How 17 successful companies picked their names

How 17 successful companies picked their names

Photo by Pixabay

You encounter some of these names on a daily basis – but have you ever wondered why they are called as they are? Here are 17 incredibly successful companies and the explanation behind their names:

  1. IKEA – Founder Ingvar Kamprad combined his initials, I.K., with the first letters of Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, the farm and village where he grew up.
  2. CANON – this company was originally called Kwanon, after a Buddhist goddess, but it changes its name in 1935 in order to appeal to a worldwide audience.
  3. LEGO – this is a combination of the Danish words “leg got”, which means “play well”.
  4. SONY – derived from “sonus”, which is Latin for “sound”, and the slang expression “sonny boy”, which in 1950s Japan described “smart, presentable young men”.
  5. HAAGEN-DAZS – this has no meaning whatsoever in Danish, but it was chosen to “convey an aura of the old-world tradition and craftsmanship”.
  6. WD-40 – the popular water-displacing spray was named after 39 failures in the lab, thus being perfected on the 40th try.
  7. YAHOO – this is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle” and also an imaginary species described as rude, noisy, and violent in Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”.
  8. PEPSI – it was originally called Brad’s Drink after its inventor, Pepsi got its name in 1898 from the word “dyspepsia”, which means indigestion, as to show that it was a healthy, digestion-aiding cola.
  9. GOOGLE – takes its name from “googol”, which is the mathematical term for the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros.
  10. VIRGIN – someone on the team suggested this by remarking: “we’re complete virgins at business”.
  11. BLACKBERRY – coined in 1999 because the keys on the device resembled the drupelets on the fruit.
  12. SPOTIFY – one of the cofounders misheard an idea as Spotify. However, now they are claiming it stems from the words “spot” and “identify”.
  13. ORACLE – the name started as a code for a project that the cofounders worked on for the CIA. It was about a database that was able to answer any questions about anything.
  14. STARBUCKS – the name stems from the first mate in Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”, and it comes as an effort to evoke “the romance of the high seas and the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders”.
  15. REEBOK – alternative spelling for “rhebok”, which is the Afrikaans-Dutch word for a type of antelope. It is meant to evoke speed and grace.
  16. SKYPE – the original name was “Sky Peer-to-Peer”, which was later changed into “Skyper”, and then into “Skype”.
  17. AMAZON – Jeff Bezos really wanted the name to start with an A so that it can appear on top of an alphabetical list. Then he thought the world’s largest river is a perfect name for what he hoped could be his biggest business.
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Caroline Parker has a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from the University of Bucharest. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in the same field. She specializes in gender issues, ethnic minorities, and has a passion for literature, but she loves to find out more about any subject she comes across. When she is not busy with her studies, she is attending conferences, seeing plays which deal with contemporary issues in society, traveling, taking photos for her Instagram account, and watching beauty related vlogs. She aims to become a published writer and to pursue a Ph.D. is the field of gender studies.