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Secrets of the Amazon III



In this finale of the "Secrets of the Amazon" trilogy, we travel to the land of unicorns and castles, where the rules of the game are changing fast, for both companies and investors.

We observe unicorns like Uber and WeWork gazing in admiration at the Amazon castle as they graze in the bountiful meadow of Silicon Valley. For they understand the secrets of the Amazon. But not every unicorn deserves a rainbow valuation. It’s dotcom déjà vu as growth investors are now at risk of drinking the “pink Kool-Aid” of many of these cult-like unicorns. Likewise, as illustrated by the dark raging ocean that has capsized iconic companies like Toys ’R’ Us and Sears Holdings, value investors are at risk of drinking the “blue Kool-Aid”, whose toxicity is rising as the rate of structural disruption increases. And just like investors can no longer rely on traditional valuation metrics like P/E and P/BV, companies need to realize they can no longer function as non-tech businesses.

In this book, Gray equips you with her proprietary Value Pyramid and shares value-added insights into the latest structural disruption developments — providing you with a strategic map to survive and conquer the new disruptive era.

Advance Praise for Secrets of the Amazon III

Barbara takes you into a disorienting new world, one of fascinating innovation and peril, where traditional organization and business models are being shredded. Sixty-five million years ago, out of the darkness of space, a meteorite smashed into earth and wiped out the dinosaurs. Today, entrepreneurs are harnessing the power of instantaneous communication, ecommerce, Al, machine learning, and quantum computing to deliver an annihilating hit to established organizations and businesses of all sizes. Within these pages you will find out what you must do to not only survive, but prosper!

Rob McEwen, McEwen Mining Inc. & Founder, Goldcorp Inc.

Barbara reminds me of storm chasers who model and predict where the tornado is going to fall next. Although trained as a sharp financial analyst, in writing Secrets of the Amazon III, Barbara masterfully intertwines her unique macro observations on human behaviour (or as she calls it Emotional Capital) and its impact at the micro level within a company or sector. If you pay attention, you may even be able to avoid the proverbial tornado. 

Deepak Chopra, Former CEO, Canada Post Corporation

Barbra constantly explores disruption and the possibilities of where financial markets want or could go. Her works are essential reading, if you mentally want to “understand and stay a step ahead of the market”.

J. Lorne Braithwaite, Founder, Cambridge Shopping Centers Ltd. (Ivanhoe Cambridge) 

Barbara is uniquely gifted in distilling complicated, fast-changing business dynamics into an investment framework that can provide much welcomed clarity and insight. In Secrets of the Amazon III, she has once again delivered in making the complex far more comprehensible. I am grateful to her for doing so.”

Gregg M. Schoenberg, Founder, Wescott Capital & Co-Founder, The Financial Revolutionist

Disruptive innovation remains a powerful force upending the status quo everywhere from Main Street to Wall Street. Barbara knows the roadmap between those two waypoints extremely well and always finds the shortest, most efficient distance between them.

Nicolas Colas, Co-Founder, DataTrek Research

We live in a time of significant transformational change within and across industries as technological advancement, coupled with changes in societal values and norms, creates huge winners and losers in the marketplace. The buzzwords of the day are “creating an emotional connection with customers”, “building a tribe-like following” and “creating a social purpose that resonates with customers”. In many cases we know what is happening but we lack a roadmap to tell us why it is happening. Fortunately Barbara Gray has done some incredibly thoughtful work to consider the root causes of these changes. In particular, her advancement of the Customer Capital Pyramid (and the other Pyramids) concept is a tremendously useful visual depiction of how successful firms are advancing beyond offering functional value (price versus quality) to build market share. 

 — Paul Taylor, Former Chief Investment Officer, BMO Harris Investment Management Inc.

In a world where disruption of comfortable business practices has becoming a main theme, Barbara Gray is leading the way in disrupting the analytical community by actually reporting events — both positive and negative — and their implications in the world of retail. She never hesitates or softens her disdain for those companies who are failing to understand the violence of the changes occurring in the retail channels. If she makes no friends among those companies that fail to adapt to the new realities, she should be making many friends among investors, both private and institutional, whose success depends on better insights into the rapidly changing environment.

Given how fast-paced those changes are taking place, there is little time to savour even recent success because there is more coming every day. As Barbara’s third book in as many years should alert you, if investors do not stay abreast of these ever-changing developments, they risk investing for yesterday’s battles, not today’s. If nothing else, you should understand the mindset behind the new disruptive reality, and to do that, the fastest and easiest way is to read her books (her latest in particular, of course).

But her book goes beyond the investing community. There are important insights for the managements of those companies in the new retail milieu – to understand the new value pyramid, and be prepared for the battle for retail supremacy that is being waged right now.

As they say at the ballgame, you can’t tell the players without a programme and every investor and manager needs this guide to the future players, both winners and losers.

C. Ross Healy, Chairman, Strategic Analysis Corporation

About the author

Barbara is a former top-ranked sell-side Equity Analyst and the founder of Brady Capital Research Inc., a leading-edge investment research firm focused on structural disruption. Barbara is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). view profile

Published on July 11, 2019

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90000 words

Genre: Business & Management