Thursday, 4 June 2015


Do not adjust your TV-set, you are about to enter the Twilight Zone: This scary-tale begins with a man that has passed-on and gone to Heaven!? He has entered a starlit paradise that’s full of his greatest loves and heart’s desire: chock-a-block with luxurious Casinos, sumptuous Hotels, lustrous Yachts and performance Cars. And no matter what he does, he wins and triumphs and guzzles down luxury, time and time again. He attracts the utmost gorgeous, most beautiful, intelligent women at the drop of Margarita. The cuisine is fabulous, the Champaign sublime. His home elegantly styled, where everything he could wish for is served in an instant.
Then one night, sitting at a bar in one of the Casinos, with his head in hands, he confessed to the Barman that he was on the edge, fatigued and out of his mind. ‘I just don’t get it. I win all the time. Where’s the challenge in that? I thought that Heaven was supposed to be – well – Heaven!’ he sighed.
The Barman turned, came closer and stared him darkly in the eyes, ‘What not on earth makes you think that you are in Heaven?

Well, it is not all strange fiction here, because it can be a similar nightmare for the extraordinarily Rich. It would be too thin to say that extreme wealth brings the onset of emotional riggermortus. Clearly wealth gives incredible access; as the extremely well-off experience a life-style that 99+ percent of people never get to dream about. Maybe for the Nuevorich technologist and real-estate mogul and tycoon on the 24 hour go, a respite would be a windfall. Yet for the majority of inborn families or executive spouses, such pervasive admission to the utmost everything, anytime, often turns into another day merely falling off the calendar around the pool.

The UberMarkets by the Numbers.

And the GigaNumbers hold up; as the sum of GigaPlutons, GrandOligarchs and TechnoEntrepreneurs is on the way up! And considering the asymmetric productivity gains we whitness, the rich are about to get even richer.

Even as much of the world today experiences anaemic economic growth and the BoP continues to suffer wide spread ills, there are now more billionaires than at any other time in history: totalling 1,396 according to Forbes Rich List May 2013; combining a net worth $5.429-trillion. That is just 1,396 people owning 7.9 percent of the world’s ~470 trillion capital asset economy.

These ultra-rich are surrounded by ~25 million super-rich millionaires. With approximately 175,000 millionaires in Asia; 185,000 MegaAires in the Eurozone; not to mension the USA boasting the most with well over 5-million millionaire households; and then of course not to begin to bring up the fact that there is on order of 500,000 new millionaires in the making each year; that begins to say a lot about the potential GigaMarkets here!

In view of all this, a recent study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research of the United Nations (WIDER-UN) made the revelation that 1-in-10 household’s account for almost 85 percent of the world’s primary assets; and even more profound, that one-in-100 of the world’s citizens (70-million) account for almost 40 percent of total asset wealth. The WIDER-UN report considered monetary assets such as real-estate, investments and auxiliary assets such as pensions, nest-eggs and capital inheritance and savings. Together, this totals $125 trillion in tangible assets globally.

Take the United Kingdom, a wee nation of small Isles with a population of a mere 0.9 percent of the world’s population. Tiny, yet have a total of 77 £billionaires, which accounts for almost 8 percent of the world’s total GigaAires. The top 1,000 wealthiest Brits have a combined worth of £414bn. No surprise that Leading British entrepreneurs saw their wealth increase in 2012; JCB’s Sir Anthony Bamford, saw his fortune go up to £3.15 billion and the Vacuity inventor Sir James (JD) Dyson’s wealth increased to £2.65 billion.

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants ‘Chinese Consumer Report – Luxury: A brand awareness up grade welcoming a new era in Chinese luxury market’ makes clear, Chinese consumer are craving for luxury goods as growing numbers of the well-heeled and elite are enthusiastically taking up the lavish and seeking brands popular in developed economies. This in turn has not gone noticed by the mainstream luxury brand producers. Seeing their products become a characteristic of everyday life in China. Luxury merchandiser are capitalising on and developing an acute understanding of Chinese high-end consumers. Again this can be seen in the numbers, as Chinese luxury clientele are expected to account for ~40 percent of the global luxury-end market leading up to 2016.

In fact, there, luxury is one of a few commercial domains that have grown reliably over the last decade; in many cases not merely grown, but have boomed. Such top-end GigaMarkets are not hard to define. Clearly the basic criterion is income generation in excess of $1-billion.

Clearly there is valuable treasure here. But what is it that they, the rich, actually do, play, go, consume? In precise terms, what UberInnovations exist? What guise and form do they come in? 

Well, there are plenty of examples of luxury markets, ranging from select apparel to elite appliances to extraordinary architecture to high spot transport and much more; all aimed at the superrich.

