As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.


Credit: Oso

Sometimes when you are really close to something, like a startup, it is hard to give it a succinct “handle.”  You know, something simple like…”BookSwim is Netflix for books.”  Or, “We are Inbound Marketing experts:  HubSpot.”  I’ve struggled with finding a simple description of Daily Grommet.  I shouldn’t admit that…I’m rarely tongue-tied.  But this BIG little task has felled me.  For a long time.

However, just yesterday–within our first five minutes of meeting each other–a smart person gave me a sharp term to describe Daily Grommet.   Like I said, I’ve been struggling for 18 months to find the perfect two words.   But this man, with the benefit of a little distance and perspective said, “Daily Grommet is…. Citizen Commerce.”

(I’d been weighing “Democratization of Commerce” over the New Year….but I like his words better.)

My new favorite person had just had his first exposure to our community, and site, and products, and he said, “We’ve all heard of citizen journalism, where “regular people” report and analyze the news—they almost deconstruct traditional media–via blogs, Digg, tweets etc.  Daily Grommet is doing that for products.  You are creating a way for “regular people” to form a marketplace, by helping you find the Grommets.  And then your products also comes from “regular people”–who actually deliver their compelling stories about creating the products, from the heart.   And then regular people decide what gets shared, supported, and bought.  Citizen Commerce”

This insightful description (paraphrased above—hopefully accurately) came from Erik Rasmussen, of Safeguard Scientific.  Thanks Erik.  I’m giving you full credit before I start adopting this term as our own.

I like it SO much better than “social commerce” by the way.  Social commerce always sounds like a whole lot of blah-blah-blah talking.  Talking is important, but I don’t want to just help people talk about products and their stories.  I want to give them a way to DECIDE  and SHAPE  and AFFECT which stories SHOULD be discovered.

It’s about time, no?

6 Responses to “Citizen…commerce?”

  1. barbara kent

    dear jules

    you reach so many thinking grommets;
    please consider making subtle [but pointed] remark concerning happy duty all of us have to choose good representatives who share our ideals.

    tuesday, we in Massachusetts will select the successor to Kennedy ideals, but only IF we make the effort to vote.

    (i dare you; i know you must vote in my state!)

    barbara of doran farm

    • julespieri

      I love the way you put that….reaching “thinking grommets” Totally agree Barbara that we only achieve the system and government we desire by acting on our values, and simply voting is essential. No dare required. I am with you in helping get out the vote.

  2. Justin Adams

    Hi Jules,

    I just discovered your blog (and your company) by way of your comment on an HBR article by Roger Martin. Very interesting stuff.

    I have two resources that might be of interest to you (if you’re not already aware of them). The first is CK Prahalad’s discussion of the Democratization of Commerce.

    CK: “I started with a broad philosophical perspective. The 20th century was all about political freedom. I’m not pollyannish, I recognize that it’s a work in process. We are not there, but people recognize that political freedom is a birthright. So I asked myself, what is the big challenge in the 21st century? It’s how to democratize commerce.”

    The other is Dan Goleman’s book “Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything”.

    It seems to me that telling the story of the stuff you sell helps to raise ecological intelligence, broadly construed.

    Best of luck with your company!


    • julespieri


      I can’t wait to check out the resources you mention. I’m pretty excited to learn that someone else is talking about the Democratization of Commerce.

      And…I went to U of M undergrad…for industrial design, graphic design and French. Great place and I hope you are enjoying it.

      • Justin Adams

        I’m enjoying Ann Arbor a lot. The breadth and depth of this university is fantastic. And I’m continually surprised by the extent of the Michigan network. Go Blue!

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