Monthly Archives: July 2012

Get Your Company Name Right

…or at least don’t get it blatantly wrong.

Cardinal sins include:

Company name different from product name. Come on, you and I know that you’ll only have one product for the foreseeable future. What do you gain from two different names? Yes, there is RIM and Blackberry, but I’m not sure that is such a great lead to follow. And, at the very least, make sure you position the important name (presumably the product) prominently and the company name very inconspicuously. Otherwise you’ll just confuse your audience and you’ll be wasting their precious cognitive resources.

Include German (or any other non-English language) pieces or allusions. Do you really want to constrain your brand-building efforts to the large but oh-so sluggish German-speaking markets? Bad idea.

Easy to pronounce but not so easy to spell. Especially when it comes to hyphen placements. Only viable if you own all conceivable permutations so that people will get to you no matter where they put or don’t put the hyphens.

Easy to spell but difficult to pronounce. Don’t expect me to promote your product to my friends if I don’t even know how to pronounce it. 

Read this excellent post by Dharmesh Shah for very useful advice. 


“Informal” meetings with investors: Is there such a thing

Interesting discussions with some early-stage teams recently on whether it is a good idea to take an informal meeting with an investor, where you get to know each other, toss around some ideas, learn what the investor is looking for, but where you’re not pitching or in full-on demo mode.

Some people think that this is a bad idea, others think it’s really important. As always in life the official answer is “it depends”.

My recommendation to early-stage teams with first-time founders would be to be careful here. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. If your pitch is well-crafted and practiced and/or you have a cool demo then go for it.

If, on the other hand, you are still building or refining your pitch then I would recommend to do that with people who know you better and will help you get it right. So that you don’t blow your first chance to make a first impression.