At 7 am on a Friday morning in the summer of 2010, Ari knocked on his brother Josh’s bedroom door. Josh couldn’t believe his ears. He thought that Ari was bluffing, when he said he was there to start work bright and early. Josh opened the door, and there Ari stood, laptop in hand. “Shall we?” Ari asked, and they got to work. At the time, neither of them knew how monumental this day would be.
Ari was 20 years old when he made the decision to help his brother start his private investment company. He was young, didn’t truly know what he wanted career wise and honestly, just wanted to make some money before returning to Buffalo for his junior year of college.
He started by cold calling companies all day. “I would call using the name Ari Pierson, so people wouldn’t think we were brothers working out of a bedroom. Which was true.” He laughed. He ended the summer with a heavy wallet, experience you couldn’t get in a college classroom, and a determination to do more.
When summer ended and Ari returned to Buffalo, he continued his work remotely. Much to his dismay, it was hard to balance a full course load, a full time job and a social life with his fraternity brothers. Although he loved to party, he loved this opportunity more.
“Knowing what I know now, I would’ve never gone back to college. In situations like this, you need to weigh the circumstances. How long will this last? Is this an actual career, or did I get one or two deals that I can’t necessarily replicate? You don’t usually see the downside, you see the upside. But in the end, you can always go back to college and pick up right where you left off. You don’t necessarily get opportunities to be successful.” In light of this, Ari came home halfway through the year and never returned to Buffalo.
Shortly after coming home to Long Island, the brothers moved the company, and themselves, to Manhattan. Since then, he has been an integral part of starting Magna Invests and now Sason Org, a real estate investment company.
I was curious as to whether anyone had ever questioned their age, but when Ari and Josh had their first in-person meeting, no one cared. “We had established relationships with companies on the phone and luckily, we live in a world where young people are doing pretty major things. It’s not that uncommon.”
I also wondered if it was ever a problem working with his brother. “There’s an understanding and trust when working with family and when you’re doing something that can be beneficial in the business world. I think that a lot of people have had success working with the formula that we have. We went out and partied a lot and would wake up in the morning, get coffee by our apartment and head to the office. We were growing quickly and hiring people, it was an exciting time.”
Ari jumped head first into his career early on, before many of us even discover our true passions. After a few years of living in the city and adjusting to his fast-paced work environment, he had time to experiment with other hobbies. One of his favorite pastimes was watching the Food Network channel with his girlfriend Perri, so they began making more time to cook.
When Ari isn’t making real estate deals, he’s probably at home eating, watching sports or expanding his vast knowledge of music. “I’ve contemplated buying or investing in a food publication and becoming a critic, or investing in the sports world and becoming an analyst.” The benefit of having disposable income at such a young age, is that it serves as a platform to discover other passions.
Ari pursues his passion for music by attending festivals every year. Coachella is a given on his calendar. “I’m very engaged in festival culture. When a lineup comes out, I’ll listen to every single artist on there. This is something I do on a daily or weekly basis. Some weeks I want to do it and some weeks I don’t, which is why it's nice to have it as a hobby.” This was an interesting takeaway for me, because I tend to try and turn passions into a career. Although that can be a great thing, it can also add a lot of pressure to what you love. When something is just a hobby, it’s nice because you can do it whenever want to, just like Ari.
My final question for Ari, was if he ever thinks about changing his career path. “I always want to keep an element of business in my life,” he said. “When you’re good at something it becomes addictive.”
Ari’s advice to all of you:
"Look into yourself and say 'what do I want to achieve?' Some people say 'do what you love,' and if you can, that's great. On the other hand, sometimes it's do what gives you what you love. You can work hard to be independent, but the way you are able to achieve that isn’t by necessarily doing something you love. If you can't do what you love, but want independence, or a lot of money, I would say to go find an inefficiency and capitalize on it by clogging that hole.”