What is Birnam Wood?

In Shakespeare’s famous Macbeth (The Scottish Play) The hero is told by a ghostly apparition he cannot be vanquished until Great Birnam Wood comes to High Dunsinane Hill. Macbeth believed that this could never happen and thought himself invincible. However, the branches of Birnam Wood were cut down by his enemy, used as camouflage and subsequently Great Birnam Wood did come to High Dunsinane and Macbeth was defeated.

Choosing this name for our company has 2 main reasons. The proprietors are originally from Scotland and were forced to study this play specifically while at school. The 2nd reason is more in line with the ethos of Birnam Wood – the ability to help our clients use their data more effectively to make better decisions and contain risk.

Quite simply, we chose the name as it is a perfect example of someone not seeing something right in front of them that they could have understood more clearly if they were looking properly. Curiously, this play also has been credited with creating a phrase many of use often – “can’t see the wood for the trees”. Sound familiar?

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