Month: August 2004


BarterBee looks like a most interesting service. I thought about what it might take to build a service like this a while back and even discussed it with a DVD-swapping programmer friend (right Steve?) but alas, we never did a thing with it and I sell all my DVDs that we don’t want on Amazon which works great. However, this is an excellent idea and I’ll give it a go very soon.

Company Name Etymologies

Wikipedia has a great list of Company Name Etymologies. Here are a few that caught my eye just now:

AltaVista – Spanish for “high view”

Canon – from Kannon, the Japanese name of the Buddhist bodhisattva of mercy. The name was changed to Canon to avoid offending religious groups.

Cisco – short for San Francisco. It has also been suggested that it was “CIS-co” — Computer Information Services was the department at Stanford University that the founders worked in.

Intel – Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore wanted to name their new company ‘Moore Noyce’ but that was already trademarked by a hotel chain, so they had to settle for an acronym of INTegrated ELectronics.

Kinko’s – from college nickname of founder, Paul Orfalea. He was called Kinko because he had curly red hair.

Pixar – Action (verb) of making pixels in Spanish. According to “The Second Coming of Steve Jobs” book by Alan Deutschman, Ed Catmull and John Lassetter were looking for a sticky name and came up with “Pixer”, but they thought it sounded better in Spanish: Pixar. The company was founded after Steve Jobs bought the computer graphics division from Lucasfilm for $10 million.

Qantas – From its original name, Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services.

Six Apart – company co-founders Ben and Mena Trott were born 6 days apart (in September 1977).

Starbucks – named after Starbuck, a character in Herman Melville’s whaling novel, Moby-Dick.

Volvo – From the Latin word “volvo”, which means “I roll”.

Yahoo! – an acronym for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle. The word Yahoo was invented by Jonathan Swift and used in his book Gulliver’s Travels. It represents a person who is repulsive in appearance and action and is barely human. Yahoo! founders Jerry Yang and David Filo selected the name because they considered themselves yahoos.