What’s in a name?

It was super easy to name our first child. My husband and I had an “aha” moment shortly after learning we were having a boy. Sometimes, you just get lucky.

With our second, however, we struggled. When we found out we were having another boy, I grabbed my iPhone and scrolled through my list of backup names from the first — and realized NONE of them sounded right. I already knew my to-be-born’s demeanor (seriously) and those secondhand names didn’t do him justice. We struggled up until the birth, even days after he was born. We polled doctors and nurses, we texted our family and friends — and then finally, in a moment of clarity, seconds before the birth certificate woman called back for the third time — we had a name.

I won’t claim it was as excruciating as naming a child, but coming up with a name for our company came close.

In this case, my cofounders and I had a company mission and a product vision that we loved…but finding a name to describe it, which suited all of us, and which had a domain name available (practicality) took an insane amount of time. Should the name be descriptive? Should it be inspirational? Should it be an action verb? Should it be short and pithy? And so on and so forth.

Ultimately, naming our company wasn’t that different from naming a newborn. We brainstormed, we iterated, we added to the list, we shortlisted, we polled trusted advisors, and then, when it was the final hour — in this case, when we literally could not stand talking about it anymore — we went with a name that conveyed what we believed to be true about the company already, as well as our hopes and aspirations for where we believed it could go.

Once we had our name, we filed paperwork, set up email accounts and Slack — and turned all that drive and focus into building the first iteration of a product which, we hope, will change the way professionals think about health and wellness. Were we obsessive? Yes. Once we had the name, did we then obsess about the logo and color palette? Absolutely. Will we bring the same level of drive and attention to every single product and user decision we make going forward? 100%.

A name is critical, but it’s just the first step.

…I’m new to medium, but follow me to learn more about our journey in building and scaling an AI startup, about being a woman in tech, and about other random thoughts that I’m sure I’ll end up posting here :)

Deepa Krishnan

CEO, Incremental