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Why Phaedrus Systems?


Phaedrus Systems pronounced "fay-drus" Systems came about though chance. Like many other thing in life.


Its all Persig's fault

Zen and the Art Of Motorcycle Maintainance.

Actually it is the fault of Chris Hills the Technical Director. He says “Way back in 1979/80 I was in the RAF and we were trying out some CB radios. We obviously needed some non-military call signs or "handles" in CB parlance. At the time I was reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pisig. So I plucked the name of the main character, "Phaedrus" out of the book. The name, according to the book, at the time, meant "wolf" which as a young twenty-something military person sounded appealing."


Chris then used the name as a "company" name on ticket application forms to get into some trade shows and of course he received the resultant mail shots. This was before control of mass mailing and over time Phaedrus Systems found itself on various mailing lists (a bit like email addresses and spam now) and gained a life of its own.


In 1993 www.phaedsys.demon.co.uk became the first "phaedsys" web site only a year or two after HTML escaped CERN to the wider world. It was used for embedded software engineering things and saw the start of the QuEST series of technical papers, BSI-C standards and MISRA-C work, the ESE columns and related topics. In 2000 Phaedrus Systems became a real company.

There is one more twist. By chance in 2006 the Marketing Director saw a 25th anniversary edition of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. In the additional material there was an admission that the author had made a mistake. Phaedrus did not mean "wolf" but "brilliant" or "radiant" 




Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

ZAMM 25th Anerversary edition

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a book on philosophy wrapped in an adjusted autobiography. A large part of the book discusses quality and in part how it is applied to engineering... in this case maintaining a bike along the route of the narrative and roads of the USA. However it is a book on one's state of mind not a replacement for a Haynes manual! The book is available on Amazon and elsewhere, and Robert Pirsig, inevitably, has his own website, (http://robertpirsig.org/) where he discusses at length his MoQ or Metaphysics of Quality.


Robert Maynard Pirsig, writer, born 6 September 1928; died 24 April 2017

See Amazon for a copy


In the book Phaedrus is Pirsig's alter ego. The name comes from a character in The Symposium, a book by Plato, written about 350 BC, about Socrates, the Athenian philosopher, and his symposia.