New Sonos Logo

So the time has finally come where just about every person I know either already has Sonos or knowns they want it. As an early employee at Sonos (and now a proud shareholder) most of my friends ask me, “What is the best way to get started with Sonos?” I’m pretty sure I’ve answered this question oven twenty times now so I thought I’d write a short article with the answer so I can refer people to this in the future.

First things first, there’s no right or wrong way to get started with Sonos, it just depends on who you are, where you live, and how you see Sonos fitting into your life. Still there are a few suggestions that I think can lend to ensuring that you have the best experience possible, so here it goes.

Start with at least two
Sonos is a multi-room music system and while having one Sonos player is awesome, having two honestly will blow your mind and you might not totally understand it until you have two. If your budget is under $500 then start with two PLAY:1’s – they sound great and can be either used to play music in two different rooms or set to “Stereo Pair” to make a kick-ass two channel system.

Think of which rooms in your house you want to listen to music
Once again, Sonos is a multi-room system, so start thinking about where you would want to listen to music in your house that you can’t right now. Sure, you can always turn up the stereo in your living room or carry that wimpy little iPhone speaker you have with you, but this is a whole different ballgame. I usually tell people to start with their living room, bedroom, and kitchen and grow from there.

Sonos Playbar

How to use Sonos in your living room/tv room
There’s a good chance that you spend a lot of time in the room that has your TV and home theater system, this is where I think you should be putting your focus. If you have the budget for it the Sonos PLAYBAR is without a doubt the best soundbar on the market, period. Couple this with two PLAY:1’s for surround speakers and you have one heck of a surround sound system. That being said, if you don’t have the budget for it or you already have an awesome surround sound system simply buy a Connect and attach it to your existing system.

Using Sonos outside
This is probably one of the top questions I get. First it’s important to understand that no Sonos player was designed to be left outside all the time. That being said you can take a PLAY:5, PLAY:3, or PLAY:1 outside, plug it in and you’ll be off to the races. I do recommend either a PLAY:3 or a PLAY:5 if you’re going to bring a player outside since you’ll want something that can really rock. If you already have outdoor speakers then simply use the Connect to add Sonos to your existing system and then you can play anything you want on your outdoor speakers and control it from your phone.

Sonos Play Products

Deciding between the PLAY:1, PLAY:3 and PLAY:5
Last but not least, how can you decide between the three “PLAY” products? The PLAY:1 is ideal for small rooms or places where you don’t need massive room-filling sound. That being said a PLAY:1 can still fill a room with sound but it won’t have quite the same presence that the PLAY:3 and PLAY:5 create.

Now the PLAY:3 vs. PLAY:5 is a tough one but here’s how I look at it. The PLAY:5 is a beast, the sound quality rivals a pair of $1,000 high-end speakers in my opinion so use this anywhere that you really want to fill a room with sound. The PLAY:3 is great for medium-sized rooms where you want music but you don’t need to completely rock the house. Still running two PLAY:3’s in stereo pair sounds amazing and is a good compromise for rooms where you want room-filling sound but don’t have the space for a PLAY:5.

All that being said I think every single person needs at least one PLAY:5 in their house because it really does sound amazing and yes, you do have to hear it to believe it.

Sonos Sub

To SUB or not to SUB, that is the question
Lately I’ve found more and more of my friends asking me if they should add a sub to their Sonos setup. Like most things Sonos, the sub packs the punch of a subwoofer that would easily be 3x – 4x the price and has some very cool innovations under the hood. That being said I really only recommend in two cases:

  1. when you want to build a serious home theater system and then I recommend using the sub with a Playbar and two Play:1’s for surrounds which really does make an outstanding home theater system.
  2. if you are an audiophile and want a really sweet two channel system, then use the sub with two Play:3’s or Play:5’s in stereo pair for what really is the ultimate two channel system.

