Corrections or additions?
21st Century Macro Trends
I believe that the three macro trends in the business
world for the next century are shrinking timeframes, increasing
everyone does want everything faster and faster. FedEx used
to have very fast response time. Then it was "I’ll fax you
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
mass production to mass customization. The Henry Ford idea of "one
size fits all, everyone wants black" is replaced with
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.
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
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
my 140th birthday!
— Steve Sashihara
President, Princeton Consultants Inc.
08540, 609-987-8787, extension 214; fax, 609-987-0033. E-mail:
Home page: http://www.Princeton.com
The 21st century brings new challenges for the small
business owner. As an appraiser of fine jewelry, diamonds, and
I see the effects of this new technology on a daily — no, on an
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
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
it, and incorporate it into my market analyses. But what an
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
jewelry replacement services for insurance companies. Almost
claims managers had the same complaint about dealing with large
chains for replacement services: "They’re too big. If we needed
a diamond that wasn’t in stock, they had to order it from
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.
will tap the masses of applicable information that are just a mouse
click away. We will use it to provide speedy, competent customer
and we will act decisively — without having to wait for corporate
— Ralph S. Joseph
The Jewelry Judge of Princeton
Technology is fragmenting two parts of the private
business — wealth management and client relationships, says
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
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:
whether that be your friends or your broker, lawyer, and accountant.
was power. Now there is too much information. Success will be
by how you interpret things coming at you and how quickly you react
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."
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
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
most recent hire considers E-mail the most critical way of
says O’Mealia. "A new generation of people doesn’t see their
with us as being a quarterly newsletter and an annual lunch in a fancy
dining room. What they are looking for is quick soundbite
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
only on E-mail. People that did not check their E-mail did not get
Corrections or additions?
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