A much mooted term at present is Uber; hip for extreme often to a point of obsession. Sometimes used as a prefix for emphasis of superiority. Thus, UberInnovations, as you might imagine, exhibit UberValue, commanding UberPrices. UberInnovation attracts the extremely rich, the excessively powerful, the exceptionally famous, and in many cases the extravagant and prosperous corporation. UberInnovation is sold in low-volume and often exclusive one-offs.

Let’s Take an UberRide!

UberAccessories from a design perspective, is a good preliminary here. One of my penchants is the Dubai-based jewellery company House of Mouawad's ‘1001 Nights Diamond Purse,’ which comes in at a confounding $3.8million. Designed to mesmerize with lavish attention to detail and elaborate workmanship, it spins one’s head just looking at the wonder. Encrusted with over 381 carats of diamonds, a heart-shaped bag dons 4,517 diamonds (105 yellow, 56 pink and 4,356 colourless) it took over a 1000 hours to finish.

Another sort-after exclusive is the work of Chopard, the Swiss luxury jewellery Brand. For starters, they have created the world’s most exclusive wristwatch. Labelled at 25million dollars. Which is, to say the least, an ultra-extravagant timepiece. This magnum-opus is decorated with three heart-shaped diamonds: a 15crt pink diamond, a 12crt blue diamond and an 11crt white diamond. To take the design to UberBling status, they lavishly and painstakingly attached 163crts of white and yellow diamonds to take the cache to 201crts.

Chopard make many of their watches and movements in-house rather than using the ebauches of other designer. To their credit, Chopard participates in the ‘Qualité Fleurier’ standard that competes with the celebrated Geneva Seal standard. With boutiques in Geneva, Manhattan, Beverly Hills, Costa Mesa; and thousands of authorized retailers in chic, high profile locations.

Then of course there is the $100,000 Zafirro Iridium Razor! Is it an UberAccessory or something you shave with? With blades are made of gem-stone sapphire; with edges less than 100 atoms across; 5000 times thinner than a strand of human hair. The handle is made out of 99.9 percent pure iridium (one of the rarest elements on earth), all held together with 99.95 percent pure platinum hexagonal screws.

Clothing is another fixation with the rich. Hence, UberApparel includes threads with exclusive access; designed for the financially privileged: The Million Dollar Dandy, as on example, is a decadent slice of English society. Starting at $1,000,000 each, the Million Dollar Dandy was conceived by Frosdick of London to meet the needs of a privileged world traveler who thought he ‘had it all’ but struggle to maintain an inventory of clothing and footwear to meet the demands of varying climates, business, social and leisure occasions.

In the same vein, Lady Gar-Gar’s 2012 Winter Collection was put out for option two months before launch. Each garment is a limited addition of one-hundred items. Each garment’s price tag is around 25-thousand dollars. And do you know what? With a few days each garment put on option, it was oversubscribed by 1000 percent. Stop the bidding please!

Hungry? Almas Caviar is UberFood, coming from Iran, is tremendously scarce and expensive. It can be purchased at Caviar House & Prunier, in London, that retails a pound of Almas Caviar in 24-karat gold can for $25,000. 

It is also where you can seek the most high-priced supper in the UK. Italian White Alba Truffles - the king of fungi - are especially high-priced as they are also not easy to cultivate. A true delicacy at $160,406 for a gigantic truffle; reportedly the world’s most expensive ever, weighing in 3.3 lbs. Then there is Blackwood Distillers Diva Vodka at $765, 000, filtered through charcoal and gem stones; then ther is the most expensive libation on the planet the $1,500,000 a jug Blue Agave Tequila contained in a platinum, diamond-encrusted bottle.

Next, the wealthy need to relax, so UberElectronics ranging from elaborate pocket gadgets to gulp-size 18cts gold plated TVs, whopping amounts hard cash is exchanging hands. One enterprise leading the way here is the much acclaimed Goldstriker International, sitting at the heart of select UberLuxury. Based in Liverpool, UK, a city with a legacy of world-class music and arts, Stuart Hughes and his wife Katherine expertly and artistically clad precision engineered tools and toys like iPADs, Swish timepieces, Smartphones, Video Game Consoles and ornate Chess-sets with gem stones and precious metals. Their concept is simple: let technology embrace luxury in precision.

Unquestionably the most supremely fashioned gadget is the iPAD2 Gold
History, designed and crafted with 12.5cts of flawless diamonds, 53 individually set sparkling gems, a solid 24ct Apple logo and the rear section produced again in 24cts gold. The front bezel has been shaped using rare and valuable opal-like organic Canadian gemstone Ammonite. And too really rub it in, segments of 65-million year old T-Rex dinosaur bone has been fractured and splintered into the Ammonite, then finished off with a platinum inlaid 8.5ct gleaming diamond, bounded by twelve lateral flawless lozenge diamond rocks.

