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As We See It

11 things I wrote in my notebook at the 2013 Las Vegas Perspective

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Speakers at the 2013 Las Vegas Perspective showed images from the past to demonstrate how far we’ve come, technologically speaking.
Photo: Brock Radke

1. The theme for this year’s Perspective, the 33rd annual event and release of its accompanying stat-filled publication at the Four Seasons on April 4, is Wired for the Future. It’s kinda refreshing, considering local business forecasting events in recent years have been dominated by exploring how much longer our recession recovery will last.

2. At its worst point, Las Vegas visitation dropped 7 percent in 2009. That doesn’t sound so bad, right?

3. Keith Smith, president and CEO of Boyd Gaming, spoke about his company’s sale of the planned Echelon resort to the Genting Group as the right decision for his company and “frankly, the right decision for Las Vegas.” Echelon was a compelling project, but it was designed to operate in a different economy.

4. Nevada’s 9.8 percent unemployment rate reported in February was the lowest it’s been since 2008. That’s good, right?

5. Like most industry leaders, Smith doesn’t believe online gaming will compete with our traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. “It’s a way to build relationships and deliver our product through new channels.”

6. The mind-boggling speed of global technological development is a recurring theme in the presentation. Ramesh Srinivasan, president and CEO of Bally Technologies, tells of discussing how much the world has changed with his father, who was born in a small village in India and today becomes frustrated by a seconds-long delay when working online on his iPad. It reminds me of Louis CK’s rant on how we complain about the sucky parts of air travel, completely taking for granted that cross-country jaunts no longer take months.

7. Can you imagine walking into a casino and sitting down at a slot machine that automatically knows who you are and how you like to play? Biometric recognition. That will probably happen.

8. What does Las Vegas need to continue its development as a new tech hub? People. Talented people. “We need to get better at attracting technology talent, and we need to be thinking about what we can do to keep this momentum going,” Srinivasan said.

9. Jeremy Aguero, principal of Applied Analysis, is the Justin Timberlake of Las Vegas economic forecasting events.

10. Aguero’s message of the day: Failure is a part of advancement. He shows pictures of obscure, forgotten devices like Mattel’s Intellivision and the Apple Newton.

11. Best Las Vegas Perspective quote that could also be the tagline for a bad science-fiction movie, also from Aguero: “There are two types of people in the world—those building robots and those who will be replaced by robots.” Will Smith was in that one, right?

Tags: Business
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Brock Radke is Las Vegas Weekly's food editor and author of the Strip-focused column The Incidental Tourist. He has written ...

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