A Read on the Economy
Spent 4 days in Vegas, just got back. Was staying in the Mandalay Bay. La Reve, Friday night at the Wynn: full. (Spectacular show, by the way - if you get a chance, don't pass it up.) Table 10, Emeril's resto at the Palazzo, Friday pre-theater: about 1/2 full. The Mandalay on Saturday: absolutely jam-packed, 20+ min wait for elevators; we always stay there and it was the fullest I'd ever seen it. No special conference that weekend either. Crystals, the ultra-high-end shops at CityCenter - actually doing some business in Hermes, Tom Ford, Mikimoto - I saw transactions happening. Shops at Caesar - mobbed. Cash registers ringing, if they had real bells they'd've been louder than the slots. Julian Serrano at Aria - what a fantastic meal. Barely got a reservation - place was jam packed from 6 PM till 11. Aria itself - jam packed. The Stratosphere - all 4 craps tables hopping on Saturday night, jam packed. The Mirage on Sunday? Jammed. Even at 113 degrees we fought crowds to look at white tigers and lions.
And here's a very special shout out: the Apple Store at Caesar's, on Saturday: jam packed. I'd left my iPhone in a cab, and even with the cabbie's name and number and an immediate call to dispatch, I couldn't get it returned to me. I went to the Apple Store.
15 minutes later I walked out, with the following:
1) A new iPhone 4, white, at a good price, with my same contract still in place, same number, AND ALL MY OLD CONTACTS - all 1100 of them - installed on the phone. I still am not sure how that happened - it had something to do with MobileMe - and how it only took 3 minutes. The transaction was utterly seamless and the dude was neat.
2) An awareness and a connection to Apple's new enterprise program - I am the IT buyer for my business, and I buy Apple hardware. Now I have a contact and a discount. The Genius noticed my business CC and just made that happen.
3) An amazing awareness of how Apple is leveraging technology to make really complicated retail transactions go extremely swiftly and extremely smoothly.
4) A strong desire to buy more Apple stock - this was before earnings, too. I already knew this, but here it is again: Never wait to buy Apple stock.
I go to Vegas to eat, sun, game, unwind, and see a show. But I also go because I can get a read on the global economy just by walking through a few of the resorts, and I have pretty well convinced myself that it's a leading read. Here is what I learned: THE US ECONOMY IS BACK, BABY! There have been trips where half the people I met were Eurasian; this time it was good old homegrown folks spending their hard earned Americano dollars. (Full disc: long AAPL, MGM)
Verbum sapienti sufficit, eh folks?