Most analysts (me included!) have been trained to write research from an impersonal and soulless perspective. So I have decided to try to write in my own voice and weave together analysis and narrative. Enjoy!

  • Dotcom Deja Vu Dotcom Deja VuI remember going for drinks with colleagues after work and talking with a bartender who sketched out on a napkin for me the startup he was planning to launch and take public. But he wasn’t looking to launch the next “Airbnb of x” or “Uber of y” – for this was back in March 2000. This is the opening line of the first chapter in my upcoming book “UBERNOMICS: The Next Generation of Business Strategy”. And ... Read more
  • Capital Hacking – Time to Look Beyond VCs Capital Hacking - Time to Look Beyond VCsI am skeptical about most On-Demand start-ups as I see most of them as tech-enabled convenience that treats human capital as just a commodity. But this did not keep me from meeting up for coffee last week with my friend Ryan Spong, who is the Co-Founder and CEO of Foodee, a Vancouver-based Goods Delivery company.  For Ryan’s company is different as it is more about the Sharing Economy than the On-Demand Economy. His delivery force ... Read more
  • SaaS: The Next Chapter for Marketplaces SaaS: The Next Chapter for MarketplacesThe reality is the book publishing world is broken. The only value – beyond credibility – of having a publisher is distribution (although that doesn’t matter nearly as much as it used to given Amazon) and editing (and you can hire someone to do that). Wow! When I received this dose of reality a few months ago from a highly successful published business strategy author, it crystallized for me how the combined democratization of content and ... Read more
  • Hyatt Launches Airbnb for Boutique Hotels Hyatt Launches Airbnb for Boutique HotelsYesterday, Hyatt became the latest company to embrace UBER-nomics, joining the growing ranks of forward-thinking companies like Amazon, Expedia, LinkedIn, GM, and Ford. As Mark Hoplamazian, the President and CEO of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, stated in the company’s press release, “The Unbound Collection by Hyatt provides us with a myriad of opportunities to grow, not only in new markets, but also in places we know our guests want to go.” Instead of acting from a ... Read more
  • Ford No Longer Sees Its Future as Just an Auto Company Ford No Longer Sees Its Future as Just an Auto CompanyOn January 11th at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mark Fields, the CEO of Ford Motor Company, declared that he no longer sees its future as just an auto company, but as an auto and mobility company. And with this, he announced the upcoming launch in April of FordPass, Ford’s new digital and physical marketplace platform inspired by the company’s desire to create true authentic long-term relationships with its customers and continue ... Read more
  • UBER-nomics: The New Holy Grail of Value Creation UBER-nomics: The New Holy Grail of Value CreationUBER-nomics is emerging as the new Holy Grail of value creation. It is no longer just the domain of start-ups as Industrial Age companies like General Motors are starting to make strategic moves into this space, joining the growing ranks of companies like Amazon, LinkedIn, and Expedia. Although these companies have vastly different business models, they all have one thing in common: they recognize the exciting value creation potential of marketplace sharing platforms. I define ... Read more
  • UBER-nomics: It Takes More than Just a Marketplace UBER-nomics: It Takes More than Just a Marketplace“Creative destruction of the status quo…idealistic vision of a better way…fearless, uncompromising, and creative…” What I love about the Sharing/On-Demand Economy universe is that it is rich with founders who epitomize these words that Jonah Sachs uses to describe “The Rebel” in his book “Winning the Story Wars”. By being “rebels with a cause”, Brian Chesky and Travis Kalanick have not just created marketplaces, but movements. And as Scott Goodson observes in “Uprising”, movements are what ... Read more
  • The UBER-ized Consumer: A Company’s Worst Nightmare? The UBER-ized ConsumerThe real disruptive threat of companies like Airbnb and Uber will come from people – like you and I. I don’t know about you, but ever since I experienced the wonders of Airbnb and Uber last year, I have started to look at the world differently. I feel myself getting increasingly impatient with how archaic companies operate (why can’t I just push a button and get the good/service delivered now?) And I am getting more and ... Read more
  • Podcast Interview Highlights: “The New Era of Economic Abundance” Podcast Interview HighlightsFinancial analyst Barbara Gray discusses her recent research report The New Era of Economic Abundance and predicts how the sharing economy can disrupt incumbent business models. To listen to my full 25-minute podcast interview with Adam Broadway, Co-Founder of Near Me., please click here. Adam: Okay. Hi everybody. And I have the pleasure of talking with Barbara Gray who is an analyst with Brady Capital Research Incorporated and the website bradycap.com. Wonderful to have you on this podcast. Well, ... Read more
