Thursday, January 17, 2008

Starting Up? Think of a name

For any person or team, putting together a name for a project or a company is an extremely tough task. There are various considerations involved - Will it be a good brand name? Will it stick? What about trademarks? What about URL?

I have found myself in the midst of a bunch of these processes and just found it almost impossible to find reasonably good names. First, my first employer rechristened itself from Wibhu technologies to AirTight Networks after our investors wanted a industry acceptable American sounding name as against an Indian sounding Wibhu. Interestingly Wibhu had a deep philosophical meaning, it being short for "Wi Bhu" with Wi standing for wireless and Bhu being Sanskrit for Earth. They aimed at building a wireless earth. I still love the old name and hate the fact that I am a shareholder of "AirTight Networks" and not "Wibhu".

A few months later, when me and Shanky put together the plan for a customer-oriented mobile bill optimizer, coming up with a name was a challenge, but I am guessing it was Shanky who put together the name of "YourBillBuddy" with which it was launched and is still on.

Moving on, Ugenie also had a significant inner meaning with Genie depicting somebody who would fulfil your (shopping) desires and U being the new focus as against "I" and "My". More recently at Y, we had to find a new name for a different flavor of our product - PacMan and it was yet another exercise all over.

All said and done, finding a reasonable name remains a tough task. Tom White explains how Hadoop got its name from a kid and his preferences over names. John Catherino tells us how he named cojo. Rich Skrenta recently blogged about he came up with the name Blekko for his recent start up. So, if you are starting something up, worth going through these reads to give you some pointers.

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