One negative to listening to several technology podcasts is that I get to hear lots of different people discussing the same thing in their own fashion. Democratically, this is probably a good thing, but from my perspective, I hear pretty much the same opinion from the various folks, so it comes off as redudant. One recent example is the general uprising against Nintendo corporation for naming their new console the Wii.
People hate the name with a passion. They loathe it for the fact that it makes you think of pee jokes, or shouting out “Wheeeeee!” And mostly, they hate that you have to say, “The Wii. It’s spelled W-i-i.” Any time you have to stop and spell something out, It gets annoying. Ditto Intel’s new Viiv marketecture.
Venti Pain in my Ass
I completely and utterly refuse to say things like “venti.” If I were in Italy, I might go along with it, but I’m not going to fit into your paradigm, just because it makes you feel smug about my $3.00 coffee. Similarly, restrooms with alternative gender identifiers is really annoying. How the hell do I know if I’m a space pirate or a cinammon spice? Just tell me which door won’t elicit screams when I pass through it.
When naming things, the urge is to strike out into new territory and name your product or service or idea something new that differentiates. While new is a good thing, “new and still easy to talk about” really helps bypass some hurtles. Worse than a stupid name is an inelegant name. There’s something afoot there right now in the space of video podcasting. Some folks call it vlogging to mirror blogging. Others call it IPTV, which is sort of like when we named films “motion pictures” or cars “automobiles.” They harken back to something instead of point forward.
Naming things after one’s self (like, say, chrisbrogan.com) can tie you into a situation where you might want to bring others into the mix. For instance, in yesterday’s post about content networks, I mentioned the need for aggregating great content into unified sites. Obviously, bannering under my name won’t be all that useful in that regard.
What’s In Your Name
Names can be limiting in other ways. Look how many times you see a regional company go national or international, and they find themselves wanting or having to rename to more accurately represent their new opportunity. Similarly, if you name your company around a specific technology, you’re just asking for a rename. Three years ago, there was no “podcasting,” and accordingly, there weren’t 10,000 or more URLs with pod or podcast in the title. What happens if we all shift away, just like most folks have abandoned streaming-only or flash-only content?
Your name has to be flexible, easy to say and understand, easy to grow into further opportunities, and welcoming. I’m asking a lot. But then, what do I know? Some of the TOP corporations are: General Motors, International Business Machines, American Telephone and Telegraph, and the like. Maybe you can name yourself whatever you want, and then use initials later.
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