In the Catholic theological tradition, there are angels and archangels. Archangels are ‘above’ regular angels in the heavenly hierarchy. Similarly, in the world of finance; there are angel investors and archangels. Not a very original concept, but you get my drift.
The term archangel refers to a ‘successful’ angel investor. In the world of commerce, an archangel is someone who has invested in a number of startup ventures that have achieved fame and fortune as well as commercial successes.
Angel investors are generally private individuals who provide startups with the capital and help they need to get their businesses off the ground. An archangel, on the other hand, takes it a step further. They do this by steering the businesses under their care towards negotiations that prove to be beneficial for all participants.
Their insight may be subsequently sought by other investors as they have shown an ability for choosing the right teams and companies to not only invest in, but also to grow to their full potential.
The Grapes of the Wine
Let’s choose a rather innocuous fruit to start with. The grape. It is a simple fruit, and yet–when transformed, it becomes wine. But to become wine, the grape has to undergo a process through which it is transformed into something that is worth more.
Generally speaking, there are five basic elements to creating wine: harvesting the grape, crushing and pressing the grape, fermenting the grape, clarification, and finally, ageing and bottling. Winemakers will follow these five steps but will also add in their own variations along the way to allow them to create their own unique brand of wine.
The Story of Midas
Once upon a time, in a land far far away, Dionysus discovered that his old school master and foster father, Silenus, had gone missing. The old man had wandered away while he was drunk. Silenus was later found by some peasants who carried him to King Midas.
The king recognised him and hosted him hospitably. King Midas and Silenus feasted together for ten days and nights. In return, Silenus entertained the king with stories and songs. On the eleventh day, Midas returned Silenus back to Dionysus. Dionysus offered the king his choice of reward.
Midas asked that whatever he might touch would turn to gold. Dionysus granted his wish. Midas rejoiced in his new power, which he quickly to put to good use. He touched and turned to gold an oak twig and a stone. Midas was overjoyed. But his joy evaporated when he discovered that his bread, meat and wine also turned to gold. Later, when his daughter embraced him, she too turned to gold.
The horrified king strove to rid himself of the Midas Touch. He beseeched Dionysus to save him from starvation, despite being a rich man. Dionysus consented. He told Midas to wash himself in the river Pactolus. As he did so, the power passed into the river; and the river sands turned gold.
Unlike most tales that draw the curtain down with a moralistic explanation of greed, the full rendering of the fable shows us the ‘out’ clause.
The God of Wine
Long before we humans scientifically understood the process of fermentation, we used to believe that those who partake in the mysteries of alcohol are possessed and empowered by the Dionysus: the God of the Grape Harvest.
In the Cult of Dionysus, wine had a religious focus. Wine was viewed as the earthly incarnation of the God. A glass of wine could ease suffering, bring joy and even inspire divine madness. Thousands of years later, the benefits of wine haven’t changed, but we have become more aware of its dangers. We have become aware that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Dionysus was viewed as “the liberator”. His wine, music and dance freed his followers from self-conscious fear and care. It also subverted the oppressive restraints of the powerful. It made us all free.
Till it trapped us in its vine, that is.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Most business owners will not only receive this advice, but also learn to live by it when making business decisions. That’s why we need business angels and archangels. They save us from making poor decisions and poor choices as it pertains to the business world.
From get-rich-quick schemes to scams, this is not how the business world works. But we think we can make it so. If short-lived success is what you’re after, of if you’d like to be a one-hit wonder, then it’s hard to find and create that elusive long-term victory that all true business owners are looking for.
Yesterday, I wrote about the Swiss Watch Industry. As an industry, it has been around for centuries. It did not get there and establish itself as a leader by chasing after short-lived successes and quick-rich schemes. It got there by investing and investing and investing some more.
They took a humble watch that only had to tell the time and turned it into a masterpiece.
Creating value in a business usually takes time. It can even take generations. It is not something that happens overnight and nor is there a shortcut. But there are a few shortcuts in terms of the tricks of the trade, but these are zealously guarded secrets–much like a winemaker’s recipe for success.
Why do some people fall for the short cuts, then? The answer is simple, they think that the destination is all that matters. But a destination without a journey is no destination at all.
To truly create value, and to attract an angel or archangel; we need to dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to a goal and pursue it by eliminating all distractions.
Once that is done, the wine and gold awaits… Just remember to do it all in moderation.