OK, I added that last one, but G2E is so big that the information consumer like me is always fighting the urge to bite off more than I can reasonably digest. It’s a losing battle, but there’s no better snapshot to be taken of our industry so I’m looking forward to taking that dive again come the last week of September.
I know I’ll hear a lot of interesting things, but there are items that may or may not pan out and then there’s actual truth. Real insights into what makes one person, or everyone, tick. Here are a couple of examples from a conference we organized in July, Casino Marketing & Technology:
Jim Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming and chairman of Hard Rock International (speaking at his Lifetime Achievement Award luncheon): “I received some great advice from an individual that I met back in 1973, a restaurateur named Richard Walter. I was fortunate enough as a freshman in high school to letter in a varsity sport, which gave me what’s called a senior schedule. The school I went to was on split sessions, so it basically meant that that in my sophomore, junior and senior years I would be done with school by 12:20. Rather than go play, I went to work full-time. I was late for work one day, and Richard asked me why I was late. I must have given him some type of flip answer, and he grabbed me, took me outside, put me up against a fence and asked, ‘Can you or will you ever make the Olympics?’ And I said, no. ‘Who is the best person on the team and can you beat him?’ And I said, no. ‘Who is the second best and can you beat him?’ He then said, ‘So I’ll give you two options: You can get your *** in that restaurant, keep working, and I will teach you this business, or you can go back to that team and be a loser.’ At 14 or 15 years old, that was some pretty harsh criticism, but, frankly, it was probably the best advice that was ever given to me in my career.”
Kahlil Ashanti, co-founder, SpendSight Technologies and producer, PostSecret: “People have a thirst for connection; we’re wired for it at a molecular level. And we search online for ours; we’re searching for a piece of ourselves. Those me-too moments that resonate and invite us to connect... PostSecret was started by a suburban dad in Germantown, Md. in 2004. This was before Facebook. This guy, Frank Warren, was dealing with a suicide in his family. And he didn’t have anyone he could talk to about it. So he wrote what he was feeling on a postcard and he mailed it to himself. The feeling of catharsis that he felt made him think. Maybe other people have things that they need to get off their chests. So he went to the community center in Germantown, handed out 365 postcards and said, ‘My name is Frank and I collect secrets. Write something on here you’ve never told anyone else, mail it to my home address.’ He was hoping to get 365 in one year. By 2005, he was getting 200 a day. To this day, he still gets 200 a day from all over the world.”
CUTTING EDGE TABLE GAMES CONFERENCE
While we’re talking shows, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to mention one that we produce in November, which is just around the corner. The Cutting Edge Table Games Conference will be held at The Flamingo in Las Vegas. The event kicks off on Monday, November 14, when table games expert Bill Zender returns with a pre-show workshop, entitled, “Table Game Mathematics and The Cost of Table Game Promotions.” Running concurrently will be a workshop led by Dennis Conrad, president and chief strategist, Raving Consulting, “Marketing Table Games, An Intensive One Day Seminar for Casino Table Game Operators and Marketers.” The main two-day conference follows, and among the highlights there will be an opening keynote speech by Brian Decorah, president & CEO, Firekeepers Casino Hotel, called, aptly enough, “Table Games: A CEO’s View,” a topic that was developed partially in response to the belief prevalent among many in the table games category that CEOs tend to be more comfortable with slots because of their relative lack of volatility. Hope to see you there.