There are a number of key principles that drive everything from what we work on to how we operate at PublicSquare. One of the most important of these principles is Democratization. In this post, we’ll talk about how we define democratization and how it’s at the basis of both of our core initiatives today, along with how it’s a key driver for some of the projects we aim to work on in the future.
What does democratization mean to us and how we plan to use it
We see “democratization” as the process by which a product or service that may only be accessible to a small segment of a market initially, is made accessible to the broader market as a whole.
Often, the process of democratization involves cutting out a middleman (which is generally the factor keeping the cost of the said product or service high), and often the new solution provides a cheaper, safer and overall better outcome for all parties involved, and in the process finds a way to create a sustainable business model for itself.
Many modern day technologies have a very democratising effect on a number of products and services that were historically only available to the very wealthy. For example, Moore’s Law, and the related collapse in the costs of semiconductors, computers, mobile phones, allowing for these powerful technologies to be made accessible to almost every community around the world today (simple mobile phones have penetrated even some of the most remote corners of the world). Similarly the advent of the world wide web and web protocols has allowed for scalable email, websites, applications and general instantaneous exchange of information globally. A final example can be the many marketplaces that exist today (AirBnB, Uber, Upwork, etc.) that democratize and create efficiencies across the industries they touch, allowing for a greater number of service providers and consumers to come together and create mutually fruitful transactions and relationships.
Certain technologies, domains and approaches to development can increase democratizing outcomes in a product/service. Whether it be using market places, decentralized protocols, exponentially accelerating technology, their democratizing outcomes can be massively valuable for both society and the organization that delivers these solutions. A word of caution, we don’t see technology and its related concepts (like democratization) as inherently “good” for the world, we believe that the designers/developers behind such products and services should give careful and deliberate considerations to the first-order, second-order and beyond effects of their creations. It’s with this thought in mind that we carry on our work and hope to create solutions that are valuable to all stakeholders (not just our company).
How democratization is at the basis of our current projects
Currently, at PublicSquare, we’re operating two functional streams, policy engagement and consumer finance. In these domains, we’re actively building and delivering technological solutions to improve access to the best products, services, practises and so on from that domain.
Democratising Political Lobbying
Within our government engagement (or policy, advocacy) stream, we’re helping disrupt the industry and practice of political lobbying (often called Government Relations/Affairs). Political decision making has long been influenced by powerful firms and individuals through political lobbying. The high cost of retaining these firms and professionals has meant that those with power and resources have always had a disproportionately large influence on political and socio-economic outcomes. We’re using a combination of human-machine intelligence to distil the core value proposition offered by lobbying professionals into a digital platform available at 1/10th the cost.
Democratising Sophisticated Investment Strategies
In consumer finance, there's a class of financial investments and strategies that simply aren't accessible to your average investor. The technological & general overhead of setting up some of these more complicated strategies based on an investor’s specific needs and context can be a large enough challenge to keep most amateur investors from even considering such financial opportunities. Leveraging modern technology and developments in regulations, our platform lets the average investor access strategies like high frequency trading, low latency market data, and more. Thanks to said developments in technology and regulations, a number of new opportunities are ready to be democratised to a much larger market than ever before.
The role of democratisation in future projects
PublicSquare was founded with a simple assumption; that modern technology can be a highly democratising force for good (we’ll get into a detailed definition of “good” in another post one day!) by making pain-alleviating and delightful products and services for the masses. Our goal is to help equalise the playing field by making government influence more accessible to the average citizen, and more powerful financial tools accessible to the average investor.
Within the realms of policy and government, we’re also exploring how modern technologies in data processing, AI might help bureaucratic processes within any level of government. As for consumer finances, we’re actively looking at opportunities such as lending platforms, credit scoring systems and more particularly in developing countries for our future projects; these markets often have lower regulatory barriers and massive addressable market sizes. Though we currently have our hands full with our active projects/engagement, we’re excited to work on a number of other socio-economic problems in the mid to long term future of our organisation, and democratisation will continue to be a core pillar of any project we endeavour.