Ryan Learns How to Name Things: Ryan Learns Something Episode 1


Peak, that’s the peak of cliche. Saturday morning cartoons Some of these you gotta know are just like straight up brain dump. We come up with bad names too. Yeah. [MUSIC] Hi, I’m Ryan. So I have six months, $15,000 which is basically a semester of college, thanks Degreed. To go and learn as much as I can about marketing and branding and become an expert so the first thing I gotta do this week is learn how to name things. I wanna come out of this knowing what goes into making a name and then come up with a really good name for my company. I’ve always been kind of an entrepreneur and so starting my own businesses the first thing you kinda have to do is come up with a name I mean obviously concept, but you have to have a name too. So I think that skill set is really gonna help me long term. They gave me this book called don’t call it that by Eli Altman so I’m gonna go read this and read a bunch of other resources. Try and take some different paths learning how to name things, come up with a few names myself. First i’m gonna go home and see if I made a mistake because I quit my job but we’ll see how it goes. That’s not lying, I quit my job yesterday. producer: I like that [LAUGH] Let’s talk about names, first my parents almost named me Denim, yep! Denim. Maybe they were wearing denim vests at the time, all I know is that I dodged a denim bullet. But what’s going on in the world does affect baby naming. Like not so many people are named Katrina after the hurricane hit, Elsa is much more popular since frozen came out, and Arya from the Game of Thrones has been big. [Not today.] Business names also follow trends, lots of companies are named after the founder think McDonald’s, Adidas, Ford, JC Penney, Colgate, Tupperware Wrigley’s, Tiffany’s, Chick fil a, [Buzzer] Not that one. But you get the point, sometimes they are named for ingredients, Coca-Cola for cocaine, Pepsi for Pepsin, there’s naming based on URL availability, the dropping vowels trend [MUSIC] [SOUND] the adding letters trend, sometimes companies rename themselves, Datsun renamed to Nissan so their internal product strategy would make more sense. Remember cingular wireless? Dropped once they merged with AT&T Google recently introduced a parent company named Alphabet [COUGH] and you’ve heard of ISIS, not that ISIS, the other one. The mobile payments company. They had a PR [BLEEP] storm on their hands and had no choice but to rename and re-brand. Then there’s socially engineered names like Lululemon maybe you think their name’s a little see through, you’re right. Their name was chosen just because the market research showed it was popular, memorable and easy to say, it has no other meaning. Speaking of memorable, the book Thinking Fast and Slow, has some interesting stuff about how the mind remembers and associates names. I talked to the people who ran a study mentioned in the book and they said that names that are more memorable are more trusted which makes sense. With that in mind let’s go find out more about names. [MUSIC] So I’ve given myself a whole two days instead of the week I was supposed to give myself to come up with a name for my company. Let’s dive into this thing. A work book for naming your company, product and brand, a book that you can write in is kinda cool. Bad names are your best friend, I’m gonna come up with a lot of those. [MUSIC] My alarm will be going off in exactly five hours and currently my list looks like that but I’m gonna try and get at least 30 or 40 solid names on this list using some of what Eli’s taught me, some of what my gut tells me and maybe a little Google, maybe some random dictionary searching. I’ll be completely honest, I thought this was going to be pretty easy, it’s not, it takes some time. Basically my strategy right now is find any word that stands out in any sentence in this book and write it down. I’ve got a good one. I’ve finished the book, I wish I had about a month to come up with a name but take this list to Eli. I’m actually kinda stoked on a couple of these names so I guess I’ll see you guys in the morning. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] Supposedly it is a one mile walk [MUSIC] we got to 100 monkeys which is this rad space- I mean they’ve got like a loft up above their offices where you can go and hang out and chill and they’ve got like cool creative spaces. I’m Ryan. Eli is just super dry but he’s way funny and he’s super creative, you can just tell the guy is just like leaking out creativity. I started doing my own projects when I was 16 about, once my voice was deep enough to convince someone that I might be an adult, I was a graphic designer for a little bit, realized I was a lot better at this than that. Everyday we see thousands of brands. We get really good at being able to tune all that stuff out because we have to see so much of it. Throughout a process we’re presenting 20 to 30 names, we have to come up with 400, 500 maybe names to present those 20 or 30 I better [BLEEP] like every single one of them, we don’t present bad names and we don’t present names that we would be unhappy if our clients picked. The whole time I’m sitting here I’m thinking oh crap! I’m gonna have to tell him my names and they are just terrible. They’re not that good. So I’m just kind of waiting to get beat up. What I’m gonna do is I’ve taken my list of names, don’t look at them, and I’m gonna put them on my forehead. Eli’s gonna react to it and if he likes it he’s gonna ring the bell and if he doesn’t like it he’s probably gonna not do anything and I’m gonna look sad. So here we go. Montague what’s the story? I don’t know, I just saw it in a book and I just though it was a cool name. Okay, so probably not [Buzzer] Okay Transition, not specific to your industry, kind of something that comes up for anything so if someone were to see the name it would be really hard to tell what it is or what you do [Buzzer] Cut and Stitch Sounds like technical terms within your industry, right. What does it mean? I did the and thing you made fun of earlier, if you don’t know how