One day during a long run, I passed a church, the front of which featured a sign that included an illustration of a maze with the caption,
“Solvitur Ambulando…It is solved by walking.”
The phrase impacted me immediately. I have often found that a run, or a walk, or another form of physical exercise, almost paradoxically by allowing my thoughts to wander, ultimately helps my mind to focus on whatever technical or business problem I may be pondering at the time. I have frequently ended a workout, or a bike ride, or a long run, with “the answer” to a particularly vexing issue that I had been pondering.
But the quote, and the story behind it, meant even more than that. I tracked the etymology of the phrase to Diogenes of Sinope, also known as “Diogenes the Cynic.”
Diogenes is reputed to have countered an argument with the Sophists, that “all motion is unreal”, by standing up and walking away. Thus, the very act of walking proved that motion is in fact real. He didn’t waste time arguing or debating, but rather used “common sense…as the mere familiarity with the fact was a sufficient answer…” (Plato, Dialogues, Vol. 3).
I realized immediately that Diogenes’ concept of proof-by-example resonated deeply with my own proof-based approach to making business and technical decisions. Now, I don’t normally go around quoting Greek philosophers, and I had to look up the Latin verb forms of “to solve” in arriving at a company name. But I realized that my company should embody this same ethos – and with it the notion of “solvitur ambulando” as the core of its identity.
So I combined the clarity that comes from physical exertion, Diogenes’ pithy quote and its relevance to our approach to problem-solving, and the specific verb form of the Latin for “To Solve”, namely, the imperative passive future form, and arrived at our name: Solvitor — it shall be solved, and our tagline: Problem Solved.
Carl Leubsdorf, Jr. — Founder and CEO — Solvitor