Don't Try to Hide
One might assume that walking into a Tiffany flagship store on 5th Avenue would be a more personal encounter, than to enter an online jewelry store and purchase a diamond from the comfort of one's own home?
The truth is, actually, it is completely the other way around. Certain websites today keep record of all your previous purchases. They track your interests, your credit card statements, what products you like, what products you looked at, your name, your maiden name, and even the name of your dog that unfortunately passed away since you registered with them. The quantity and depth of information that websites like Google and Facebook are collecting is unbelievable. Only, they haven't fully explored how to use this data yet. If you ask me, I believe that the day they truly recognize the value of this information, how and when to use it, is just around the corner.
Leibish & Co.'s Sales Team Strategizing
Imagine that Apple built an electronic car, or perhaps make a partnership with Google who is planning to build a driverless vehicle. They will probably pair up with Toyota or a similar carmaker. They provide the software needed for the brain of the car to drive and run smoothly, similar to what Microsoft did together with IBM. You see it was IBM who initially introduced the PC and licensed it from an obscure little Palo Alto start up. Microsoft launched the soul into the machine with the operating system, Windows. Interestingly enough, Microsoft bought the operating system outright from Kim Peterson for $50,000. It required only a few small changes, and from that they managed to create Windows (or was it DOS)? Either way, they managed together to build a multi-billion dollar licensing revenue. It was in 1980 that Microsoft had about $15 million yearly sales and turned $30 billion Big Blue to one of its licenses. Bill Gates realized that the heart of computer is the software, or better yet, the operating system. The rest is only metal and plastic pieces which can be constructed anywhere.
Now Apple is actually designing a driverless electronic car, called the TITAN. Whether Apple actually builds it, or contracts out the hardware to make it, is irrelevant. It will be them who develops the software, the brain of the invention.
The blue driverless van, the prototype of the TITAN, was reported to have been seen in the Bay Area, driving around. Next to it was Google's driverless vehicle.
Now, try to build the scenario in your head. Imagine you call to the garage, "Titan, come out please to pick me up from work." Five minutes later, the driverless car is standing in front of your office. You tell the car, "Titan, I am actually a little hungry. Do you have any suggestions?" The car, obviously already knowing your wife's schedule, is already on its way to pick her up as well.
Once she is with you, on the display will appeared a detailed list of advice, straight from Google: "Sir, we know that you would prefer to go again to Prime Grill. Only, may I remind you, Sir, that your latest blood tests in Mount Sinai Hospital showed a substantial increase in your cholesterol. Furthermore, you had a steak dinner twice already this week!" Your wife will look at you in shock, "how does the car know!?"
Google will continue, "may I suggest a new restaurant, downtown, with excellent reviews. This new place is diet conscious, offers French food, which we know both you and wife will enjoy? Not to mention, there is free parking. It will take only twelve minutes until you arrive." You see, the potential of information stored by 'the cloud' is amazing. In fact, it will be so powerful, one can nearly call it artificial intelligence.
Once you pass through the 'electronic' gate of a web store, there is no need to introduce yourself. From the first moment, they know perfectly well who you are, what you purchased last, what products you are interested in, and which promotional sales they should offer you.
Before we know it, the next time you log into your Facebook account, a digital voice will great you; "Hello Leibish. How was your dinner last night at Prime Rib? You sure are a naughty boy...." Google obviously already reported that I ate there. According to my bill, they know the appetizers I selected, and the desert I enjoyed. In an attempt to use the opportunity, they wisely recommend excellent cook books I could use to help improve my diet.
As it is written in the Holy Scripture, "the book is open, and the hand is writing." Believe it or not, I doubt it was referring to Facebook, rather the book of life.
Facebook reported a 50% growth in its yearly revenue and a 69% increase in their income from mobile advertisement. The largest reported sale, ever, of any US company with an $8 billion net profit was made by Apple. Their greatest accomplishment was their mobile phone. Their plans were that all users wouldn't just use the phones for communication. Rather, as a tool for online browsing, e-commerce purchases, and conducting their business. In China and the US as well, customers line up to enter the Apple store and buy the latest iPhones out in the market. Can you imagine the buying power of this crowd?
I don't mean to say, that its all bad. The world is open without secrets with barriers. Due to the complete transparency of the Internet, several layers of trade and brokers are disappearing entirely. The biggest handicap diamond dealers are facing is this totally open trade. Consumers can now buy a certified diamond directly from the sources without the need of a third party middleman. I spoke about this in a lecture I gave at the Israel diamond week. Selling loose diamonds is like selling a commodity, a spare part of a future piece of jewelry. The certified diamonds listed are freely available to nearly everyone. If dealers want to survive, they need to create a unique product with added value.
Leibish's Lecture at the Israel Diamond Exchange
Internet shopping isn't the way of the future. Rather, it is the way of life already. All the millions of people who are standing in line to buy a new iPhone will use it just as Apple had planned, for e-commerce purchases as well.
Leibish Polnauer, President and Founder of Leibish & Co. Fancy Color Diamonds