is anyone else supposed to know [Buzzer] Going into this we had the plan that Eli’s gonna kick some of these names out so we’re gonna get some funny reactions but when he’s actually rejecting your names it’s a little different, it actually hurts. So what does it have To do with what you are doing? Nothing. So you’re just finding words that you like? [LAUGH] really good sell. Yeah, sorry. [Buzzer] All right we’re just gonna need to get rid of all the ones where you can’t make any tangible connection to what you’re doing [LAUGH] It seems like you’re under the impression that this is something like free association. Yeah, kinda was for a second I was just making a list here. Alright. Chop shop? Oh I kinda like that I mean that sound’s – oh I’m supposed to hit this now? Oh yeah. [Ding] That’s great. All right we got one. I like that one. Okay. Toy Bulldog? Yeah this one we were just looking at 1920s boxers and we found this one. he’s the toy bulldog which is cool cuz he’s kinda scrappy, you know, just a little. Yeah see how you related it to what you’re doing? [Ding] Yeah see that’s why I like I like to be scrappy okay. Good. Alright, I liked that one, this yes list is really small. Postie? Okay so hear me out. Yes, it’s post-production but postie bikes are what they use to deliver mail in Australia. Yeah. Pretty rad but then it also has kind of a fun post-production play. [DING] Ahab’s Folley? Popped in my head just sounded awesome, are you kidding? You know the question I’m gonna ask right? What’s his folly? No like how does it relate to what you do? Oh it doesn’t [Buzzer] Okay well. I like these four I think they’re interesting names. My challenge to you is to actually come up with the stories that would be behind them. It seems like you have one objective in terms of scrappiness, roughness, not feeling so neat, and tight, and clean. I think you need probably two more of those things to play off of, when you come up with names don’t try to check all three boxes on all of them cuz it’s not gonna work but go after them and then you’ll sort of start to see the relationships of like oh okay this feels a little scrappy but it also ties into some other thing, not about you but about they type of work you wanna do and how you want clients to perceive you. So Eli told me go out, figure out three things that define you and how you work. So I came up with these three things. So number one, scrappy, that’s just kind of how I work. Number two, breaking rules- obviously. And three I get lost in the details. It’s a little bit of ADD mixed with OCD and it creates some magic. Let’s go through these names that we have and kind of talk about them and see which ones stick. So first off we’ve got postie. Pretty cool name it doesn’t quite tell the full story so we’re gonna reject that one. Scatter, this is one I came up with after and I kinda like it cuz it’s kinda scatter brained still a little scrappy, still kinda breaking the rules it’s what you yell when the cops show up and you’re doing something illegal but I still don’t think it’s a great name. Alackaday. This one was just a word in a book- not my production company, this one hurts cuz I really like this one, there’s already a lot of stuff out there but I do think it fits, most of it. So the winner I believe that that we’re gonna stick with the new and improved Toy Bulldog. I like it because it is scrappy, he was a boxer and it kinda fits all of it. And it’s an interesting name it could make for some cool logos and branding and stuff like that so that’s our winner. [Ding ] [Producers Applause] Thanks, thanks. The first things I learned about names is it’s the first impression. It’s not the logo- I’m not gonna come up to you and say oh! You know that one coffee brand with the mermaid girl, no I’m gonna say Starbucks. Number two the name has to have a backstory, without a backstory it’s just a word, in order to build a brand that name has to mean something, and so that’s the big take away I took especially with Eli, he rejected a lot of my names because they didn’t mean anything, they were just words on a paper. The third thing is to avoid the trends, you don’t want your company to sound like every other sheep, you don’t want to stick with the thing that’s the status quo right then [SOUND] A lot of the hipster brands use the and technique, they’ll pull words and throw and on there, you don’t necessarily wanna do that anymore, but I think yeah you wanna avoid the trends to make sure that you stand out and that your business is different than anything else out there. And that is why you go into business right? Cause’ you offer something else, so you don’t wanna sound like everybody else. Alright so I had $15,000 to start I bought a book, a pen, the flight to San Francisco, the Uber ride but we got some free advice, the breakfast, great chicken and waffles, Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland you should check them out. I gave the five stars on Yelp. But what you’re not seeing here is the interview I got to do with Eli, sometimes the best thing you can do is to interview a mentor And they’ll usually do it for free or at least for lunch. I’m probably not gonna name anything else though so don’t ask me to do that for a while, hurt my brain and we’re done, we’re done! [LAUGH]. Next week on Ryan learns something, I learn how to do voice overs brought to you by Degreed- learn something new or something. Click here. Congratulations you didn’t get distracted by the top ten epic fails recommended video so you should subscribe to watch more videos like these as well as follow along my learning pathway on Degreed and now you can click it, go over there and click it.

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11 thoughts on “Ryan Learns How to Name Things: Ryan Learns Something Episode 1

  1. This is actually better than I thought it would be. I plan on becoming an entrepreneur so it helped and I'm going to watch more of your videos.

  2. That was really entertening! And it helped a lot for me who wants to make cartoons in the future!

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