"To better inform the world"

At rasa.io’s onset, a Core Purpose discovery workshop was initiated. The point was to define a Core Purpose for the new company and establish it as a guiding light that could both inspire and instruct the ideology, work, and culture we built. We had a small team during our early purpose discovery exercises, with only about seven of us, which made the process much easier for many reasons. For one, it’s easier to listen to a small, tightly-knit group of people than it is to hear the ideas and beliefs of a large room full of people, many of whom probably don’t know each other that well. For another, it made the hiring and onboarding process easier. We knew who we were, and who we were looking for, and in turn, so did our prospective teammates. We could be clear and upfront about who we were and what we cared about, as well as what we wanted from an individual on a more personal level. That allowed both sides to decide if we were a good fit earlier rather than later — a giant financial, emotional, and productivity benefit.

The goal of the discovery workshop was to create a Core Purpose statement that was deeply and emotionally meaningful and something to stand the test of time. Ultimately, the purpose statement we chose was, “To Better Inform the World.”

We chose that statement because we felt that a well-informed world increases the chances for many good things to happen. It leads to better education, better professions, better opportunities to improve lives, a likelihood of a more peaceful future and a host of other positive outcomes. For those reasons, it’s a deeply meaningful and emotionally memorable purpose statement for us. Plus, it resonates with our client community because associations also want to have an impact on informing the world. Interestingly, since choosing that Core Purpose statement, we have made better decisions toward reaching our goals than we would have without working with a strong purpose in mind.

One example of that benefit came when we were developing our sales strategy. rasa.io uses artificial intelligence (AI) to produce personalized news briefs for readers, which we send out every day or every week under the imagery of a particular brand.

Our clients can optimize the briefs for several different scenarios, and then rasa.io measures open rates, click-through rates, and other statistics to determine if our client’s efforts are being effective and offer insights into why or why not.

AI is a tool someone could use for ethically questionable intentions, making the importance of our Core Purpose statement that much more critical. Every day, in every decision, we simply have to ask, “Are we better informing the world?” Maybe open rates (how many times a person actually opened the email) is the statistic a potential advertiser wants to see, and maybe they can maximize the advertising revenue if they focus there. The problem is, if you make your newsletter an advertising vehicle and you overdo it, it really detracts from the value of the content.

We made the decision not to include advertising for some time while we perfected the quality of the content our AI sends each individual. This was a hard decision to make because adding ad revenue into the mix for our clients was something we could easily implement and derive significant financial benefit from.

In a piece of content riddled with advertising, readers are no longer reading a clean, informative, easy-to-understand news brief. They are reading something clobbered with advertising, spurring doubts about the quality and credibility of not only the content but the organization behind it as well. This isn’t to say open rates are a poor measure for the quality of the information they are sending. If open rates are consistently good, it usually means they are indeed on track in sending content users find valuable. To build on this, however, we find click rates are even more insightful.

As we go forward and make decisions on how much advertising to include, our primary goal is to make sure we’re upholding our central push, which is to make sure every product we introduce is in alignment with our Core Purpose. In doing so, we are building a superior product through better outcomes for the end-user, and better client relationships, all by proving to ourselves and others we’re serious about our purpose.

When the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became a major topic of discussion in late 2017 and early 2018, we were a step ahead because we had decided early on that data privacy, and the right of an individual to control their data, was of critical importance in actually achieving our purpose.

One can’t claim to truly seek to better inform the world if we don’t maintain the privacy of our users at the core of their operation.

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