CONNECT and CONNECT:AMP

Do you need a CONNECT or CONNECT:AMP
Everyone always understand the PLAY products but the CONNECT or a CONNECT:AMP can be a bit more mercurial. Don’t fear, there’s nothing complicated here, these are two simple products that you may or may not need. The CONNECT attaches to any existing stereo if you want to add Sonos as a source (i.e. like a CD player but cooler). You’ll want a CONNECT if you have a home theater system already and you just want to add Sonos to it. You’ll also want a CONNECT if you have all your audio gear centralized in one closet or going to outdoor speakers.

The CONNECT:AMP is a way to breathe new life into your old speakers. If you have a regular pair of bookshelf speakers you can use the CONNECT:AMP to power them like those big honking amplifiers used to back when we were all young and spritely. While the CONNECT:AMP might be small in size it has a ton of power and can almost always power a pair of tall floorstanding speakers like champ.

Final thoughts
One of the best things about Sonos is that you can start with two and grow from there. Don’t let any salesperson try to convince you to buy eight at once, start small and I think you’ll find that over time you’ll end-up with more and more but don’t feel like you have to spend thousands of dollars to get started. What I can tell you is that the average Sonos user listens to twice the amount of music after they get Sonos than before so get ready to rock out a lot more than before. Enjoy!

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Weekend Musings + Hiking in Austin

Hiking in Austin

Hello, happy Sunday, and welcome to my Weekend Musings. I’ve had a few emails from readers over the last couple of months asking for more photos in my weekend musings posts so I’ll be doing my best to make these posts more visual going forward. The photo above is from a hike that we did in Austin yesterday.

One of the things I really appreciate about Austin after living in LA is how close you are to nature even when you’re in the heart of the city. We live in the middle of downtown but are only ten minutes from about ten different hiking spots all that five minutes in make you feel like you’re in a middle of nowhere.

Yesterday we hiked along the to Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls, both along the Barton Creek Greenbelt which is a series of trails running along Barton Creek. The water is beautiful and yes, you can go in it and a lot of people do at several different points along the trail:

Austin Waterfalls

This weekend represents something new that Daina and I are trying, a weekend off. We typically end up working most weekends, which we love doing since our work really doesn’t feel like work, but we still think it’s good for the soul to try to spend a weekend away from our computers. Of course I we still ended-up working a bit last night, and I’ve been doing emails this morning, but hey, it’s a step in the right direction!

This morning we are going to head over to the Colorado River for some kayaking, then I’ll be doing Yoga while Daina does Ballet, and then we’ll probably go swimming. The weather is absolutely beautiful in Austin right now and I’m excited about the day ahead. Of course this is only a small fraction of our lives so here’s a quick update on what’s on my mind this week:

  • Interviewing, interviewing, interviewing – we have four open positions at Fashion Metric and right now our main focus has been interviewing. It has been an incredible learning experience and something that I think we get better at with each person. Most of these are senior-level positions which means we are hiring people with more experience than us, which can be a bit weird but is also incredibly exciting and it is so amazing to see how many bright and creative people want to join the Fashion Metric team, it feels like we really are building a dream team.
  • Working with clients – our API is live and we have clients that are actively using it. This is incredibly exciting and it’s also so important for these early clients to have an amazing experience with FM.
  • Building our company culture – now that we have our own office and a team that’s bigger than Daina and myself we’re thinking more and more about how to create a great company culture. It’s something I’ve thought about a lot before but doing it is a whole different thing. Luckily we have some great mentors and advisors that have done this many times before that are providing really valuable insights as we build a great team and culture.
  • Getting addicted to Reddit – I find that I read Reddit now more than any other site on the net. Here are some of my favorite sub-reddits: Machine Learning, Python, Startups, Oculus, Retrogaming. I wish I could recommend the /r/domains sub-reddit but it’s mostly spam with very little comment activity so I still get all my domain-related news from Domaining.com.
  • I played Galaga yesterday – as many of you know I am a retro-gaming fan and the Wii U has some awesome retro games. One of my all-time favorites is Galaga and I can tell you it is much harder than I remember it, either that or I’m out of practice. They also have the original Super Mario 2 which is called Super Mario Bros – the lost levels, definitely worth trying if you liked the original Super Mario Bros game.

