Whats in a name? Part III

In the third part of this series, I thought of discussing about the names of software companies and products.

The first time I encountered a name problem was during our first 2 months project @ PSG Tech. Initially we decided that we will create a compiler which can translate Java source which is written in Tamil. Later we modified it and created a new language itself. Just like Java, it had defined specs for the language, the intermediate file format and a virtual machine. One major difference is that the programs can be written in any natural language – English, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, etc. So its a true multi-lingual programming language. Ok. How do we name it?

Since its language independent, the initial idea was to name it as “Ma”. This word is language neutral and has the same meaning across most of the languages – Mom. Somehow none of us liked it.

Then we thought of what else is language neutral? Music. So we decided to name is as “Swaram”. Then we tried to justify it with a reason:”With just 7 Swarams, you can produce countless Raagas. Similarly with just few constructs like ‘if’, ‘else’, ‘while’, ‘do’, ‘for’, you can produce countless programs”.

The next time I had to name a product was during the second 2 months project. It was design and implementation of a Distributed File System. We named it as “Om File System”. Reason? “Om is something that exists everywhere in the universe, but you can’t point something and say that is Om (Hinduism) Similarly in our file system, a file is distributed across a network, but you cannot point a fragment and say this is that file”. Well, OM had another “real” meaning as well. I don’t want to heart Mr. M, (he is a very good man and I still like him) so I leave it to you to guess.🙂

Only after graduating from the college I read more about branding. You should always name a product so that when people hear about the name, they always associate it with the product. There are many example which will violate this rule (‘Surf’) and many examples which will follow this rule(‘Fevicol’). The interesting part is, if you give a unique name and if it becomes a grand success, the product itself will be named after the brand. Sony’s Walkman is a classic example. Most of the personal stereo’s are called Walkman. From ‘Choli’ to ‘Dalda’ there are many examples in this category as well.

Coming back to software, think of Microsoft. It wouldn’t mean anything else other than the software gaint. When you hear the word, no matter what context it is, you associate always associate it with the company. That doesn’t happen for Apple. Interestingly enough, the product names from these companies are other way around. Microsoft: Windows, Word, Excel, … Apple: Mac, iPod, …

The next time I’d to name a product was for the Eclipse plugin for the GWT. I thought it should uniquely identify my product, but should reflect both Eclipse and Google tradition. So the name Googlipse (Google Eclipse) was chosen. The logo also follows a similar theme, the coloring of Google and the font & stripes of Eclipse. I was very proud of coming out with a good name. I thought if you type in Googlipse in a search engine, it should always point to my product.

One of the very first mails I received about Googlipse was from the GWT team lead himself. He wrote: “Googlipse seems to be cool, despite the name”. If I search for Googlipse, Google first says that its a spelling mistake & suggests to search for “Google” and then points to my product😦

The next time I was in search of a name was for a company that I was about to start. (I always wanted to start a company and create some nice products. Since I’ve a product in hand, I’m very serious in starting a company). So what should be the name? It should be unique like Microsoft or Infosys. After coming up with a list of few names, I decided upon “Cypal Solutions”. I’m currently undergoing the legal process for it, but what is Cypal?

I come from a village called Sellappam Palayam, which is very often called as Cyper Palayam by friends. When how about starting a company in that name itself? So the company is named as Cypal which stands for CYber PALayam. The first thing I did was for the availability of the domain name cypal.com. It was already taken and was available for sale. The website says that they are ready to sell it for $ 1000. I would have bought a good laptop for that price. So I had to choose a different domain name.

So you guessed it right. As this post is already big, I’m going to say the domain name in my next installment of “Whats in a name?” and its all about domain names.

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