Ryan Learns How to Name Things: Ryan Learns Something Episode 1

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Peak, that's the peak of cliche.

Saturday morning cartoons

Some of these you gotta

know are just like straight up brain dump.

We come up with bad names too.



Hi, I'm Ryan.

So I have six months, $15,000

which is basically a semester of college,

thanks Degreed. To go and learn as much as I can about marketing

and branding and become an expert so the first thing I gotta do

this week is learn how to name things.

I wanna come out of this knowing what goes into making a name and

then come up with a really good name for my company.

I've always been kind of an entrepreneur and so starting my own

businesses the first thing you kinda have to do is come up with

a name I mean obviously concept, but you have to have a name too.

So I think that skill set is really gonna help me long term.

They gave me this book called don't call it that by Eli Altman so

I'm gonna go read this and read a bunch of other resources.

Try and take some different paths learning how to name things,


up with a few names myself.

First i'm gonna go home and see if I made a mistake because I quit

my job but we'll see how it goes.

That's not lying, I quit my job yesterday.

producer: I like that


Let's talk about names,

first my parents

almost named me Denim,

yep! Denim.

Maybe they were wearing denim vests at the time,

all I know is that

I dodged a denim bullet.

But what's going on in the world does affect baby naming.

Like not so many people are named Katrina after the hurricane hit,

Elsa is much more popular since frozen came out,

and Arya from the Game of Thrones has been big.

[Not today.]

Business names also follow trends,

lots of companies are named

after the founder

think McDonald's, Adidas, Ford, JC Penney, Colgate, Tupperware


Tiffany's, Chick fil a,


Not that


But you get the point,

sometimes they are named for ingredients,

Coca-Cola for cocaine,

Pepsi for Pepsin, there's naming based on URL availability,


dropping vowels trend



the adding letters trend,


companies rename themselves,

Datsun renamed to Nissan so their

internal product strategy would make more sense.

Remember cingular wireless?

Dropped once they merged with AT&T Google recently introduced a parent

company named Alphabet [COUGH] and you've heard of ISIS,

not that

ISIS, the other one.

The mobile payments company.

They had a PR [BLEEP] storm on their hands and had no choice but

to rename and re-brand.

Then there's socially engineered names like Lululemon maybe you

think their name's a little see through,

you're right.

Their name was chosen just because the market research showed it

was popular, memorable and easy to say,

it has no other meaning.

Speaking of memorable,

the book Thinking Fast and Slow, has some

interesting stuff about how the mind remembers and associates names.

I talked to the people who ran a study mentioned in the book and

they said that names that are more memorable are more trusted which

makes sense.

With that in mind let's go find out more about names.


So I've given myself a whole two days instead of the week I was

supposed to give myself to come up with a name for my company.

Let's dive into this thing.

A work book for naming your company,

product and brand, a book that

you can write in is kinda cool.

Bad names are your best friend,

I'm gonna come up with a lot

of those.


My alarm will be going off in exactly five hours and currently

my list looks like that but I'm gonna try and get at least 30 or 40 solid

names on this list using some of what Eli's taught me,

some of

what my gut tells me and maybe a little Google,

maybe some random

dictionary searching.

I'll be completely honest,

I thought this was going to be pretty

easy, it's not, it takes some time.

Basically my strategy right now is find any

word that stands out in any sentence in this book and write

it down.

I've got a good one.

I've finished the book,

I wish I had about a month to come up with

a name but take this list to Eli.

I'm actually kinda stoked on a couple of these names so I guess

I'll see you guys in the morning.



Supposedly it is a one mile walk


we got to

100 monkeys which is this rad space- I mean they've got like a loft

up above their offices where you can go and hang out and chill

and they've got like cool creative spaces. I'm Ryan. Eli is just

super dry but he's way funny and he's super creative, you can just

tell the guy is just like leaking out creativity.

I started doing my own projects when I was 16 about, once my voice

was deep enough to convince someone that I might be an adult,


was a graphic designer for a little bit,

realized I was a lot better

at this than that.

Everyday we see thousands of brands.

We get really good at being able to tune all that stuff out because

we have to see so much of it.

Throughout a process we're presenting 20 to 30 names,

we have to

come up with 400, 500 maybe names to present those

20 or 30 I better [BLEEP] like every single one of them,

we don't present bad names and we don't present names that we would

be unhappy if our clients picked.

The whole time I'm sitting here I'm thinking oh crap! I'm gonna

have to tell him my names and they are just terrible.

They're not that good.

So I'm just kind of waiting to get beat up.

What I'm gonna do is I've taken my list of names,

don't look at

them, and I'm gonna put them on my forehead. Eli's gonna react to

it and if he likes it he's gonna ring the bell and if he doesn't

like it he's probably gonna not do anything and I'm gonna

look sad.

So here we go.

Montague what's the story?