If you’ve made it this far then somehow I’ve managed to make my weekend musings interesting! Enjoy the photos below from our hike yesterday and as always feel free to share your own musings or comment on any of mine!

hiking-in-austin-3

hiking-in-austin-2

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I first learned Python in the late 90’s and I can honestly say it was love at first sight. While I spent most of my time in college doing low-level programming and making code run as fast as possible. Still I kept coming back to Python because I always found it was the best language to build things quickly, get them running, and integrate them into just about anything.

Well it’s 2015 now which means that I’ve actually been writing Python code for over 15 years and while many of the core components of the language have remained the same, the number of libraries and technologies built around Python have grown immensely. There was a time when you could call Python slow but now there are plenty of ways to make Python run just as fast as C.

Over the last 15 years there have also been a lot of tutorials to teach people how to program in Python. Now before I go any further I want to say that I think there are a ton of awesome Python tutorials and I’ve written articles before about some of my favorites. Still one thing that bugs me is that most tutorials teach you Python by building programs and web apps that aren’t all that interesting, sure you learn the language but does writing a web app that adds some numbers together or return a username really get you excited?

Learn Python in a Weekend

So I’ve decided to put together a completely free Python tutorial that will teach anyone how to get started with Python in a weekend. Here’s what makes it different though (apart from being free) – you’ll learn Python by building a game and a robot (using Raspberry Pi – which is the only thing you’ll pay for if you don’t already have one).

I have always felt that if you really want to get inspired about software development you have to build things that are truly inspiring. So if you’ve ever wanted to learn Python but have been waiting for a tutorial that really dives into the fun stuff, get ready to build a game and a robot in a weekend and enter the following week armed with everything you need to build all the games and robots you could ever want to build.

Sound like fun? Feel free to comment below and let me know what you think and if you include your email address and I’m happy to give you an sneak peek before it goes live!

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It’s 2015 and the world has changed. There might have been a time where brands felt that they needed to own ever .COM associated with everything they do but that ship has sailed, and it’s sailing away faster by the minute as new domain extensions like .CO, .CLUB, .GURU and many more take the spotlight.

messenger-platform

Today Facebook announced their Messenger Platform, a technology platform that allows developers to built apps that integrate with Facebook Messenger and the 600 million users on it. This is a big deal and one that massive teams of developers have been working on for some time now.

So why not buy MessengerPlatform.com? Because it’s not 1999, that ship has sailed and Facebook will do just as well with the platform whether they own the exact-match .COM or not, and heck they already own Messenger.com which is without a doubt the category-killer in the space.

Back in 2005 buying the name of a company’s product or service could mean big bucks for someone who wants to squat on the name but in 2015 I can tell you the guy (or gal) who bought MessengerPlatform.com has to be crazy if they think they’re going to see a big payday from Facebook. I see two scenarios, either Facebook does nothing about it because it really doesn’t matter at all to them, or it ends up bugging them enough that they send the lawyers after them.

Either way I don’t think buying a domain like this makes anyone a “clever investor” or someone who is “cashing in on a trend”. Instead it’s just someone who is obviously trying to make a quick buck in a world that has changed. I’m a big believer in the strong value of generic domains, I have a ton of respect for the person who owned Messenger.com, that’s a huge name and it makes a lot of sense that Facebook bought it.

Buying product names the day a company announces it isn’t investing in my opinion, it’s holding onto something that might have worked ten years ago but doesn’t make any sense in 2015. Congrats to Facebook on truly innovating in a massive market and good luck to whoever thought it was a bright idea to buy MessengerPlatform.com…

What do you think? Comment and let your voice be heard!

