First of all, Happy New Year! I’m really enthused about 2007. I think its going to be a very big year for me personally and for ECACP. I did not make any New Year’s resolutions, mostly because I don’t believe in them. I don’t believe in an arbitrary timeline for change. It’s like people who say, “I’m going to start my new diet on Monday”, or “I’m going to quit smoking at the first of the month”. I say, why wait. What’s wrong with right now? I think the setting of these deadlines is an excuse for procrastination, and I abhor excuses. Excuses are useless. And the need for procrastination, as it relates to self improvement is really just fear. And fear is the enemy. All negative emotions are forms of fear. Hate, bigotry and jealousy are just forms of fear. The problem with fear is that to some degree, everyone experiences it. The key is to overcome it, and those that are best at facing and overcoming their fears are the most successful people in the world. And I’m not just talking about financial success, I’m talking about any measure of success you choose.... Wow, that turned into much more of a rant than I intended. Sorry. Moving on…..
Saturday before New Year’s Eve, I went to the UFC fight at MGM. I was lucky enough to have second row ringside tickets. The fights were awesome. There were waitresses serving drinks in our section, but not offering any to us. I tried to order a drink, and was told I need a VIP tag, that some people were wearing around their necks. I said "I have a VIP tag", and gave her $100. It's amazing how fast we got our drinks. Sitting in my section were lots of celebrities, and everyone was really great, taking pictures, and shaking hands, except for one person. Leonardo Dicaprio was sitting 4 seats away from me, and was a complete jerk. He wouldn’t talk to anyone, shake a hand, or let his picture be taken. It was a total party atmosphere, and everyone was laughing and having a great time, except him. There were 2 girls in our section who were walking around getting everyone’s picture. It was good natured, and they were fans. He flatly told them no and to go away. What a jerk.
Afterward I went with Criss and some friends to the Playboy Club. We had a great time and Criss showed me how to do a new magic trick with my wedding ring. If you run into me, and I’m in the mood, ask me to see it. It’s really cool.
As for New Year’s itself, we got a 2000 sq. ft. suite at Red Rock Resort, facing the strip. It was beautiful, with wood floors and a pool table. We had about 20 of our friends and we drank, played pool and watched the fireworks. It doesn’t sound too crazy, but I didn’t get home until 4am. Changing subjects….
I can tell this story now, since it’s done. I decided to replace my VP of retail operations. She’s a good manager, but a little too inexperienced for the job. So I started quietly interviewing for her replacement. When having people come in, I’ve been very specific: “Go to the guard, say you have an appointment to see Richard, don’t tell anyone why you’re here”. One woman, who can only be described as a genius, comes in, asks to see the HR manager, and is taken to the person she’s interviewing to replace! She then tells her “I’m here for the job of VP of retail”. Brilliant!!! When she finally made it to my office, and after receiving a panicked phone call from my current VP, I kind of laid into her. She said “I have no shot at this job, do I?” I said “No, you can leave now. And thank you for the headache you’ve caused”. What an idiot!
Anyway, I hired a new guy for the Job (Brian), who is very experienced, and for whom I have high hopes. He’s the opposite of the direction I’ve been going, which is younger and edgier. But maybe what we need is a more classic approach. While sales in the retail store have been very good, I still think they can be much better. We are in the most successful mall in the world and have about 7000 people per day coming through our store. Converting even an additional 1 or 2% of those people into sales can mean a significant difference to the bottom line. Additionally, we are in the process of turning the boutique section of this website into a real Etail store, instead of the placeholder it is now. I’m almost embarrassed by what it is today, but I wanted something up, rather than nothing, while the new site is being built.
This previous week was our highest sales week ever in the retail store and in the loop. Car sales were not great, but they never are in the week between Christmas and New Years. However, we sold a car each, yesterday and today, and we’re expecting another CCX deposit by Friday. I am so excited about what’s going on here, and wish I could disclose all the details. I promise I will as they become public knowledge.