Lessons from Vegas // Random Thoughts

Besides all the eating, etc. we did in Vegas, a few things struck me... 1. Know what business you're in. Maybe Ben Siegel had it right. I don't think last century's mob bosses had any idea how their creation would change the world when they invented Las Vegas, but the corporate guys have a knack for taking things other people create and exploiting them to the nth degree.

It used to be that everything here was cheap - and designed to keep us on the gambling floor. This changed in the last generation, and now the number of world-class restaurants, hotels, and stores rival any international capital. Not bad for a comparatively tiny desert outpost.

But the business of conspicuous consumption is hardly recession-proof, and Las Vegas' outlandish expansion has been replaced by foreclosures and empty hotel rooms.

Makes you wonder if they would have made more money by being the cheap haven for people who want to forget their troubles and possibly hit the jackpot.

2. Stay true to your brand. I mentioned in my earlier post how the Hard Rock has gone downhill. I can't be sure, but I think it probably lost its way when faced with competition from the Palms. Time was HRH was the only cool, manly spot in town. Then the Maloof brothers came along with their own off-strip man-friendly joint, and probably changed the game.

Hard Rock could have stuck to its core and been sort of like the Virgin of its niche. Instead, it seems like we have two Southwests. That's actually not a good analogy, because Southwest runs a great company, but you get the picture.