(image source – Facebook Blog)

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A few common misconceptions about Cython

I’m a big fan of Python, I’ve said it before and I’ll proudly say it again. At the same time I’m also a big fan of code that runs fast, really fast, which is why I’m a fan of writing high-performance Python code. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about Python Performance Optimization and I got some good emails asking me to delve deeper into some of the topics I discussed.

Cython-logo.svg

One of the questions that I got which I thought would be good to start with was:

“So does Cython just take existing Python code and turn it into C code?”

This is one of the most common misconceptions about Cython so I thought I’d talk a bit about what Cython is and some of the confusion around it. Here’s where most of the confusion around Cython stems from in one simple sentence: Cython is both an optimizing static compiler and a programming language based on Pyrex. Confused? Now you can understand why there is so much confusion around Cython.

So here’s a basic look at how Cython works at a (very) high level:

  • start with existing Python code
  • add in some Cython code
  • run this code through the Cython compiler to create super-fast code

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dispel some common misconceptions about Cython.

1. Cython turns existing Python code into C code – not exactly. You need to add Cython code to your code first, just running existing code through the Cython compiler isn’t going to give you the desired results.

2. Cython is the process of writing C code within Python – I’ve seen this confusion a lot as well. It could be easy to think that Cython is simply writing C code inline with your Python code, this isn’t the case, instead as described above you’ll use Cython code along with the Cython compiler to generate C code.

3. Using Cython still won’t make your programs run as fast as they would in C – wrong, and in fact this exact topic was covered (and proven) in this talk at SciPy2013. You can take existing Python code and make it just as fast as C code using Cython, yes it is that awesome!

As always feel free to use the comment section below to ask me any lingering questions you have about Cython or feel free to share some of your own fun Cython facts as well!

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Morgan's Flippa Five

Hello, happy Monday and welcome to a very special edition of Morgan’s Flippa Five. I’ve had a number of requests from readers to set aside one week specifically for non .COM domains so I thought I’d give it a shot. Before I go any further I want to be clear on how investors should think about these picks.

In the past seven years I have found .COM to be the only TLD to have a clear path to reliable returns. While I have made some great non .COM sales the vast majority of the investments I make in the domain space are in the .COM space. With these picks while I think all are good investments, the window for returns could be 5-10 years so be prepared to be patient. That being said, I’ve made 20x – 50x returns on .CO, .ME, and .TV domains so I can honestly recommend them, just know the increased risk you are taking.

Okay, you’ve been warned, now for those risk-takers amongst us, here is your non .COM Flippa five hand-picked by me!

3D.io – this domain auction ended unsold at $4,400. I see this as one of the best .IO domains but at over $5k it’s definitely a risk and a domain that could easily take 8-10 years to sell at at 2x profit. Still, I love this name so I can’t help but include this in the list even though I think the wholesale buy price would be closer to $2k.

Comic.tv – when it comes .TV I think you really need to buy solid one-word domains that specifically make sense for the .TV extension and this is one of them. There’s not doubt this domain is a perfect fit for .TV and there are a lot of great ways to use it and build a brand around it.

Data.me – .CO and .ME are the two non .COMs that have turned-out to be the best investments for me over the last seven years and this is without a doubt one of the most premium .ME domains out there. I’m a sucker for four character .COMs and when you’re talking about a word as big as “data” this one is hard to beat.

Refer.ly – so I’ll be the first to say I’m not a huge fan of .LY, I’d say 95% of the names in the .LY extension are going to be bad investments, this is a rare case but a solid one. Here’s what I like about it, it’s already a PR4 and it gets 1,600 visitors a month and let’s be honest, it’s catchy. I would only buy this if you have experience with affiliate marketing and think you can take the foundation that’s been built here and build on top of it, that being said I see opportunity written all over this one.

Return.net – like .LY I’m also not a huge .NET fan, but also like .LY there are a few diamonds in the rough and this is one of them. Easy to remember, easy-to-spell, and a broad range of uses. Also it doesn’t hurt that the name is only at $305 and the reserve has been met, I see this as a steal under $500.

