What’s Ariadne?

I’m often asked about where the name “Ariadne Associates” comes from – especially as it’s often mispronounced (I can always tell a cold sales call because they ask to speak to Adrian…). So if you’re sitting comfortably, then I’ll begin.

Once upon a time, Minos, the King of Crete, kept, in a labyrinth beneath his palace, a monster known as the Minotaur – half-man, half bull. As a result of their defeat in a previous war, the citizens of Athens had to send 7 youths and 7 maidens every nine years to be sacrificed to the Minotaur. One year, the Athenian prince Theseus joined the party, determined to kill the Minotaur and save his city. On his arrival, Minos’s daughter Ariadne immediately fell in love with him and gave him a sword and ball of string; the sword to kill the Minotaur and the string so that he could find his way out of the maze. Theseus succeeded and eloped with Ariadne, freeing the Athenians from their sacrifice.

So what’s this got to do with HR, you ask? Well, a friend once described employment law as a bit of a maze; and since as a consultant to a company I normally provide advice rather than undertake the task, it seemed a good analogy – I give your business what is needed to guide you through the maze and achieve your objectives. And my company logo also reflects the story, being based on a Greek Key design with a path through it.

(Those with a knowledge of Greek mythology sometimes point out that Theseus dumped Ariadne shortly after in favour of the next young lady to take his fancy. Thankfully I have had a better record of developing long term relationships with clients).

There’s also a slightly more prosaic explanation. Younger readers (or Generation Y as we now call them) will probably not recall the days before the internet, where if you needed a supplier you didn’t google but instead went to a thick paper book called “Yellow Pages”, which listed companies alphabetically by category. Business advice at the time was to ensure your company name appeared near the top of the listings by choosing a name which began with “A”. An early example of search engine optimisation, if you like.

So there you are: nothing to do with spiders (that’s Arachne), or anyone called Adrian.

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  1. Pingback: I wanna tell you a story | Ariadne Associates

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