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October 23, 2007 | Tate Linden
Boy... I didn't know how peeved I could make people until I threw down the gauntlet.

Interestingly I got notes from a handful of folks that provide name lists telling me where I could stick my gauntlet, but none actually picked it up. There were never any topical responses on the blog. Ever since that post was written participation on the blog by other namers has dropped off dramatically. I think maybe even completely.

I'd hoped that the post would spark a debate amongst those in our industry who provide different levels of service. I'd hoped that someone would challenge my assertions. It didn't happen. Life went on...

But as I thought more about this over the past couple weeks I realized that ultimately I am not really a namer either. I think that most in the naming business aren't namers at all. We're Listers, Coaches, Fact Checkers, CYA-ers, Linguists, and such. In all but the rarest of instances it is the CLIENT that is the namer, not us.

The difference between someone who stops after the creative process and one who provides detailed analysis and guidance to help a client select the right name is not one that should affect ones right to wear the title of Namer. Because, as I see it now, we really don't want that title at all. The moment we pass from an advisory or creative role into a decision-making one we become namers - and we become unemployable.

Whether we provide a short list and stop there or a massive list with five hundred pages of supporting data we still don't actually name anything. Our clients would revolt if we stepped over the line. Imagine just giving a single name (with or without justification) ... do you think that anyone would actually be happy with that? The amount of convincing we do is irrelevant - just a matter of degree. Some people are self-serve and others are full - there's a place for both. But in both cases the choice of what goes into the tank is left up to the person putting down the money.

So... to all of the folks in the industry formerly known as naming... I've picked up the gauntlet myself. The title of namer is not meant for us. We are the advisors. We are the coaches. We are the counselors. And yes, we are even the name listers.

We are the people that ENABLE great names to exist, and we may be the people that conceive of them. But we are not, and will likely never be, the people that actually name anything but our own children and pets. (And if you're a daddy you know that even there we're only really in an advisory role...)

Note: It's a scary thing when I actually have coffee in the morning. I can think myself out of a job.

NoteNote: Major props to my main man Immanuel Kant for his influence on this post.
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