It’s Time For a Sea Change

Do you have a book or two in your library that captured your imagination because it was so compelling, with such rich perspective found in the first read that you find yourself reading it time and time again over many years to harvest more rich little nuggets of enlightenment?

Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics, by authors Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, are two such selections of mine. The books contain a collection of articles that apply neoclassical economic theory to topics not usually probed by traditional economists. In a nutshell, Dubner and Levitt’s works are the study of incentive behavior.

While neither book directly addresses the gambling business, they do lay out fascinating framework for the study of economic behavior. Through these fine works I find myself in training to develop new ways to understand the precursors of motivation. To me, that’s the key to life and success in business. Since we live in a world of people and the object is to find beneficial ways to navigate in our world of others, the more enlightenment we can capture, the better.

Another source of inspiration for me is watching lectures on For those of you unfamiliar with TED, it’s a small nonprofit devoted to ideas. It launched in 1984 as a conference bringing together leaders from three parts of our society: Technology, Entertainment and Design. Today TED’s scope is much broader. I like because it allows me to hear perspectives from some of the world’s greatest thinkers right from my office computer. That’s important because my busy world doesn’t leave me much free time, so the Internet has become a marvelous tool to help me feed my brain and keep the fresh ideas coming.

And so, to bring this conversation back to the world of gaming, I have a little experiment to propose to you. Tell me where you find enlightenment and what new perspectives you have gained from it. Do you have any favorite books that have impacted your career? Do you attend lectures or listen to motivational speakers? Do you journal? Do you invest time in meeting with great thinkers? Do you brainstorm with colleagues? Do you mentor anyone? What activities do you engage in that inspire great ideas?

It’s my guess that everyone who has aspirations to be great has some unique process by which they gain inspiration and motivation. In some cases it involves people. In other cases it might be a solitary process. Are you willing to share what’s worked for you?
Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to share all the ingredients of your proprietary secret sauce or dear grandmama’s old world family recipe. What I hope to accomplish is to create a forum for visionaries interested in shaping our future in gaming.

If you’re even the slightest bit intrigued, I have a request to make of you. Would you consider sharing some of your wisdom and insight with the gaming community? What I’m thinking about is creating an out-of-the-box think tank for gaming industry members wanting to grow and willing to think a little out of the box to get there. So please share with me your ideas, anecdotes and musings from your professional evolution—the more contrarian the better. Of particular interest to me would be experiences you have had with outcomes that defy the norm and have brought you to a place where you see things a little differently. The end result will define itself. The purpose would be to foster new ideas and way to look at our business. For now it’s just an idea, and if I don’t make my mark, at least I tried.

Peter E. Mead
Casino Enterprise Management

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