We were in the hospice room all awaiting what we knew would come, but never seemed real. My dad was defiant (in a good way) until the end …and then he was gone from a 3.5+ year battle with pancreatic cancer.
Shouldn’t it seem real?
His passing, stay-at-home orders, a new way of living. We’re in the midst of it. We can reflect on it, but in many ways, our subconscious fights transition in the midst of change as much as we try to do things differently.
My dad was one of the biggest supporters of what I was doing. His keen intellect, amazing wittiness, care for others, dedication, and knack for negotiation is something I strive to improve upon everyday. The journey of CrowdfundNC, his life, and COVID have a very important lesson.
Entrepreneurial Hustle + Democratization = Resilient Thriving Communities
Good entrepreneurs are obsessed about achieving their vision by seeking honest critique, iteration, and persistence. I’ve had many conversations where I present the following question:
Does the democratization of investment capital create higher quality ventures which are more viable and communities which are more resilient to recession?
Every person I’ve ever asked always answers “Yes!” We’re seeing the community forced to live into a new reality and a potential recession or depression which we don’t have to undergo. In many ways the broader community and families have had to employ entrepreneurial skills and resilience.
So, I’ll modify my above statement. The resilience doesn’t come directly from the democratization of capital. It comes from an entrepreneurial mindset that continually tests product / market fit and improves solutions which address problems facing communities. Entrepreneurs can accelerate their goals when they learn how to market to, sell to and support a democratized team who may also be their investors. It only takes a few businesses who create the opportunity for a community to have joint ownership of returns and input to the direction of each of their businesses through strategically solicited feedback to create a resilient community which grows quickly.
Because everyone has greater access to learn what it takes to build something of value that people want and will pay for. As an investor, if you’re going to put your money on the line, you’re going to learn about how what makes the business you’re investing in successful and where you can help it, especially in a regional context that impact you directly.
Incentive alignment. If more people want you (entrepreneur) to succeed and you present them with a way to share in the risk/reward, why would they say no? The answers to no are what become the feedback loop to building a great venture. This is the power of democratization.
What about accredited investor status?
There is this thing called ‘accredited investor’ status which limits wealth opportunity to those who don’t meet this arbitrary wealth status. What’s amazing is that 90%+ of accredited households don’t even know they are ‘accredited’ and invest locally alongside their neighbor. The knowledge about how to invest locally and the walls of arbitrary limits placed on people’s ability to make their own decisions with their money are coming down. The very thing that under-girded the fabric of wealth generation that I would argue has produced the largest gap in wealth status in human history has to some degree been removed through regulations which allow anybody to participate in the fastest growing and largest wealth building engine in the world …the private markets.
How is this connected with my dad?
My dad wasn’t taught about the public markets in school and even less the private markets. My guess is most of your family members weren’t either. Yet, while the public stock market was collapsing and even through all of COVID so far the community of everyday Americans have been putting more money in these private markets than ever! The knowledge and education needed to invest…the ability for participation…the access to join with others to scale businesses is more widely available than it’s ever been. Marc Andreessen said it well, it’s time to build…build our future and reboot the American dream.
How is this different than any other lull in economic activity? Now, not only can we all take an active role in the build, but also the investment (knowledge + access) AND financially benefit when the ventures in our backyard we invest in are successful. Investors in our community understand the risk of potentially loosing their entire investment balanced against the potential reward whether it be a reoccurring regular return or the next high flying 5x, 20x or 100x+ gain.
Better yet, those types of returns provide (re)investment dollars for other businesses we want in our community…our world, causes we each care about that we want to give more to and/or those things we want to do with family/friends. I like many of you have a family of my own. I’ve spoken with many of you about why you do what you do. We build and invest in what we want the world to be for the next generation. It doesn’t get much more American than that.
My dad was 1 of the many believers in this vision for our community. That’s one, among many of the things I loved about him…his ability to see past the now and into what the future would become.
Community, Let’s Build!