  • A Wake-Up Call for CEOs – from Amazon, LinkedIn, and Expedia A Wake-Up Call for CEOsWhat do Amazon, LinkedIn, and Expedia have in common? In the past month, they have all made strategic moves into the Sharing/On-Demand Economy. This is a wake-up call for CEOs that still operate in the Traditional Era of Scarcity. A month ago, I had the opportunity to share insights from my new in-depth research report “The New Era of Economic Abundance” at the Collaborative Economy Conference in San Francisco.After spending over a year doing heads-down research, ... Read more
  • Has Airbnb Masterminded the Ultimate Game of Monopoly? Has Airbnb Masterminded the Ultimate Game of MonopolyRemember playing Monopoly when you were younger? It was one of my favorite games growing up. Even though I didn’t know anything about economics or investing back then, there was something addictive about the game. I especially relished the special moment when you got to trade in those little green plastic houses for a big shiny red hotel. Which takes us to Airbnb… As we noted in our in-depth research report last year“The Abundance Economy: Where ... Read more
  • Expectations are Rising in the Age of Uber… Expectations are Rising in the Age of UberI grabbed my iPhone and dialed 911 as I watched in panic while my 15-month old baby lay convulsing in my husband’s arms. As I breathlessly repeated my address for the third time, my heart racing, I thought to myself “why can’t I just push a button and call for an ambulance”. And as we stood waiting helplessly for the ambulance to arrive with tears in our eyes, as our baby lay limp and pale, ... Read more
  • The Sharing Economy: A High Stakes Game of Snakes and Ladders The Sharing EconomyThe peak of the Social Economy Pyramid is turning into an elusive hunting ground for unicorns as the secret magical powers of Sharing Economy companies is being discovered. This is leading to a gold rush amongst investors and entrepreneurs seeking to stake a claim at the peak of the Social Economy Pyramid. But not is all blue sky and rainbows as storm clouds are starting to gather. And the “Snake” companies that have scaled to ... Read more
  • IV. Taxi Medallion Prices Plummet: The Dominoes are Starting to Fall… Taxi Medallion Prices PlummetIn major cities throughout the United States, taxi medallion prices are tumbling as taxis face competition from car-service apps like Uber and Lyft…The average price of an individual New York City taxi medallion fell to $872,000 in October, down 17 percent from a peak reached in the spring of 2013, according to an analysis of sales data. Previous figures published by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission — showing flat prices — appear to have ... Read more
  • Could LinkedIn Become the Uber for Professionals? Insights_LinkedIn_Uber_for_ProsHere is something to think about: could LinkedIn become the Uber for Professionals?Just like Uber empowers taxicab drivers with the freedom to work when and where they want, wouldn’t it be great if LinkedIn could enable professionals to do the same… Last week I had a great call with Tristan Pollock, the co-founder of Storefront, about how his company is revolutionizing the Commercial Retail Marketplace and creating a “Pop-Up Retail Market” by unbundling retail space in terms of time (unbundling the 5 ... Read more
  • Social Capital: The Secret Behind Airbnb and Uber Social Economy PyramidBarbara Gray, CFA – June 4, 2014 – When I was thirty and single and living in New York City, I had a dream: to return one day with my husband and push our baby in a stroller through Central Park. A few weeks ago, albeit more than a decade later, my dream came true. But we didn’t stay in a hotel and travel by yellow cab, instead we used Airbnb to book a guy’s condo ... Read more
  • Time to Start an Open Diialog on Culture Diialog IconI met him in the summer of 2006. I still remember our first date – we went rollerblading around the Stanley Park seawall and we bonded over our mutual passion for creativity and he shared with me his vision for creating a company to help match people to their ideal corporate culture. And in July 2008, his company, Jiibe, described as “Monster meets Match.com with a dash of LinkedIn” was named as one of the ... Read more
  • Shared Value and the Street Insights_Valerie_BockstetteL2Guest Post by Valerie Bockstette, Managing Director, FSG – There has long been a debate on whether or not corporate engagement on societal issues effects corporate performance and related to that, whether shareholders should care. For many realms of corporate engagement with society, the answer is a clear no. When it comes to shared value, the answer is a clear yes. First, let’s differentiate three different ways that corporations engage with society: (1) giving back, (2) following standards, ... Read more
  • Social Impact Growth Companies: The New Alpha AlphaBarbara Gray, CFA – April 7, 2014 What is a Social Impact Growth Company? A Social Impact Growth company is an elite class of company that is Purpose-Driven, Stakeholder-Centric and focused on Sustainable Long-Term Growth. Why Invest in Social Impact Growth Companies? Our investment thesis, that Social Impact Growth companies will deliver alpha, is starting to play out. In November 2011, we published our research report titled “Social Capital: A New Strategic Play for Investors: Look for Companies ... Read more
