What’s in a Name?

Not long ago, our company, called “Qazzow” (rhymes with “ow!”, like when you stub your toe) decided to legally change its name to “AnswerDash.” Out with the old, in with the new.

Why did we do that?

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Many people actually liked “Qazzow,” but we realized that was after they knew how to pronounce it. We often heard pronunciations like “Qua-ZOH” and “Ka-ZOO.” One of our own venture capitalists pronounced it incorrectly even months after funding us. Our name was spelled wrong in event programs. In legal contracts. On invitations. A local radio station did a piece on the company in which the reporter never actually tried to pronounce our name, preferring instead to simply spell it for listeners who could assemble our phonemes for themselves.

Staying the course is often celebrated as virtue, especially where entrepreneurship is concerned, but staying the course only holds as much virtue as the initial decision. There’s no virtue in remaining on a misguided course. It was time for a name change.

Oh, boy.

Anyone reading this who has led or partaken in a rebranding effort, even at an early stage, knows the bottomless pit of opinions and emotion that such efforts ignite. Companies can waste weeks parsing the relevance of obscure associations or shooting down decent ideas for the “perfect” one just around the corner.

Fortunately, I did not let this happen. Our entire rebranding effort took under a week. Nobody cried.

While being able to say and spell our name correctly was important to us, we also considered factors like connotation, length, sound, character, versatility, and availability as a .com domain. Important for any startup is to pick a name for the business, not a name for the business’s first product. That’s easier said than done when your business is just getting its first product off the launch pad. A longer vision is needed to name the business itself. But once a good name is had, run with it. There are bigger fish to fry.

So we now proudly reside at http://answerdash.com and are happy with “AnswerDash.” The name is readable, easily pronounced, and evokes positive associations with “fast answers” and “answers on the go.” The suffix “-Dash” also evokes an analytics dashboard that gives our customers insights into the use of answers on their sites.

While we cannot know the full extent of what AnswerDash (the company) will become, we are confident that whatever it is, it will always be making better user experiences by providing answers. So what’s in our name? Actually, quite a lot: Our mission, our innovation, our identity, and our value to users and the businesses that serve them.

And everyone can spell it.