We launched Navigating Our World in 2008 to mark our 10th anniversary as an independent firm. Each NOW conference—this year would have marked our seventh—is meant to embody our commitment to seeking out fresh and diverse views, learning from experts across disciplines, and challenging conventional assumptions. While we have shifted our conference format to a podcast series due to the pandemic, we remain steadfast in our belief that thoughtful inquiry, encompassing varied perspectives, helps us make better decisions for clients and makes us more effective contributors to our communities. As a firm, we aspire to raise the future—and NOW helps us get there.
Please visit www.brownadvisory.com/now2020 to listen to our first episode: We've Been Here Before (and Made It Through): A Conversation with Jon Meacham, historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Brown Advisory. These views are not intended to be and should not be relied upon as investment advice and are not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. The information provided in this podcast is not intended to be and should not be considered a recommendation or suggestion to engage in or refrain from a particular course of action or to make or hold a particular investment or pursue a particular investment strategy, including whether or not to buy, sell, or hold any of the securities mentioned. It should not be assumed that investments in such securities have been or will be profitable. There is a risk that some or all of the capital invested in any such securities may be lost. This piece is intended solely for our clients and prospective clients, is for informational purposes only, and is not individually tailored for or directed to any particular client or prospective client.
Getting Ethical AI Right—And Why It Matters to Us as Investors
Artificial intelligence appears poised to disrupt industries, improve customer outcomes, and enhance lives, and solutions based on AI are projected to contribute as much as $15 trillion to the global economy in 2030—more than the current output of China and India combined. The problem-solving potential of AI is seemingly limitless, and it may well change the way we work, travel, power our cities, diagnose disease, and organize our society.
And yet there are reasons to be cautious. Information is power, and that power can be used for good or for ill. In this episode, Brown Advisory’s Katherine Kroll explores the investor case for “ethical AI” and why failing to proactively ensure AI is used to help, not harm, is a material and salient risk not only to investment performance but to our society’s ability to thrive. She speaks with three of the foremost experts on ethical AI: Aza Raskin, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology; Arathi Sethumadhavan, Ph.D., Head of User Research for Ethics & Society at Microsoft; and Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of AI and Machine Learning, World Economic Forum.
Capitalism Needs an Upgrade: A Conversation with Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal
Fortune recently ranked Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, near the top of its annual World’s Greatest Leaders list, and as long-term shareholders of PayPal, we agree with their assessment. We have watched Dan lead PayPal’s ongoing growth into a digital platform responsible for more than $1 trillion in payments globally last year. In addition, he has been steadfast and outspoken about the role of business in society and the need to modify capitalism.
We were thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with Dan during our latest episode of the NOW Podcast. Brown Advisory's Ken Coe spoke with Dan about how he views his employees as his number one constituency; PayPal's role in providing working capital and creating virtuous cycles in low-income neighborhoods; the future of financial technology; the need for all of us to rise above our own self-interest to drive progress for all, and more.
To wrap up the discussion, Ken brought in Jake Cusack and Efe Braimah from our frontier markets partner, CrossBoundary, to continue the conversation about opportunities in the fintech sector and making a difference.
Investing in Nature-Based Climate Solutions: A Climate Week Conversation with M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International
Nature-based factors and challenges have a real impact on our economies, lives and investments. To kick off Season 3 of the NOW podcast, Brown Advisory's Karina Funk sits down with Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International, for a special Climate Week episode. They discuss the critical need to invest in biodiversity; in the irrecoverable carbon in mangroves, tropical forests and peat lands; and in the indigenous communities that depend on these natural ecosystems to protect commodities, supply chains, public health and the planet.
Later in the podcast, Karina talks with Mike Hankin, Brown Advisory's CEO, about how sustainability can be a powerful tool to create stronger businesses and drive long-term growth.
Blockchains and Cryptocurrencies: Power, Potential and Pitfalls
Blockchain technology offers the promise of a new era of secure, decentralized transfer of value on the internet—a future less reliant on trusted intermediaries and gatekeepers. Some have described blockchain as Web 3.0, unlocking the true vision of what the internet was meant to be, where users of applications are also the owners. Despite their recent—and signature—volatility, digital assets have grown into a $2 trillion market that extends well beyond Bitcoin and is attracting entrepreneurs, investors and corporate support at an accelerating rate. There is clearly a lot of innovation both in digital assets—or cryptocurrencies—as well as with the underlying blockchain technology. But how much is legitimate excitement about this revolutionary technology, and how much is inflated exuberance?
To explore the potential, and examine some of the questions hanging over the industry, Brown Advisory’s Sid Ahl sat down with three crypto experts: Joe Lallouz, Founder and CEO of Bison Trails (acquired by Coinbase); Ash Egan, Partner, Accomplice; and Ria Bhutoria, Principal, Castle Island Ventures.
Be sure to stay tuned for the Brown Advisory investment team’s perspectives, when Erika Pagel, CIO of Sustainable Investing, and Ken Coe, Financial Services Equity Analyst, join Sid (at 51:00) to share their takeaways.
The Future of Cities: What We Can Learn from San Francisco
In this episode, Brown Advisory’s Meredith Shuey Etherington, a San Francisco-based portfolio manager, speaks with Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, and Craig Young, Managing Principal of Tidewater Capital, to examine whether the Bay Area and San Francisco can retain and even enhance their identity as the home of the innovation economy.
San Francisco has been a paradox for decades—at once a stunningly beautiful city at the epicenter of high-tech innovation, and a fragile community grappling with various social crises, the highest cost of living in the U.S. and a vast wealth gap. The pandemic intensified many of the city’s problems, and recent headlines have revealed a string of companies moving their headquarters from the Bay Area to Austin, Miami and elsewhere. Our conversation looks at the challenges and opportunities that will shape San Francisco’s future. Later in the podcast, Brown Advisory’s JJ Baylin and Amy Hauter join Meredith to discuss how we are investing in the future of cities for our clients.
Making a Living While Making a Life: The Power of Microbusinesses with Etsy and GoDaddy
Microbusinesses are becoming a way of life for more and more people; these very small businesses are often sole proprietorships or have just a few employees, yet can provide meaningful household income for millions of people. Digital platforms make many of these businesses possible, and companies like Etsy and GoDaddy have been an essential backbone for microbusinesses, especially during the pandemic (Etsy sellers contributed $13 billion and almost 3 million jobs to the economy last year).
For this NOW episode, Brown Advisory technology analyst and portfolio manager Emmy Wachtmeister sat down with Althea Erickson, VP of Global Public Policy & Impact at Etsy, and Alex Rosen, Director of GoDaddy's Venture Forward project, to discuss the evolution of microbusinesses, and what they mean for the growth and resilience of our communities. Later, David Powell, co-portfolio manager of Brown Advisory's Large-Cap Sustainable Growth strategy, joined Emmy to discuss takeaways for investors (36:18).