Adventures in (re) naming your business: Fire up the 4-syllable random name generator

Lashings of “q” and “z” and “j”

Radbot teaser image by Damon Hart-Davis

Radbot Our goal as a company is to get hundreds of millions of our smart devices out there, in the hands of Joe Public. Saving money and carbon, and mental energy for the things in life that normal people actually care about.

But, as I’m learning, we can't do it all at once: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" as some hipster once said over a soy latte. Or was it the founding father of Taoism?

We need to convince an investor that we are worth a big bet to grow and to crank up that production line and marketing storm, and part of that for us is getting some normal(ish) human beings to buy a first consumer version to prove "traction". And to sell to consumers we need a brand!

And, yes, a pretty CE stamp too, to show it's legit... whatever the tariffs to sell to the Rest-of-EU eventually are.

But before the substance comes the style.

Branding, woo-woo lite

Sometime ago we decided the name for our open-source project (and company) is not right for consumers, so we have to invent a new one.

In previous startups (and indeed with my kids) I've found the naming process to be... uh... haphazard. No, I didn't get to invent new names for the kids: I couldn't afford the court cases when they turned 18, and I don't like violence.

Here's one of the tools that I put together to help on a previous occasion, that invents four-syllable names with extra lashings of “q” and “z” and “j” and so on, not already registered as domain names in common places.

It produced a name that reached the final two for my last startup.

This time we did a grown-up thing and found a branding agency.

They gathered from us what we're trying to achieve with the product, what our “values' are, what our customer demographics are likely to be, and what customers would want from our stuff, and then punted various name and design ideas to us.

All a lot less woo-woo than I had feared.

We did have a few mis-steps, such as the agency's favourite proposed name already having being used by a number of people in our field, given that it's kind of obvious if you have an engineering bent, and our suggested alternative bringing up terrorism when you started to type it into a popular search engine. Oops.

But we got there, on time and on budget: our name, logo, style guide, and thus the tools to build our website and social media presence.

Next time? Crowd funding.

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