Alchemy was science before we had scientists. It was the original "box" from which our culture desperately needed to "get out." A many thousand year-old pre-science and philosophy, it was an optimistic search for a universal elixir which would cure disease and prolong life. Lasting well into the early Renaissance, even Galileo, Copernicus and Newton referred to themselves as alchemists.

First matter – prima materia – was the grail, the quest of alchemists. They believed that all substance, being composed of one primitive matter, could be found by imposing different qualities upon it. Prima materia was identified with mercury – not ordinary mercury, but the mercury of the philosophies, that is, the essence of the soul of mercury freed from the four Aristotelian elements of earth, air, fire and water. Alchemists believed that all matter had soul. It is not by accident that the birth in 1997 of FirstMatter coincides with All Hallow's Eve, the night before All Souls' Day.

Alchemists have always been challengers of conventional wisdom. Hence, the guiding value of FirstMatter is to challenge convention. FirstMatter celebrates thought leadership, which we undertake as our mission. Our three other important values are to speak the truth as you "know" it…be…and create fun. As inheritors of the alchemists' legacy, we are fortunate to have the privilege of adding "ether" as a fifth great universal element imprinting upon prima materia.

In the East, alchemists showed themselves as tricksters. In the West, they manifested themselves in roles that have included wizards, shamans and "fools" – practitioners of weird science and crazy wisdom. However, their foresight and experimentation enabled William the Conqueror's shields to be made of hematite (the first time stone was "machined"). And our modern periodic table of the elements is directly traceable to our forebears' centuries of work with the prima materia.

In the dawn of the next millennium, FirstMatter's objective is to make new methods, new metrics, new tools. The most critical component of FirstMatter, however, is our promise. A product or a service is merely an artifact of the truth of a promise. A brand is a promise. Our promise is simple – to bring the future to your organization.