Yet even Stuart Hughes’ regal endeavours are only ripples in a vast current of ultra-extravagant UberInnovation. A flurry of majestic exemplar flourish, including the £692,000 ‘Diamond Crypto.’ One of the most expensive Smartphones available today. The case is cast with solid platinum-950; each side has 25 half-ct diamonds, embellished with 5 royal blue rhombus diamonds.

Then when it comes to UberArchitecture, billionaires tend to be as opulent as they are elaborate as they are innovative. And this is what happens when GigaDesign meets un-abandoned structure and a billionaire's ambition becomes a home. Fashioning a home for billionaire life-style comes down to understanding how various elements complement one another in the GigaContext.

For instance, at Cutler Anderson Architects (CAA) - the designers behind Bill Gates's high-tech dwelling in Medina, Washington State - designing a home for one of the richest men in the world money should not play a part in an architect's design philosophy. Instead Holistic insight plays a vital part in their design thinking. CAA appreciate the nature of the elements, the landscape, the flora and fauna, the materials so that they can bring something that different yet acceptable to the pallet of billionaires row.

Then there is the $1-billion 27 storey tower in Mumbai, built for Mukesh Ambani, the 4th richest man in the world. Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich purchased all nine UberApartments in two adjoining buildings in the Knightsbridge neighborhood of London and plans to transform them into a mega-mansion at a total cost of about $230 million.

Further still, Beijing architects MAD Architectural Design Studio are developing the 400,000 square meter Sanya Phoenix Island in Hainan, China. Upon completion, the Y3 billion development will feature six luxury apartment buildings, a five-star hotel, conference centre and a signature seven-star hotel. On top of that, their Fake Hills housing development will be located along the coast near Beihai. The designs feature towers in the shape of amoeba-like hills, referencing the hills in the local area and low-rise buildings on the water-front.

For obvious reasons, UberHotels are not springing up everywhere. They are rare; they are Uber. One exclusive exemplar is Abu Dhabi's Emirates Palace Hotel,  offering the 'ultimate holiday experience.' A luxurious seven-star hotel packaging the world's first $1million holiday; an eye-wateringly seven-day break for two people.

The Imperial Suite at the President Wilson Hotel, Geneva, is a penthouse reached using a private elevator; with four bedrooms, six bathrooms with mosaic marble floor and a terrace with a dramatic view overlooking Lake Geneva. Decorated in a contemporary style, with marble and hardwood floors; the living room has a billiards table, a library and a cocktail lounge which can accommodate 40 people. The dining room seats 26 people around an oval mahogany table. The hotel’s staff reassures guests that the security in the Imperial Suite is among the best in the world, ideal for celebrities or travelling heads of state who visit the United Nations headquarters next door at the Palais Wilson.

If you are, or know of a leisure marine aficionado, then Uberboats might make a jolting impression. The most exclusive sea-craft I am aware of is a gold-plated super-yacht, valued at an astounding $5-Billion, and said to be the most expensive on the planet. ‘The History Supreme,’ once again, is designed by jeweller Stuart Hughes; putting Roman Abramovich's Ritz-like 100 metre ‘Eclipse’ vessel into the shade.

The craft is decked with one hundred tons of gold, lofting half its exterior. The sleeping cabins are wrapped in platinum. The deck, dining areas, and anchor are made from precious metals. The 30 metre craft, which has been billed as the world's most unique yacht, has the Hughe’s finger prints all over it, typically displaying a statue made of Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton.

And if that was not sufficient, a GigaMonster lurks on the horizon: the ‘Streets of Monaco’ super-ship. A $1.1billion private yacht consisting of substantial eastern citadel architecture, sandy beaches edging a blue lagoon, a Monte Carlo Casino hall, a dwarf versions of the state’s famous Monte Carlo racetrack; as well as swimming pools, tennis courts, cinema, go kart track, and the chic ‘Hotel de Paris.’ A hyper-reality, billionaire's playground on a private sea cruiser.

That was boats, what about planes? There are private jets and private jets, then there are UberJets. Airbus has staked a claim to be the world's number one aircraft maker after it notched up a series of deals at the Paris air show. It received an order worth $16-billion for 180 planes from India's low-cost carrier IndiGo. According to reports the IndiGo order will be followed by another huge deal with Malaysia-based AirAsia for 200 of the same aircraft, thought to be worth $17-Billion.

