Friday, November 5, 2010

Brand Names - Where did some of them come from?

Have you ever heard the name of a company and wondered, "What hit them on the head before they came up with that?" Like to wonder, what could possibly convince awhere-company-names-come-from person to name their industrial lubricant company Fuchs? It's safe to say that after reading Wikipedia's List of Company Etymologies, that the stereotypical business leader has a bit of an underestimated humor. Extracted straight from Wikipedia's own, here's a list of a few interesting company name derivations:

* 7-Eleven - this chain of convenience stores started in 1927 as U-Tote'm (so called because customers "toted" away their purchases). In 1946, U-Tote'm became 7-Eleven to reflect the stores' new, extended hours: 7am until 11pm, seven days a week.

* Adobe - came from name of the river Adobe Creek that ran behind the
house of founder John Warnock

* - founder Jeff Bezos renamed the company Amazon (from the earlier name of after the world's most voluminous river, the Amazon. He saw the potential for a larger volume of sales in an online (as opposed to a bricks and mortar) bookstore.

* Apache - according to the project's 1997 FAQ: "The Apache group was formed around a number of people who provided patch files that had been written for NCSA httpd 1.3. The result after combining them was A PAtCHy server."

* Apple Computers - favourite fruit of founder Steve Jobs. He was three months late in filing a name for the business, and he threatened to call his company Apple Computers if the other colleagues didn't suggest a better name by 5 o'clock

* Arby's - the enunciation of the initials of its founders, the Raffel Brothers

* Arm & Hammer - the founder's name was Armand Maccabee. The word maccabee is a biblical Hebrew name that translates to the English - hammer.

* eBay - Pierre Omidyar, who had created the Auction Web trading website, had formed a web consulting concern called Echo Bay Technology Group. "Echo Bay" didn't refer to the town in Nevada, "It just sounded cool," Omidyar reportedly said. Echo Bay Mines Limited, a gold mining company, had already taken, so Omidyar registered what (at the time) he thought was the second best name:

* Google - the name started as a jokey boast about the amount of information the search-engine would be able to search. It was originally named 'Googol', a word for the number represented by 1 followed by 100 zeros. After founders - Stanford grad students Sergey Brin and Larry Page resented their project to an angel investor, they received a cheque made out to 'Google'

* Hotmail - Founder Jack Smith got the idea of accessing e-mail via the web from a computer anywhere in the world. When Sabeer Bhatia came up with the business plan for the mail service, he tried all kinds of names ending in 'mail' and finally settled for hotmail as it included the letters "html" - the programming language used to write web pages. It was initially referred to as HoTMaiL with selective upper casing.

* HP - Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett.

* Intel - Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore wanted to name their new company 'Moore Noyce' but that was already trademarked by a hotel chain, so they had to settle for an acronym of INTegrated ELectronics

* LEGO: combination of the Danish "leg godt", which means to "play well." Lego also means "I put together" in Latin, but LEGO Group claims this is only a coincidence and the etymology of the word is entirely Danish. Years before the little plastic brick was invented, LEGO manufactured wooden toys.

* Microsoft - coined by Bill Gates to represent the company that was devoted to MICROcomputer SOFTware. Originally christened Micro-Soft, the '-' was removed later on.

* Motorola - Founder Paul Galvin came up with this name when his company started manufacturing radios for cars. The popular radio company at the time was called Victrola

* Nero - Nero Burning ROM named after Nero burning Rome.

* Nintendo - Nintendo is composed of three Japanese Kanji characters, Nin-ten-do. The first two can be translated to “Heaven blesses hard work”; do is a common ending for any store.

* ORACLE - Larry Ellison and Bob Oats were working on a consulting project for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). The code name for the project was called Oracle (the CIA saw this as the system to give answers to all questions or something such). Acronym for: One Real A**hole Called Larry Ellison ??

* Pepsi - named from the digestive enzyme pepsin.

* Red Hat - Company founder Marc Ewing was given the Cornell lacrosse team cap (with red and white stripes) while at college by his grandfather. He lost it and had to search for it desperately. The manual of the beta version of Red Hat Linux had an appeal to readers to return his Red Hat if found by anyone!

* Sony - from the Latin word 'sonus' meaning sound, and 'sonny' a slang used by Americans to refer to a bright youngster.

* Xerox - The inventor, Chestor Carlson, named his product trying to say dry' (as it was dry copying, markedly different from the then prevailing wet copying). The Greek root `xer' means dry.

* Yahoo! - the word was invented by Jonathan Swift and used in his book 'Gulliver's Travels'. It represents a person who is repulsive in appearance and action and is barely human. Yahoo! founders Jerry Yang and David Filo selected the name because they considered themselves yahoos.

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