

Reno 5000 Downtown River Run

So, in February I found a pair of pink Mizuno running shoes, a GPS watch–and the rest is history. I am runner, and I am not turning around. This is one of the best towns for such a hobby (addiction) due to the amazing scenery and trails. There are so many different races held in this town, I wanted write about one that has really set the bar for other races being held in this area.

April 14th was the first of three races for the RENO 5000 race series, and it was held downtown (beginning and ending at Reno’s famous arch). This first race has been titled the Downtown River Run. Dolan Auto Group is the title sponsor for all three of the RENO 5000 races this year, and the Downtown River Run was an exciting success.

“This race was only the 2nd race I have ever participated in.  My wife runs marathons & 1/2 marathons all of the time, and her experience with your race was heads above many others including the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll marathon, the Portland, Seattle & Honolulu marathons as well.  You’re setting the bar high for everyone else.” – Doug I.

Over 1,000 runners arrived under the arch on the morning of April 14th and debated whether or not to run with their sleeves on… It was a chilly spring morning! The Junior 1 Mile race kicked-off the event, and kids took off in pursuit of a Lexus CT 200. The 10k and Half-Marathon racers took off immediately after the National Anthem, and then followed by the 5k runners. Runners headed west and followed the Truckee River, then looped back around to finish under the arch.

RENO 5000 was created in an effort to produce events that will help our community to get fit, stay in shape, and to provide the feel of a world-class race experience for our local runners. You can expect consistency at each of RENO 5000’s events. After producing 40 events in less than 4 years, every single event has started on time and runners can always count on this in the future. There is nothing more frustrating for a runner than a race that has a late or even early start time.”Some of our more competitive and elite runners have a warm-up regimen, and a correct start time is vital to their performance,” says Race Director William Contreras.

“I think it’s the best race we’ve had,” said Taylor Samuels, who placed first for his age group and fifth overall in the men’s 5k. “There was a lot of positive energy.”

Many vendors from the area were in attendance; most importantly L’uva Bella Wine Gallery was pouring beer and champagne to treat the runners after the race.

RENO 5000 Race Director said, “As much as we try to please 100% of the people, it is impossible and we understand that, but if we can come close, we feel we are doing our job.” Furthermore, “I have run a lot of races, and I know that as a runner- all you should have to worry about on race day is your performance. The rest will be handled by us.”

Reno 5000 Downtown River RunRENO 5000 works hard to establish relationships with businesses in the community in an effort to produce sponsorships, so that the races can continue to offer low entry fees for a quality race experience. It doesn’t stop there; RENO 5000 strictly works with local vendors for all of their events and always donates a portion of proceeds to a local charity. Past donations have been given to charities that support: the victims of Air Races, JK Metzger fund, Northern Nevada Food Bank, and the fight against childhood obesity.

It was wonderful to see runners of all different ages come together for this event. If you would like to join the next race on June 23rd at Damonte Ranch High School, you can register here. The 3rd race will take place on September 8th at Bowers Mansion. The Downtown River Run has plans to return next year with the addition of a full-marathon, and there is even buzz about  next year’s race being Reno’s first Boston-qualifying event. Awesome.


WordCamp Makes Its Way to Reno


Ah, yes! Calling all developers, web designers, marketing professionals, and bloggers! The fifth annual Reno-Tahoe WordCamp will be held at the University of Nevada’s Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center April 27-28.

This unique educational event is an opportunity for WordPress developers and users of all levels to meet, share ideas, and learn more about the WordPress platform and its business applications. WordCamp features two days of conference sessions and workshops taught by local and national experts.  Covering “everything WordPress,” the event is organized by the Reno WordPress Meetup Group to benefit and support the WordPress Foundation.

WordCamp attendees can choose between technical and business tracks, and the agenda includes content and forums for WordPress novices, experts and everyone in between.

242895_10150195632775205_182187_o“WordPress is an awesome platform that makes it easy to build a website or blog,” says WordCamp organizer Megan Duggan, a graphic designer at Innerwest Advertising and Public Relations in Reno. “The Reno-Tahoe WordCamp packages great speakers and educational content into a low-key, affordable event for the local community. If you are designing websites or using WordPress for business or personal branding, you need to be at WordCamp.”

People can register online at The fee for the 2-day conference is $30, which includes lunch both days, a t-shirt, and a Saturday evening after-party and networking event. Single-day registration is $18, and student discounts are available.

Businesses of all sizes are being told that “content is king,” and WordPress is the world’s leading content management system. More than half of all websites that include a CMS are WordPress-based, as are most professional blogs. WordPress is used worldwide to anchor and streamline ecommerce, digital marketing, and business and personal branding.

The two-day Reno-Tahoe WordCamp offers technical and business tracks that include presentations, live demos, question-and-answer sessions, panel discussions, and more. The international WordCamp organization embraces an “unconference” philosophy, encouraging impromptu sessions limited only by the imagination of attendees.

The technical track is aimed at developers and designers. The program is still being finalized, but topics likely to be covered include WordPress site setup, theme development, jQuery, developer trade secrets and techniques, the latest plugins, web fonts and mobile issues.

The business track is aimed at marketing professionals, business owners and bloggers. Topics include monetization, authority marketing, blog content, branding, e-mail marketing, podcasting and social media strategies.

“Reno WordCamp is one of the best conferences in town for the WordPress community of users, developers and designers, many of whom make their living from using the software and building new things on top of it,” says Colin Loretz, cofounder of the Reno Collective coworking space.  “It also showcases the WordPress talent in and around Reno by attracting attendees and speakers from other cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Sacramento and Las Vegas.”

WordPress enthusiasts at all levels are encouraged to register at


What’s WordPress?

WordPress is a free, Web-based, Open Source software program anyone can use to build and maintain a website or blog.  Originally intended as a user-friendly blogging platform, WordPress has been transformed by a large Open Source community of WordPress programmers who have improved and greatly extended its capabilities. No longer just a tool for bloggers, today’s WordPress is a comprehensive content management system (CMS) that can be used to run full-sized, media-rich websites for social businesses.

What’s WordCamp?

WordCamps are casual, locally organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They come in all different flavors, depending on the local communities producing them, but typically include sessions on how to use WordPress more effectively. Attendees range from blogging newbies to professional WordPress developers and consultants, and often combine scheduled programming with unconference activities. The first WordCamp was held in San Francisco in 2006, and WordCamps have since spread to more than 100 cities spread across five continents.

Hope to see you there!