Have you anytime wondered how company’s achieve on a name? We’ve put calm a account of over 30 tech companies and how their founders fabricated that important decision. From home towns, to birthdays, to claimed nicknames, a lot of the names accept a absolute claimed acceptation for the founders. You’d additionally be afraid to apperceive how abounding of them fabricated minor, or alike major, changes to their name because of the area was already taken.
So afterwards added ado, actuality they are, in alphabetical order:
37Signals was founded in Chicago in 1999 by Jason Fried, Carlos Segura, and Ernest Kim. Paul Horowitz, an American physicist and electrical architect articular 37 radiotelescope signals which believed ability accept been belletrist from exoteric beings. A abrupt column on the 37Signals website says alone this about the name:
Mankind consistently analyzes radio after-effects from alien amplitude in the chase for exoteric intelligence. Aback this assay started, about all of the arresting sources accept been identified. 37 signals, however, abide unexplained.
Founded in 1976 in Taiwan, Acer originally went by the name Multitech International. Less than 10 years later, the name of the aggregation was afflicted to Acer, which is the Latin chat for “sharp, acute, able and facile.” Acer has additionally been translated as keen, eager, astringent and fierce, and it additionally has some added odd connotations absorbed to the word, associated primarily with the Maple tree.
Adobe Systems was alleged afterwards Adobe Creek, a beck which ran abaft the abode of one of the co-founders, John Warnock.
Founded by Jeff Bezos, Amazon originally launched as Cadabra.com, a armpit which now redirects to a New Zealand biking site.
Ann Byer’s adventures on Bezos tells the accomplished story:
“Bezos admired the anticipation that acclimation books on the Internet would be so quick and accessible that it would assume like magic; you adjustment and – abracadbra! – your book is on your doorstep. Abracadabra – that was the faculty he capital bodies to accept about accomplishing business with him. But it was a little too long, so he beneath it to Cadabra.”
Fast advanced a little, and Bezos is accessible to ample out the official paperwork for his new company, and was speaking to a advocate about the forms that he would charge to ample out:
“When Bezos said over the corpuscle fizz that he was activity to alarm his online armpit Cadabra, the advocate hesitated. What the advocate anticipation he heard was Cadaver. Bezos was mortified. Would bodies absolutely aberration his alluring name for a asleep body?”
When cerebration of a new name, Bezos’ assumption belief was to anticipate of a name that began with an A so that it would be at the top of any alphabetical list. He bound acclimatized on Amazon because it was “exotic and different,” and reflected his aspirations for and the river he advised the better in the world, like he hoped his aggregation would be.
Amazon’s Bezos wasn’t the aboriginal architect to anticipate about alphabetical order. Amiga, which name agency ‘female friend’ in Spanish and Portuguese, was additionally alleged because it would arise afore rivals Angel and Atari on an alphabetized list. They additionally looked at added rivals names, and absitively to go in the complete adverse direction. The site, Amiga History Guide goes into a little bit added detail about the choice:
The Amiga name was alleged through the teams admiration to move abroad from the archetypal aggregation names of the accomplished (such as International Business Machines) to one that would be added adorable to technophobes and non-computer users. This was acute cerebration on their part, during the 1980’s IBM still had the caked angel abracadabra images of room-sized computers and bodies in white coats. The Amiga cast became acutely important during the backward 1980s aback Commodore marketed the apparatus appear the home market.
The Apache Software Foundation was clearly formed in 1994, but the name was alleged continued afore then. In a 1977 online certificate gives a little acumen as to area that name came from:
The Apache accumulation was formed about a cardinal of bodies who provided patch files that had been accounting for NCSA httpd 1.3. The aftereffect afterwards accumulation them was A PAtCHy server.
This is apparently one that anybody knows but we would be behindhand to leave it out, Apple’s aggregation name is said to accept been alleged for co-founder Steve Jobs’ favourite fruit, and the logo is a comedy on the angel byte. In the book, Angel 2.0 Steve Wozniak is quoted as saying:
“He [Jobs] said ‘I’ve got a abundant name: Angel Computer.’ Maybe he formed in angel trees. I didn’t alike ask. Maybe it had some added acceptation to him. Maybe the abstraction aloof occurred based aloft Angel Records. He had been a agreeable person, like abounding abstruse bodies are. It ability accept articulate acceptable partly because of that connotation. I anticipation instantly, ‘We’re activity to accept a lot of absorb problems.’
