Editor's corner & travelogue

Wow, we just made it in the nick of time to actually publish this two-month edition of our Leisure eNewsletter issue before rolling over into a third month -- April.


"The main thing that has caused companies to fail, in my view, is that they missed the future." - Larry Page, Google CEO

In our company's 25-year history, we have always been trend-setting pioneers, or what you might call paradigm busters, in the projects we produce for clients. That's due to our continual extensive in-depth research to identify nascent industry, cultural, societal and other trends and then applying them to the projects we design and produce for clients. It seems like the concepts we introduce take around five years before the industry accepts them as the status quo. That gives our clients a head start on the future.

So to share some of our research about trends that are disrupting the location-based entertainment (LBE) industry and shaping its future, we continue to publish articles for you, our readers, including the ones in this issue as well as occasionally in my blogs. And those trends seem to be accelerating faster every year. Think about it, the smartphone isn't yet even seven years old and look how it, along with the internet, social media, other digital screens (non-mobile and mobile) and apps have changed our lives and society throughout the world in just a few short years. There isn't a business anywhere that has not been impacted in some way. And at-home and mobile digital entertainment and social media in its many multiple forms is disrupting all types of LBEs, including family entertainment centers (FECs).

Unfortunately, many LBE owners and developers don't comprehend what is happening and where things are headed. One reason our company spends so much time researching trends, and especially the disruptive ones, is that we need to produce LBEs for our clients that will be competitive far into the future. Just think about it. If you start to develop an LBE today, it could easily be 1.5 to 2 years before it opens. So if you are using today's model, which was probably conceived a few years ago, your LBE could already be 3 or 4 years out-of-date by the time you open if you don't design it based on where trends indicate the competitive sweet spot will be in the future. Earning a return on investment requires a large number of years of successful operation. Let's just assume that you can develop a project that generates a 20% return on investment. Heck, it takes 5 years to just get the investment back. Only in the sixth and later years do you start to earn a profit on the investment. So, you better develop today for the long-term future and its competition. And that future competition is anything that people can do anywhere with their limited disposable leisure time, including interacting with digital media, much of it free. Our first article directly addresses that competitive threat.

My international travel this month
This month took me to Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria where we've started work on producing a family entertainment center (FEC) in the new Ibom Tropicana Mall that is nearing completion. You may have read about the Islamist-led insurgency going on in Nigeria, but that is in the northeast part of Nigeria in a completely different ethic area and a long distance from Akwa Ibom State in the far south of the country. Much of Nigeria is safe.

Akwa Ibom State has a population of approximately 5 million people and is the highest oil and gas producing state in Nigeria. The State, under the 7-year leadership of Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio, has very wisely invested its share of petroleum revenues in infrastructure improvements, including:

  • 320 modern roads and 34 bridges
  • international airport
  • convention center
  • 30,000 capacity sports stadium
  • 250-room hotel
  • 5 state-of-art hospital
  • state-of-art digital e-library
  • water park
  • theme park
  • Ibom Tropicana Mall

Ibom Tropicana Mall in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria

  • free and compulsory education for primary and secondary schools
  • development of electric power and distribution to provide an uninterrupted power supply, a rarity anywhere in Nigeria   

Akwa Ibom State is without a doubt the most progressive state in Nigeria as it is investing heavily in the future welfare of its citizens.

Uyo, where the mall is located, is the capital of Akwa Ibom with a population of around one-half million people.
While I was in Akwa Ibom, I stayed at the Le' Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, which is a major destination for golfers from all over Nigeria, as its golf greens are green all year, a rarity with other golf courses in Nigeria.

Le' Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort

I'll be returning to Uyo, Akwa Ibom in the near future and be giving more in-depth reports on the State and our FEC project there in future eNewsletter editions. 

Happy birthday Sophia
Our pet Chihuahua Sophia put on her party dress and hat the other day to celebrate her sixth birthday at her birthday party with her cousins Chico and Isabel, both also Chihuahuas. Sophia asked for a smartphone for her birthday, but got a chew instead. She said it tasted much better than licking a smartphone.

DEAL in Dubai
I'll be in Dubai next week for DEAL (Dubai Entertainment Amusement & Leisure Show) where I am presenting at our 2-day Foundations Entertainment University. As of the writing of this, there were a few seats still available. So for any of our international readers in that area of the world, it's a great opportunity to learn about developing family entertainment centers, and the best part is that registration to both the show and Foundations is free.

Helio Center, Vietnam
The current edition of Interfun magazine has a great article out our Helio Center FEC project in Da Nang, Vietnam that is currently under construction for completion this fall. You can read the article on pages 16 & 17 by going to the digital edition.

I hope you enjoy our articles this month and find some useful information in them.

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