Case Incident 2:A Diamond Personality
Ask Oscar Rodriguez about the dot-com burst, and he may grin at you as if to say, “What burst?” Rodriguez, a 38-years old entrepreneur, owns an internet business that sells loose diamonds to various buyers. Business is booming. In 2004, Rodriguez had sales of $ 2.06 million- a 140 percent increase from 2003. Rodriguez’s database of almost 60,000 available diamonds is one of the largest in the industry and is valued, according to him, at over $350 million. Needless to say, he’s optimistic about his business venture. The future wasn’t always so bright. In 1985, Rodriguez moved from his native Puerto Rico to Gainesville, Florida, with little ability to speak English. There, he attended community college and worked at a local mall to support himself. After graduation, his roommate’s girlfriend suggested that he work at a local jeweler. “I thought she was crazy. I didn’t know anything about jewelry,” says Rodriguez, but he took her advice. Though he worked hard and received his diamonds and diamonds grading certification from the Gemological institute of America, he wasn’t satisfied with his progress. “I quickly realized that working there; I was just going to get a salary with a raise here and there. I would never become anything. That drove me to explore other business ventures. I also came to really know diamonds-their pricing and their quality.” In 1997, tired of working for someone else, Rodriguez decided to open his own jewelry store. However, business didn’t boom. “Some of my customers were telling me they could find diamonds for less on the internet. It blew my mind.” Rodriguez recognized an opportunity and began contracting well-known diamond dealers to see whether they would be interested in selling their gems online. Rodriguez recalls one conversation with a prominent dealer who told him, “You cannot sell diamonds on the internet. You will not survive.” Discouraged, Rodriguez says he then made a mistake. “I stopped...
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