Edahn Golan, Chief Editor of IDEX Online, well-known analyst of diamond. Even though professionnals are familiar with his writtings, the man should be known. Let’s meet with him…
Could you introduce yourself and explain a little about your professional background?
I studied broadcasting at San Francisco State University. During that period, I not only worked for local production companies, but also did other things relating to communication. I did public relations for a while and also created an online news platform. This was in the late 80s and early 90s, at a time before websites existed (WWW as we know it was invented in 1992).
It was very primitive by today’s standards, only one person at a time could dial in and read the news, but it was the only such online service at the time. Being in SF meant a lot of exciting new technologies and many people that adopt it quickly, so the system was busy, it was a great success. It taught me about using technology for knowledge.
Please could you tell us about IDEX online and IDEX Magazine?
Both outlets, and IDEX Magazine – India Retail, our newest magazine, aim to provide members of the diamond and jewellery industry with information that gives insight into what is happening and how it may influence business. While each outlet does this for different audiences and in different ways, we want to provide our readers with well-rounded information. For example, we don’t like to just re-write a press release, but rather provide context and background information – so it connects with what you already know and give it greater detail and depth. We believe that is a good way to do business better.
How did you come to work for IDEX online? And, if you were new to this unique sector, how would you familiarise yourself with it?
I stumbled into the diamond industry by chance. After about a decade in the broadcast industry, mainly as a TV and video director, a friend hooked me up with IDEX Online, which was just about to launch. They wanted to create a news section to increase the site’s “stickiness”, an important goal those days for a website. Initially, the idea was to help define the needs and recruit the staff. As you can see today, it became a long-term relationship.
What do you find interesting about the diamond industry, and what is important to you?
The diamond industry is fascinating. A small industry with its traditional way of doing business for centuries – and in the past ten years it transformed itself to fit a changing world: The decline of De Beers, changing economic climate, changing marketing needs, going down stream, the rise of India and China, the 2008 crash – all challenges that the industry is meeting head on.
At the same time, it keeps the good things that allowed it to flourish and made it unique. For example, the very simplified contract formats and inner trade problem resolution forums such as arbitrations. In Real Estate, by comparison, businesses are bogged down by fat contracts, complicated court proceedings and heavy legal fees. These are issues rarely seen in the diamond industry.
In that sense, the mixture of the old and the new allows the industry to develop, while standing on a firm foundation.
In your opinion, what does the future (in the short or longer term) hold for the diamond industry, and what challenges does the industry face?
After adopting modern marketing and trading formats in the past decade, the industry is advancing to the next stage. With online trading, price transparency is slowly coming about. Not all traders like this, but it’s happening and inevitable. At the same time, the dominance of De Beers and its ability to influence polished diamond prices by setting rough diamond prices has diminished. As a result, from a supply driven market the diamond pipeline has transformed into a demand driven market.
This is an important change for a number of reasons, among them, that polished diamond prices are based on demand and supply – a free market economy. The combination of De Beers’ receding dominance, demand driven prices and price transparency, is that now financial institutions are able to invest in diamonds.
The birth of the many initiatives to invest in diamonds currently underway will result in an inflow of cash to the industry. If you remember that two of traders greatest concerns are limited bank financing and razor thin margins, than it’s easy to understand that the financial markets can provide the diamond industry with a great boost. Hopefully, this fresh source of cash will be used to develop businesses.
Please could you tell us about your other, and more personal, projects? I see you write a blog…
My other personal projects are my family and home, as banal as that might sound. The blog was deserted to free time to build a house. In the past couple of years, my personal thoughts go into a weekly column on IDEX (the Memo). Besides that, quite a lot of time is dedicated to a growing research and consulting activity we have developed at IDEX.
It’s a great new line of activity, as it allows us to have a much more intimate relationship with the industry and take part in the thoughts, ideas and initiatives of some of the most forward thinking companies and people around.
A great honour and a pleasure.
Go to : Idexonline.com