The Crowd Ownership Manifesto

Erik Chan
Erik Chan
Apr 2, 2015 · 3 min read

How We Got Here

Its taken us nearly 6 months to truly understand what we’re doing here at RocketClub. And we think its finally time to take a stab at trying to explain the idea: RocketClub is about crowd ownership.

RocketClub is about us sharing real ownership in the products and services we use and love.

The seed idea that is now RocketClub actually began in 2010. At our previous startup companies, we’ve always wanted a way to incentivize our community and give them reason to believe. Its one thing to tell someone they are part of something special and its another thing to make them actually a part of it. Actions speak louder than words, there is no room for anything in between.

Similarly, action is the ultimate validation for new products. All products are judged by its users and their engagement. User adoption is valued more highly than funds, brains, or influence. Every once in a while we forget the obvious, but people ultimately value their time. And with adoption, people are voting with their time.

Why You Should Care

A wide array of products and services, new and old, are vying for our attention every second. The cost to creating new products and services will continue to drop, and it will result in more choices for consumers. This trend is not going away.

New products are continuing to empower us with new access. These are things we previously did not possess without lots of money or skills. Crowdfunding gives us the power to vote what gets created. Online video allows us to watch anything on demand. Online education allows us to learn new skills and languages on demand. Ecommerce allows us to buy from every corner of the world. Peer 2 peer lending allows us to lend/collect from others just like you. The list goes on and on.

Simple economics shows us what happens when supply increases => buying and buyer power increases. As users are offered more choice, the incentives to draw new users also increase. There is only way for this train to go, buyers (users) will be offered ownership in the products they adopt. Its going to be a great thing for users. Especially those who adopt new products, believers who see potential in new products before they become commonplace.

The Future of Ownership

Cases of incentivizing ownership are already abound. Doximity.com, a Linkedin for physicians, offers fellows “compensation in the form of equity and honorarium” to drum up adoption. Reddit.com has publicly announced, after a $50 million round of funding, they have agreed with their investors to give 10% of their shares back to their users/community. Jet.com is offering 100,000 Shares of Common Stock to incentivize its early adopters to refer new users to sign up on their site.

To be clear, ownership is not adoption. Ownership is only a means to incentivize adoption. At RocketClub, we think of it as a warm handshake to give startups the opportunity to figure out the market -to get to product/market fit.

We often look up to Wikipedia and Craigslist to envision the possibilities of crowd ownership. Neither of those services are technically “crowd owned”, but their non-capitalistic approach to business is reflected in the community. We believe this new form of shared ownership will open the possibilities of for new types of community powered products we can’t yet grasp. Crowd ownership gives users the power to direct the products they use and love -something they’ve always deserved.

Erik Chan

Written by

Erik Chan

Ownership in the Products We Love

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