Joel’s Guide to Company and Product Names

I’ve been around in IT for quite a while now, and I’ve seen my fair share of interesting, entertaining, and downright frightful IT company and product names. Without further ado, I present “Joel’s Guide to IT Company and Product Names”.

* Also note, this is a joke. I’m completely not serious about this. Most of these result in some pretty horrible names.

Company Names

Every company needs a good name. Here’s a surefire way of coming up with a name for your company. Just follow one (or all) of these steps:

  1. Take two random words that have more than two letters, capitalize them, and then remove the space between them. Don’t use trivial words like “of” or “a”. Try to choose words that are only one or two syllables.

    Example: House Fire -> HouseFire
    Example: Wonderful world -> WonderWorld

  2. Add the word “One” to the end of an existing word. If using more than one word, remove spaces and capitalize the first letter of each word.

    Example: Banana -> BananaOne
    Example: Horse’s Head -> HorseHeadOne
    Example: Lobster -> LobsterOne

  3. Pick a word that ends in a vowel then a consonant. Swap them. Try to pick a short, one syllable word. Just make sure the same word doesn’t exist in a foreign language (e.g.: theatre).

    Example: Dinosaur -> Dinosaru
    Example: Chair -> Chari
    Example: Cucumber -> Cucumbre

  4. Take a animal, and add the word “Soft” after it. If the animal name is long, try a shortened version of it.

    Example: Hippopotamus -> HippoSoft
    Example: Emu -> EmuSoft

    Double points for picking an exotic animal.

Triple points for using more than one of the above methods.

Product Names

Now that you have a name for your company, you’ll need a name for your product (or products, should you actually make it far enough to get more than one product out the door). You need something catchy. Something original. Something… cool. Follow one (or all) of the following steps to come up with a product name.

  1. For Open Source Projects: Take the name of an element from the periodic table of elements. Avoid ones that are named after people. You may also modify it slightly by either intentional (and noticeable) misspellings, or lop off a few letters.

    Example: Thorium
    Example: Fancium -> Franseeium
    Example: Rubidium -> Rubid

  2. Take a common animal, and drop a few letters off of it. Capitalize the first letter.

    Example: Giraffe -> Raffe
    Example: Plecostomus -> Costomus (Sounds like a good piece of financial software, doesn’t it?)
    Example: Elephant -> Eleph
    Example: Octopus -> Topus, Octo

  3. Take a word and intentionally misspell it. Use letter combinations that still give it the same (or similar) sound.

    Example: Cartographer -> Kartografer
    Example: Garbage -> Garbadge

  4. Take some marketing jargon and twist it until it sounds like a weapon. If it is already a verb, Add another marketing jargon word to it. Capitalize both letters and remove the space between them. Replace any instances of “ic” with “x”, when appropriate.

    (If you need some help coming up with marketing speak, check this out).

    Example: Synergy ->Synergizer
    Example: Service Oriented -> ServiceOrienter
    Example: Enterprise Models ->EnterpriseModeller
    Example: Global -> Globalizer
    Example: Metric Strategize -> MetrixStrategizer

Things to Avoid

There are a few things to avoid when naming your IT company. Avoid using swearwords or slang. No one in the business world will probably take the name “HomeySoft” seriously. Also, if your product is named after something derogitory, it won’t make your product look good. No one wants to use a product called CrapWare or anything with the word “arse” in it – the name alone describes how poor the product is. Also avoid any racial insults.

Now you’ll have to exuse me. I need to go back to work on the VirtualInterfacer for ThoriumLobstreSoftOne. (With a name like that, who couldn’t resist working there?)

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