Johnny Shapiro – Info

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On this episode:

My guest for this episode is Johnny Shapiro. Johnny is a Senior Reporter for The Australian Financial Review, Australia’s number-one finance newspaper.

OWEN’S TIP: If you can, read this article BEFORE listening: “Inside The Boiler Room That Is Big Un”

In recent years, Johnny and his colleagues at AFR have been responsible for reporting on the unraveling of some of our country’s highest-profile corporate collapses. In this episode we talk about Johnny’s career, growing up with a freedom fighter for a grandmother and a gold trading grandfather and how his investigative journalism unraveled an ASX technology company’s darkest secrets.

Finally, Johnny concludes with the story of how he missed out on a 60,000 bagger investment return.


  • 0:45: Intro to Johnny
  • 1:30 – Apple’s THREE co-founders
  • 3:45 – Fact, fairytales and Johnny is a function of his grandparents: one a freedom fighter the other a stockbroker
  • 6:45 – Johnny studies finance and ends up at a job at INSTO, networking with institutions
  • 8:00 – NSW councils were buying CDO’s(!) before the GFC
  • 11:30 – How Johnny built his network to know everyone in Aussie debt markets, leaves INSTO to join ANZ… then back to INSTO
  • 13:00 – Staring into “the abyss” in the early days of the GFC
  • 16:30 – some of Johnny’s highlights – Slater & Gordon made Johnny appreciate how difficult it is to cover stories involving management and investors in high-profile collapses
  • 19:30 – Johnny tells an incredible story: How Johnny unraveled Big Un (formerly ASX: BIG) – and it started with GetSwift
    • Following leads
    • The network
    • Copping abuse on social measure
    • 2 smoking guns
    • PPSR searches
    • $12,000 for one social video?
  • 31:30 – Does this Cost?”. Response: “Hahaha only if you want it to. With our sponsor onboard the filming on the day is all covered.” And where is Big Un today?
  • 37:00 – Could a mum and dad or DIY investor detect this type of poor corporate governance?
  • 40:00 – What is a roll up strategy? How does it go wrong? Also, a big mention of Constellation Software (TSE: CSU).
  • 43:00 – Corporate Travel Management’s Vs. VGI Partners’ 20 “Red Flags”
  • 46:30 – Blue Sky’s denial of “foreign” short seller claims and a conference call – without questions
  • 49:00 – Is short seller reporting unfair?
  • 53:00 – Where is finance journalism headed over the next 10 years?
  • 56:30 – A correlation between negative news and newspaper sales?
  • 59:10 – What Johnny would tell a younger him about money or investing – A 60,000x investment he sold!!!!

Further Reading:

Learn more about Johnny & AFR: 

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