Choosing A Name

A lot of people have asked me for advice when choosing their name. Here’s really the only thing that actually matters when choosing the name:

  1. Is it unique? Are all the urls and usernames available on all the platforms you want to be on?
  2. Is it easy to type? (Or will people groan at the thought of having to enter in your url or username in a search field.)
  3. Is it easy to spell? (Or will people constantly mispel your name, leading to missed searches and confusion.)
  4. For some other suggestions, check this neat little article: http://sbinformation.about.com/od/advertisingpr/a/businessnames.htm

Other than that, stop worrying so much about your name. Anything will work. It could sound corny and dumb. It could sound pretentious and overly classed. It could sound fun or boring. It could be personal or encompassing. It doesn’t really even have to follow the three requirements I listed above (they’re more just like guidelines which will help you if you don’t have a lot of money to spend right off the bat on brand awareness)

Not to be too Dr. Seuss-like, but here are all sorts of name examples off the top of my head:

Short Names: PSY, Zedd, Diplo, Nero, ATB,

Long Names: Harley Davidson Motor Company,

Personal Names: David Guetta, Katy Pery, Wells Fargo,

Encompassing Names: Mumford & Sons, The Trump Organization,

Easy Spelling Names: Apple, Dell, Chase,

Difficult Spelling Names: Deadmau5, Matthew McConaughey,

Silly Names: Lady Gaga, Panic! At The Disco,

Serious Names: Ford, IBM,

Precise Names: General Electric, United Postal Service, Burger King, Guitar Center, Musician’s Friend, U.S. Bank,

Random Ass Names: Apple. Meerkat. Monstercat. Oxygen. Walmart. McDonald’s. Google. Yahoo. Microsoft.

Of course, there is the exception of certain very controversial or sensitive matters, like ISIS, or Nazi, etc… But then, if you named you or your company after something like that, you didn’t really meet requirement #1 now, did you?

But the reason why it really doesn’t matter is because YOU define the name, the name doesn’t define you. You don’t even have to like your own name at first. Hell, I didn’t even really like my own personal name until recently. And at first, people might think more deeply about the name. But as people become aware and more familiar with you, they will associate who you are with the name.

For example. What the hell did “facebook” mean before it started? But when we think of facebook today, we don’t think of a book at all. What about “twitter”. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t even a word until the social media company started gaining momentum. What about “meerkat”? That’s an animal, it has nothing to do with anything. And before the company started, the word “periscope” meant a physical looking glass. What about “Medium”? With no context at all, medium can mean a lot of different things. A lot of band names can get even weirder. What the hell did “Panic! At The Disco” mean before the band emerged? What the hell was a “Skrillex”?

Every name will have its pros and cons. But they all can be adapted. Long names can have nicknames, or abbreviations. Short names can be extended. Weird spelled names can be hard to find when you don’t know the spelling but easy to find when you do. Properly spelled names can be easy to spell, but can blend in with a lot of noise using the same words. They all have pros cons, but they can all be overcome.

So, define your name. Don’t let it define you. You should make a name for yourself.

Unless you live in Soviet Russia, in which case, the name will make you for itself. bwahahahaha…

-Quinlan

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