Guy Kawasaki's recent post on naming hit home, where we've been scrambling to come up with new names for the products. Much like naming a new child (which I'm also struggling with right now), every name sounds ridiculous when you repeat it a few times. In our experience, the arc of a brainstorming process leads to the following types of names:

  • The practical: Names that aren't the most exciting, but get the point across, like our renaming of Live Assistant (also practical) to Spark Fastpath. We leverage the Sparkbrand and add a literal extension (a "fast path" to the right person or answer).

  • The evocative: Names that are more creative, but evoke feelings that you want associated with the product. Wildfirefits into this category -- it fits into fire theme and gets across the feeling of spreading quickly.

  • The "Left Field": Some of the coolest brainstorms are have nothing or very little to do with the subject, but happen when people pick up a magazine and point to words like "foghorn" or "gargoyle" (which I just did).

  • The "mildly humorous": As the brainstorm reaches its limit, the process gets goofier and people will riff on the fire theme with names like "Two Sticks".

  • The Insane: Finally, as the donut sugar crash occurs, the brainstorm fades into oblivion. My favorite names to come out of this process were "Fire Beaver" (Beavers are big in Oregon) and "Purple Unicorn". Some of the Web 2.0 companies might actually start at this part of the process.