Entrepreneurs are famous for creating companies from the depths of their souls. Business from the inside out if you will. But symbols take on a power of their own when they resonate with deeper mythological forces in the collective experience of humanity. And that is what happened in our case.
The beginning of my love affair with mountains
The symbolism of the mountains began as a deeply personal force because I spent the formative years of my life in the Karakoram mountains on the western flank of the Himalayan mountains. Growing up there with my ambitious geographer sister, I realized that I was living next to world’s highest concentration of peaks above 25,000 feet. I saw lots of hills and mountains but everything paled in comparison to some of the tallest peaks I witnessed. I recall standing next to Rakaposhi, Nanga Parbat, and seeing glimpses of K2 and marveling at their beauty and majesty. Our hikes through the mountains quickly revealed the power of solitude, revelation, perspective, perpetual discovery and our sheer smallness in the face of nature.
Living in the mountains instilled a worldview that if I were going to do anything, I was going to do it exceedingly well or simply not do it at all. Tall mountains, not hills became my operating mantra. At Elliance, I have brought that spirit to every project, and inspired my team to do the same.
What does Geology have to do with it?
Well, it turns out, a lot. My sister, with whom I spent my years in the Karakorams, was a Geologist and Geographer and taught at a local college. She was a very special person. Packed with ambition, she loved life but specially books; we were always surrounded with books on every topic, but specially Geology. Very early I studied the theory of plate tectonics i.e. the earth’s surface is a set of plates that are floating on semi-liquid magma above the hot core of the earth. Early in its history, the earth was a single mass of land, called Gondwanaland. The plates were created by the heat emanating from the hot core of the earth. It turns out that mountains are created when plates move and collide. In fact, Himalayan mountains were formed when the Indian plate, moving north, collided with the Asian plate creating some of the tallest peaks in the world.
As a teenager, I distinctly remember thinking that big ideas sometimes collide to create a mountain range of new ideas. When I started Elliance, I quickly realized that business strategy is born out of early realization of collision of emergent forces. Anyone who can sense these emergent forces stands a chance at creating big ideas that humanity congregates around.
And isn’t everything rooted in religion and mythology?
Growing up in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, mountains were a familiar part of my thinking. Moses went to the mountain to meet God. Jesus had a fondness for the mountains of Galilee. Muhammad meditated in the caves in the hills surrounding Mecca and received revelations from God. Even in other religions, mountains like Mount Fiji, Mount Kiliminjaro and Patagonia are all places for sacred rites. Apparently, Divine who “lives in the sky”, too, loves mountains and habitually invites its messengers to the mountains to meet and reveal its essence to man. Once on the flatlands, the messengers help lost souls find their salvation by creating renewed meaning and connecting them to the timeless.
At Elliance, I realized that organizations run into crisis for various reasons and only insight can bring clarity to help pave the way to renewed prosperity. But insight can only be imparted by talented people with experience, knowledge, craftsmanship, and passionate caring. Thus I have made a point to live up to the title of “talent collector”, a title fondly given to me by one of my professional soul mates.
That, in a nutshell, is the story behind the mountains in our brand. While it’s true that creation, scaling and claiming of mountains are physical phenomenon, the true power of mountains lies in the fact that they act as metaphors for the struggles of our clients and courage with which we help overcome their challenges.
Here is to the mythical foundations of your brand, to scaling your mountain and claiming what belongs to you and no one else.
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