Updates

Tricks of time

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

For what seemed like a long time, but was only a few months, the twelve Dark Angels authors worked in parallel streams: first to get our book Established funded, second to write our individual chapters about some of the world’s oldest companies.

So it was with some relief that we reached our funding target in November and started on the production process. Our chapters were finished and handed…

Thank you

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Thank you to all supporters of the Dark Angels book 'Established'. I'm thrilled to report that the book is now 100% funded (though there's still time for new pledgers to get their names in the book. It was a remarkable effort by more than 300 Dark Angels supporters to fund what will be a beautiful and entertaining book. As a bonus, we think it will also be useful!

Next steps are for us now to move…

Founding moments

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

By Jamie Jauncey, author of the chapter on John White & Son, scalemakers, established 1715

How does one establish the founding moment of any business? Was it a flash-in-the-pan, for example, when the founder or founders first had that random spark of inspiration, triggered by some chance observation or thought; or alternatively the solution to some long-chewed-over problem suddenly presented…

Whatever it takes

Monday, 5 September 2016

Gillian Colhoun – Author of the chapter on The Brazen Head, reputedly established 1198

(likely to have been much earlier)

I’ve got a thing about talent. Whenever I meet any successful person, my first question is usually, ‘Have you always been naturally good at (insert talent here) or was there a moment where you consciously decided to be brilliant?” This question elicits interesting…

Craft and Kin

Monday, 15 August 2016

Robbie Minto shows me a picture of the plaque he crafted from wood and metal.

‘From all his colleagues in the Brewery’. The etched words framed by four ancient copper rivets, each the size of a walnut.

“I won’t be getting one of those when my time comes”, he jokes with a smile that’s got years to go before it’ll retire.

Robbie is a carpenter and craftsman and like the person retiring, one…

The legacy of pioneers

Monday, 8 August 2016

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More on his visit to Stroud NSW, by Mark Watkins, author of the chapter on the Australian Agricultural Company, established 1826.

In many ways, Stroud NSW is a cartoon town – an English village that isn’t in England; a company town long since abandoned by the company that built it. Think of a hybrid of the English village at Disney’s Epcot Center and a Yorkshire mining town long after the pit…

Messing about on boats and what established businesses have in common with seven salted almonds and the poise of a president

Sunday, 31 July 2016

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Photo and story by Elen Lewis, author of the chapter: Custard pies, Kitty the Suffragette and a boat called Big Love: the tale of the Hampton Ferry

1. First day of the summer holidays. My children, Rosie, Arthur and I sail home along the Thames from Richmond to Teddington Lock in the ferry. ‘So much better than the 33 bus,’ says Arthur (6). Rosie (9) is quiet, locked into the red-streaked…

History

Thursday, 21 July 2016

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Dark Angels is a tiny organisation of writers. We were 'established in 2004', just a blink away in historical time. So why are we writing this book about the world's oldest companies? Perhaps it has something to do with a writer's relationship with history, a belief that writers can be the best connections between history and a story.

Since Dark Angels was founded, here are some events that…

In search of roots

Sunday, 3 July 2016

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Mark Watkins, author of the chapter on the Australian Agricultural Company, established 1826.

It is May 2016 and I am in Stroud, near Gloucester. To all intents and purposes an English village, named after its west country counterpart, only this one is a few hours north of Sydney, Australia.

I have come here to uncover the roots of the company I am writing about – the Australian Agricultural…

What is interesting is when (14 or so bonbons in pursuit of funders, fortune, fame

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

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photo and story by Richard Pelletier, author of The Brush, the Mallet, the Chisel, the Letter, the chapter on the John Stevens Shop, of Newport, Rhode Island, est. 1705

 

1. I open Google Maps. The squiggly lines and text show a 1.5, 1.6 or a 1.7-mile walk from my home to the original Starbucks in the Pike Place Market, Seattle’s teeming phantasmagoria where salmon, just flown in from Alaska…

Getting to the meat of it

Sunday, 19 June 2016

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Professor Richard Foster of Yale University has discovered that the average longevity of a company in the S&P 500 has gone down from 61 years in 1958, to a scant 18 years today. Based on this rate of churn, the implication is that within about ten years, over two thirds of the companies on the S&P 500 will be businesses we've not even heard of now.

Perhaps now more than ever we need to celebrate…

Balancing act

Sunday, 5 June 2016

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Jamie Jauncey, author of the chapter about John White & Son, established 1715.

There’s a surprising contemporary twist to my company’s tale – a twist that nearly put paid to the chapter being written at all.

I had picked Scotland’s oldest family business, John White & Son, scalemakers of Auchtermuchty, as my subject. Founded by a Fife blacksmith in 1715, the weighing machine…

Got the t-shirt?

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Mike Gogan, author of the chapter about Guinness, established 1759.

 

I’ve noticed a lot of established dates recently.  Mainly the ones emblazoned on t-shirts where brands use chest space indiscriminately to tell us how long they’ve been around.  The broad bellied, the flat chested, the small, the large.  Brands aren’t fussy about the colour, shape or size of the medium so long as their message…

Same moon, freighted gold

Sunday, 15 May 2016

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Stuart Delves – Author of the chapter on The Shore Porters Society, established 1498.

 

With my mug on the video and pitch in the introduction you don’t want another shed-load from me! So I’ll keep it short and sweet.

I first started thinking about this project when I found a list of the world’s oldest surviving companies on the web. Seven of the world’s ten oldest are Japanese, with…

Live Long and Prosper

Sunday, 8 May 2016

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Gillian Colhoun – Author of the chapter on The Brazen Head, reputedly established 1198

(likely to have been much earlier)

Today, I discovered something about Mr Spock’s iconic Vulcan salute. My Star Wars obsessed, nine year old son has recently discovered Star Trek. Delighted to have fallen into a black hole of endless hours of space travel, he did eventually come up for air long enough to…

Why this book matters

Sunday, 24 April 2016

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Why does this book matter? The world will certainly go on without it. But books can make a difference, and perhaps this is the right book at the right time to make at least a small difference.

Why?

There’s increasing awareness of the power of stories. Here are twelve companies that, not least because of their age, have great stories. Our twelve writers aim to tell those stories well, to make…

How to love your co-authors

Monday, 18 April 2016

Claire Bodanis – author of the chapter on Cambridge University Press, established 1534

Whenever I tell people about our collective book project, one of the first things they ask is – how does it work? Who decides? Don’t you all end up arguing? What if you don’t like their chapter? Or they don’t like yours? Or questions along those lines. Basically they’re all asking the same question…

Getting ready for print
Publication date: February 2018
105% funded
322 backers