At NewCo, we spend a lot of time thinking about mission statements. We ask companies that apply to become NewCos for their mission statement, and we remind them that while most companies have mission statements, we look for companies that are in fact on one. There’s a difference — companies that are on a mission are filled with people who live and breathe their organization’s purpose. If you ask them about the “why” of their business, they’ll usually trace it back to the change their company is trying to make. That change is a verb — an active shift the company wants to see happen.
Put another way, great companies view their business as an argument. The company has a thesis about how the world ought to be in some way different — and every product, service, and customer touchpoint is part of proving that thesis true.
I love being part of naming something. It’s probably the flat out most fun you can have legally with your clothes on — but for many folks, including entrepreneurs, it’s the source of endless consternation.
It doesn’t have to be. Here’s how I think about coming up with a name for something — a company, a new product, even a project you might be working on.
Rule #1: Don’t Overthink It.
A name means nothing till those using it make it mean something.
So be willing to consider non obvious, even crazy names. Google? I mean, really, Google? And….Yahoo?! Alibaba? APPLE?
We at NewCo regularly throw around the term “NewCo” to describe the type of company that presents on our unique “unconference” platform in cities around the world. We thought it would be important to break down this term and describe exactly what we believe constitutes a NewCo. So, here’s an update on our original post, newly edited by co-founder John Battelle.
One of the key NewCo themes is presenting forward looking and innovative companies that are “of the city”. We closely monitor trends, like the one we see here in the Bay Area: many more companies are moving to San Francisco up from Silicon Valley because it is easier to hold on to key talent and personnel. And in Detroit: the story there is all about the re-sizing of that city as it re-emerges into a sustainable scope, which is all centered into the tight geography of downtown Detroit. In both cases, this is happening because key talent and younger people entering the work force value a walkable lifestyle. Case in point, many studies are showing that millennials are driving at a much lower rate than any previous generation.
This story about Los Angeles was a pleasant surprise when it hit my inbox earlier today: The city that once ripped up its rails and public transportation infrastructure is steadily making its way up the ranks of walkable cities! As this story points out, cities that have walkable centers see higher real estate values in addition to providing more aesthetically pleasing areas, places where the community can gather and opportunities for small businesses to flourish.