Why did you call it Hoop?
We’ve been asked a few times why we named the app Hoop. People typically like the name, but why we chose to call it Hoop leaves them wondering.
We’d known from the beginning that we wanted the app to feel playful. We wanted it to evoke the fun of childhood and the pleasure you get from spending time with little ones. Equally we didn’t want people to think that this was something for kids, it’s an app that will be used by adults after all.
After what seemed liked weeks of adding names to our growing ‘no pile’ one afternoon we started talking about kids games. Given our brief it felt like games were a great area to explore, particularly those we enjoyed playing as kids. We found lists of them online and were happily working our way down until someone (we’re still unsure who) got to the Hula Hoop.
It turned out that the Hula Hoop was popularised by the rather wonderful Richard Knerr an American Inventor who’s Wham-O company, as well as championing every child’s favourite circle, also introduced the world to the Frisbee, Silly String, the Hacky Sack and the Slip’N Slide. We were awe struck.
Obviously we couldn’t call the app Hula Hoop so Max said: “what about just Hoop?”
We liked it a lot.
It was short, so with any luck easy to remember, plus it definitely ticked the fun and playful box. And hoops — which we think of as cooler circles — are beautiful, naturally occurring shapes that provide a wonderful canvas for branding and design.
Then we got lucky.
Anyone who has ever dreamed up the perfect name for their company will know that getting the web address can be a bit of a nightmare. These days even variations such as ‘get’ and ‘app’ before and after the name are likely to be taken. And getting the .com or .co.uk? Forget about it!
The lucky part was that hoop.co.uk was owned by a nice chap named Tim. Tim liked our plans for Hoop and so after some time to chew it over was willing to part company with a domain he’d owned since 1995! We were thrilled.
And so there you have it: simple; fun; and part homage to a classic kids game. Throw in a touch of luck and you’ve got the story of why we named it Hoop — what’s on for your kids.
You might find it interesting to know that back in ’95 the Hoop in hoop.co.uk stood for Happy Object Oriented Programmers. As programmers ourselves it gave the name a lovely double meaning!
You can read the New York Times’ obituary for Richard Knerr here. He passed away in January 2008.