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Route 20 is the longest road in the United States: it is 3,365 miles long it runs from Boston, Massachusetts to Newport, Oregon. It is a coast-to-coast road, that crosses a lot of "flyover" America. It passes through those large swathes of the country that Brits never get to see except in movies by the Coen Brothers.
The part of Route 20 that goes through New York state sounds very pleasant: take a look at this for vacation ideas https://mobile.nytimes.com/2006/08/11/travel/escapes/11road.htm
Nowadays, to drive across the USA, you would probably go on Interstate 90 which runs parallel to Route 20. The old road is very quiet.
There is a European Route 20 that goes from Shannon Airport across Ireland, emerges again in Liverpool, goes to Hull, picks up again in Denmark and ends up in St. Petersburg.
There are lots of other route 20s across the globe: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highways_numbered_20
Meanwhile in north-east London, Route 20 is a bus route that goes from Walthamstow bus station, crossing the county line to Essex and ends up at Burton Road, Debden. Along the way it stops near my house and passes the end of the road where Graham lives. It stops near the pub where Graham and I discussed the idea of setting up a consulting firm.
Clearly, there are more glamorous routes than Walthamstow to Debden, but we would be economic with the vérité, if we pretended there was another source for our name.
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"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” said the Bard. The implication of this being that it is not the label that counts, it is the essence of the thing that matters. In Shakespeare’s case it was a flower; in our case, it is our new business that we need to name.
Years ago, I set up a business with a chap called John. We called it John Duncan & Company Limited. That was at a time when the vogue was for seemingly meaningless and invented names like Mondeo and Diageo. We were not having anything to do with that trend as you could tell. Such names on day one meant nothing except to the brand consultants that dreamt them up. Years later, Mondeo and Diageo mean something in their markets and now Apple has nothing to do with fruit, Amazon nothing to do with Brazilian rivers.
Google was a name derived from a mathematical term - googol: one followed by a hundred zeros. Now we all Google several times a day. Google, by any other name, will still be a search engine.
At present, Route 20 is just a name. In my next blog, I will explain the genesis of the name.
Our challenge now is to vest our name with meaning and value, such that the Bard, in the unlikely event that he would be writing on the subject, might say: “Route 20, by any other name, would be good to do business with.”
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Every week, reports suggest that up and down the land over 20 pubs are closing.
Be honest, many of those pubs probably deserved to close: they were dumps and nobody used them. There are lots of other reasons why pubs close, but I am not proposing to list them here.
What I do wonder is what will be the impact on the development of ideas arising from the loss these social hubs? Some people may have great ideas over an artisan coffee. Personally, I like pubs.
Pubs are forums in which ideas are explored or developed, aided by a few pints.
In my youth, I worked in a bar, one of the liveliest pub debates I overheard was a discussion about whether maggots could wriggle backwards. It was an issue I had never considered before. Many years later, it is a question to which I still have no answer but this question of maggot mobility lives with me, born of a discussion between three coarse anglers in the corner of the pub in which I worked.
On a more exalted level, Crick and Watson, the Nobel Laureates who explained DNA and the double helix were often found of a lunchtime, it is alleged, in The Eagle, a pub in Cambridge, discussing their mornings in the lab. This pub-time is recognised as playing a key role in the development of thinking about Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid.
Will the loss of pubs curtail the advancement of science? Who knows?
What I do know, is that in the great English tradition of men yakking away pints in hand, the idea of setting up our new consulting business was born. Without a pub, where would Route 20 have been conceived?