Both Wozniak and Jobs approved added alternating names such as Executex and Matrix Electronics, but they didn’t like it as abundant as Angel Computers. And the name was born.
They additionally capital an attainable name. Like Amiga, Angel capital to shy abroad from the cold, accumulated names of added computer companies at the time. Apple additionally went on to access added aggregation name decisions, including the UK based company, Apricot Computers.
When the American aggregation was founded, they capital a name that had a Japanese feel to it, and autonomous for Atari. Atari is a move in the Japanese lath game, Go, which is agnate to the ‘check move’ in chess. Atari architect Nolan Bushnell was quoted as saying:
“In Go, when you are about to abduction an opponent’s piece, you affably acquaint them ‘Atari’ [check]. I acquainted that was a acceptable advancing name for a company.”
In 1933 it was Attention Optical Instruments Laboratory, in 1934 the aggregation switched the the name of its aboriginal camera, Kwanon, the Japanese name of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. It wasn’t until 1947 that Kwanon became Canon. On the Canon website, an account abaft the best reads:
This appellation reflected the altruism of Kwanon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, and embodied the Company’s eyes of creating the best cameras in the world. The logo included the chat with an angel of “Kwanon with 1,000 Arms” and flames.
When the Aggregation approved to activate all-encompassing marketing, it bare a cast name that would be accustomed by bodies worldwide. From this standpoint, in 1935 the name Canon was registered as the official trademark. The chat Canon has a cardinal of meanings, including scriptures, archetype and standard. The brand was accordingly aces of a aggregation complex with attention equipment, area accurateness is fundamentally important. It additionally embodied the Company’s admiration to accommodated world-class belief and industry standards. And aback Canon and Kwanon had agnate pronunciations, the alteration went smoothly.
Digg’s name was built-in mainly out of the actuality that the area name for the aboriginal name was already taken. Architect Kevin Rose’s acquaintance David Prager appropriate Diggnation, a name which was afterwards acclimated for Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht’s appearance Diggnation, which Prager was complex in. In an attack to abridge things, Rose appropriate Dig. With Dig.com registered by Walt Disney Internet Group, they aloof tacked on an added g, and Digg was born.
eBay architect Pierre Omidyar had founded a web consulting close Echo Bay Technology Group, beneath aloof to Echo Bay. Omidyar is appear to accept said he chose the name because, “It aloof articulate cool.” Like Rose, Omidyar’s area of choice, EchoBay.com was already taken. Instead of abacus on a letter or two, Omidyar went in the adverse administration and artlessly beneath it to eBay.com.
Facebook’s name and origins both axis aback to university campuses. You’d anticipate the adventure would be a bit added exciting, abnormally because all the altercation surrounding the company’s origins, but instead, this is area the abstraction for the name came from:
A facebook is a printed or online agenda activate at American universities consisting of individuals’ photographs and names. In particular, it denotes publications of this blazon broadcast by university administrations at the alpha of the bookish year with the ambition of allowance accepting get to apperceive anniversary other.
In a 2007 interview, Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield explains how he and co-founder and wife, Caterina Fake, acclimatized on the name Flickr.
In an age of curious-sounding Web-site names, “Flickr” came abundantly by accident. The area buyer of “flicker.com” wouldn’t sell, so Caterina appropriate “Flickr,” which Butterfield says fabricated the account angle out. “We consistently had to spell it out for people, which helped accomplish it stick,” he notes.
Yet again, a area name had a absolute access on the aggregation name, and like eBay founder, Butterfield and Fake autonomous to bead a letter from the equation.
As Groupon’s Chief Executive Andrew Mason’s blunt 5 chat accepting accent at the 2011 Webby Awards commemoration says, “It’s abbreviate for accumulation coupon.”
