It’s the autumn of 2007 on the Decrease East Facet. My Betterment clock begins not after we launch in 2010 however as I hash out the idea in conversations with roommates and associates. I’ve a loopy concept: to pursue my happiness by way of serving to People pursue their happiness. I write a mission assertion: empower prospects to do what’s finest with their cash to allow them to reside higher.
Investing feels sophisticated to most individuals, however the very best practices are identified and easy. Why not take the sensible providers utilized by the rich and establishments and make them accessible to each American? Individuals like this loopy concept, some be a part of me, and with sweat and sacrifice, a tiny, hungry, customer-impact-obsessed firm is born.
I pursue Betterment’s mission doggedly. My spouse (whom I met in 2006—not coincidentally—her encouragement begets a startup) calls Betterment my “first little one.” I say typically (often sincerely): “I’m the luckiest individual, I’ve the very best job on the earth.” At occasions, it seems like all of my being, each waking hour, each dream, is intertwined with my firm. I’m Betterment. There may be nothing else.
Teammates change into finest associates (and one another’s household: I officiate weddings of Bettementers who later have Betterment infants). I star in TV advertisements—by no means imagined that profession flip. Early prospects electronic mail me personally for help (and a few nonetheless do—love y’all, prospects). We develop to $25B AUM, greater than 500,000 prospects, a staff of greater than 300, and we transfer the trade ahead. And but, I do know we are able to obtain extra; we now have hundreds of thousands extra People to achieve.
The Pursuit Of Our Potential
For a while, I look to usher in an skilled, dynamic working chief to assist drive the corporate ahead. The search is just not initially centered on one particular position to fill; it’s about discovering superb expertise that would assist lead Betterment to appreciate our full potential.
The time at house this 12 months affords extra time to dedicate to the search course of, to speak to senior working leaders and to consider what may be wanted for the subsequent leg of the journey. I spend time with a whole lot of various candidates. I understand that the easiest way to attain our mission may be to ask a successor to guide Betterment within the subsequent part of progress.
On account of success and intense effort in a most difficult 12 months, the corporate has by no means been in a stronger place. Every line of enterprise is reaching new heights in 2020. We’re beating targets, well-capitalized, with wind at our backs. It’s an excellent time handy over the reins.
Over the summer time, I join with Sarah Kirshbaum Levy. There’s something enthralling about her. I don’t wish to jinx or overload it, however exterior of assembly my spouse, it’s exhausting, at current, to think about a extra consequential introduction. And that is over video convention!
The Pursuit Of The One
Over the subsequent few months, I spend extra time with Sarah and he or she begins participating with members of the staff and our board. I convey her in full-time as a marketing consultant in a trial run. What a privilege not solely to recruit my successor, however to watch her constructing relationships, to work facet by facet along with her as she iterates on her plan, and to see her making each assembly extra open and environment friendly.
I give her my authority to work with the staff to architect plans for 2021 and past, and he or she excels. My admiration grows as she begins successfully working the corporate, with my proxy. My execs inform me they’ve a lot to study from her. The one factor that’s lacking is the title—and immediately, we give her the title.
Sarah began out at Disney and spent the final 20 years at Viacom, house to beloved manufacturers together with Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, and Comedy Central. By way of a sequence of senior management roles, culminating in Chief Working Officer, she’s shepherded world phenomena, from SpongeBob to The Each day Present with Trevor Noah, connecting with audiences in significant methods.
Together with her experiences main giant public firms, Sarah is the fitting govt to guide Betterment now, as we ponder a transition from personal to public within the coming years. For somebody with a “massive firm” pedigree, she’s remarkably all the way down to earth and scrappy. She’s launched and grown companies, purchased and bought companies, managed the underside line, and pushed client manufacturers to win.
I respect her “outsider” perspective. Betterment is a singular firm—not simply finance, not simply tech, 100% customer-impact obsessed. Take it from one who’s regarded: It’d be exhausting to seek out somebody who’s each spent a profession in monetary providers and may credibly lead the change we envision: to empower prospects to do what’s finest with their cash, to allow them to reside higher.
The Pursuit Of Happiness
I’ve executed the very best work of my life at Betterment, and I’ve labored too exhausting to cease giving it my all to appreciate this firm’s mission, no matter kind these efforts could take. From my position on the board, I’ll be supporting Sarah and her staff, whether or not it’s by way of recruiting, investor relations, telling our story, or upholding firm tradition and values.
A dream for me since that Decrease East Facet fall in 2007 has been to construct a sustainable establishment, to construct one thing that can outlast me. I’ve by no means taken a bigger step towards that accomplishment than I’m immediately in passing the torch to Sarah.
I requested Sarah what mattered most to her in her subsequent position, and he or she stated, with out hesitation, “A model and mission I imagine in.” She’s evidenced this for me in each interplay since. I imagine that she’ll extra totally understand the imaginative and prescient I laid out years in the past, and make Betterment essentially the most beloved, most important monetary model for this era. And in so doing, she’ll energy the pursuit of happiness for hundreds of thousands of People.