“What consciousness business ideas or opportunities do you think exist in this space?”
This question came up on a great group call I was on last week in the PAUA community started by Loic Le Meur which I highly recommend to anyone interested in the intersection of consciousness, ancient wisdom, business, and technology.
I’ve thought a lot about the intersection of business and consciousness and have created a few different frameworks on how to identify opportunities to create products & services that the world needs.
The Undeniable Increased Interest In Expanded Consciousness
Probably most humans have thought that the particular time they were living in was the most exciting time it’s ever been to be a human.
I certainly feel like that right now because of the rapidly increasing interest in expanding consciousness.
It seems like more and more people are experiencing profound transformations and having mystical experiences. This is something that has been happening throughout humanity’s history, but never before has there been such unfiltered amplification mechanisms for people to share these experiences or how to achieve them. Increased access to the information, transformational stories, and mechanisms (wisdom practices, plant medicine etc) are generating a massive interest in more humans to seek greater levels of truth and restore their divine nature.
Relative to the past, this is a big change for most societies. In fact, it’s becoming more clear that groups of elites intentionally tried to suppress these experiences! This is an expected survival response from levels of consciousness dominated by the ego that strive for superiority over others and seek to reject & discredit that which is not accessible to them.
This response is still rampant today and is typically the unconscious basis for why people are condemningly skeptical. Simply put, if you had access to these experiences and capacities, you wouldn’t be shitting on them and in the most extreme reactions seen throughout history, expelling them.
Many people in the spiritual community call this a “global awakening” as if it is some prophecy that we’ve all been waiting for is now here. I don’t know if this is actually true or just spiritual hype that people like rallying around to feel special or a part of something, but it does seem like there are far more people both experiencing and showing interest in this stuff.
When I ask myself if this is because I live in a spiritual echo chamber or it’s an objective truth, the answer is no doubt both.
Even the google trends data indicates so. Here’s search volume data over the past 20 years on spiritual awakening:
And apparently there’s something in the water in Nevada!
The Big Evolutionary Picture
It’s my personal belief that there is a relatively consistent evolutionary process that humans go through on the expansion of consciousness. This belief stems from studying many different wisdom teachings that all kind of point to the same thing or perennial philosophy which mirrors my own lived experience. I’m not saying everyone goes through the same exact process. More just that many people seem to go through a similar one.
I’m clearly not the first person to identify this with many great teachers citing a unified model of consciousness like David Hawkins and Ken Wilber that both provide an inclusive model and explanation for all religions and ancient wisdom teachings. You can find my own model which is just an adaptation of my own lived experience called The Human Consciousness Continuum here.
If you believe in a consistent model of the evolutionary stages of consciousness that contain proven subprocesses to facilitate progress, then finding opportunities comes back to creating technologies and services that support the human journey through this ascent. This can take the form of creating new markets and categories or expanding existing ones. My own personal context is that of a technology entrepreneur. But I think many of these ideas for consciousness business can be applied to service or in-person businesses like coaching, retreats, communities (YPO), etc.
Even if you don’t agree with the consciousness expansion model that I propose, I still think that you can still apply the same mechanics of this framework for whatever your belief structure is. You do this by applying the concepts of experiential inspiration, stabilization, and deepening with market expansion and category creation strategies to your own evolutionary model.
Market size and the scale of commercial viability are separate factors which are dictated by the predominant level of consciousness of society. I have written at length in my essay on how consciousness dictates the market for any product. To market or position your idea, or just understand why some things resonate with our society, I recommend reading that post.
Mapping Markets To Evolutionary Models
Last week I shared a diagram of some high level processes that I have gone through in my own journey along with the spiritual practices I have used to help along the way.
By no means do I think everyone is going to go through the exact same journey as me, but it does seem like there is some consistency amongst the primary processes that many people go through. This means there’s a market there.
If we were to look at a sample of some existing businesses that support these various parts of the journey it might look like this. Obviously there are more businesses and technologies that I have listed here, but these are just a few to illustrate the idea.
You can see that I added an “experiential inspiration”element at the bottom of the diagram. For someone to embark on the evolution of consciousness path there usually needs to be some catalyst from the events of life which can include the aid of some product or service. This could be a psychedelic experience, going to burning man, or maybe just feeling stillness in your mind for the first time using breathwork or sound.
What’s happening in most of these cases, is you are making a temporary leap to an improved state of consciousness which spurs a desire to stabilize it. In my opinion this is one of the primary purposes of psychedelics.
So we can find opportunities in both experiential inspiration or stabilization of the various upgraded states which one usually first glimpses before developing a practice in order to evolve to embodiment.
Expanding Existing Markets
Experiential inspiration is a primary place where I see opportunities to expand existing markets. Obvious examples of this are psychedelics, but there are many others.
