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LLamas in Ann Arbor

There's a story behind those double LLs.

by Tim Athan

From the August, 2019 issue

A successful software company and a new jazz club have LLamas in common. Ann Arborite Don Hicks cofounded and named both the company (LLamasoft) and the club (the Blue LLama).

"I liked the imagery of a llama, a useful and important part of the economy of Peru in South America," Hicks emails. "I was also studying and reading about the Dalai Lama, and realized that I wanted to connect to both symbols. So I decided to create 'LLama' as a hybrid, referring to both the llama and the lama."

LLamasoft provides software and services for supply chain network optimization. It just won an unprecedented twelfth "FastTrack" award for growth from Ann Arbor SPARK. Wikipedia put its 2017 revenues at $80 million. Hicks sold LLamasoft about two years ago and used some of the proceeds to fund the development of Blue LLama. At the club, he says, the two capital Ls "stand for the love of food and the love of music. It's also a slight tip of the hat to continuity with the past; it was LLamasoft that made Blue Llama possible." In the Detroit Metro Times, artistic director Dave Sharp also cited the influence of the great jazz label Blue Note. Thus Ann Arbor's LLamas are a hybrid developed from Peruvian, Tibetan, and jazz strains.     (end of article)

[Originally published in August, 2019.]


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