Coming up with the name “Cogmap” was a surprisingly arduous, agonizing process. For a name that just rolls off the tongue, getting here was surprisingly tricky. That is probably true for any company name: When you start with a blank slate any name will do and no name sounds perfect.
Cogmap was “Org Chart Wiki” for the longest time. Then it was CogMap. Frankly, it still is CogMap in lots of places because it hasn’t been worth the time to run around fixing it, but I recently felt like intercapping is so Web 1.1. Now it is Cogmap
When we picked the name, we distinctly headed in the “name the company what it does” school of thought. In the big scheme of things we were building Cogmap because I was sick of thinking what a good idea it would be to build. This was definitely a product or feature, not a full-blown company. ATTENTION: I am not planning world takeover based on this idea.
I read once about REM’s process for coming up with a name for an album. They put a piece of paper on the wall of the studio while they are recording it and every time someone has an idea they write it on the paper. Then they review the paper at the end and pick the name for the album. The process we used for coming up with a name was similar. We started a thread with all of the concepts and then refined it to all the words. Having said that, Cogmap was never on the list. In fact, the term “Cog” was never on the list. I came up with the name while agonizing on the short-comings of the list and the first feedback we got was “you are calling people a ‘cog’? That’s insulting!” My response was, “Hey we are a start-up. If people get offended then I don’t like them either. People have to love a name that is a little tongue in cheek. It’s time for everyone to get in on the joke.”
I loved the name because it was a little funny and because it had a nice symmetry. 2×3.
I am a big believer that a decision that everyone likes is not radical enough. We don’t want tame in a name.
Anyway, here is the list of names we considered:
First round of ideas:
Here are some funny comments on this last round of names from Mark Maloney over at No Inc:
“LinkedHow is funny…just wondering how they’d feel about it.
CogMap definitely seems like the winner to me.
I’d say that if we had to put two toe-to-toe that it would be CogMap and
I thought Chartiki sounded fruity at the time, but in retrospect, an equally good name that we could have built a dandy business around. I am surprised no one put “Chartpedia” on the list.
Another reason I selected Cogmap is that it seemed ripe for conversion to a verb: You can cogmap things. Did you cogmap it? I was cogmapping.
If enough people ask, I will post some of the logo candidates and discuss how we chose colors.