Unique is better than Good

Good Technology exec Terry Austin has heard every joke in the book relating to his company's name.

Good Technology exec Terry Austin has heard every joke in the book relating to his company's name.

But he's probably not the only one ... I bet everyone who works for the vendor gets a lot of this sort of thing from their friends:

  • So I hear you work for a "good" company?
  • What's it like over there ... "good"?
  • I bet you guys have a lot of "good" staff
  • It must be hard to get better when you're already "good"

Austin's visit Down Under this week to spruik his company's new partnership with Telstra was no different. Media headlines resulting from the exec's lightning tour included:

  • Telstra snags Good opportunity
  • Telstra makes Good on mobility computing
  • Telstra mounts a Good challenge to BlackBerry

I personally managed to tie in both Good's name as well as the BlackBerry fruit theme in one:

  • Telstra picks a Good BlackBerry rival

And the jokes didn't stop there ... when I chatted with Austin at ZDNet Australia HQ I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ask him if Good had a sister company ... named "Evil".

I can tell he tried his best to laugh, but the joke probably wore a bit thin by then. He claimed he hadn't heard the "Evil" variant though.

The Good name (and the bad jokes), Austin told me, came about when the company was founded during the dot com boom half a decade ago.

The founders (some of them apparently Apple refugees) didn't want to over-promise and under-deliver like everyone else ... so instead of calling the company something like "Excellent", they bit the modesty bullet and went for "Good".

Now I can't help thinking modesty is a virtue in any vendor, but I bet everyone would have preferred those wise heads didn't pick one of the most common adjectives for their company name.

Something more unique would have lended itself better ... it's not easy to put the names Dell or Hewlett-Packard into a bad joke, for example.

There are a few examples Down Under of such mediocre naming.

The boys over at Access Providers might be doing a great job of selling wireless network links but the name is a little bland.

Then there's Telecom New Zealand ... gee I wonder what they do? At least Telstra got with the times and livened it up a bit. And who could go past "MelbourneIT" for a name that is also a description?

Of course these are all in the best spirit of the technology sector ... maybe some more creative types should be called in when the techheads get together to form a startup.

What are the worst company names you've ever heard? Drop me a line at renai.lemay@zdnet.com.au or post some comments below.