How not to name your company

A couple days ago I talked about why it’s so hard to name your company, it's harder to name an existing company than I had thought. Coming up with a new name for RevenueLoan lead me down some funny paths. Throughout the process the team and I got frustrated enough that we tried some random strategies to keep the process fun and lighthearted. Some weird things we tried:

1) Roll the dice

2) Riff on James Bond movies

3) Name after your intern

Roll the dice

At one point, we had reduced the list of possible company names down to 3 names, all of which we decided were "good enough". After spending too many hours sitting around and debating the pros and cons of each name, I wrote the names on 3 slips of paper, crumpled them up, and threw them on the ground. The plan was to name the company with the name on the first piece of paper I picked up. I picked the first one up, read it aloud, and as I did....I changed the rules of the roll the dice game. I knew instantly that the first name was not the name I wanted and said "no, that's not it". And then there were two crumbled up pieces of paper and I declared that we were now in a roll the dice process of elimination game for the name.  I picked the second piece of crumbled paper and the second company name didn't feel that good either.  And low and behold, the third name felt pretty good. So I went with it. We announced to the team that we were [name on crumpled paper #3] (to be announced).

An hour later, I was driving home, and I decided I didn't like the name. So I sent an email to everyone saying I was having brand remorse and we needed to go back to the drawing board. Ugg. I was totally indecisive and was dragging everyone through a terrible process. I felt crappy.

Takeaway: Using the roll the dice strategy actually can work.  I just wouldn't commit to which ever one you pick first or last (too much chance)....rather, I'd suggest picking them with an idea that the last one you pick is the right name and then watch your emotional reaction to the names that you pick first or second. If you feel instant regret that the 3rd name is the name that chance picked for you then you probably have the wrong name. In other words, let your immediate reaction to the names shed light on which company name you choose. And whatever name you decide on using this process, sit on the name for at least a day before you just go without it. And it's OK to try again.

Riff on James Bond movies

Yes, this was something we tried. Basically, we plugged "Fund" into a bunch of James Bond movie titles. We came up with the following names

The Fund who Loved Me.

The Spy who Funded me.

Dr. Fund.

You Only Fund Twice.

Live and Let Fund.

You see where this went. Right into the toilet.

Takeaway: In a funny way, we had fun doing this and the names provided some comic relief. We actually liked a couple of the names - Funderball and The Man with the Golden Fund, but ultimately it was too bizarre for us to use as our actual company name.

Name after your intern

Kenton is an awesome developer working for us this summer before he goes to graduate school. In lieu of having an actual name, we began to refer to ourselves as Kenton, or The Kenton Group, or Kenton Financial. There were 2 problems with naming it Kenton - the first problem is that the story wouldn't exactly work. With Judy's Book , the name made sense - it was my mother in law's name and the site was inspired by her book of trusted local services. The second problem is that it sure can get confusing having an employee and a company with the same name - we imagined not knowing who or what we were talking about!

These tactics didn't exactly work for what we’re calling "the company formerly known as RevenueLoan" but they did help us keep our minds open and keep the process fun, or at least less sucky!