Thank you for visiting Aspiration. Rather than writing a blog post for this launch day, I thought I’d share an email I sent tonight to our team. All of us at Aspiration are excited about getting to work and want to make sure our company is getting better every day. Help us accomplish this by contacting us with questions or suggestions at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please sign up on our invite list so we can keep in touch or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. -- Andrei
From: Andrei Cherny
Sent: Monday, November 10, 2014 9:54 PM
Subject: Here we go…
On November 11, 1602, having crossed a vast and stormy sea, a small ship called the Mayflower anchored off the coast of a New World. That day, those on board – from all walks of life – signed a Compact with one another stating that they would agree to govern themselves. Instead of rules set by a king, they pledged to trust one another to make decisions. It was a revolutionary idea.
Tomorrow, our little company will step forward to the world. We too are founded on the ideas of mutual trust, of greater equality of decision-making power, and of the obligations we all have to each other. And, like those on the Mayflower, we have high hopes but don't know what lies ahead.
But we know how far we've come. We realized from the beginning that building a 21st century investment firm for the middle class required us to do things differently – and not just one thing but almost everything. Our approach to thinking about investment strategies that make sense for everyday investors, our design, our technology, our fee structure, our more engaging approach to education, our commitment to transparency, our dedication to charitable giving all have required us to change and challenge how people are accustomed to operating in the financial industry.
Getting to this point has not been easy. Few things worth doing ever are. The status quo remains in place even when it doesn't make sense because there are people and institutions with a vested interest in keeping it that way. The size of the hurdles we've already crossed are commensurate with the scale of our opportunity to build and do something of value. Though our biggest challenges still lay ahead, we've accomplished a lot, learned a lot, created a lot – and, like those at Plymouth, met some turkeys along the way.
There is nothing more scarce or sacred than your time – and all of you have poured your hours and heart into building Aspiration for the past year. Thank you for your willingness to push past the conventional answers no matter how many more late nights it has meant.
If I’ve asked that we all hold each other to the highest standards, it is because those are the standards we all believe our customers deserve. We are set up to be the most customer-centered company in the world of finance and investments. Uniquely, because of Pay What Is Fair, our customers get to make a daily decision about our company. We won’t always be perfect, but while our customers will forgive an occasional mistake, they won’t – and shouldn’t – excuse a lack of effort. We all share in that commitment. And it is part of what makes our team so special.
What we’re doing pales in comparison to the courage of the Pilgrims – or the sacrifice of the veterans we also remember tomorrow – but maybe, in our own small way, we can try to emulate their example. There are few others in the financial industry today who believe that a company can fully trust its customers, that investment options should belong to all and not just a few, and that a company has obligations beyond its bottom line. It’s up to us to help show a different way.
So I hope that amid all the last-minute scrambling you take a moment to consider what we've set out to accomplish. I'm thankful to get to work alongside all of you – and grateful that, starting tomorrow and hopefully for a long time to come, we’ll be able to bring something extraordinary to a lot of people who have been waiting for a company like ours to come along. Let’s make Aspiration all it can and should be.