I’ve been on the road in Vegas and California over the past ten days or so. Here are my thoughts.
The Venetian Rocks
First off, the Venetian has remodeled its rooms and they are amazingly comfortable and some of the quietest ones on the strip. Interesting coincidence, I ran into Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands, the owner of the Venetian while I was in Vegas at lunch.
Moreover, the in-suite WiFi in the Venetian is blazing-fast, some of the best you will find in any hotel. Very impressive. Perhaps my only complaint about the hotel is there is a step between the two portions of the suite which I am sure has led to lots of falls.
No Plastic Bags for you
Heading from Las Vegas to San Francisco is really an interesting change as California passed a law some time back outlawing plastic bags. Not a law to try to promote economic growth or to increase hiring but target #1 is the lowly plastic bag – poor bastard.
I had the opportunity to go to a grocery store more than once and each time I looked for my old-friend, the plastic bag and then remembered… He was nowhere to be found. At Safeway, one of the supermarkets out there, I ended up paying 10 cents for a very large paper bag instead . I am sure this is great for environment but it’s certainly a pain in the rear for shoppers.
Tech can beat traffic
Many people out in the Valley complained about the traffic. Other than just after a bubble burst or a financial crisis, this is a normal concern for that area. I have to thank Waze for navigating me around 101 when needed to get me to my meetings on time. It was a real champ.
Thanks 24 Hour Fitness
Speaking of champs, thank you 24 Hour Fitness… You have been there for me in LA and now northern California. My experience with this gym has been great, the workers are well-trained, the facilities are clean and of course they are always open.
Like it or not, you’re investing in GM
Getting back to traffic, when I landed I had the option of changing my rental car to an electric for an additional daily fee. I considered it – because I wanted to try it out. The car that they offered had a range of 70-80 miles though. This is likely something Hertz shoul dhave volunteered but didn’t. I had to look it up. Moreover, it was a Chevy… A Spark. I of course had some qualms about renting a car that GM makes based on many of their past issues.
Interesting thing about the company… Their cars got so bad over the years that the American consumer didn’t buy enough of them to keep them in business. So the federal government stepped in to bail them out – basically forcing people who didn’t want to buy their cars to pay for them to stay in business. Credit goes to Andrew Wilkow for this observation BTW.
Having said all that, the design of many of the new Cadillacs and Corvettes is quite impressive – even worth considering if you get past the ignition switch lawsuit.
Electrics make sense in California
I really never had an electric car so I wasn’t sure how the charging works. I knew I would be driving more than 80 miles and had no clue where I would charge it. It turns out that many of the places I visited had spots in the front of the building for electric cars and even some chargers. I wasn’t sure what the protocol was though – what happens if you are low on power and all the chargers are taken?
Its worth mentioning an electric car allows you to drive in the HOV lane as well – a nice plus to minimize traffic depending on where you live.
Lots of Green PR
Another interesting thing about California is how much PR is dedicated to conservation. I saw numerous billboards about how the airport is saving water or how a company is saving electricity, etc. It is so counter to the east coast where we don’t consider these things as often.
This gets me to hiking… California trails such as those near and including Hazelnut Trail in San Pedro Valley Park are manicured, taken care of and designed with, for the most part, flat walking paths. There is more attention paid to these little details out there.
On the way out to the west, JetBlue had no Fly-Fi WiFi but on the way back, they did and I actually saw (ookla) download speeds of between 4-14 Mbps and this cost me $9 per hour. I am not sure if this is a good relative price or not considering the entry-level service is free but it is very impressive nonetheless. Having said that, the WiFi did cut in and out a few times making it less reliable than GoGo – at least on this flight.
Speaking of new tech… The Valley is abuzz in new energy and excitement as always. There is so much investment money though that incumbent players are having to deal with many competitors who aren’t concerned about making money. This is a problem I last saw during the dotcom days. Experience tells us these sorts of business changes – where something other than profitability drives investment, tend to end badly.
Still, there is a ton of innovation and lots of opportunity and I can’t wait for my next trip out there on or before I got out to WebRTC Expo November 18-20.