1. Thursday, March 26, 2009

    “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” 

    i know the kids dont read shakespeare as much as we did back in the dark ages before the interwebs, but the bard’s words are more than just poetry, they’re good advice.

    i say this in regards to the latest post from my dear friend, and fellow long suffering cub fan, andy sternberg, who winces at the name of one of our new products, Brand X, which launches early next month.

    the LAist news editor said on his personal blog that the new print product and blog is “so -horribly-named-it-makes-me -quiver.”

    in the time ive been blog editor at the times, i have been in countless meetings in regards to launching new blogs. in each of those meetings the question of name comes up. because i have seen “good” names and “bad” names make absolutely no difference, i have now reached the point where i advise those involved “i dont care what you name it, just name it and move on to far more important things like content.”

    unfortunately i was not in the meetings when Brand X was named but if i were i would have said the same thing.

    far too many times have we seen “horrible” names like Google, Yahoo, and BoingBoing fare quite reasonably in these modern times because nowadays people are far too savvy to get caught up in what the thing is called – all they care about is what it does and how it will make their lives better.

    for example, here we have a photo of san diego glamour girl Danielle K. lets say you get set up on a blind date with her and as you’re about to lean in to kiss her goodnight she reveals that her real name is actually Armageddon Zoom… do you not kiss her? What if she says that her parents are from new jersey and really wanted a boy, but when they got a girl named her Bruce Eugene Springsteen anyway… do you not attempt to make beautiful music together?

    the truth of the matter is once you actually got to know Danielle Armageddon Springsteen her name means zero, it’s all about what makes up her character, or for you more base folks, how she looks in a summer dress while driving her Benz.

    same goes for web sites, and blogs, and newspapers. you can name them anything you want but if they dont tell you anything interesting, if they dont enlighten you, if they dont make your life easier or better or more entertained then theyre useless.

    i was and am a huge fan of metromix. almost every day id go up to their small offices and stand in awe as to how much content they created out of such a small group of people. i learned something new with each issue and i was in love with their beautiful design. their merge with The Guide which will be this new thing called Brand X will be great because of the people and their skills, not because of its name – which by the way i also like.

    the things that make me wince are when people get distracted by things that mean zero to the heart of the products that we use.

    as you read the world famous busblog just like millions of people have done over the years think to yourself, “when was the last time that fool wrote about riding a bus?”

    people read this thing because of me, not because of a dumb name. likewise people will read Brand X because of the people who create it and the stories that they have to tell.

    some may use the ridiculously named Google or Yahoo to find it and sites like BoingBoing and probably even NetZoo will link to it. just like always.

    meanwhile, im sure the good people behind the site at icanhascheezeburger.com are more than comfortable with their name and the fact that their content gets them millions of visitors a week. in fact, i bet they’re LOLing all the way to the bank.