Eureka! That's right, eureka, as in periodically you hit an eureka moment where it all becomes clear, that there is something bigger going on out there and you really need to be face to face with it to see it.
That's what happened to me last night when we interviewed the Shopify (SHOP) Chief Operating Officer Harley Finkelstein. This $18 billion company has become THE way that anyone who wants to sell anything can own themselves and do so. Harley gave the example of Michael Jordan being able to own his own shoe rather than license it to Nike (NKE) to get royalties. It's also true that big brands like Procter & Gamble (PG) and Nestle (NSRGY) set up sites powered by Shopify.
But what I care about is how many of the 820,000 clients - who are small to medium size businesspeople - who could never afford brick and mortar rents yet have fantastic ideas that can be sold best online.
I think that for every Kylie Jenner, who builds a billion dollar brand powered by Shopify using clever campaigns on social media, there are small groups of people who are developing something that can fulfill their own dream, one that would have been thwarted by all sorts of costs before Shopify launched its platform. Maybe you have an idea, a sustainable product made by real people, that you can't otherwise get into a department store because the store doesn't have room or doesn't want to stock it. That means you don't have to forget the idea because you have your own distribution network with Shopify. I think that's wonderful. Even better? Shopify knows enough about how your product is doing that it can offer loans to you, a Shopify merchant cash advance, to give you the working capital you need to expand or tide you over a speed bump.
Who else empowers individuals? How about Square (SQ) ? I know Square from Bar San Miguel, our small plate Mexican tavern in Brooklyn. We use Caviar, which is the terrific delivery service from Square, but Square has a call on your cash register if you use their point of sale system and they, too, will give you an advance as they know what your cash flow is like. What a great thing if you own a restaurant and you get two weekends worth of snow storms that can really obliterate your cash. They save people from going under in a business where a huge number of owners go under every day.
I like Wix (WIX) as a way to develop a website platform something that my wife, Lisa, used at her new place, the Longshoreman. You can't believe how your website looks every bit as terrific as the big boys. Spectacular. Obviously, using Adobe tools you can design anything to your hearts desire, although there are plenty of artists looking for work to help you build it.
Salesforce (CRM) , through its Trailhead program, has empowered thousands of people to learn how to code and develop fabulous businesses. I talk with dozens of budding entrepreneurs who have started six and even seven figure businesses at their kitchen table. I know Twilio's (TWLO) stock is down today off of what I thought was a perfectly good quarter. You sell pizzas as my wife Lisa does at the Longshoreman. I learned how to code to be able to get information from patrons to be able to push them specials right to their cellphones although we don't have the infrastructure left to do so. It could be huge for us.
Finally there's Etsy (ETSY) which represents small merchants so well. My daughter knows I like cufflinks. You don't want to buy cufflinks by mass merchants. You go to Etsy, the Brooklyn based on-line retailer. Just go there today. You will not believe the handcrafted Valentine's Day presents you can get, ones that show you cared a lot more than just going to the mall.
I want to return to this theme again and again because these companies may be worth much more than we think, especially Shopify which is such a terrific outfit. You have some companies that empower you. Go to twitter@Jim Cramer and let me know. Let's do this one together.