James Bond is my favorite hero. He is so cool. I tried to act as cool or run as fast as he does. I even bought a black tie, but it just didn’t help. I am not the real deal. I don’t feel I could be as invincible as James Bond is. He overcomes all handicaps, never fails in action, always has a plan, an escape plan, and even a Plan C. His car explodes or a bomb wrecks his room, but it doesn’t faze him in the least, he just keeps moving along on his way.
How can it be that the all-powerful chief of the CIA lost his cool and composure and could not act like James Bond? The resignation of David Petraeus was actually due to some emails he sent to his biographer with some sticky details of their extramarital affair years ago. How did the private email of the head of the secret service get published? In the second half of 2011, Google received 20,938 requests to access Google accounts, of which 7,969 came from US Government agencies! - Source: Roger Cohen International Herald Tribune.
The legendary Allan Dulles must be turning in his grave in disbelief. He would not have even considered resigning over such an indiscretion, nor Moshe Dayan – he wouldn’t have even blinked with his one eye. They both conducted endless affairs but did not write mails about them… It seems as though the time of the great bedroom hero is over.
We now live in virtual times where cyber reality rules. The party with the most Likes on Facebook is the winner. But although the times may have changed, human behavior remains the same. How could this silly affair motivate the head of the CIA to resign?
What was the real reason for the sudden resignation - the sin or the fear of punishment? I believe it was neither. Since the era of Alan Dulles, neither sin nor punishment has changed. What did change is the perception and public effect of every negative action.
In the virtual world everything is magnified. The power of social media is much stronger and scary than any publication of 30 years ago. Nobody would dare to write a bad article about Alan Dulles in the New York Times but even if an article was published in the papers it would have been forgotten a week later. Nothing is ever forgotten in the virtual world; you can delete an email but you cannot hide your actions; what you do or did is monitored and recorded.
We live in a glass house with open windows to the world. On the Internet, dishonest or crooked behavior is visible to everyone. There is no delay of information - good or bad. Every action is known and in full view from almost every location. The war to gain Likes and positive perception is so powerful, that entire nations are fighting on Facebook for the sympathy of the masses. Perhaps in the future no physical war will be fought. Rather the warring parties will aim to win virtual wars through social media.
Luckily we don’t sell guns…
Through this magnifying glass small things or events get blown out of all proportions. The fear of public rejection in the virtual world is so great that sometimes a mosquito bite can bring an elephant to its knees.
One of the reasons for the great success of the Cyber Monday campaign we just ran is the same. The openness of the virtual world connects us to everyone who is looking for fancy color diamonds and jewelry.
I was stunned that a simple search for a yellow diamonds resulted in more than 25 pages about our company.
The ultimate transparency of the cyber world has many aspects - good and bad.
By standing on Victoria Peak in Hong Kong you can see a person eating in his garden in Paolo Alto. Habits and behavior codes are openly recorded and sometimes revealed. Every move over the Web leaves some trace.
06:30 GMT I see 29 customers in our store. If I would have the time to look, I could find each one of them with the picture and their published information on Facebook or LinkedIn. All of them know us to a different extent. Some of them know many personal details about me; not just the name of my dog and my birthday but many details.
Unlike a jewelry store on cyber Monday, our online store is always open and has infinite floor space. You can walk in and out and drop your card or you can try to stay anonymous. The total transparency made some radical changes in the shopping habits and eliminated many barriers between producers and the end consumer.
If I analyze the 29 customers who shopped simultaneously in our web store, I realize that the whole world was present, but racial or political considerations were not present:
- A Japanese lady bought a fancy deep blue
- A lady from Taiwan purchased a light brownish pink
- A gentleman from Hong Kong ordered an engagement ring
- A man from Teheran wanted to buy a yellow diamond
- Our US customers were in the majority with readymade jewelry – privates and dealers
The total transparency of the Internet has made some radical changes in our daily life, including shopping habits. On the plus side, it may have eliminated many barriers between producers and consumers; however it has also opened some of the gates of hell.
You must watch your every move. Remember, if you do anything wrong you are in a glass house and everyone sees you. If you have proper values – stick to them.
In other words, as an ancient Yiddish proverb stated over a century ago, “The whole world is a small city.”
Leibish Polnauer, President and Founder of Leibish & Co. Fancy Color Diamonds