After spending some time on Colton’s site, visitors quickly become insiders themselves by absorbing the wealth of knowledge found on his discussion boards – travelers comment on their past and present trips to the entertainment capital of the world. To really be a seasoned Las Vegas know-it-all, read up on the signature events that jackcolton.com hosts. Most Beautiful People in Las Vegas, Nightlife Entertainment Awards, and Las Vegas Sex Symbols are but a few. They’re an easy way to learn about the power players in town and find out where the cool kids hang out.
ADANAI approached Colton to discuss everything from how he got started to where he sees the trajectory of Las Vegas nightlife going. He even spoke about his artist management company and his go-to place for a healthy shake. Learn about Colton below. Rest assured, you’ll really like the guy. And then, you’ll be one step closer to Las Vegas insider status.
ADANAI: Did you grow up knowing this is what you’d end up doing? What did you want to be as a kid?
JACK COLTON: Yes and no. I’m a bit nerdy and occasionally socially awkward, so nightlife itself isn’t exactly something I ever imagined I’d be so heavily involved in. However I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart, as well as the classic “dot-com” guy, so spending enough time around anything will inevitably cause the little wheels to start spinning and an e-business idea to begin to form.
As a child, like most people, I always wanted to be of wealth and power, so hopefully I can continue toward living that American Dream!
ADANAI: How did you get your start in nightlife?
JC: I moved back to Las Vegas from Norman, Oklahoma when I was 20 years old and first landed an entry-level job passing out fliers for Club Seven at $1 for every person that came in with one of my tickets. After a relatively short period of being quite the terrible street promoter, I worked my way into the marketing department and took more of a managerial role in marketing the club’s events. Afterward, I took a couple of years off from being directly in the industry and ran a small online car dealership before ultimately getting back into the mix of things.
Prior to Las Vegas, I actually owned a small marketing company in Oklahoma that handled a part of the state’s tourism campaign as well as hosted concerts in churches and arenas.
ADANAI: How did your website jackcolton.com come about and who is the site’s main competition?
JC: In 2005, I went to the locals opening of a brand new nightclub that had promised the usual antics of “raising the bar of customer service, being a place where locals would love, etc.” My experience, at least on the first visit, was pretty much the opposite of what I felt had been promoted, and I took to the napkinnights.com discussion boards to sound off about it. Within 24 hours, my post had gained a lot of attention—it led to me being the first person to be 86’d from the club, the potential was realized and (the then unnamed) jackcolton.com was born.
As far as competition, we’ve always held the unique space in not really having much in the way of competing brands. In the online world of Vegas nightlife, most every other site falls within one of three categories: a commercial website aiming to sell you a product or service (tickets or hosting services), the nightclubs themselves and nightlife photography websites like spyonvegas.com.
To develop a website with no immediate profit potential takes more time than most anyone in Las Vegas nightlife is willing to endure and no one else likes to give so much lucrative business away for free on such a grand scale; hence, why the handful of would be competitors always end up fizzling out or changing formats entirely.
ADANAI: How do you stay on top of the latest Las Vegas happenings? Is it all about building and maintaining relationships or do you have a secret sauce?
JC: I’m very close with people throughout all strata of the nightlife scene. From the table bussers to the marketing directors to the press that covers the whole thing, it helps to enjoy a range of information about what is really going on by not limiting your viewpoint to the bubble of those who are around you.
ADANAI: What has been the impact of superstar DJs on Las Vegas nightlife?
JC: They definitely have helped bring even more notoriety and marketing to our nightlife scene, but I’d almost prefer to look at it as how Las Vegas nightlife has impacted them: we’ve helped skyrocket their performance fees and made them more easily accessible to a greater amount of the general public who otherwise might not have been able to ever see them perform.
Past that, I can definitely agree with the statement that the newer clubs are actually designing the venues around the DJ platform rather than having it off to the side.
ADANAI: How are nightclubs that can’t afford the big stars competing?
JC: As with anything, it’s about finding strengths and efficiently working with what is available. In entertainment, as in life, there is always room for the “something for everyone” business model. Not everyone likes house music, cares for any associated headaches that may come with the busiest clubs or even is all that discerning about where they party. At the end of the day, most people just want to have fun. A nightclub or pool just needs to be able to deliver to their niche within the bigger picture and they will be just fine. If they can’t? Close and try something else.
ADANAI: What do you expect to see in the future in Vegas nightlife?
JC: We will definitely see the overall entertainment product continue to evolve. It is my personal opinion that the days of the multimillion dollar house DJs are at least somewhat limited as music tastes will always change and the clubs will need to continue to adapt.
