Steve Sashihara

Technology’s Trials & Rewards: Jewelry Judge

Using Technology: U.S. Trust

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21st Century Macro Trends

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Steve Sashihara

I believe that the three macro trends in the business

world for the next century are shrinking timeframes, increasing

complexity,

and globalization.

Shrinking Timeframes. It’s not just your imagination —

everyone does want everything faster and faster. FedEx used

to have very fast response time. Then it was "I’ll fax you

something

in an hour." Now people want real-time. How can things get any

faster? As this next century unfolds, the predictive power of systems

will get better and better at anticipating needs so one can literally

respond faster than real-time — that is: beginning to fill your

requests before you express them or even fully know you have

them.

Increasing Complexity. The next century will move from

mass production to mass customization. The Henry Ford idea of "one

size fits all, everyone wants black" is replaced with

"everyone

is an individual, and will be individually served." When we were

growing up there was one brand of spaghetti sauce on the shelf at

the grocer. Now there’s dozens and dozens. More and more choices,

more and more options (500 channels? 5,000 channels? 5 zillion web

sites?) means more and more complexity. Unfortunately, even though

Moore’s law has computer chips doubling in capacity every 18 months,

the human brain has pretty much the same capacity decade after decade.

Survival skill: thriving on ambiguity and complexity. Best businesses:

making the world simple.

Globalization. First was the hype, now the reality —

we are becoming an interconnected global village rather than feudal

fiefdoms. Low cost worldwide communications is threading the world

together, and the isolationists (e.g. Cuba and North Korea) are

looking

more and more self-destructive and out-of-step. Earlier this century

we thought it would be the United Nations. Later, we thought it would

be "the multinational corporations." In the end, it turned

out to be worldwide media and communications (phone, fax, movies,

TV, Internet) that brought us all together. The idea of the nation

state is a very old and strong one, but the information age is eroding

the walls faster than the despots and bigots can erect them —

we are truly becoming world citizens.

This next century is going to be cool. I’ll look forward to

celebrating

my 140th birthday!

— Steve Sashihara

President, Princeton Consultants Inc.

"mailto:SSashihara@Princeton.com">SSashihara@Princeton.com.

Princeton Consultants Inc.. 2 Research Way, Princeton

08540, 609-987-8787, extension 214; fax, 609-987-0033. E-mail:

SSashihara@Princeton.com.

Home page: http://www.Princeton.com

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Technology’s Trials & Rewards: Jewelry Judge

The 21st century brings new challenges for the small

business owner. As an appraiser of fine jewelry, diamonds, and

gemstones,

I see the effects of this new technology on a daily — no, on an

hourly basis.

Example: The appraiser’s job is to report value in the marketplace

appropriate to the assignment. The Internet has added a new dimension

to that process. I am now seeing diamonds, purchased by private

consumers

on the Internet, for as much as 10 percent below what these diamonds

would cost me to purchase, were I a retailer. Purchasing diamonds

on line is fraught with danger if you don’t know diamonds or have

someone to consult. Bargains and danger exist side by side in this

marketplace. All the more reason why it is my responsibility to

understand

it, and incorporate it into my market analyses. But what an

opportunity!

Opportunity: As one of a very few independent appraisers

in the tri-state area, take advantage of a basically "blind"

purchase environment, and become the source in the Princeton area

for accurate, honest consumer information on diamonds.

In the Information Age, information travels at lightning speed. As

small business owners we have the power to react quickly, before our

larger, perhaps unwieldy competitors. Example: For years I

provided

jewelry replacement services for insurance companies. Almost

universally,

claims managers had the same complaint about dealing with large

jewelry

chains for replacement services: "They’re too big. If we needed

a diamond that wasn’t in stock, they had to order it from

headquarters,

which could take two to four weeks. If I needed a little bit better

price in order to satisfy a claim, it could take two weeks or more.

I prefer dealing with someone who can make a decision quickly."

For many insurers, that person was me.

Opportunity: The successful entrepreneur of the 21st

Century

will tap the masses of applicable information that are just a mouse

click away. We will use it to provide speedy, competent customer

service,

and we will act decisively — without having to wait for corporate

approval.

— Ralph S. Joseph

The Jewelry Judge of Princeton

"http://www.jewelryappraisal.com">http://www.jewelryappraisal.com

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Using Technology: U.S. Trust

Technology is fragmenting two parts of the private

banking

business — wealth management and client relationships, says

Harry

O’Mealia, president and CEO of U.S. Trust Company of New Jersey,

a private bank on Vaughn Drive (http://www.ustrust.com).

"The challenge to us is to maintain our role with our clients

as their trusted advisor. The Internet is making it tougher and more

important to prove that you are doing something for someone that they

can’t do for themselves," says O’Mealia.

His response was to spend heavily in computers, voice mail, fax

systems,

and cell phones. "In three years we have invested in a staggering

amount of technology, and our operating system constitutes a much

higher proportion of our cost. We haven’t replaced people, but we

have made them more efficient; we manage three times the business

with maybe 20 percent more people."

"The pressure on us as a service organization is to be wired all

the time. Our clients are interested in being able to get in touch

with us at all hours of day and night and days of the week," says

O’Mealia, who is an 1976 alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania

with an MBA from Columbia. "We need to help our clients make sense

out of an increasingly fragmented world. Almost like a navigator,

we need to help our clients steer through myriad products and keep

them focused on their objectives." His tips for the rest of us:

Form a core group you trust, a key group of advisors,

whether that be your friends or your broker, lawyer, and accountant.

Unbundle the knowledge. "In the old days, knowledge

was power. Now there is too much information. Success will be

determined

by how you interpret things coming at you and how quickly you react

to change."

Connect locations seamlessly. "I run two offices,"

says O’Mealia, "and I am trying to make the connection absolutely

seamless, so from an outsider’s perspective, it doesn’t matter where

I am, they just find me."

Make Lotus Notes ubiquitous. "U.S. Trust has offices

all over the country, and Lotus Notes is our platform for sharing

research, personnel requirements, economic and product information,

and marketing presentations," says O’Mealia. "It opens

everything

up to share `best ideas’ around a firm, and it lets us take advantage

of a national franchise while remaining locally focused with a small

firm feeling."

Insist on E-mail. "Everyone from our chairman to our

most recent hire considers E-mail the most critical way of

communicating,"

says O’Mealia. "A new generation of people doesn’t see their

relationship

with us as being a quarterly newsletter and an annual lunch in a fancy

dining room. What they are looking for is quick soundbite

communication

several times a week, a typical E-mail conversation, a quick precis

of what you are thinking. When there is good news or bad news, we

communicate directly with people. We can screen very quickly to find

who needs to make a decision about a stock."

O’Mealia set the E-mail policy by putting his most important

directives

only on E-mail. People that did not check their E-mail did not get

the message.


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