In an earlier post about oiling up the snakes I touched on the idea that marketing can sometimes get in the way of people’s acceptance of a particular technology. Yet without market-speak, products would sit on the shelf as dull and uninteresting to customers. The best product names seem to be a blend between forming a mental image of a product’s function vs. not making an outrageous product claim.
To yesterday’s example, the Noise Harvester makes a mental picture of harvesting noise; and that’s what it does. If we’d have called it the Noise Killer that might imply its ability to remove ALL the noise, which it doesn’t have. Or maybe we should have made it a cutsie name like the Noise Monkey (gag me).
Then there’s the much more reserved method of product naming like the old Mark Levinson line: the 30.5 as an example. It says nothing about the product or its function. It could be a designation for motor oil or salad dressing. But applied with enough advertising it kind of works in a reserved sort of way. It certainly isn’t a friendly name, but then the Mark Levinson line was never intended to be friendly; just expensive.
I don’t know about other designers, but in our case, we choose the name after we design the product. So internally it has a name we call it in engineering but that name rarely ever gets out into the public sphere.
One such product of years ago is the Genesis Digital Lens, designed and built in 1995 by Bob Stadtherr and I. When that project started it was simply called the RAM buffer. Not a great market-speak name, but certainly described well what it did. After we figured out a simple RAM based FIFO (First in, First Out) wouldn’t work, we had to add intelligence to the device. It then became known as the Smart Buffer; an equally bad name for going to market.
I thought it might be fun to dredge up the project and tell a bit of a story of how it got started, what we were trying to do and how it finally got named.
See you later.