What’s in a Name?

Efrem Epstein
August 18, 2023

We humans are creative beings and among the most exciting tasks we encounter in life is giving something a name. Some of us will have the opportunities to name a pet or a child.  Others of us will name projects, literary works, musical groups, musical groups or even a business.

In my life, I’ve had the privilege to have played a role in the naming of multiple companies. What makes a good name? Well, it’s all about fit. There’s no perfect formula to naming, or renaming a company.

Some very successful corporations have chosen names that are super-descriptive of what they do. Others have capitalized by choosing a name already ubiquitously recognized from another context that only tangentially relates to their mission. Yet others have found success by going the “fun, intentional misspelled word route.”

There are at least a few questions one should ask themselves when naming a company:Do you and your team genuinely like the name?  Will people remember the name an hour later? Will it increase brand recognition? Does it build on your identity?

Having been on the founding marketing teams for multiple startups, I’ve learned that there is no such thing as a “universal perfect name.” The perfect name for one company might not be a great fit for another..and vice-versa. It’s for that reason that I’ve kept a list of suggested names from previous projects that haven’t made the cut, just in case they were good fits for future projects. In some cases, I might even purchase the URL if the price is right.  Because you never know…

So let’s flashback to March 2018. I was working on an entirely different project at the time, one for which I thought the name “Thruwayz” was a perfect fit, especially since Thruwayz.com was available.  My colleague at the time wasn’t in love with it but I bought the domain name anyway because, as noted above, you never know!

Fast-forward to mid-July 2022. Joanna Kurylo and myself had finalized the concept for a new project focusing on AI Insights for small businesses. One that would connect many lines and points amongst their tech stack and would facilitate both navigation of, and acceleration on, a path forward. What could this new company’s name be? 🤔Joanna and I are never afraid to disagree with each other, which is why we make a good team. Incidentally there are good and less than good ways to express disagreement with a personal or professional connection, but that’s a topic for a future post.

When I suggested Thruwayz, Joanna wasn’t on board at first.  That’s OK.  In fact, it was great because it forced me to sharpen and further sell my vision. It also ultimately meant that when she told me a few days later (unsolicited) that she had warmed up to it, I knew it was genuine.

There was one last matter to resolve. Though I had reserved the Thruwayz.com URL, Joanna really wanted to call the company Thruways.  After some spirited discussion, we purchased the www.Thruways.co domain and celebrated our new name.

As proud as we are of our branding, we’re well aware that Thruways will be judged by our product (as we should be).  Still, there’s something really exciting working for a company when you’re in love with the name and it’s especially fun knowing you played a role in choosing the very name that you’re in love with.

Many small businesses, especially startups, can often find the early, unpaved parts of the path a bit daunting, but Thruways will be there guiding the way as you drive your business down the road to success!