Proof is a seemingly simple word, but it carries a great deal of depth and complexity. Proof has several meanings and connotations, all of which stitch together beautifully to capture our values and personalities. Here are the particular concepts that the name Proof embodies to us:
Proof doesn’t just suggest that an idea is true, it demonstrates that fact beyond any shadow of a doubt. A proof is robust and complete, and it leaves no room for debate. This industry is littered with bold claims supported by weak or noisy data. We don’t just plan to explore the numbers and come up with theories, we aspire to find irrefutable truth, and we won’t be satisfied of something until we have proof.
Trust but verify
Extending upon the concept of ground truth, the name Proof also captures the notion of trust in exactly the way we intend. Allison and I grew up in this industry at firms that emphasized honesty and integrity over profits, and that value is deeply instilled in us. We hope our customers can trust that our intentions are pure and that we won’t embellish our products’ performance. We hope our teammates can trust that they will be treated fairly. We hope to earn your trust, but we don’t ask for it to be blind. We will always back up our claims with definitive evidence. There are no black boxes at Proof; transparency and accountability are the name of the game.
Logic and reason
Allison and I are both mathematical to our core, and we want this company to both emphasize and embrace our quantitative inclination.
The name Proof also has a protective element to it: think “bullet proof” or “waterproof.” You might say our goal is to build execution strategies that are “predatory-HFT-proof.”
We would be remiss not to mention the final meaning that drew us to this name: the term proof is used to denote the alcohol content in a bourbon (or any liquor). It stems from the days of bootleggers and counterfeit products, when the best way to tell if a spirit was legit was to add gun powder and light it on fire (if it caught, that was proof that it was >57% ABV). Allison and I are both huge bourbon nerds — we’ve visited dozens of whiskey distilleries, we make an annual mecca to Kentucky, we even cracked a bottle of Pappy to commemorate the first day of this company. We love that there’s a connection between the company name and our side passion.
Indeed, like a fine whiskey, Proof is a name with great depth and complexity.