Take for example the Catholic meditation app Hallow. Many Catholics, including some of my own family members, have an aversion to meditation because that’s something “those buddhist people do.” It’s not actively taught in their religion and many people have been programmed to think things that are pillars of other traditions are bad. By simply repositioning meditation for an underserved audience, they have now expanded the market for people to experience stillness and even begin to develop a more clear mind. I joked to a friend recently that this is just like changing the UI (user interface) on the same old technology!
Another example I recently learned about was Second Time Founders. It was described to me as kind of like YPO, but with a focus on supporting founders with their mental health and spiritual growth. Again, increasing access to a new audience with community, educational content, and on-demand resources by meeting them where they are. I imagine many founders join this for the excitement of meeting experienced founders, then stay for the deeper levels of inner work and community. There are many examples of selling or positioning what people think they want, and then giving them what they need in spirituality. Eckhart Tolle is a master of this whether its intentional or not.
I’m sure there are many other examples and opportunities where you can do this to make proven technologies and practices more approachable in order to expand the market size. And I don’t think market expansion plays just apply in the earliest stages of evolution, but at every stage.
Improving Stabilization Technologies
The stabilization function of consciousness expansion is also a fantastic place for technology or services to play a role to support human evolution. For example, psychedelic integration seems to be an example of a service related to stabilization that needs a lot of help. Or maybe I’m just ignorant and don’t know of any amazing, scaled integration companies. It seems like the premier help here is in the form of talented coaches and teachers working in isolation, or the imminent progression of just developing a spiritual practice after experiential inspiration.
Most psychedelic integration that I’ve seen just tells people to journal and meditate about their experience…oh and let’s not forget walk in nature!
I’m not saying these aren’t helpful practices, but in most cases this is a far cry from what is required to truly help someone stabilize an experience or revelation so that they move from exposure to embodiment. Obviously, technology or information can only do so much and a lot of this is related to the commitment of the seeker.
It should be noted that many technologies can serve as both an inspiration and stabilizer. For example, Mindbloom or Othership Breathwork might excite someone to develop a spiritual practice and also help them work through some sort of suppressed emotion or issue. The same can be said for many retreats or entry point technologies that use breath, sound, and other ways to temporarily alter someone’s state.
Creating New Categories On Consciousness Business Ideas
Right now the density of products and services that support each process are correlated to the predominant levels of evolution in our society. I used muscle testing to hypothesize this distribution. Who knows if it’s accurate, but it feels directional to me that more people are living in victimhood and self enhancement focused states than transpersonal ones.
There is more demand for meditation apps that help people with stress, sleep, or other forms of “self” improvement (victimhood + self-enhancement) than there are applications that help you transcend and stabilize the idea that you are not your personality which you unconsciously inherited from other people and events you did not choose (transpersonal). This is just a reflection of our culture which mirrors our collective evolution. I have written more about this here.
Here’s a simple image to demonstrate the market size based on consciousness evolution relative to density and popularity of application today:
Let me be clear, I am not sitting here on my spiritual person high horse judging anyone or our society for who they are or where we are collectively. It’s just is what it is. Just go on youtube compare the popularity of content on how to become a millionaire or have abs relative to learning how to to meditate, be still, or develop an unconditionally loving, open-heart to find evidence around what the U.S. society values most.
Or even responses to things on twitter.
One example of this is one of my friends Brandon Epstein started the largest jump rope fitness youtube channel in the world. It was originally called Zen Dude Fitness and his vision was to combine jump rope and meditation in a single workout. Pretty quickly he learned that majority of the market really just cared about was jumping rope so he had to ditch the meditation element to actually build a business. It’s now just called Jump Rope dudes.
We can even look within existing consciousness business markets or ideas like meditation to see additional examples of this phenomenon where the demand or desire correlates to the predominant level of evolution.
Enhancing your stress and sleep is more popular then becoming loving which is more popular the redefining and stabilizing what the concept of self even is.
The good news is that with the increased interest in consciousness discussed earlier, the market size for all inspirational experiences, technologies, and service businesses that support all the various processes is going to continue to expand.
This is already happening and there will continue to be a need to create more supportive technologies and services to meet the demand for the more mature consciousness expansion processes then exists today. This is where new categories will be created.
Think about something like basic meditation. When I started on headspace in 2013, it was a pretty fringe thing in the U.S. and a small business. Now it’s a billion dollar company and meditation has become a whole category.
And guess what!? All those people who used headspace 10 years ago, will be interested in new things that continue to support the evolution of their consciousness.
Right now it seems like most things related to working with the unconscious, repressed emotions & traumas, opening of the heart, and shifts in identification are done through books, therapists, and spiritual teachers. I don’t think this will go away. In fact, I think we need more highly skilled ones. But I also think right now technology is not really doing as much as it could be to amplify these efforts, provide increased access, and make the process easier.
