Why the name Renkoo

June 28, 2006

It’s not like I’m trying to say that Renkoo is the world’s greatest name for a company. But I am not taking any flak about it from anyone who has not had to find a name that is short, internationalizable (e.g. does not mean “f*** your mom like a pumpkin” in Mandarin or Malayalam), has available and relatively affordable domain names, and for extra credit means something cool and relevant to the business. If you have had to find a name that meets these criteria, take your best shot. If not, kindly step off. Thank you.

And since I’m in a bad mood now, let me mention that I’m sort of not thrilled with the racial implications of some of the comments I’ve heard about our name. WTF does it mean to say Renkoo is “a Pikachu”??!?! Hmmmm… could they mean… small, yellow, and kawaaaaiiiii? I’m small, yellow, and kawai myself. You got a problem with that? No? Then kindly step off. Thank you.

I am a lifelong child of the Pacific Rim: born in Seoul, raised in LA and Seattle, studied Japanese Empire history for a long time, settled in Silicon Valley. Japanese or Asian words do not sound odd to my ear. And if they do to you… well, that’s you and I’m sorry. Get over your bad Atlantic self and learn a few kanji — it’ll come in handy for the rest of your life.

10 Responses to “Why the name Renkoo”

  1. Charles Says:

    Well actually, I DO know kanji, lots of them. And to anyone who knows Japanese, your romaji word “renkoo” doesn’t scan as “renku,” it scans as “renkou.”
    The most common meaning of renkou is “to be arrested by the police.”

    Learning just “a few kanji” is always a perilous thing.

  2. Drewsky Says:

    Pongiant and humorous. “…Like a pumpkin” LOL!

  3. Troutgirl Says:

    Sigh. Charles, I think my WHOLE POINT is that people who haven’t had to name companies shouldn’t throw stones — because there are, you know, real factors to consider. At the time I came up with the name, I was unable to buy the domain name Renku.com so I “internetified” the name. I own Renku.com now, and I’d be happy to redirect it to Renkoo.com just for you.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    it’s still a stupid name

  5. TannerShot Says:

    Picking a name that is memorable is hard work. I wanted to take photos, and have people remember who the photographer was. I settled on TannerShot as descriptive, relatively short and of course the domain name was available.

    I think creating an image of the company,and developing it and letting it grow is important. It must be an Organic process and I don’t think you should try to constrain development just to fit a mold.

    Who would have said that 30 years ago Apple would be the largest seller of music ONLINE! Now that is amazing.

  6. Micah Says:

    I was wondering about the “double o” as well, but your explanation above makes sense to me. In fact, it’s not without precedent: Toodou Net, China’s equivalent to Youtube, uses the URL toodou.com when the pinyin romanization for their Chinese name is actually “tudou”. (Probably because tudou.com was already taken by a BBS site.)


    Speaking of internationalization, you should think about switching your weblog to utf-8 because Chinese characters are not making it into the comments…

  7. Joe Says:

    troutgirl is a stupid name. why not go by tunagirl instead? no girl I know would want a nickname that associates them with fish. wtf?

  8. Kevin Burton Says:

    I like “magurogirl” myself…….

  9. Joe Says:

    Then there’s Kevin Burton who’s just plain stupid. Shouldn’t you be heading over to Zawodny’s blog to kiss his ass and blather about how great the only database you’ve ever tried is?

  10. some guy Says:

    “I was unable to buy the domain name Renku.com so I ‘internetified’ the name”

    somehow, it’s not surprising that someone who works on a silly application to help people get drunk/laid easier has no problem bastardizing a language they don’t understand to come up with a “catchy” name. you didn’t ‘internetify’ the word, you actually ‘marketified’ it.

    “Learning just “a few kanji” is always a perilous thing.”


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