The Weekly Review

by Chris Bowler

Finding the right name

When working on a new idea, the hardest part for me is figuring out a name and how to talk about the idea overall. Even when the idea is solid and there is interest or demand for it, even when I can articulate the problem it will solve, I often struggle to find a name.

Perhaps it’s an aspect of launching projects where you believe you truly have to nail it. After all, changing the name of a product (any type of product) down the road can be a very hard endeavour. So you approach the name as if you have to get it right the first time.

Or, maybe the issue is related to the paradox of choice. With an empty slate to work there, it can feel daunting to know how to whittle down the choices.

Here’s a few things I try to do when I go through this exercise:

  • Write down words. Lots of ‘em. On paper, or in a blank file in your favourite text editor. Get everything out of my head and hope that something pops out of the mess.
  • Take inspiration from all kinds of sources, especially away from the screen. Read some books or magazines.
  • Check search trends. It’s always good to see what people are looking related to the problem you hope to solve.
  • Get away from the computer. Good ideas don’t usually come when I’m sitting on the computer. A long walk or shovelling the driveway allow my brain to sift while my body works.
  • Review notes and references. This is the good thing keeping about a commonplace book or Zettelkasten — you have a reference library that can help good ideas bubble to the surface.

Only time will tell if your name is good (it will never be perfect). But names grow on you over time — just ask any parent who struggled to find the right name for their child how it would feel to change it 5 years down the road. Impossible.

So don’t overthink it. Too much 🙂

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