  • Millennials: The Emergence of the Socially Conscious Growth Investor Insights_Chipotle-back-to-the-startBarbara Gray, CFA – March 12, 2014 – The wave of socially conscious and empowered Millennials will be an influential force on corporate America and Wall Street over the next few decades as they seek to align their values with those who they buy from, work with, do business with, and invest with. As Rhoden Monrose, a 27-year old former derivatives trader who left his lucrative career to found CariCorps to “build a more socially ... Read more
  • Twelve Words of Wisdom Insights_12_words_of_wisdomBarbara Gray, CFA – December 16, 2013 – I thought it would be worthwhile to continue on the holiday tradition and share with you some of the words of wisdom from the authors of the top dozen of the 50+ business strategy books I read the past year. The common theme that runs through all these quotes is that we are entering a new Social Era, one in which companies need to be transparent, ... Read more
  • Conscious Capitalism: Thriving Not Just Surviving Insights-cc-article-SFSPGuest Author- William W. Vogelgesang – CEO, South Franklin Street Partners – Originally Posted May 30, 2013 What makes a great company? The easy answer is management, but there are lots of well-managed companies that aren’t great, at least not yet. What makes the startup hit a hundred million in sales in seven years or less? What revitalizes the 100-year-old company, or makes the precision manufacturer obtain industry-leading quality, reliability and customer satisfaction? What gives that ... Read more
  • Responsible Investing: Time to Look Beyond ESG… Insights_Responsible_InvestingBarbara Gray, CFA – March 6, 2013 – I don’t usually attend presentations hosted by the Vancouver CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Society as quite honestly I find them boring and too academic. However, when I received the invitation a month ago to attend a CFA breakfast co-sponsored by SHARE talking about the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), I eagerly registered in the hopes that it might advance my thinking about my social capital investment ... Read more
  • The Naked Brand Insights_The_Naked_BrandBarbara Gray, CFA – February 27, 2013 – “In a transparent world, a consumer is a watchdog, a critic, a conscience – but also a partner, a collaborator.” The Naked Brand – Official Trailer from The Naked Brand on Vimeo. That is one of the underlying messages in the newly released documentary movie “The Naked Brand”, which explores how the Social Era is disrupting the traditional corporate advertising model. I first heard of it back in the ... Read more
  • Doug Levy: Can’t Buy Me LIKE Maverick_Doug_LevyBarbara Gray, CFA – February 12, 2013 “Welcome to the Relationship Era. Say goodbye to positioning, preemption, and unique selling proposition. This is about turning everything you understood about marketing upside down so that you can land right side up. This is about tapping into the Human Element.” – Doug Levy & Bob Garfield – Advertising Age – “Welcome to the Relationship Era” – January 1, 2012 Wow, I thought to myself, as I read the opening paragraph ... Read more
  • Antifragile by Brad Herbert Book_AntifragileGuest Post by Brad Herbert, Originally Published as Antifragile on January 31, 2013 – My colleague Barbara Gray, an Equity Analyst for Brady Capital Research, is heavily focused on how socially conscious organizations will thrive in an increasingly volatile world while traditionally managed companies will appear and fade away more quickly than the past. In her latest blog post, she mentions an interesting concept called Antifragile which is the concept that chaos is actually required ... Read more
  • Why Antifragile Companies Will Become the New 1% Insights_AntifragileBarbara Gray, CFA – January 31, 2013 – Since I read Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s new book “Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder” over the Christmas holidays, I have been thinking more and more about how it relates to our social capital investment thesis. “Antifragile” builds on the ideas Taleb introduced in his highly prescient book “The Black Swan” published back in 2007 that talks about how highly improbable and unpredictable events can have a massive ... Read more
  • The Twelve Books of Strategy Insights_12daysBarbara’s Top Dozen Business Strategy Books for 2012 Barbara Gray, CFA – December 11, 2012 – I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the words of wisdom from the top dozen business strategy books I have read over the past few years. As this is just a small sampling of the list of nearly 70 business strategy books we currently feature in our Brady Capital Research Library, I encourage you to ... Read more
  • Wake Up Investors – The Corporate Social Revolution is Here insights_walmartBarbara Gray, CFA – November 20, 2012 – The first shots have been fired in the Corporate Social Revolution… Employees of Walmart are planning their first ever nation-wide strike for Black Friday, the biggest holiday shopping day of the year. But what’s interesting to note is that Walmart stores are not unionized – the strike is being organized by its own employees online using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. As I wrote ... Read more
  • Choose Your Capitalism Indeed!! Insights-choose-capitalism(Or: Just in case you haven’t voted yet!!) Jeffrey Cherry, Guest Writer – Originally Posted November 6, 2012 – New York Times economic reporter Eduardo Porter penned an interesting article last week: “At the Polls, Choose Your Capitalism”. He tells of the sense of “economic vulnerability” that has been hanging over the US middle class for more than a decade. The common wisdom in the country, in many academic circles and in both political parties is ... Read more
