Paul Graham Change your name

Original author: Paul Graham
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namingYour attention is a recent publication on Paul Graham's blog .

If you have an American startup with the name X , and you do not have rights to the domain , you should probably change the name.

The reason is not so much that people cannot find you. For companies with mobile applications, especially those entitled to the corresponding domain name, it is not so important as how it will be used to obtain users. The problem with the absence of the domain of the same name is that its absence shows your weakness. If you are not so great that your reputation is ahead of you, the secondary domain suggests that you are a secondary company. At the same time, the presence of the domainsignals your strength, and even if the domain has nothing to do with what you are doing.

Even good founders can deny this fact, but this denial is based on two powerful fundamental reasons: identity and lack of imagination.

The first says that X directly characterizes the idea of ​​the founders, and the second that there is no other suitable name. Both the first and second statements are incorrect.

For starters, you can fix the first cause of this problem. Imagine you would call your company something else. If so, of course, you would just as well add the desired domain to this name. The idea of ​​switching the current name is pretty repulsive.

In essence, there is nothing great in the current name. Almost all of your attachment to him stems from your relationship to him. The name is expensive for you because it has become part of your identity, and sometimes this fact is simply discounted under certain specious ideas, regardless of internal qualities.

To neutralize the second reason for the denial, your inability to come up with other potential names, you must admit that with naming you have a bad time. The naming skill is a completely separate ability. You can be a cool startup, but completely hopeless in inventing the name of your company.

After you acknowledge this, you cease to believe in the impossibility of changing the name. There are many potentially better names, you just can't come up with them.

How to find them? The simplest answer to solving problems in which you are not strong is to involve someone else in the process. But with company names, another approach is possible. It turns out that almost any word or phrase that is not obviously bad is good enough for this, and the number of such domains is so large that you can find many quite cheap or unused domains. So make a list and try to buy some.

The reason for my knowledge that creating startups and their names orthogonal skills is that I myself am not strong in names. Previously, when I created Y Combinator and spent a lot of time with startups, I often helped them find new names.

Now that I am in the office, I focus on more important issues, such as the core business of the company. I advise them when they should change their name, but I know that sometimes my advice is not enough. It happens that startups are aware of the problem of the absence of the domain of the same name, but, mistakenly, they believe that they will be able to purchase it later, without any reason. Do not believe that the domain is being sold until the owner informs you of the desired price.

Of course, there are examples of startups that have achieved success without having a domain of the same name. There are startups who have succeeded, in general, in spite of various errors, but an error with a name is less excusable than most others. It can be fixed within a few days if you are disciplined enough to recognize the problem.

100% of the companies in the top twenty Y Combinator have domains of the same name. 94% out of fifty too. And only 66% of the total number of companies in the Y Combinator package own the domain of the same name in the .com zone . One way or another, it is worth learning from the experience of most of the best.

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