Ever wonder how this company came to be named Valiant Technology? It was in a roundabout way because of this car (Plymouth Valiant).
A guy I was jamming with had a sort of “bar” in his loft here in Manhattan (this was back when normal people could afford lofts). Above the bar hung the front end of a Plymouth Valiant; grill, hood, fenders, it was all there. It was, at the time, the coolest home accessory I’d ever seen.
We called his place “The Valiant Lounge,” and loved to go there after a few hours of sweaty jam sessions. Stuck looking for a band name, we named the band after the bar and went on to write some fairly decent quality blues-rock. Sadly, that style of music was completely out of fashion at the time, but nowadays with Sturgill Simpson, Nate Rateliff and J. Roddy Walston kicking around, we would probably have been a bit more popular. Ah well, I never was timely, even if I had good time.
I remember that year of music making fondly. I had a hell of a lot of fun playing with those guys. I was a kid – 21, maybe 22. These guys were all damned near 40 (which I thought of as old,) and some of them had kids! The madness! All the same, it was a blast playing with guys that REALLY knew how to play.
The Valiant Lounge played in NY often, and toured as far away as lower Delaware, playing a roadhouse gig to nearly a hundred people looking for something to do in lower Delaware – where there aren’t a lot of options, apparently.
Fast forward five or so years later. When Georg, Gene, and I founded the company, we were absolutely stuck trying to find a name. Initials, phrases, words; it all just sucked and felt dumb. In desperation, I started going through old band names. None of them worked, because I was mostly in metal/industrial bands, with the occasional alt-mope-rock band (one with our illustrious Ops Manager, Andrew Kwasny on lead vocals and guitar). So our weird band names like “Antagonize” and “Undying Nothings” and “Gutter Poets” didn’t really work for a tech company trying to be taken at least a LITTLE bit seriously.
Thankfully, I remembered my time in The Valiant Lounge, and found a cool company name – one that implied heroism, bravery and perhaps a bit of excitement in what is (let’s face it) a pretty uninspiring trade to the uninitiated.
Fast forward again – to 2011 in Long Beach, NY. Walking around the corner from my house, I stumbled across this beautiful example of a Plymouth Valiant. This car was set up to be a proper “sleeper” race car. The (I’m guessing) 383 cubic inch engine is super nasty sounding, with proper BLUBblublubBLUBBLUBblubBLUB 8-cylinder rumble dominating the neighborhood. Otherwise, the car is fairly simple – almost boring looking, yet it probably can do the quarter mile in under 13 seconds.
This car, its name and origin, is kind of a metaphor for us. We’re tech support, after all. Let’s face it, it’s not the most exciting industry in the world. Ah, but underneath our collective hoods, we lead bands, race cars, rebuild homes, party, sing, dance, and, oh yeah – we also maintain the entire infrastructure for businesses in NYC with combined valuations well into the 100’s of Millions.
I’d say we’ve earned a lot of responsibility, and I think we handle it well, without showing off… too much.
I’m also thrilled to say that all these years later, I finally have my own version of the Valiant Lounge, here in our office. We use the space for meetings, meditation, having a cocktail, entertaining friends, and keeping our weekly Pathfinder games going strong. Mind you, I don’t have the entire front end of a Valiant hanging (yet,) but I do have a couple of original hood emblems, courtesy of my brother in Chicago, who currently drives a 1971 Charger in electric blue around town – when he’s not off-roading in his super custom Jeep Wrangler.