  • A Different Road to Social Capital insights_socialcapitalvalueaddBarbara Gray, CFA – August 16, 2012 – Just over a month ago, I received the following tweet from an individual named Michael Cayley (@memeticbrand): “@barbcfa great post hope you visit socialcapitalvalueadd.com would like to talk to you”. As I don’t receive many direct tweets (I only started tweeting last Fall), I was intrigued and after checking out his website, I looked up Michael’s profile on LinkedIn and sent him the following message: Hi Michael – thanks for ... Read more
  • Social Capital: The New Alpha for Investors Insights_soul_heart_shellBarbara Gray, CFA – July 3, 2012 – As an Analyst, my passion is to come up with new ways for investors to look at and value companies. But in the end, all that really matters is the bottom line: does the investment thesis add value for investors (i.e. does it help them pick the winners and/or avoid the torpedoes?) As there are so many unforeseen and uncontrollable variables (both economic and company-specific) that can ... Read more
  • “Business is War” versus Kumbaya insights_business_is_war_KumbayaBarbara Gray, CFA – June 22, 2012 Kevin O’Leary: “I don’t know where we got lost – we’re all singing Kumbaya these days. Let me tell you how it works. Business is war. You get up in the morning and you figure out how do I kill my competitor… That’s what made America great. Competing. Winning. Fighting.” Sara Blakely: “I completely disagree… I have done it very differently… I have only been focused on my own quality. ... Read more
  • lululemon: Rebel With a Cause Insights_Rebel_CauseBarbara Gray, CFA – June 11, 2012 – lululemon is rebelling against Wall Street’s myopia. Why does the company believe in investing precious time and capital to deepen relationships with its customers, employees, business partners, and communities? And how does it have the audacity to consciously sacrifice short-term profits for potential long-term gains? Isn’t the obligation of a corporation solely to maximize profit for its shareholders? Given we are still in a weak economic environment and ... Read more
  • The Social Renaissance: The New Dawn of Capitalism… Insights-Da_Vinci_Vitruve_Luc_ViatourBarbara Gray, CFA – June 5, 2012 “CEOs are looking beyond the benefits of connected supply chains and more integrated back-office systems. Their focus is shifting to the power and potential of recent advances in social media and analytics to reimagine connections among people – whether that’s customers, employees, partners, investors, or the world at large.” I re-read the opening remarks by Ginni Rometty, President & CEO of IBM Corporation, in the 2012 IBM CEO Study ... Read more
  • LinkedIn: Disrupting By the “Power of We” Report_LinkedIn_Disrupting_StrategyBarbara Gray, CFA – May 16, 2012 By the “Power of We”, LinkedIn has discovered the Holy Grail of Business Relationship Management: how to transform candidate pools, business prospect leads, and business customer bases from depreciating into appreciating assets. It is interesting how you can spend so much time working on something – and it is not until the last second that you get a revelation that brings everything together. This is what happened to me. ... Read more
  • Chipotle: A Story Worth Sharing Insights_Chipotle-back-to-the-startBy Barbara Gray, CFA – April 20, 2012 – I was a bit nervous yesterday after market close as I waited for Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG-NYSE) to report its 1Q12 results. Although I strongly believe in the company’s long-term value creation potential, the stock had risen 16% (versus only a 3% gain in the DJIA) in the past quarter and was trading at a premium valuation of nearly 40 times next year’s earnings. I breathed ... Read more
  • Starbucks: The Value in Values feature_schultz_starbucksBy Barbara Gray, CFA – March 26, 2012 – I was so moved by Starbucks’ recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the words spoken by Howard Schultz that I felt compelled to share my thoughts. Although I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Schultz, I have a deep admiration for him. Looking back, I think reading his book “Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a ... Read more
  • Social Capital: The Secret to lululemon’s Success lulu-kits-storeBy Barbara Gray, CFA – March 24, 2012 – I woke up at 5:24am yesterday and reached over to the nightstand for my IPhone (I ditched my Blackberry back in January 2010 when I elected to leave the corporate world) and immediately went to the CNBC app to check out the stock price of lululemon (LULU-NASDAQ) which was set to report its 4Q11 results before market open. I breathed a sigh of relief as I ... Read more
  • Evolution Fresh: An Exciting New Chapter in Starbucks’ Movement to “Inspire and Nurture the Human Spirit”… IMG_0793By Barbara Gray, CFA, Mar 22, 2012 – On Tuesday, my husband and I drove down to Seattle for a meeting so we decided to stop by Bellevue, Washington on our way home to check out Starbucks’ new Evolution Fresh concept store. Interestingly, the store is just down the road from the Chipotle we had visited last Spring when I was doing my due diligence on CMG. What struck me first about Evolution Fresh was ... Read more

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