I’d predict that since the seal has been broken on paying live acts so much, that we will see more and more actual celebrity performances by the day’s top musicians. This is something that you already see, but I’d guess that it will occur more often if the time comes when the bigger DJs aren’t as attractive as they currently are.
ADANAI: Where do you go to party in Las Vegas currently and who are your favorite DJs?
JC: As I continue to get older and more deeply into fitness and health, I’ve trimmed my partying down to the essentials and tend to go out more for work than pleasure. In the spirit of a shameless plug, my favorite DJs are the 12 talented locals we represent through our new agency, Blackout Artist, because I can appreciate firsthand the blood, sweat and tears they put into their careers.
ADANAI: Describe a perfect weekend in Las Vegas for someone who is coming to the city as a first-timer. What places should he/she make sure to hit?
JC: This would again go back to the person’s tastes and what they enjoy. They should definitely try at least two really good restaurants, explore a variety of casinos, spend some time wandering through CityCenter and, of course, check out at least a few great nightclub and pool parties. We’ve got a very active discussion board at forums.jackcolton.com where people can read through trip reports of other travelers and get user ideas on what all they should see.
ADANAI: Who are the three most important people to know in Las Vegas nightlife right now and why?
JC: I guess that depends on why you need to know them. A customer will need to know the people who can directly make or break their night, whereas someone in (or around) the industry will need to network their way across the nightlife scene. I think you should know everyone from the ground up, because things change fast and decision makers often rise from the least expected places.
ADANAI: At a certain point in your career, will you decide to give this up and move on to something a little “slower” than being a Vegas nightlife industry insider? If yes, what’s on your lineup? What will you do?
JC: A timed slowdown strategy is something that I’ve been working on for a while, but I don’t have any immediate plans of removing myself from nightlife entirely. Our site’s substantial traffic volume has made jackcolton.com into an extremely valuable advertising partner for basically every nightclub and pool in Las Vegas and has given us the opportunity to grow the company in a number of directions that aren’t nearly as visible. We have an artist management company that represents 12 of the top local DJs (blackoutartist.com), a nightlife adventure company that hosts as many as 350 people every weekend (jackify.com) and a bit of an investment wing that acts as a silent partner in a number of brands. We even have vending machines.
While things definitely stay both busy and interesting, we now have 18 people within the company who help make it possible to not have to be everywhere at once. My partner on everything, Kalika Moquin, has been an amazing asset to both our company and my life overall.
ADANAI: Clubbing in Las Vegas is an entirely different experience from clubbing at other spots around the country. What other city comes close to offering what Sin City can? And how so?
JC: I’ve been lucky enough to visit nightclubs in most other major American cities and you do see a lot of the same basic elements of what Las Vegas has to offer. You’ll get good talent bookings, bottle service and often see pretty modern décor in Miami, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and even Scottsdale.
If the market is there, they will make the clubs as fantastic as they are able to afford. The difference is in the sheer scale of what Las Vegas nightlife is able to offer in terms of the number of megaclubs, the technology and design of the venues, the superstar residencies, and the not-so-crazy idea that there is basically a party going on at any point in the 24-hour day.
Our advantage is fueled by a constant stream of tourists, financial backing from resorts that have extremely deep pockets and alcohol laws that are very favorable toward clubs being open longer as well as offering table service. Other cities can’t really compete with the budgets that our venues enjoy.
ADANAI: What’s your favorite dining destination right now (on the Strip or off-Strip) and why?
JC: There are two great off-the-Strip restaurants that I eat at frequently. Greens & Proteins on Eastern Avenue has a great Wellness shake [green grapes, green apple, pineapple, orange, lime, wheat grass, kale, spinach, collard greens, ginger, flax seed and agave] and Off The Strip [Bistro & Bar] on South Decatur Boulevard has basically great everything. I like to try something new every time I go there.
ADANAI: Do you live, breathe and sleep this business or do you make time for a little R&R? If yes, what do you do in your spare time?
JC: I’m an avid outdoorsman, serve as an advocate for animals and spend quite a bit of time working out and staying healthy. Late last year, my health had really hit a point that I wasn’t at all happy with. My shoulder was torn, foot was broken, weight had reached an all-time low and my overall mood was just awful. I decided I didn’t want to live that way any more and that I’d go to great lengths to turn everything around.
Since January, I’ve been intensely training three or more times a week with Tony Cress fitness, have all but stopped drinking, adhere to a strict diet for 3,000 to 4,000 calories a day, have weekly sessions with a traditional Chinese acupuncturist, endure weekly torture from a chiropractor and have a seemingly endless number of other health-related appointments that all work together toward my goal of peak health by year’s end.
ADANAI: Describe yourself in three words.
JC: Abnormal. Enterprising. Bold.