The 2006 Annual meeting of Financial & Insurance Conference Planners in Las Vegas was an amazing three days, and if you didn't attend, you missed a lot. Here, to the best of my recollection, is a recap of the conference, held at beautiful Caesars Palace.
Day one was highlighted by a reception at the Wynn, the only hotel in Vegas named after the thing nobody can do there: win. The food was incredible, even though we had to eat it with a utensil that was a hybrid of a fork and a spoon. I have seen these utensils before at KFC, where they are used to consume both mashed potatoes and chicken, but the ones at the Wynn were the first I'd ever seen made out of sterling silver. They were so cool that I wish I had stolen more of them. The utensil is officially called a spork, a fact I learned from a Wynn rep after foolishly calling it a foon.
The next day outgoingpresident Michael Burke kicked things off by introducing the mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman. Mayor Goodman told us that before becoming mayor, he had been a lawyer who represented the mob and even played himself in the movie Casino. Gee, a mob lawyer becomes the mayor of Las Vegas? What are the odds? The amazing thing is that he received more than 1 million votes, even though only 600,000 people reside in Las Vegas.
Our featured first-day speaker was Lyn Heward, one of the founders of Cirque du Soleil. She told us about the seven doors of Cirque du Soleil, but all I can remember is that every woman in Mongolia is a contortionist. Note to self: Call travel agent immediately and book a trip to Mongolia.
In the evening, we traveled to The Venetian for a party at Tao, a Chinese word meaning “so loud you can't hear yourself think.” The club was packed, just like China, and there was even a sign on the wall that read: Occupancy 1 Billion. A unique feature of Tao was the women's rest room, with separate glass chambers viewable from the outside. When a woman entered, the glass door fogged up so that nobody could look in — or at least that's what the ladies thought.
Next morning we were jolted awake by Dr. Draw, an amazing violinist who hopped around the stage like a gerbil on speed. The music was great, but the guy really needs to switch to decaf. Next up was Wes Moss, whose claim to fame is that he was fired from Donald Trump's TV show, “The Apprentice.” He talked entrepreneurship, and I remember two stories he told. The first was about Maria, who borrowed $50,000 to buy shoes and opened a shoe store called De Boot. Personally, if I'd spent that much money to open a shoe store, I would have called it De Shoe. But that's just me.
The other success story he told involved something called Spanx, which are pantyhose without feet. This seems odd to me — sort of like pants without a zipper — but apparently they are selling quite well. I may start selling a similar product, which would be feet without pantyhose. I'm going to call them Sox.
Marilyn Winn, from Caesars Palace, spoke on the final day. She said that at Harrah's properties, they keep track of everything their guests do. She also talked about keeping customers in a “zone of delight,” which, ironically, was the title of the movie I had watched in my room.
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