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Hello, happy Saturday, and welcome to my weekend musings. It has been an incredibly busy week for us and even though SXSW is in town we’ve been heads-down working away. As I mentioned in my last weekend musing our major focus right now is scaling the team and it has been an incredibly interesting, exciting, and challenging process hiring senior positions here in Austin. I don’t consider myself a hiring expert by any means but I do plan on writing a post with our experiences and sharing what worked and what didn’t work once we’re on the other side of the hiring mountain.

There has been a big debate in the startup world on whether to hire fast or hire slow. We definitely subscribe to the hire slow philosophy at this phase, every single person counts and the core team is critically important for building on the great foundation that we already have with more passionate and inspired people who like us, aren’t afraid to do things differently, try things that haven’t been done before and disrupt an industry that is ripe for disruption.

Despite our busy schedule I was able to make it out to one SXSW event on Thursday evening at the Sonos house. Having been at Sonos for close to a decade I know that they definitely know how to throw a party and this one definitely didn’t disappoint with two amazing live bands, and some surprise guests like Jimmy Kimmel and Bill Murray who just came to unwind and hang-out. I’ve had a lot of people ask me to share pictures from inside the house so I thought I’d include them here in my weekend musings, so turn on some music (hopefully on your Sonos system) and enjoy!

Sonos House at SXSW 2015

Sonos House SXSW Porch

The Skins Live at SXSW

Inside the Sonos House at SXSW

The Skins at the Sonos House SXSW

Sonos Play:5

The Skins live at SXSW 2015

This weekend we are going to see some live music during the day, it is great that we can just walk out of our door and in just about any direction we go, there’s live music, and more than usual. After spending the afternoon checking-out some great bands that are in town for SXSW we’ll most-likely head home for movie night and laundry, yes – that’s what we do on a Saturday night. I hope you’re all having a great weekend and even if you’re not in Austin try to go see some music, trust me, it’s good for the soul.

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Pretty cool story on Fortune about a VC firm looking to give you $50,000 if you come up with the name of their firm. Now understand the $50,000 will be allotted as an investment in their new fund.

From the article:

Atlas has just launched a new website, in which you can suggest up to 10 names. If they pick yours, you will be given a $50,000 investment in a new $200 million fund that the firm just closed (marketing only began in January, and $200m was its hard cap). If the fund loses money, then you’re basically out of luck. But if it’s profitable, then you actually could earn multiples of that figure. In other words, you’re just like any other limited partner — even getting the right to attend annual meetings.

Well, with one big caveat: Only half of the “winnings” would go into your bank account. The other half will be earmarked to the TUGG nonprofit of your choice. For those who are unfamiliar with TUGG, it’s a Boston-area philanthropy network founded by FKA partner Jeff Fagnan, with a focus on “catalyzing social entrepreneurship.”

Read the full article on Fortune

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Morgan's Flippa Five

Hello, happy Sunday and welcome back to my weekly Flippa five. Every week I hand-pick five domain names that on Flippa that I think could make good investments. I am continually impressed with the quality of the domain on Flippa each week and this week definitely continues to set the bar high. Enjoy!

Goliath.com – this is a monster name, heck like just call it like it is, this name is a Goliath. Solid one-word .COM that is generic, easy to remember, and a word that everyone knows. It’s not an incredibly commonly used word but that doesn’t stop me from thinking this would be a steal under $20k.

Suvs.com – while this domain does only make sense to a very specific market it’s a meaningful four character .COM and there aren’t that many of those out there.

VacationRentals.ca – I think this might be the first time I’ve had a .CA domain in my top five, and it’s a two-word .CA name but it’s a great one, it’s 15 year old, and the price is low. I see this as a bit of a dark horse, this name definitely hasn’t received a lot of attention which means that it could go below wholesale making it a good buy. Just be careful the price doesn’t shoot up or you could end-up paying retail for this name, remember .CA names historically sell for a lot less than .COM.

