How do you start your mornings?
Do you sit up and stretch your arms out wide? Do you jump out of bed and look at your calendar? Do you start thinking about something important and groundbreaking?
Chances are, this isn’t what happens. You wake up, turn off your alarm, and make a beeline straight to Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat. You then spend the first 30 minutes of your day browsing and scrolling through relatively meaningless content.
If you don’t, good for you. Unfortunately, this is a reality for millions of Americans every morning.
Now, we know that nobody really wants to wake up every morning and start thinking about Instagram or how many snapstreaks they need respond to, yet, we continue to do it. It’s the power of habit, and it leaves us feeling anxious and neurotic before we've even had breakfast.
All of us have greater aspirations for our mornings. We want to start by learning. We want to start by thinking about a problem we want to solve or by gaining clarity on how we can get our next business idea off of the ground. We want to take control of our mornings.
That’s why we created Arist. We want to help you wake up with what’s important.
Through text message-based experiences. We call them courses. Every morning for a month, Arist members wake up to a short text message detailing some aspect of entrepreneurial thought. It can be as simple as explaining what a VC is, or as existential as pushing you to reexamine your definitions of success and failure. It may not be as easy as scrolling through pictures, but we strongly believe that it’s better.
Why text messages? Why can’t you build an app?
Who texts you? Your mom, your friends, your siblings, people that care about you. These people don’t send you push notifications, so neither will we.
What will it cost me?
Seems steep. Why don’t you offer it for free?
It’s a reality that if we want to continue this and try to make a product people will use, we need some type of business model. For obvious reasons, we don’t want to collect user data and use that to show ads, so that’s why we’re asking you to support us directly.
Furthermore, for less than the price of lunch, you get access to the knowledge bases of two top universities.
We see a future where text-message education is a reality, and we believe that texting has the power to truly bridge the knowledge gap by making incredible classes accessible to more people.
This is Arist v1. Next up are courses on public speaking, philosophy, marine biology, and anything people would rather be thinking about in the mornings.
Why should we listen to you? You’re the one writing the course, aren’t you?
There are two people behind Arist. Michael, and me, Riley.
Besides working on Arist, Michael is the CEO and founder of the nonprofit, TILE. TILE is the world’s largest conversation series and boasts over 290 chapters in more than 40 countries. The advisory board for TILE includes people such as Lara Stein, founder of TEDx, and Chris DeWolfe, co-founder of MySpace.
In 2017, he was selected as one of 30 Global Teen Leaders by the We Are Family Foundation. Michael was the first student to teach a high school class in the state of Oregon, and has interviewed more startup founders and business executives than he can count. Currently, he is a student at Babson College.
I worked with Michael on the precursor to TILE, the Stumptown Speaker Series, and also served as TILE’s Chief Media Officer before heading off to college. I was responsible for creating digital content that would be sent to all chapters to create a sense of unity, and to ensure they had the information necessary to hold great TILE events.
I’ve also interviewed my fair share of people — not just business professionals. Besides having the opportunity to sit down and talk with software entrepreneurs and members of Forbes 30 Under 30, I’ve had extensive interviews with inventors, professional tennis players, college professors, an LGBTQ man who grew up Mormon, and other extraordinary people. Currently, I’m a philosophy major at UCLA.
We came up with the idea for Arist after working with students in war-torn Yemen and realizing that many of them didn’t have internet access, meaning that the only way they could access educational materials was through text message. We quickly realized that text messages could be incredibly powerful as a method for delivering educational resources, and set about building an SMS university — Arist.
We don’t create our courses alone. Our entrepreneurship curriculum was created with the guidance of leading professors at USC and Babson College, and we are working with other experts on future courses.
We hope you enjoy Arist as much as we have enjoyed creating it. If you have any questions/comments/concerns, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Michael (email@example.com). Here's to a grand adventure.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
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