“A long December and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last”
You might recognize this opening line from Counting Crows’ 1996 hit song, A Long December. As I play this song on the piano over and over again, almost in a trance, I reflect on how long this year has been.
From the novel coronavirus that has become a global pandemic and that has resulted in health, personal, and economic hardships for so many across the world.
To the senseless murder of George Floyd in the United States that sparked such an emotional response, and much needed (and renewed) focus on eliminating systemic racial inequality.
To the extreme partisanship and the attack on decency and truth that have become the norm at the top of our Executive and Legislative branches of US government.
If you’re like me, 2020 feels like one very, very long December.
If you’re like me, you miss the physical experiences – the human experiences – that bring such joy, create everlasting memories, and nurture both our minds and our souls.
If you’re like me, you miss joyous celebrations such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and the birth of your newborn niece, nephew, granddaughter, and grandson. You miss family gatherings, family dinners, and family reunions.
You miss vacations and holidays, neighborhood get-togethers, friend groups, group dinners, book clubs, sporting events, theater, symphonies, rock concerts, dances, restaurants, bars and pubs, shopping, travel, religious gatherings, business meetings and events, industry conferences, customer visits…I could go on.
We’ve all done our best, digging deep to find even more fortitude and resolve than we thought we had. Yes, we dug deep and then we dug deeper and then we dug even deeper, each day, each week, each month of this year.
And now, we’re more than ready to turn the page on 2020 and welcome 2021 with open arms. That’s when I plan to sit back down at the piano and sing, “Yes it’s been a long December, but there’s reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last.”
Before I sign off with my last CEO letter of 2020, I want to once again recognize that Rocket turned 30 years old this year. When we launched Rocket on April 16, 1990, we said that we wanted to create something that would be long-lasting and that would make a difference in the world. From our humble beginnings and with those bold ambitions, we created a company that has been resilient, not only surviving, but growing year after year, and now, decade after decade after decade.
Think about where you were, what you were doing, what the world looked like, and what your personal world looked like 30 years ago (if you were even born yet!). Together, we’ve experienced so much change over the past 30 years – Y2K, industry transformations, technology booms and busts, market bubbles and bursts, geo-political transformations, 9/11, global economic crises, and now a global health crisis. We’ve experienced highs and lows as a company, as a Rocket community, and as individual Rocketeers.
And through it all, together, thousands of Rocketeers – both past and present – all around the globe, over the past three decades, have created a company with a culture that’s rooted in four core values: Empathy, Humanity, Trust, and Love. And we’ve leaned on those values like never before as we navigated through the longest December known as the year 2020.
My highest form of praise for a Rocketeer who does something exceptional is, “You make me proud to be a Rocketeer.” Well, here’s why I’m proud to be a Rocketeer today – especially today.
Empathy for the resiliency we had to find in ourselves to make it through the twists and turns and uncertainty of each day of this most challenging year.
Humanity in the beautiful diversity that makes our collective whole that much better than each of us individually.
Trust that we know the “how we do things” is more important than the “what we do.” Our “how” is our super-power; our “how” is always guided by our core values.
Love is why we wake up every day. We love each other, we love our customers and our partners, we love our investors, we love the markets we are in and the technologies we create, build, and support.
As the holiday season approaches around the world, I want to extend my deep thanks and gratitude to everyone who has touched and shaped our Rocket community over the last 30 years. To our customers, partners, Rocketeers, friends and family, past and present, thank you for all you’ve done. I wish you all a happy holiday season, and best wishes for a brighter 2021. May it be better than the last.
Onward and Upward with much Empathy, Humanity, Trust, and Love,