Pick A Name

Voting is over. The results are here.

It looks like Soapbox is still the public’s favorite, although you think it’s both obvious and limiting in nature. Indeed, it is product-descriptive but it also limits the product’s range and scope. One reader suggests that the name doesn’t matter at all:

Does it really matter? This has to be the most promised/delayed software EVER.

How about…

Doubtful

or

Vapor

Just get it out. If it’s good, who cares about the name? You could name it CRAP and people would use it.

It’s obvious that your readers are eagerly awaiting the release of this software. Most people express this by saying I can’t wait! or Work harder my son, work faster! But you think that the name is one of the most important choices that need to be made. Many readers agree, as expressed in the following email:

I think that you have a hard choice to make in naming your personal publishing application. I think it’s most important, from a marketing standpoint, to consider your audience.

The current name, Soapbox, lends itself to activists, the politically opinionated, as well as an audience that agrees with light-hearted self-deprecation (“this is me, on my soapbox, even if no one is listening”). The audience that you may be alienating includes the more professionally minded, and people that take their writing seriously (even, perhaps, too seriously).

Indeed, the product will have several separate iterations, one personal, one multi-user, and one for the enterprise. Each of these could have a separate name, but you think that one solid name with variants (e.g. Personal, Pro, etc.) would be better.

On the personal-software front, descriptive names are the norm. Consider TurboTax, Word, Photoshop. They are what they are called.

Enterprise or business-related software names usually take one of two forms — a descriptive name like IIS (Internet Information Services), CMS (Content Management System), and Websphere — or an arbitrary name like Domino and Tuxedo. (The same is often true with domain names as well, consider buy.com vs. amazon.com.)

Right now, you’re favoring a more arbitrary name.

About The “Less Is More” Thing

There’s a software development philosophy called Less Is More, which says that just getting your software out the door, even if it’s crappy, filled with bugs, and potentially destructive is better than releasing nothing at all. That releasing your application, ready-or-not, is more important than creating a quality product.

The truth is, Less Is More works. Look at Microsoft, where almost all “release” software is beta. But Microsoft’s constant release of patches, updates, and new versions keeps it in the public’s eye, in the news, and on everyone’s mind. The same is true with Linux which integrates code changes from users around the globe and has numerous kernel releases, as compared with FreeBSD, which has a core team focusing deeply on slow, careful change. Some of you may have heard of FreeBSD (a wonderful OS by the way), but everyone has heard of Linux.

So, What’s Taking So Long?

It’s true that this project has been in the works for a long time, but it’s also been in use here at Hivelogic for over 2 years, undergoing numerous changes, and modifications. And as available technologies change, the system has changed as well. It’s cleaner, leaner, and more portable. In fact, 6 months ago, you couldn’t have developed the system that now exists — a standalone system with an embedded database and webserver, which runs on a PC, Mac, or *NIX machine.

Unfortunately, you don’t actually have much time to spend writing this code. Starting a new business is a challenge, and you spend most of your day selling your services and working on paying projects. It’s unfortunate that paying bills has to be more important than working on projects with lots of potential, but that’s the way it is.

But you’re very close now, and you think the wait will be worth it.

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