VUM.com – I’m a sucker for 3 character .COMs and I especially like it when they are pronounceable words, which typically means there’s a vowel in the middle. Very broad use cases and it rhymes with “yum” so could have some fun branding options in the food space.

3D.io – I have covered this one before and since there’s only four days left in the auction I thought I’d cover it again. At over $3,000 it’s definitely a risk since there is not a ton of sales history for .IO but I honestly see this as a five-figure name so I still think it’s a good deal even if it goes into $5k+ territory. Just know you are taking a much higher risk investing in .IO than .COM so bid with caution here.

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Find a Great Name in 2 Steps

Naming Your Baby

Things to consider when naming your baby.

“How do I find a domain name for my business?” As a domain investor, webmaster, entrepreneur or product manager, you’ve either heard, wondered or asked this question. Entrepreneurs often want to know the coolest tools available to help them with the naming challenge. They want a really cool name for their business, their products and their services – that elusive Great Name.

There are some innovative tools, but unfortunately, there is no tool available that will automagically unmask the Great Name. The mechanics of obtaining an ideal name is secondary to understanding your business strategy. (That’s the big take-away from this post.)

So when asked this question by the business owner or marketing director, here are the high-level process steps that I outline:

  1. Think
  2. Do

In the first grade, we used a series of books named, “Think & Do.” Simple, yet profound. Think first, then do. This blog entry is kept at this high level throughout. The process isn’t difficult, it’s just rarely used. Those who choose to approach modeling their business communications in this way will generally be graced with success.

When naming your business, product or service, the first step is:

Step #1: Think – Understand Your Plan

Business Plan. Work with your co-founder, mentor, client and/ or startup consultant to help you translate your scribbles from your coffee-stained paper napkin into a business plan. Writing your plan down is important, mostly for you if you’re the business ownerResearch the opportunity. Get your facts straight. Settle in on your strategy. The business plan provides one excellent source from which you can communicate your vision for the company. It can be one page or 20, but keep it fresh and up-to-date. Review it weekly to see how it’s changing. Once you document your strategy, identify the major steps needed to make it take shape.

Requirements Gathering. Is there really a need for what you want to do? Is there a problem that begs to be solved? Work closely with your prospects to get their input. They are also a good source of ideas for product definition and prioritization. As you get early adopters using your products or services, they can and will fill in the feature set. Always provide them with an avenue to give you feedback. This is much better than the free advice you might get from a blog!

Some time later… after you have operationalized your plan, after you have the infrastructure in place to deal with all your new clients, and after you have thoroughly examined your business and market, complete the second step.

Step #2: Do – Optimize and Communicate Your Brand

Your Brand. The business name, product name and service name are all key ways to establish your credibility. They are key components of your brand, but need to correlate with all of the other important brand elements. I use the word “brand” in the largest sense, to mean the promise that you’re making to your market.

Optimal Messaging. You have the opportunity to communicate your optimal messages with every customer interaction. That may take the form of customer service interactions, advertising, product quality and reliability, standardization, graphic styles, logos, tag lines, responsiveness to queries – as well as the Great Name you choose to represent your business.

Brand Elements All Make a Promise. We’re focusing here on just the naming, but all of the brand elements should be considered as important parts of the mix. The brand elements need to work together. There is no sense in the business ower saying, “We do it all for you!” but her cashiers never greet their customers. This inconsistency is always noticed. The brand permeates everything that you think, do, say and produce, and needs to be consistent to be believable.

Multiple Skills Needed. There are a few distinct skills needed to name a service, product or business. Depending upon the size of your business, you may end up playing several of these roles yourself. However, always seek out advisors whom you trust to help you with each of these specialty areas. Two heads are often better than one.

First Things First. In our excitement about a naming a new business, the level of our irrational exuberancy can be measured by the amount of Whois lookups we’ve done prior to really thinking through the strategy and tactics of the business.

