Jihad Esmail

I'm Jihad, a founder and researcher building internet-native media businesses.


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I'm Jihad Esmail, a founder and researcher building internet-native media organizations. I'm currently helping lead Forefront, an onchain media organization building at the frontier of tokenized communities and new media. I studied Economics at Northwestern University and co-founded AMA, a creator growth agency that was acquired by Jellysmack. Previously, I've also worked with Syndicate, YBI, and Gitcoin.

I am currently based in Chicago.

I believe that the internet has fundamentally changed the way we consume, distribute, and monetize media, and that blockchains will unlock new organizational models for media businesses.



Distributed Identity Formation

Identity is shaped by our worldbview and our associations. Do we have control over our own identities? How is brand and culture related to identity? How does our personal philosophy shape our identity, and vice-versa?

Luxury Media

Much has been written about the nature of new media: it’s free, remixed, algorithmically distributed, and infinitely generated. But I’m more interested in the next question: as internet-native media takes hold, what business models remain? What does an internet-native “media business” actually look like?

Tokenized Communities

Tokenized communities are meme-driven capital allocation networks. Why do they matter? How should they be built? Why are they valuable? Who is using them?