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Don’t Make A Naming Compromise


"Spend the time and effort to come up with a good name – it makes positioning easier.” That advice comes from Guy Kawasaki, former marketing evangelist for Apple computers, author, venture capitalist and managing director of Garage Technology Ventures.

“Don’t compromise on your name,” he writes in his book, The Art of the Start. More of Guy Kawasaki’s naming guidelines for budding entrepreneurs:

    * “Avoid numbers. They are bad ideas for names because people won’t remember whether to use numerals (123) or to spell out the number (One Two Three).”

    * “Pick a name with verb potential. In a perfect world, your name enters the mainstream vernacular and becomes a verb. For example, people ‘xerox’ documents – as opposed to photocopy them. More recently, people ‘google’ words instead of ‘searching for them in the Internet.’" (A caveat from our colleague and naming expert Steve Rivkin: This advice raises the hackles of trademark attorneys, because it undermines your ability to protect a name. Proceed with great caution.)

    * “Sound different (as opposed to ‘think different’). The name should sound like nothing else. For a bad example: Claris, Clarins, Claritin and Claria. It’s hard to remember which name refers to software, cosmetics, antihistamines or online marketing.”

    * “Sound logical. Your names should also sound logical. That is, they should ‘match’ what you do. A good example of this is the names of the Pokemon characters. Ask your kids to show you the cards of the characters Beautifly, Delcatty, Flygon and Huntail, and you’ll see what I mean about logical names and good positioning.”

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