Google’s name was an accident. Originally activity with googol, a misspelling led to the name that has aback become a noun, verb, and an abiding allotment of our online lives. The aboriginal best of name cardinal was a absorption of the company’s mission to booty over the world. Aloof kidding. Google’s mission was to adapt the great amounts of advice accessible online.
The aggregation is befitting quiet about area the name comes from, but we aloof had to accommodate their account of what Gojee is not during an account with App Storm.
Barry (our Spokesberry) will acquaint you that it’s alleged afterwards Tibetan Gojiberries… but don’t accept him.
The name HP has led to adverse abashing amid a computer aggregation and a sauce. While the name itself is annihilation arena breaking, how it was alleged is absolutely interesting. Founders, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a bread to adjudge who’s name would get aboriginal billing. Obviously Bill won, and the blow is history.
Hotmail is a name which has led to abounding a joke, best of which weren’t all that funny to activate with, abnormally aback you apprehend aloof how aberrant the origins of the name are. They knew the name should end in mail, but while aggravating to amount out what comes before, they acclimatized on Hot, not for any connotations, but absolutely because it independent the belletrist HTML. The artefact absolutely started out attractive like a 13 year old leet speaking jailbait had appear up with the name, with careful high case to accent assertive letters: HoTMaiL. Luckily that is no best the case, and in fact, the name Hotmail has aback been alone in favour of Windows Live Mail.
Ok so Lego is not a tech company, but it’s a aggregation of absolute accent to any appreciative geek. Lego is a comedy on the the Danish expression, Leg godt, which means, well, Comedy well. Lego is additionally a Latin chat acceptation I put calm but the aggregation claims that is absolutely coincidental.
We’ve already accustomed you a bit of acumen into Motorola’s history, and area the name came from, but in case you absent it, the name is the alliance of two words – motor, apery a car, and ola, taken from the word, Victrola, apery sound. The name was alleged at a time aback Motorola was in the business of accomplishment car radios.
Napster may possibly be the alone aggregation whose name stems from a hairstyle, or we hope. Architect Shawn Fanning becoming himself the appellation Napster, because of his hairstyle, and from there one of the best arguable music administration sites was born.
Nero, a German software aggregation best accepted for their CD/DVD afire product, Nero Afire ROM, took a folio out of history aback clearing on a name. The company, and product, is alleged afterwards the Roman emperor Nero who is best accepted as the emperor who fiddled while Rome burned. To accomplish it as pun-worthy as possible, Rom additionally happens to the German spelling of Rome.
You ability not apprehend it but the absolute Japanese company, Nintendo, was formed in Kyoto in 1889. From bearing handmade arena cards, to a cab company, to a adulation hotel, the business went through a array of incarnations, but captivated on to its aboriginal name. In 1974 the aggregation ventured into the electronics world, and a year afterwards it entered the video d arcade industry. The name can be almost translated as ‘leave luck to heaven.’
Like Nintendo, Nokia’s origins lie far abroad from electronics. The aggregation started out in 1865 as a Finnish wood-pulp comminute in the burghal of Tampere. A additional comminute was congenital a the boondocks of Nokia, and in 1871 the boondocks name was acclimated as the aggregation name, which today articles corpuscle phones.
Database software company Oracle absolutely started out as a activity for the CIA, complete with a cipher name. At the time, the aggregation alive on the activity was alleged Relational Software Inc. Aback the CIA alone the project, the founders absitively to accumulate on trucking, and adopted the CIA’s cipher name as the aggregation name.
Co-founder Marc Ewing’s computer ability generally led to bodies allurement for his advice with computer-related problems in college, and he was generally referred to as the “guy in the red hat.” Generally apparent on campus in his grandfather’s red and white striped Cornell lacrosse aggregation cap, the name stuck, and lent its name to the Linux distro, Red Hat. By the time the beta adaptation was accessible for accessible consumption, Ewing had absent the hat, and the chiral included a agenda allurement readers to acknowledgment his red hat, if found.
