We find company names and how they were arrived at to be fascinating.
Amazon for example was originally “Cadabra,” intended as a reference to the word “abracadabra.” But CEO Jeff Bezos’ first lawyer pointed out that the reference was too obscure and that, “when you were on the phone, people sometimes heard ‘Cadaver’ instead.” So, Bezos started paging through the “A” section of the dictionary. At the time, website listings were alphabetized, so he wanted a word that started with “A.” When he landed on the word “Amazon,” the name of the largest river on the planet, he decided that was the perfect name for what would become the world’s largest bookstore.
As for our members, we thought we would go around the horn and ask how some of them landed upon their company names. We got some really great answers, so please enjoy! Perhaps if you’re looking to start your own business, some of these will serve to get the creative juices flowing!
We started over a decade ago as I was working as a systems admin at an education service center. In Texas, there are 20 education service centers that provide various services to school districts. During this time, I started working with smaller school districts outside of my normal job as a side gig. Eventually, I had so much side work that I decided to leave the education service center and pursue my own company full time. I really liked the idea of “synergy.” I also wanted to incorporate ISD (Independent School District) into the title, so ‘SynergISDic’ really seem to make sense.– Tim Meador, Owner of SynergISDic
Wolves are my favorite animal and I’m in Montana — so that sounded cool and was unique.– Chris Kimbell, Owner of WolfGuard IT
My advice? Always find the domain first, THEN name the company. I wanted a name that sounded corporate, ‘techy,’ and represented what we do. I’ve also always loved the Art Deco era of exploration: graceful and bold design, rich textures and materials, a massive explosion of technology and communication, and adventure. After all, that’s when Raiders of the Lost Ark takes place. Who doesn’t love that? ‘Stratoliner’ and ‘stratofortress’ were coined in the Art Deco era. ‘Strato’ is latin, relating to ‘layers,’ ‘spreading,’ and ‘cloud.’ ‘Cent’ literally means 100, but it is also heard in words like ‘magnificent’ and ‘luminescent.’ In Latin, ‘ent’ is applied to adjectives to make them into nouns or verbs. For me, adding ‘cent’ to the end was to imply knowledge, and the word put together was intended to mean ‘cloud knowledge’ — but I also love the alternate meanings of 100 layers and spreading knowledge. It all works perfectly.-Jim Bachaud, CEO of Stratocent Technologies
We were formed over 33 years ago, and so in the dial-up days, there was no email or web. The Yellow Pages were big. We were selling Computer Aided Design software (CAD), and so ‘B’ comes before ‘Computers,’ ‘CAD’ or ‘Consulting’ in the Yellow Pages. I liked ‘bolder’ because it represented ‘new,’ ‘innovative,’ and ‘different.’ And we were at the top of the listings.-John Rutkowski, CEO of Bolder Designs
I launched my business at a full sprint and was very busy before I even retired from the Navy. Windows 95 was such a flurry of business. One thing I noticed was that there was a real struggle with adopting Windows 95 and LAN technology and a lot of “computer guys” were sloppy and did shoddy work. Often times I was sent in after someone else and would do something in 30-45 minutes that the last guy took 4 hours to do, and it wasn’t even done right! This pattern seemed to continue and I had a knack for getting things done right the first time. So, I came up with ‘Just Right’ because a lot of these businesses absolutely hated it when they would have to get work redone.– John Gibson, CEO of Just Right
‘Managed IT Systems’ just fit. While working in a break-fix role for another company, I knew there had to be a better way. I heard rumblings of managed networks and thought it sounded like a great idea for IT. In 2004, I learned I wasn’t alone and there was a movement starting. I wanted to offer managed IT to my clients and luckily the name was available.– Scott Meeler, CEO of Managed IT Systems
Based on my initials… but it sounds so smooth! Could also be ‘Computer System Professionals’ or ‘Cloud Service Provider.’ It was fate.– Chris Plouffe, CEO of CSP Technologies
It honestly was a slip of the tongue. I was looking at doing wireless connectivity for hotels and a friend of mine trying to say ‘concierge’ said ‘com-cierge’ instead. Thus, it was born. ‘Com’ also being for ‘computers,’ ‘communications,’ and ‘common sense.’– Jason Peters, Owner of Comcierge Systems
In our service area there was a lot of slow providers. When we started, business people still used phonebooks a lot to find providers. We wanted to be the first one listed. So how do you promote faster service and have a top listing in alphabetical order? You brainstorm. If it weren’t for old marketing ideas and a client-based need to market for, we would have a different name.– Ariel Perley, Owner of Express Tech
We had left a franchise with a catchy name and wanted to make sure that the new name stuck as well. After many weeks of soul searching, conference calls, and narrowing down ideas, we finally came up with something catchy and created our tagline, “We manage your technology so your business doesn’t croak.” Also, as some may know, ‘frog’ stands for ‘Fully Rely On God,’ which ‘Works’ for us.– Alex Bleam, President of Frogworks
I had 14 hours from when I was first informed my services would no longer be needed at my former company to the next morning when I needed to have an email and a ‘real’ company name for the benefit of three clients I might be taking on. Being the really expressive and creative type, I came up with ‘Peterson Technology Group’ in about an hour, using my last name and knowing we would work with ‘technology.’ I added ‘Group’ so I didn’t look small, even though it was me and one sub-contractor.– Kevin Peterson, Owner of Peterson Technology Group
The UNI is spelled out U-N-I and refers to ‘you and I,’ meaning, ‘we’re in this together, let’s find a solution.’– Lance Keltner, Owner of UNI Computers
There are many businesses with names that specify their area of expertise with “works” appended to it… much like the ‘Water Works’ property in the Monopoly game. I was teaching at the local technical school in 2014, and a local computer shop decided to close after more than 15 years in business. The stars aligned: it presented a very low financial risk, and I had a student ready and willing to run the shop (she had previously worked there for a long time). Knowing that I didn’t want my own name in the business name, it really just popped in my head on the way to work one morning: ‘Tifton Tech Works.’ At the time, it was perfect — it didn’t limit us to anything specific. If it’s tech, we make it work.– Ben Rehberg, Owner of Tifton Tech Works
When we started in 2007, I kept getting referred to as ‘computer geek’ or ‘computer nerd’ and it drove me crazy. Mainly, it was because people had this negative connotation of what tech people were like: nerdy, geeky, ill-mannered, unkempt. I knew this was far from the truth. I wanted a name that my staff and I could adopt that described who we were but was still fun and a little tongue-in-cheek. We handled more than just ‘computer repair.’ We were IT specialists. We worked with personal computers, phones, networks, audio visual, home automation, business environments, security, and so much more. Basically, anything tech-related we gravitated toward. We were techies, tech enthusiasts, we’re… ‘tech junkies.’ The name stuck.– Jason Penka, CEO of Tech Junkies
So there you have it! A little insight into how our members came up with their identity!
Are you interested in becoming a Member of The 20? Click here for more information!