However, that is not Uber, that’s just another day at the office. But a crown head of an Arabian state has requested a 'Flying Palace.’ The Super double-decker A380 airliner is about to become the world's biggest private jet. With a price tag in excess of $300 million, the final design is one of sear opulence, splendour and panache. Add four-poster beds, a Turkish bath for four and somewhere to put the Rolls-Royce; not to mention a boardroom with holographic screens and a concert hall. A lift shuttles between the plane's three floors, from the private quarters upstairs, down to the concert hall, featuring a grand piano and seating for ten, and to the garage below. Its fabulously wealthy owner is unknown, but names linked to the plane include Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, owner of the Savoy Hotel. The interior is being put forward by the British firm Design Q. In a space fit for 600 passengers, the design has plenty of room to provide 7 star accommodation. Everything a billionaire would want.

It gets crazier! Entre: UberEvents. Like a ringed steel fence, the ordinary man cannot reach. Would you pay $25,000 for a Beef Stake. 2011′s Super Bowl XLV saw the most expensive Super Bowl buffet in the world. Manhattan’s Old Homestead Steakhouse took over one lucky person’s kitchen on Super Bowl Sunday. The steakhouse’s executive chef, Oscar Martinez, prepared a finger buffet. The main course was sirloin steak covered in black truffle shavings on toasted baguettes and chicken wings covered in horseradish and topped with Beluga caviar.

But that is the UberWorld and that, in fact, barely scrathes the surface. Actually, the most expensive outdoor event in history was The World Expo 2010, Shanghia. Lasting some six month, some 70 million people saw 253 pavilions from 192 countries. The world's first emerging nation to host a world fair ending up creating the largest ever. Beijing officially claimed they spent the equivalent of $4.2 billion to host the event. Yet add in all the amounts poured into infrastructure and other preparations, and the cost balloons to more than $58 billion. Call it the most expensive event in history.

And if you think that is extravagant, then what about my own experience in UberClub land. For me it was giddy experience. In 2007, I was invited as a guest to an UberExclusive party in Malan, Italy. As a dim-witted author, I felt quite deferential. Royalty was present, pop stars and movie actors too. The DJs first division and the keynote stage performance the 70’s disco icon George Clinton. And the fries did go with a shake! Drinks were gratis for me (thankfully). A bottle of some obscure Champaign, whose name I cannot remember, was prices at 2,500 Euros. And when I was informed the door fee, I blushed with disbelief.

Parties and nights of this ilk go on all the time, all over the world, in the most luxurious, exquisite locations. Only, most people hardly ever hear of, let alone experience, such grandiose highjinks. The reason is that such zenith venues are carried by secret word-of-mouth invites.

Yet, if so inclined, one can indulge, if one cares to seek such UberExperiences. And you might have guessed, Sin City would be a good place to start. Gleaming hot spots at mind-boggling prices abound Las Vegas. In particular, the world's most expensive nightclub: 3131 Las Vegas Boulevard.  It is free entry, only the cocktails retail at $10,000. Try ‘The One.’ A blend of vintage Dom Perignon and a shot of Louis XII Remy Martin Black Pearl cognac, splashed over a quantity of gold charms for keepsake. The club itself is a betwix of Roman Caligula, Camelot, Crown Jewels and Psychotropic Hedonism.


Peering at such extravagant UberStuff and UberAffairs, at least to the average someone, may seem astounding and beyond belief. But as sure as golden eggs are eggs, thousands of UberOutfits and their wares are emerging the world-over at an ever faster rate. And there are stark reasons for this trend.

First, wealthy people have rich friends. That is, the stunningly affluent have close kin and fair weather associates in search of a not so little something that explicitly makes obvious their lofty position and flaunts their prosperity

Then there is the jaded Heaven syndrome (cited above). Rich people get fed-up! They have a profound psychological precondition to have it all, and I can tell you, they have it all, and all, and all; to the point of trance like dullness. So, Uber seems one of the very few stimulants that jolt them out of their stupor.

Next, there is the GigaBusiness deal and mercantile capital investment transaction often involving ceremonial-like contract sign-offs. This happens every day in the big investment banking world. All the president’s men gather to sign in blood. In turn, they receive commemorative plaques and gilded gratuities that reflect the UberStatus of the venture. And who do you think buys 26 UberWatches in one batch? Who rents a tropical island for the weekend with 26 double hotel suites? Again, it happens all the time. Ask Richard Branson!

Clearly, UberInnovation is one of the major archetypes of GigaMarkets. Individual markets cretin in the area of a billion and more; collectively the amount to 100 billion dollar industries. In total, no doubt trillions in worth.

There are barriers to entry; investment finance being a major one. But as the above examples prove, UberInnovation is serious root to GigaValue.

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