By Dark Angels

Lessons from some of the world's oldest companies

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Founding moments

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 itself?

Or was it a slow burn, when some long-pursued activity first showed signs of commercial promise, or someone first spotted in that selfsame activity some dormant potential?

These moments are seldom recorded as they happen, not least since founders frequently have no very clear idea of what they’re founding.  So it’s left to subsequent generations to imagine them, to create the necessary mythology that grows up around the birth of the business – necessary because the founding story is so often where the business’s values, its energy and spirit, can be found to reside, many decades or perhaps even centuries later.

Such is the case with many of the businesses in this book, stretching back as they do to the early Middle Ages. No one was taking notes with an eye to the creation of a brand story back in the 12th century, for example, when our oldest subject, Dublin’s Brazen Head public house, came into being.

Nor were they when John White & Son, scalemakers of Auchtermuchty, produced their first-ever weighing device in 1715. But we know the year because that device still exists and is stamped with both a date and the name of the founder, whom we also know to have been a blacksmith. So with a little bit of imagination we can conjure a founding moment. Everything starts in the imagination, after all, including businesses; including this book Established.

Please subsribe and let the stories in it capture yours.

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