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Democratization & Exclusivity

Evan Stewart
Evan Stewart
Hey everyone! 👋 Happy Thursday. This week my thoughts have been around the concept of democratization; essentially creating universal access to something that has been historically gate-kept, tiered in caste systems, and out of reach for those not already “in the know.”
I see companies like OpenSea and Coinbase creating a pathway for normal individuals to buy, hold, and sell crypto and NFTs. PartyRound and Republic eliminating barriers for people to invest in startups they believe in, and niche brands such as AngelList: Stack streamlining essential business tools so founders can start and raise quickly.
The future is quickly becoming the present, and companies who are stuck in antiquated ways won’t last. Today’s consumer wants access; modern exclusivity is born out of that access—not the lack thereof as in, say, the 1980’s.
Take the Bored Apes Yacht Club for example. This NFT project quickly turned into an exclusive club for owners of the Bored Apes NFT. What began as a startup project on the Ethereum blockchain quickly grew into a robust community of enthusiasts with live meetups, powerful conversations through Discord, and more (not to mention the tens of millions of dollars spent by consumers), and they’re just getting started.
While a Web3 example is not representative of the entire world right now, it does present a unique shift in our global mindset: the opportunity to engage in something greater, regardless of your background, experience, successes, or failures.
So, you might be wondering how this applies to your company?
The answer is simple…
  • Are you building a brand that makes your consumer’s life easier because you’re in it?
  • Are you creating pathways to access unique features, communities, or solutions that were inherently hard to get to before for the average person?
  • Are you clearly developing solutions that weren’t present earlier, that are sustainable in a democratized marketplace?
The bottom line; if you are not building with the thought of democratization as a disrupter to your market, you will be disrupted. Many of you know my entrepreneurial experience took off in the real estate industry… that is an industry where the majority of services and products need to be disrupted, where the traditional models of gatekeeping, and price-fixing need to die off. In real estate, we’re seeing companies run scared of disruption because of one reason; they haven’t adapted, and they’re terrified of change that will sink their brand. Don’t model their scarcity in your startup.
Be nimble, audit your roadmap, focus on what Gen Z and Gen Alpha want so you’ll remain relevant, and ultimately lean into democratization, not away from it.
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What I'm Talking About This Week:
I recently had a chance to tune into the fireside chat between Eric Bahn (GP/co-founder at Hustle Fund) and Immad Akhund (CEO/founder at Mercury). The conversation covered early-stage venture funding, some tips for building your investor database, and more.
For those of you who didn’t catch the recording, I live-Tweeted the best takeaways. You can find that thread here 👇
Evan Stewart
Tuning in to today's fireside chat between @ericbahn w/@HustleFundVC & @immad with @BankMercury. Dropping thoughts below as the stream continues 👇
I believe the best way to learn is by doing. The second best is by learning from others through books and mentorship. The other day, I compiled a list of my favorite books so far this year. 👇
Evan Stewart
This year I've been reading a TON and found a lot of great books related to starting, scaling, exiting, and everything in between.

Here are a few of my favorites:
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Evan Stewart
Evan Stewart @heyecs

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