Wundertask Blog

April 24, 2019

What’s in a name: The Seeds of Audacity – Part 5

A new project, like a newborn babe, needs a name. I take a fairly conventional approach to this task – lots of candidate words, plentiful marker pen ink on dead trees (mostly recycled paper, soon to be recycled again, like most of the ideas), and a few Post-its.

The words come from books drawn randomly from the shelves in my office/den, then either opened equally randomly, or using dice and page numbers. After enough words have been through the mental wrangler, a pattern emerges and a shortlist will be drawn up after a week or so of contemplation.

This process produces its share of duds, I have to say. A few years ago my colleagues sent me unceremoniously back to the drawing board when I proposed a name for our new Cloud software business… ‘Blue Croissant’. Hard to believe I ever liked the idea, but it shows the importance of having people around you who are not afraid to say ‘Are you crazy?’. Fortunately there was approval for my second preference, Conker.

This time, the word was an instant hit with my team. The only reservations about ‘Audacity’ were that (a) we couldn’t own the dotcom and (b) a popular piece of audio software uses the name. But that software doesn’t have the dotcom either, and a quick search of a global brands database showed that at least 30 products or services are using the name. We decided to go with it despite the reservations, since it so perfectly sums up the ambition of the project.

The word came from a random opening of a book by Che Guavara, a manual for Guerilla Warfare. I’d picked it up on a trip to Cuba (along with a couple of allegedly revolutionary era pistols) and it’s not a bad manual for business warfare too.

When Audacity gets its millionth user I might even light up the impressive-looking cigar that also came back from Havana.