Sometimes I think it’s easier to just stumble upon that Great Name, rather than first defining the business and honing the messaging. That’s natural. But it’s wrong.

Whose Opinion Matters? If you’re daring enough, see what your prospects or clients suggest. In the product-management discipline, there is a well-known harsh saying: “Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant.” Base your thoughts, opinions and decisions on evidence rather than your gut feel. Keep track of your sources of input. Are you being inclusive of the client’s market?

Brainstorming Names

It pays to confer with your stakeholders when naming a business, product or service

Crowdsource. A slice of your actual market can provide the best feedback you can get. So crowdsource for the very best ideas! Communicate the business plan to your prospects and incent them to provide you with their input. Do focus groups. Do split tests. Use every trick you know, but at least consider basing your decisions on their feedback. There are few people in this world who know their needs better than the end user. If you’re one of them, you can stop reading now!

Misplaced Anxiety. Don’t worry about someone stealing your ideas. This will just hold you back, slow you down and deprive you of more great ideas. You’re operating at lightning speed because you’re wholly invested. It’s rare that someone will have your level of passion around your ideas. If you can execute better than them – and you can – you have little to worry about.

Business & Product Naming. If this is new to you, begin the process of product name selection with an experienced naming strategist and/ or product manager, who understands the inherent value and potential obstacles in your business and product name(s). Ideally, these persons have the expertise to keep you away from names that may have a marred history, or that may not translate well to segments of your global market.

Brandables? Research has shown that cute brandable names generally do not have the initial impact of owning a market segment with a generic keyword. Same goes for naming a business with your own personal name rather than a name made up of generic keywords. But, as with the metrics of fashion, one size doesn’t fit all. These are all tough choices. Use your advisory team. Get data based on evidence to verify what the market wants. Your market may want the brandable name.

You may be thinking, do I really need to do all this? If you’re asking me, the answer is, “Yes, it’s that important.”

Brainstorm. Consider a variety of names (not domains, yet) that characterize your business, products and/or services. No limits. Think big. Keep them on your list until there is evidence to scrap them.

Design. Involve a creative person or digital art director. They can assist you by giving you ideas about how to communicate these options visually. Often, this visual feedback will help you to narrow or enlarge your own vision.

Metrics. Test market your names. There is a whole science around evidence-based marketing. Research it. Use it. If you’ve got a hunch that someone may take a name the wrong way, challenge it with a market test. You, your client or their prospects will be using this name every day, so think about whether their existing corporate name, “Our Products Don’t Suck,” will be their best option when the receptionist answers the phone. Does it leave the best possible impression? I don’t know. Test it.

Intellectual Property Protection. Consult an intellectual property (IP) or trademark attorney to ensure that your name(s) do not infringe on another business’ IP – and that you’re on solid ground with your chosen name candidates.

Implement. If you’ve used all of the selection criteria mentioned, you should have a short list of names. Facilitate a meeting with the owner, company advisors, brand specialists, customers and prospects to discuss names for the company, as well as its products and services. Talk it out. Narrow the list to two or three per category. Entrust the final decision to the owner. They will be living with the name.

If done right, their chosen name(s) will work together to support their brand. Everything you and the company employees think, say and do will support the brand. Over time, this will become the promise made to your customer. You will solve a problem for them. You will add value to their existence. Your Great Name will help to establish your company as the leader in being able to right what is wrong or fix what is broken. It will also assure the customer that the company will do this all in a manner that is better than anyone else.

Finally, find the right domain. At this point you step back into the world you know. Select. Verify. Inquire. Negotiate. Educate the client. This part is easy – it’s what you do!

Your Thoughts? Let us know your experiences with name selection. If there are case studies that you’re willing to share, where you have experienced bumps in the road, let our community know. We can learn from you and explore your case together.

We’ll discuss available naming tools in a subsequent post.

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