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From ‘GigaCat’ to ‘L1m3Monk3y’: Simple tips for naming your startup

Monday, 21 July 2014 | By Taskmaster

A little while ago, yours truly suggested entrepreneurs could try doing something really radical to make their business names stand out from the tech startup crowd: Choosing a sensible, traditional business name.


Of course, you young whippersnappers know better than listening to the sensible, sagacious advice of Old Taskmaster. You want the name of your venture to have a name only a startup could get away with!


Thankfully, the good news for you is that even if you are completely lazy or a creatively bankrupt juvenile delinquent, you can still choose a great tech business name. Here’s how you do it.


The best tech company names are built around witty, imaginative puns. For example, when Jarrel Seah and Jennifer Tang created an app that lets you judge the risk of early onset anaemia by taking a photo of your eye, they called it Eyenaemia.


Unfortunately, we need to face facts here. You’re not witty or clever enough to come up with something quite that pun-tastic. No, you’d rather spend your days lying on the couch feeling slightly paranoid or temporarily satiating your munchies with a big bowl of nachos while laughing your head off at a repeat of some trite ‘70s sitcom. That’s why you’re reading this column.


Thankfully, even if you can’t think of a witty and pithy pun, there are still a few options open to you when naming your tech startup.


A popular choice is what is known as the “del.icio.us” option. This is where you choose some obscure country, and then choose a word or phrase that ends in the two letters of its top-level domain. Bit.ly is an example of this.


Of course, this creates the risk that an incoming military junta in some far-off corner of the globe could seize your web domain after a violent military coup. For example, if you choose “.ly”, you’re effectively betting your business on there never being another coup in Libya ever again. Ask Colonel Gaddafi how well that works out!


The good news for the truly lazy entrepreneur is that there’s a less geopolitically risky option that really cannot fail to produce a startup-sounding name.


First, choose any word that falls into one of these categories: Fruit and foods (e.g. apple, blackberry), things currently on your desk (e.g. a note), an animal (e.g. a chimp), or an adjective used to describe Usain Bolt.


Then choose a completely unrelated word that falls into one of these categories: space-related nouns (e.g. galaxy, sun), computer equipment (e.g. disk), natural elements (fire, water, etc.) metric prefixes (e.g. mega, giga, tera), colours (e.g. orange), or descriptors of size (e.g. big, small).


Now toss around the order of your two words. If you do it right, you will end up with two completely unconnected terms that sound like complete gibberish together. You know, like “hot” and “mail”, “fire” and “fox”, “galaxy” and “note”, “mail” and “chimp” or “blue” and “chilli”. Toss around the order of these two words until they sound particularly nonsensical.


Now here’s the secret step: You smoosh your random words together with poor spelling and grammar!


Really, anything that would tick off your grade three English teacher will do. Try smooshing your words together with CamelCase, replacing numbers with letters, phonetic misspellings, or follow the example of Canva and drop the last letter altogether.


Not sure if you’ve smooshed enough? Well, if it looks like an MSN Messenger screen name from the late ‘90s, Old Taskmaster says you’re probably on the right track.


Follow these simple tips and you should have a “GigaCat” or “L1m3Monk3y” in no time. Now all you need is a product!


Get it done – today!