What's in a name? Part 2
By Frederic Pariente on Oct 22, 2008
Remember when we thought Yahoo was a funny-sounding name? We were back then so accustomed to businesses named after their founder (Campbell, Kellog's, Heinz), country of origin (Air China, Air India, Korean Air) or core product (Fiat, Seat, VW). Today, coming up with a catchy, original yet descriptive name has become the norm of any enterprise; in the late 90's, when the French conglomerate Compagnie Générale des Eaux went through a series of de-mergers, the spin-off companies were named Vivendi (entertainment), Veolia (utilities), Vinci (construction).
So... all I needed then was a good name. Right. Easier said then done. Unconsciously, my engineer's mind went on a very tangible (there went my chance to come up with truely cool names like Kazaa, Skype or Joost) approach, listing the words that matched my theme and playing with them. I listed : technology, adoption, economics, open, innovation, business, value, etc. Rigth away, the portmanteau word "Technomics" for technology economics came to my mind; probably a reminiscence of past party time and/or some advertizing for electronic music.
Technomics sounded right but I decided to put it to the (Google) test. How original is that name? Does it have some connotations already? Bad ones? It turned out that there were quite a few businesses named Technomics, consulting firms mostly. I found also the book/term Techonomics associated to the economies of scale brought by technology. Finally not quite right for my theme; I'm saying innovate to create value, not consolidate to reduce cost.
So I went back to my list of terms and decided to take an even more scientific approach. Ouch. I used Google Trends to compare their popularity in web searches. See here. I concluded that the terms business, value and technology were over-rated and thus too generic to use. In parallel, I went to Wikipedia to learn more about the terms innovation and economics. Wikipedia has this great concept of disambiguation which helps you see on a single page all the different meanings and connotations that a term may have. Following links, I ended up on the page for Open Innovation.
I was surprised to run into this term for the first time only now, while open innovation is what Sun is all about (Innovate. Share. Grow.) and probably my #1 reason why Sun is a great place to work. The more I learn, the less I know. It's that Sun executives used the term Open Standards in the 90's and Open Source nowadays. Eventually, Technomics became Openomics, for open innovation economics. Maybe it should have been Opennomics with 2 n's, what do you think?