20 years ago the only way to learn meditation was from a teacher or book. Now we have all these technologies to help amplify great teachers and teachings. I think the same will be true of these processes that one must go through at subsequent stages of evolution that an increasing number of people will go through in the coming years.
In my own life, I’ve hacked together all these little notes, documents, spreadsheets, disparate apps to create workflows that have been incredibly helpful. But they don’t work together in a cohesive experience. I’m sure many others feel the same. From the vantage point of an entrepreneur this screams opportunity!
Where My Own Interests Are
My mission in life is to uplift myself and uplift others.
I think everyone who says their mission is to uplift human consciousness should first and foremost recognize that if you really mean it, you need to start by prioritizing working on your own consciousness. You can still pursue your consciousness business ideas earnestly, it’s just a matter of where your primary allegiance is.
It’s not selfish to prioritize working on your consciousness first, it’s intelligent.
I’m convinced that the cascading effects of being a loving, joyous being that touches everyone and everything around you at both the content and energetic level far outweighs creating a helpful service to humanity while being a stressed asshole. Though I appreciate those creations too.
When your heart opens, you’ll be more excited about helping others anyways and it will come from a truly authentic place vs. one camouflaged by self importance or obligation. And why not uplift yourself while creating things that uplift humanity!? As you grow, you realize all these conditioned polarities are not either/or’s even in the context of evolving spiritually and can be merged to include both.
As I think about my own future ventures, angel investing, and projects like all this content I am creating, working from an evolutionary model that humanity is gradually transitioning through is very helpful to how I think about directing my energy. I don’t think it’s the definitive guidepost or theory for everything, but it is a valuable tool.
My belief is that consciousness’s desire is to expand and eventually experience or realize itself while continuing to expand. Therefore since we are all expressions of consciousness at varying forms of evolution, this means that all human beings are meant to go through this expansion process until reaching realization…and then continue evolving for eternity! This has always been true, but only now does there seem to be a vast acceleration and increased popularity in this pursuit which is why creating supportive products and services is imperative for our future.
The only other investor I know that talks about working from a defined consciousness model is Mariana Bozesan from Aqual Capital who focuses on “Integral Investing” inspired by Ken Wilber. Maybe there are others. I don’t know. I know there are many entrepreneurs who see the collective consciousness rising phenomenon and are thinking about ways to support it. If you’re one of them, I’d love to hear from you by leaving a comment, responding to this email or hitting me up on twitter.
I’ve always been the type of entrepreneur and person who likes to scratch my own itch. It’s why I create content about my own esoteric experiences which many people probably don’t understand or reject compared to more predominant themes like “how I sold my company” or “how to start mediating” which have a much broader appeal.
With this in mind, I think I find myself more excited about category creation opportunities more than repositioning existing technologies to expand markets. This was the case with my last company Troops. In 2015 when we started telling everyone the future of CRM and business applications was going to exist in messaging interfaces, everyone thought we were nuts. 5 years later Salesforce bought Slack for $28 Billion and then eventually acquired us to help actualize the vision.
The “new stuff’ market might be small today, but after lots of business mistakes that I needed to make over the last decade, I now am comfortable with taking a much longer term outlook on anything that I am directing energy towards. Part of evolution is learning to relinquish the compulsive need to control & “figure things out” and replace this with trusting life unconditionally. This has been a big theme and growth area for me over the past few years. As I write this I know the right opportunity to direct all my energy too will emerge in perfect timing if I just continue to follow my inner guidance and earnestly pursue the things that give me energy. The responsive reality will place it in my lap and it will be obvious.
Closing Thoughts on Consciousness Business Ideas
Obviously, this is just one person’s opinion on a broader framework to identify ideas for consciousness business and investment opportunities related to the expansion of consciousness. There are a few other more narrow and more tactical frameworks that I have on this topic which I plan on writing about in the future.
If you know of any other people with interesting consciousness business ideas or investing in businesses related to consciousness I’d love to know who they are in the comments!
It’d be cool if someone made a lumascape of consciousness related technologies like they do in bigger SaaS categories. If this is something you’re interested in potentially collaborating on, let me know and maybe we can start or crowdsource it together!
Follow-up resources for Consciousness Business Ideas:
I can’t say that I’ve spent much time searching for resources on consciousness + business, but here are things I have encountered that I think are good additional readings on consciousness business ideas:
There’s also a whole line of books and organizations on Consciousness Capitalism. Based on the way we use this language today, most of the conscious capitalism movement seems to focus more on helping people operate from a state of self + other and contribution to the world, vs. focusing on helping leaders develop much more expansive states of being. Both are great! I’ve only have spent a small amount of time engaging with the material here so I really don’t know though.