ABQ-Live the Magazine sat down with Nyika Allen and Howie Kaibel, the two co-organizers of Yelptropolis, held at the El Rey Theater May 28th, 2015.
Nyika Allen – Director of Community & Operations, New Mexico Technology Council, Co-Organizer of Yelptropolis 2015
Howie Kaibel: Senior Community Manager & Marketing Director, Yelp Albuquerque, Co-Organizer of Yelptropolis 2015
What is Yelptropolis? Why do you think it was important?
Nyika: Yelptropolis gives local techies, innovators, and startups a chance to share what they are doing with the broader community and gain exposure. It also gives us a chance to celebrate the cool things happening in New Mexico.
Howie: What Nyika said. There’s a burgeoning, vibrant grass-roots tech innovation scene happening in the 505 and across the state, but the general public is pretty disconnected. Yelptropolis was created to bridge that disconnect and, well, throw a huge party while we were at it.
How many vendors participated this year and do you have a rough attendance number?
Nyika: 24 Vendors, 850 people
In your opinion what positive impacts did Yelptropolis have on the community? Business to business and in general?
Nyika: I think that Yelptropolis really gave some small startups and restaurants more exposure in New Mexico. It also gave us a sense of community that we don’t always see in New Mexico.
Howie: To begin with, we raised about $1200 for the New Mexico Technology Council, which is the umbrella organization for many of the startups at the event. Community word-of-mouth, including the Yelp reviews of the event, have been extremely positive. And for many of these businesses, Yelptropolis gave them an opportunity to connect and share what they’ve learned.
Did you have a favorite vendor set up or a favorite dish? If so, what were they and why?
Howie: I thought the Levitated Toy Factory lounge on the balcony of the El Rey absolutely killed it. They constructed an exhibition, including furniture for the crowd, that illustrated their unique artistic vision and innovative spirit. I was blown away.
Will Yelptropolis be an event we can look forward to next year?
Howie: Nyika and I are already talking about the next event. It may be another Yelptropolis, or it may morph into something completely new, but the intent will be the same: connecting the community with local people and organizations that shape this fantastic city.
Anything you would like to add?
Howie: While Yelptropolis was our largest, most audacious event of the year, Yelp ABQ throws events all over the city, every month, supporting local businesses. Want to join us? Check out yelp.com/events for our adventures in the weeks to come!
Special thanks to Nyika and Howie and everyone that made Yelptropolis a success this year.
Check out some more of our images from the event here.