We work hard each day, and likely don’t mind if others notice. We want others to see the ingenuity of our software. But what if that wasn’t the case? If you want an example of someone that got passed by, just ask Van Gogh. Yeah, thaaaaat world-famous, earless, impressionist artist whose work today graces the walls of countless museums. The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is currently running an exhibition showcasing how the world missed appreciating Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Sunflowers not by a few months or years, but by decades. Van Gogh, who died in 1890, was not largely discovered until more than 40 years later. To put that in our terms, imagine if Bridge became popular in: 2062. (I’d be 87—and not exactly in my prime to ring the NYSE bell.) At an art showing in 1931, people called him talentless. (That hit a little close to home for me.) The first museum to own a Van Gogh in the U.S. was not in New York or Chicago, but in Detroit in 1922 (“Self-Portrait”). The MoMA bought pieces in 1941 (including “The Starry night”), and the Met in 1949 (“Sunflowers” and “Cypresses”). In 1956, Van Gogh finally reaches stardom: Kirk Douglass plays him in the movie Lust for Life. (Kind note: for my posthumous treatment, please ring Zac Efron.)
Van Gogh’s arc relates to us because we are painting, too, but with 1s and 0s. Art is sometimes defined as something that lacks directions. That sounds fitting: we are building a new e-commerce platform without pre-existing directions. We’re charting new territory and not following others. We’re the impressionist artists of our industry. We’re creating features that haven’t existed before and that other platforms don’t offer. Calling an e-commerce platform "art" catches people off guard. Then, they smile. Art is fun, and we're having fun building Bridge.
I admit my claim about us being ahead of our time is convenient. I could complain that we’re not more successful because people simply don’t understand us yet—but they will. Just imagine being Van Gogh's art dealer in 1890. He may have promised future fortune and fame, yet few lived to see how right he was. If one is not succeeding today, or tomorrow at the latest, are they not failing? Is succeeding 40 years after the fact success? I don't plan on it taking Bridge 40 more years, but I do feel we need a few more. In covertly building Bridge for 10 years, we’ve acquired 1,100 clients and are doubling our member base every three years. While we’re not part of the MoMA collection yet, we’re on our way to a starry night. My goal is to walk the line between obscurity and mass popularity. We want to be known, but by those that need to know, and at the right time. Art is the nexus of this space. You may have heard of Banksy, but very few own his artwork.
People struggle to adapt to the new. They may drag their feet and even fight it. Bridge has already had some movie-like twists. When I first proposed the Product Syncing concept to my hosting company 15 years ago, the host said it would not work. After we set it up, I was told that prestigious brands like Baccarat would never join us. Today, Baccarat is a paying member. We have had building managers cancel our secured meeting space—twice. (Simple: I just moved the meeting location a third time.) We've had the biggest names in our industry join our service, succeed, then pull out to see if they can mimic our success without us. They couldn't: they rejoined us. We are unique and irreplaceable. Sounds a lot like art.
Thank you for painting with us. We've created a massive digital canvas with hundreds of features. Our canvas is tens of thousands of lines of code. Imagine if we were to print out the code for display in it a gallery. You all could sign the lower right.