Sure, we obsess over the most unique baby names, but have you ever wondered how some of the most unusual company names came about? Some of them have become so iconic that they become part of our everyday vocabulary, and we don't really think twice about them. For example, "Google" has become a synonym for searching for things on the web. Here are the humble beginnings of some of the most awesome-sounding company names:
- Google: The name Google is derived from the word googol, which is a math term for a number one followed by 100 zeroes. It's meant to signify the vast amount of information the search engine will provide and organize for users.
- Twitter: Twitter founder Jack Dorsey says, "So we looked in the dictionary for words around it and we came across the word 'twitter' and it was just perfect," he says. "The definition was 'a short burst of inconsequential information', and 'chirps from birds'. And that's exactly what the product was."
- Starbucks: The name came from a character in the great American novel Moby Dick. Starbuck was the chief mate of the Pequod, a whaling ship.
- Nike: Nike is also the name of the Greek goddess of victory. On a dark sidenote, the slogan "Just Do It" was inspired by the last words of Gary Gilmore, a robber and murderer who was executed by firing squad for his crimes in 1977.
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- Adidas: Adidas was derived from the name of the founder Adolf Dassler and is the combination of both his nickname "Adi" and part of his last name. Dassler's brother, Rudolf, started the brand Puma. Both Dassler brothers were part of the Nazi party.
- Virgin: The name came from a brainstorm Richard Branson had with his colleague. They decided it would be fitting because they were both "virgins" to business.
- Spotify: Daniel Ek,
- Pandora: Another Greek-inspired name, Pandora means "all-gifted" in Greek. The company's website says, "In ancient Greek mythology, Pandora received many gifts from the gods, including the gift of music, from Apollo. She was also, as we all know, very curious. Unlike those gods of old, however, we celebrate that virtue and have made it our mission to reward the musically curious among us with a never-ending experience of music discovery."
- Reddit: The name is a play on the words "read it," says the Reddit FAQ page.
- Amazon: The company was named after the Amazon river, the world's most voluminous river.
- White Castle: The founders wanted a dignified name, and they thought "white" signified purity, while "castle" symbolized strength, stability, and permanence.
- Hulu: Hulu came from the "hulu" word in Mandarin that means "the holder of precious things" and "interactive recording," which both apply to the founding team's vision for the firm.