Research in Motion borrows the abstraction (and two of the words) from the announcement Poetry in Motion, but the aggregation is, added generally than not, artlessly referred to as RIM. Crackberry gives a bit of acumen into the history abaft the choice:
Paradigm Research was the aboriginal best to be registered, but that name was taken. Lazaridis approved appointment altered variations of words accumulated with “Research,” but anniversary was rejected. As the allotment appliance had to be accompanied by a $160 fee, the aggregation was fast accident money afore it alike had a name. One evening, as Lazaridis was channel-surfing, he happened aloft a bit of serendipity. A account adventure about football players demography ballet lessons. Footage of players dancing agilely about the action accompanied the words on screen: “Poetry in Motion.” Lazaridis submitted the name, and Research In Motion was clearly congenital on March 7, 1984.
Samsung is the Korean chat for three stars. The Wikipedia access on Samsung quotes a Korean commodity which gives an account as to why the chat was chosen.
According to the architect of Samsung Group, the acceptation of the Korean word Samsung (三星) is “tristar” or “three stars”. The chat “three” represents article “big, abundant and powerful”; the “stars” mean eternity.
Sanyo is a Japanese chat which agency three oceans. Starting out in 1947 authoritative bike architect lamps, Sanyo confused on to artificial radios, and abrasion machines. The three oceans in its name referred to the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, and was cogitating of the founder’s mission – to advertise Sanyo’s articles worldwide.
Software aggregation Six Afar derives its name from co-founders Ben and Mena Trott’s birthdays, which are, you estimated it, 6 canicule apart.
The aggregation name started out as Sky-Peer-to-Peer, was beneath to Skyper, and was afresh beneath some more, to Skype. The acumen for bottomward the R was due to what has become a above affair today aback chief on a business name – the area skyper.com was already taken.
Sony’s name is a bifold entendre. It refers both to the Latin chat sonus acceptation sound, and it additionally refers to the American argot expression, buck boys, which is what co-founders Akio Moritom and Masaru Ibuka declared themselves as, aback in the day. In the 1950s in Japan, buck boys had connotations of a young, acute and presentable men. Sony was additionally alleged because it was calmly arresting in abounding languages.
Quite a few names were mulled over aback chief what to alarm Twitter, including Beat and Jitter. In a account beforehand this year, co-founder Jack Dorsey explained how they accustomed at the name Twitter:
We capital a name that evoked what we did. We capital article that was tangible. And we looked at what we were accomplishing and aback you accustomed a cheep over SMS, your fizz would buzz. It would jitter. It would twitch. And those were the aboriginal names, Jitter and Twitch. And neither one of them absolutely aggressive the best array of imagery.
He goes on to say:
One of the guys who was allowance us body and actualize the system, Noah Glass, took the chat Twitch, and he went bottomward the dictionary. And we all looked at the Oxford English concordance at the T-W’s, and we activate the chat Twitter. And Cheep agency a abbreviate inconsequential access of information, chirps from birds. And we were like, that describes absolutely what we’re accomplishing here. So it was an accessible choice, and we got twitter.com for some absolute low price, and we alleged the aggregation Twitter.
The name Ubuntu comes from a Zulu chat which translates as “humanity to others”. The Linux operating arrangement is broadcast as chargeless and accessible antecedent software. The company’s mission is based in the Southern African philosophy, Ubuntu, which Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes as”
A being with Ubuntu is accessible and accessible to others, acknowledging of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a able accord that comes from alive that he or she belongs in a greater accomplished and is beneath aback others are ashamed or diminished, aback others are bent or oppressed.
Nero autonomous for history, while Yahoo autonomous for literature. The chat Yahoo was coined by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels, and was adopted by the aggregation in 1994:
The Web armpit started out as “Jerry and David’s Guide to the Angel Wide Web” but eventually accustomed a new moniker with the advice of a dictionary. The name Yahoo! is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” but Filo and Yang assert they called the name because they admired the accepted analogue of a yahoo: “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.” Yahoo! itself aboriginal resided on Yang’s apprentice workstation, “Akebono,” while the software was lodged on Filo’s computer, “Konishiki” – both alleged afterwards allegorical sumo wrestlers.
Can you anticipate of any absorbing belief on how a tech aggregation got its name? Let us apperceive in the comments.
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