What’s in a Name?

There’s a great story in the Big Moo on page 69 (actually there are a bunch of good stories on pages 1 through x) but this one stood out to me this morning.

It was about how Isaac Newton “discovered” gravity. Of course , he didn’t discover it – in fact the biggest part of what he did was NAME it.

Which brings us to Avalon’s renaming. Yes, I know it’s been known for a while but I was listening to Buzz Out Loud (Cnet’s podcast of indeterminate length) and Veronica (“I love apple above all else) commented on how she had seen the new Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and really liked it…except what’s with the name?

In the days when people complain about Miicrosoft’s ability to come up with cool names, Avalon wasn’t bad but its renaming has me scratching its head. It’s easy to get excited about a new operating system named “Tiger” (roar!) or , heck, even “Vista”. But hey, everyone raise your hands and get excited for the brand new ……

“Windows Presentation Foundation”

Doesn’t exactly send a chill through your bones….

But enough about WPF – it’s only a feature right – sure it doesn’t Flash right out at you – but then when was the last time a product launch sent a Zorro to Europa (or Sedna, for that matter)?

It only takes a nano-second to realize that the name game is still constantly being played. MS may feel obligated to stamp the Windows trademark name on everything, but as long as they do that, this is a game that they will always lose. Who cares, right? No one really cares about the acronyms, right – Mr. WIMPy interface – who needs a WIMP when you’ve got a LAMP?

“The product is what matters. ”

Maybe in the minds but not in the hearts of consumers and users.

(as a side note, hotel buildings change names regularly – the hotel in Ottawa with the revolving restaurant has been the Holiday Inn, the Radisson and most recently a Marriott – when we were in Hawaii, the Hilton resort in Waikoloa was formerly the Hyatt, AND STILL referrred to as the Hyatt but the people on the Island – names DO stick!)

So as I was reading the Big Moo, I thought of Avalon and WPF and what Newton could have called gravity instead?

How about the Newton Declivity Theory? (NDT) – that would have stuck, right?

Or IEM – Isaac’s Elevation Model?

What if to this day, we continued to use the old way of announcing one’s self, I am Andrew, son of Donald, son of Karnac? My name isn’t Andrew, I am DO2 – Donald Offspring #2. Or better yet, DO70?

It’s a moot point now – as the product has already been named but there is definitely something to be said for a product to be keeping its name.

Check out the book – it’s short, funny and absolutely worth every penny (and proceeds go to charity)

Meanwhile, I’m back to Europa.


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