Without Fear or Favor, but With Gratitude

Thanks for an independent, interactive decade.
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Editor's note: We'll be commemorating our 10-year anniversary all week with a look back at how we covered the biggest business news of the past 10 years, as well as the award-winning exclusives that cemented TheStreet.com's reputation as a leading provider of financial commentary, analysis and news. To kick off the week, see what our co-founder has to say a decade after the project went live.

Ten years ago when we started

TheStreet.com

, we were about something different. We were about making it so that everybody could get the inside story about how stocks worked.

At the time, we were alone. We were first on the Web with market-moving news and commentary that was tradeable and proprietary, that was hard-hitting and actionable, with no fear or favor.

I believe we still are.

Dozens of Web sites devoted to this space have come and gone. Maybe it's a testament to our value, but we're still here, going stronger, getting stronger, branching out to answer what our readers want, now with a full range of videos and ratings of stocks, mutual funds and ETFs.

What distinguished us then is what distinguishes us now: interactivity. From the days when I first started hiring the nucleus of people who drove the company through today, 10 years later, we have always been about you. I felt that media companies had become distant and imperial, that the Web allowed individuals to change that and change it instantly. I wanted everyone to respect our readers as customers, not just as users. I think we have done that, too.

For me, the whole enterprise has been a labor of love. How much so? At the end of 2000, I gave up my hedge fund to come work here full-time. I felt and feel that strongly about the mission. We survived the dot-com implosion, 9/11 and the bear market, and it didn't kill us; like the cliché, it made us stronger.

In the time since we started, the old-line media have addressed the space, usually in a fashion that was negative for them, that cannibalized their fat and happy print versions. We were never saddled with a legacy, so we always had a leg up.

So, why have we survived and thrived? What has made us so different that the digital versions of

The Wall Street Journal

,

Forbes

,

Fortune

and

BusinessWeek

didn't kill us?

I think it has to do with what got us started in the beginning: our independence. We have been pointed, we have been directional, we have been judgmental. We have never been afraid of telling the truth, of angering the big institutions that everyone said we couldn't afford to run afoul of. We are trusted to be smart and right and not beholden to those who demand neutrality.

I remember when we visited a major brokerage house two years into our launch. We needed money, for certain. We needed institutional backing to survive. This brokerage wanted our copy because we had tested among users as the most honest and actionable of any site on or off the Web. They wanted me to write a column about mutual funds that they could vet so it didn't upset anyone of the clients that were mutual funds.

It wasn't a big decision to say no; I just had to find a way to keep my temper rather than exploding and making everyone in the room embarrassed. It was one of the few times back in those days that I didn't respond with a vengeance. I just couldn't believe anyone would ask us to suspend what made us different and loved.

You know me -- and everyone who reads us does -- I don't want to waste a lot of your time telling you how great we are or how proud we are or how excited we are to enter our next decade. I want to go back to my attempts to make you money with every piece I generate.

But as my late mother always said, there's always time to say thank you. So, thank you for reading us and now

viewing

us, something I am deeply committed to going forward.

May you always be with us because you

are

us, as we are true to our mission still, 10 years into our online experiment.

At the time of publication, Cramer was long TheStreet.com.

Jim Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for

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