I don't know, I just saw it in a book and I just though it was

a cool name.

Okay, so probably not



Transition, not specific

to your industry, kind of something that comes up for anything

so if someone were to see the name it would be really hard to tell

what it is or what you do


Cut and Stitch

Sounds like technical terms within your industry,


What does it mean?

I did the and thing you made fun of earlier,

if you don't know how

is anyone else supposed to know


Going into this we had the plan that Eli's

gonna kick some of these names out so we're gonna get some funny

reactions but when he's actually rejecting your names it's a little

different, it actually hurts.

So what does it have

To do with what you are doing? Nothing. So you're just finding words that you like?


really good sell.

Yeah, sorry.


All right we're just gonna need to get rid of all the

ones where you can't make any tangible connection to what you're



It seems like you're under the impression that this

is something like free association.

Yeah, kinda was for a second I was just making a list here.


Chop shop?

Oh I kinda like that I mean that sound's - oh I'm supposed to hit this

now? Oh yeah.

[Ding] That's great.

All right we got one.

I like that one.


Toy Bulldog?

Yeah this one we were just looking at 1920s boxers and we found

this one.

he's the toy bulldog which is cool cuz

he's kinda scrappy, you know,

just a little.

Yeah see how you related it to what you're doing? [Ding]

Yeah see that's why I like I like to be scrappy okay.


Alright, I liked that one,

this yes list is really small.


Okay so hear me out.

Yes, it's post-production but postie bikes are what they use

to deliver mail in Australia.


Pretty rad but then it also has kind of a fun post-production



Ahab's Folley? Popped in my head just sounded awesome,


you kidding?

You know the question I'm gonna ask right?

What's his folly?

No like how does it relate to what you do?

Oh it doesn't


Okay well.

I like these four I think they're interesting names.

My challenge to you is to actually come up with the stories that

would be behind them.

It seems like you have one objective in terms of scrappiness,


not feeling so

neat, and tight, and clean.

I think you need probably two more of those things to play off of,

when you come up with names don't try to check all three boxes

on all of them cuz it's not gonna work but go after them and then

you'll sort of start to see the relationships of like oh okay this

feels a little scrappy but it also ties into some other thing,

not about you but about they type of work you wanna do and how

you want clients to perceive you.

So Eli told me go out,

figure out three things that define you

and how you work.

So I came up with these three things.

So number one, scrappy,

that's just kind of how I work.

Number two, breaking rules- obviously. And three I get lost in the


It's a little bit of ADD mixed with OCD and it creates some magic.

Let's go through these names that we have and kind of talk about

them and see which ones stick.

So first off we've got postie.

Pretty cool name it doesn't quite tell the full story so we're gonna

reject that one.

Scatter, this is one I came up with after and I kinda like it cuz

it's kinda scatter brained

still a little scrappy,

still kinda breaking the rules it's what

you yell when the cops show up and you're doing something illegal

but I still don't think it's a great name.

Alackaday. This one was just a word in a book- not my production company,

this one hurts cuz I really like this one,

there's already a lot

of stuff out there but I do think it fits,

most of it.

So the winner I believe that that we're gonna stick with the new

and improved Toy Bulldog.

I like it because it is scrappy,

he was a boxer and it kinda fits

all of it.

And it's an interesting name it could make for some cool logos and

branding and stuff like that so that's our winner.

[Ding ]

[Producers Applause]

Thanks, thanks.

The first things I learned about names is it's the first impression.

It's not the logo- I'm not gonna come up to you and say

oh! You know that one coffee brand with the mermaid girl,

no I'm

gonna say Starbucks.

Number two the name has to have a backstory,

without a backstory

it's just a word, in order to build a brand that name has to mean

something, and so that's the big take away I took especially

with Eli, he rejected a lot of my names because they didn't mean

anything, they were just words on a paper.

The third thing is to avoid the trends,

you don't want your company

to sound like every other sheep,

you don't want to stick with the

thing that's the status quo right then


A lot of the hipster

brands use the and technique,

they'll pull words and throw and

on there, you don't necessarily wanna do that anymore, but I think yeah

you wanna

avoid the trends to make sure that you stand out and that your business

is different than anything else out there.

And that is why you go into business right? Cause' you offer something else,

so you don't wanna sound like everybody else.

Alright so I had $15,000

to start I bought a book, a pen, the

flight to San Francisco,

the Uber ride but we got some free advice,

the breakfast, great chicken and waffles,

Brown Sugar Kitchen in

Oakland you should check them out.

I gave the five stars on Yelp.

But what you're not seeing here is the interview I got to do with

Eli, sometimes the best thing you can do is to interview a mentor

And they'll usually do it for free or at least for lunch.

I'm probably not gonna name anything else though so don't ask me to do

that for a while, hurt my brain and we're done,

we're done!


Next week on Ryan learns something,

I learn how to do voice overs

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