IT ALL STARTS WITH AMADOU... NOT AMADOO
For many years I have had a keen interest in the outdoors, including camping and bushcraft, and the traditional ways things were done in the past, which have been made popular in recent years by the likes of Bear Grylls and Ray Mears.
In learning about my hobby I learned of a substance called ‘Amadou’. Amadou is a fungus that can be processed into a tinder to aid with fire lighting and has been used for this purpose for thousands of years.
The story of amadou really caught my imagination. To me the word itself evokes thoughts of positivity and sounds upbeat and fun, and its versatility and usefulness made it a valuable commodity. I believed it would make an appropriate and interesting name for my company. Not wanting to use the exact word and to avoid any confusion, I decided to change the spelling to ‘Amadoo’.
WHAT EXACTLY IS AMADOU?
Put simply, ‘amadou’ is a material deriving from a fungus know as tinder fungus (Fomes fomentarius), taken from the inner portion of the fungus (known as the trama layer) it is prepared via a process of boiling, soaking, pounding and drying.
Once processed it is easy for a spark from a primitive flint and steel (or iron pyrites in old ancient times) to ignite the tinder and aid in the lighting of a fire. In addition, this and some other fungi could be ignited from your existing fire before you leave camp and it can be kept smouldering for many hours so that an ember is carried with you while you travel thus making the fire lighting process easier when you arrive at your next camp location.
Evidence of the use of amadou was discovered on the remains of ‘Otzi the Iceman’, a 5,000 year old preserved Chalcolithic body found entombed in ice on the Austrian-Italian border, in 1991. Demonstrating that this useful material has been used for this purpose for many years.
To further illustrate the versatility of amadou, it is still used today for other applications, to create a felt-like material used in the making of clothing, most commonly hats, and a more leathery material which can be used by fishermen to dry and store their artificial flys for fly fishing.
What has this got to do with anything? I hear you ask.
Well, aside from the fact that I think the word itself is a good fit for the name of a creative agency, for the reasons I mentioned earlier, I also believe that the material has many characteristics that are also translate to my business.
It is mainly the connection to fire lighting that I feel has the greatest comparison to the ethos of my company and the work I do. There are two things that I consider to be vital parts of the creative process.
Firstly, putting in the ground work to base your creative ideas on. Specifically, learning as much about the company and project you are designing for as possible. This principle is also critical in the fire lighting process. If you get the ground work right from the start you will end up with an efficient fire. The second is that although technology and the modern age has massively changed the way we work and create, the traditional ways should still be remembered and observed. They still have a lot to offer and finding a harmony between the two is where we get the best results.
This is also true of the use of amadou for firelighting.
I don't think anybody could deny that fire is one of, if not the greatest discoveries mankind has ever made. The knowledge of how to produce fire has further separated us from the rest of animal kind and given us the ability to create more and more advanced items. If you look around you there will be very few things surrounding you that could have been produced without the aid of fire.
In ancient times, being able to produce a metal axe head meant that working with denser woods and stone became easier, allowing us to build bigger and better structures and tools. The ability to boil water and cook foods would have helped prevent illness. Even the device you are viewing this web page on would not have been possible without fire to craft the metal elements, or to generate the electricity to power the manufacturing machines, or melt the glass for the screens etc.
To me this sums up the key to how I work. Get to know the basics otherwise you can't move on to the next steps.
Every step of the process of building your business is vital, but the first steps are critical as they are the ones that help you move to the next step with the best possible chance of success.