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Half a league onwards

Andrew Miller sees some striking parallels between the charge of the Light Brigade and the UK’s efforts to commercialise its research.

The most famous use of the phrase “valley of death” was Tennyson’s, in his poem eulogising the charge of the Light Brigade. He was moved to verse by British troops’ courage in the face of overwhelming odds, their unexpected success and the ultimate futility of the exercise.

The effort to commercialise research has, of course, resulted in far fewer casualties. But there are many parallels between the valley of death into which the six hundred rode and the one confronting a technology company that is seeking to turn an idea into a product but is faced with a long period of spending before sales are possible.

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