The Founding Pledge
When the founders of Arch started this journey, they made a couple key recognitions leading to their conviction that Arch could empower both a data-driven and more equitable world if the company and its people stayed true to their direction. Every team member that joins Arch brings her or his own conviction, empowerment, wisdom, courage, trust, and integrity to bear on our shared mission. For posterity, we share here a version of our founding pledge and the convictions that should, in the final words of the pledge, be only expanded as success affords us the opportunity:
Originally drafted February 2016.
With the decreasing cost of computer processing and the proliferation of network access, we recognize there is a new and increasing opportunity for many enterprises to be simultaneously beneficial and profitable in data-driven pursuits. The power of network effects made possible by internet business models can now be brought to bear on the physical world allowing for fundamental innovations in core infrastructure such as manufacturing, supply chains, agriculture, water, and energy. We are called to empower these applications and see that their development and scale is accelerated for the benefit of all. To accomplish this, we must:
- Empower exploration in pursuit of scale – To solve such big challenges, we must empower iteration–cycles of attempts, learning, improvement, and reattempts–while also empowering scale for true impact. We must empower innovative teams to iterate and scale physical applications like has only been possible in software.
- Enable industry-grade to be robust and adaptive – Developing industry-grade products is historically slow and expensive delaying the benefits of innovation. Further, the end result is typically rigid and not only quickly outdated, but resistant against further improvement. We must create a new industrial standard that is robust while still adaptive to successive innovation.
- Implement state-of-the-art security from the beginning – Connected devices represent the intersection of the internet and the physical world. Secured well, they may bring the pace of internet innovation to physical infrastructure. Secured poorly, they may bring the possibility of widespread data crime and massive cyber-attacks. We must implement state-of-the-art security from the beginning, protecting all of our partners from risks to our shared infrastructure.
- Always manage data with integrity – The data from smart infrastructure around the world can provide unprecedented insights into planetary ecology, global trade, resource and economic patterns, and sustainability. Used incorrectly, that concentration of data could also invade privacy at the expense of liberty. We must always manage data with integrity and be transparent in how we use data to improve people’s lives while respecting their fundamental right to privacy and control.
Beyond the business pursuits described above that couple such benefits to direct financial return, we also recognize a fundamental limitation to the ability of private enterprise to serve the poorest populations in an equitable manner. Crucial areas of global development, including but not limited to the provision of food, remote water access, electrification, and industrialization stand to benefit greatly by a profound leapfrogging of the next wave of computing, but, historically, this has not happened by the invisible hand alone. In such areas where market externalities prevent businesses from operating, the philanthropic sector bears primary responsibility for the provision of these basic services. Our experience has led us to believe that connected sensors can play a critical role in aligning philanthropic incentives with long term impact in underserved communities as well.
We do not believe that a company existing solely to serve philanthropic organizations will have the resources and reach necessary to accomplish the overall mission of democratizing access to the fundamental tools of production for the next industrial revolution. However, we also believe that a company directed solely at serving industrial clients will perpetuate the economic status quo, thereby doing a disservice to the many communities around the world that have the capacity to improve their own lives but would be denied the means to do so.
Therefore, we make these additional pledges in pursuit of accomplishing both wide-scale democratization of the internet-of-things and technology access to the world’s poorest populations:
- Open Adoption Technology – We pledge that the technology we create will be made available to those who could not otherwise afford it so its benefits are not constrained by historical patterns of resource allocation.
- Elevating the Voice of Silent Shareholders – We pledge to give voice to the people who are affected or could be affected by the next wave of computing but are not direct financial shareholders of Arch. These silent shareholders shall be given a say for their interest and a voice in guiding the direction of our technology such that it is beneficial to all.
- Ongoing Support – We pledge that we will actively support global development and the philanthropic organizations that wish to use our technology to improve how they operate or as a mechanism to hold their sector accountable for the results it delivers.
- Personal Leadership – We pledge that if other organizations do not emerge to take what we have built and ensure that it is used for global development, we will create a new organization with that mission.
Finally, we recognize that no mission that evolves over time can be fully captured in a single document drafted at one particular time. We pledge to continue striving to fulfill this mission, to clarify its effective implementation, and to only expand its scope as success affords us the opportunity to better serve humanity.