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Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Unicorn I Can Believe In

I've spent a fair amount of this blog trying to pull back the curtain on startups and VC funding, and have covered a few wannabe unicorns in that time. In startup-speak, a unicorn is a company that has a valuation of greater than $1 billion, such as Uber, AirBnB, or Pinterest. I've always found this an amusing name, as I'm originally from Scotland and in the same way that the bald eagle is the national animal of the USA, the unicorn is the national animal of my home country. Yes, you read that correctly, a mythical creature is the national animal of Scotland. (It beat out Haggis McHaggisface in an online poll, what can you do?)

I was back home last month, and in both Glasgow (where I did my under- and post-graduate degrees) and Dundee (where I grew up) took the chance to photograph the statues of unicorns in the city centers.

Glasgow Unicorn

Close-Up, Glasgow Unicorn
Dundee Unicorn, St. Mary's Church
As a little bit of history on how this came to be - it was originally added to the Scottish coat of arms in the 12th century by William I, as a symbol of strength and power as well as healing. Following the union of crowns of Scotland and England, King James swapped one of the unicorns for a lion, the national animal of England. Eventually this became the coat of arms for the United Kingdom - with it usually shown as the one on the left, but if shown in Scotland as the one on the right (in the same way the national US flag is always on the left or higher when flown with a state flag). It's such a cool coat of arms, those smart Canadians use it too.

United Kingdom Coat of Arms
Try and take a look at these if you're ever in those cities. And in Glasgow, don't miss the statue of Wellington in front of the Museum of Modern Art. You can't miss it, he's always got a traffic cone on his head. Yes, seriously, no matter how often it gets taken down, it goes right back up again in hours. And it's not too easy, I tried it, and they've stuck tar on the plinth so you're going to be pretty obvious as the culprit!

Wellington in Glasgow

Wellington in Glasgow, MOMA in the Background
Many other statues and fantastic buildings and monuments in both cities, and Edinburgh is in a league of its own. Thanks to Brexit exchange rate is awesome right now. Go visit. :)

6 comments:

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  2. Those are some great pics, but the ones that will stick with me the most are the traffic cones.
    That is fantastic work by whoever is keeping the tradition alive.

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  5. Paul, I've read many of your (hilarious/depressing) posts about Startups.

    I'm curious, and understand if this is of no interest to you, whether you'd like to test a product of mine at some point in the future. Completely nonmarketing if you like, I'm simply looking for critique and honest views.

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