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October 19, 2007 | Tate Linden
hellomynamewas.jpgWhile looking for "hello my name is" stickers for a promo event we came across this goodie.

We bought a bunch.

We'll mix 'em in the pile and see if anyone notices. ...and no fair hoarding them all for yourself if you find 'em.

Oh - and we are indeed serving chicken skewers...

This does relate to naming, so don't be hatin' us for being more than a little off topic.
July 19, 2007 | Tate Linden
The folks over at Igor's Snark Hunting site have been sending us a bit of traffic due to the fact that our site may have had a bit of social networking overkill.

We have a popular post here from February that discusses and rates the trends in Web 2.0 naming and might be of interest to you.

But if you're clicking through just to see the offending links you're going to be disappointed. We'd been quite fond of them as they were colorful, pretty, and acted as a nice visual indicator that one post was ending and another was beginning. (Okay, so when I think about it a bit more I've gotta agree they were just clutter and there for absolutely no reason at all... but still... It made me feel popular. Or at least potentially popular.)

Sadly, I have thin skin (and little talent) when it comes to my blog-designing skills so I have put my tail betwixt my legs and removed the ninety-dozen links that got the hump-backs on my case.

I was going to say something witty here about the hatin' being directed at us due to Igor's fear of fire, but realized just before I hit the "publish" button that Mary Shelley might've risen from the dead to correct me.

So, Igorians... if you think of any appropriate comebacks you can feel free to pretend they were hurled by us and be suitably humbled and intimidated.

Yeah. We roll like that.

Maybe it'll have something to do with 'stooping to your level' (Oooh snap!) Though we'd appreciate it if you could make it a bit more witty and significantly less obvious.

We'd be more agressively peeved if it weren't for the fact that they called us "an actual blog" - thus alleviating our fears that we were only hypothetically a blog, or worse, only metaphorically blog-like. Here's to hoping that the "actualness" of our blog was not inextricably linked to our abundance of clicky bookmark art.

Anyhow, thanks for the tip, Igorians. You're enabling positive change from afar.

And maybe... just maybe... tomorrow I'll be back writing about names and stuff.
July 5, 2007 | Tate Linden
It's a rare day that we get to offer our blog readers something more than just information.

Today is a rare day. Stokefire's Southern retreat in OBX (North Carolina) just finished renovations and we didn't schedule anything there for the next three weeks on the off chance the work wasn't finished in time. The property is located in Corolla Light in the outer banks. Sleeps ten, has space for seventeen eaters (more if you eat on the couch), less than two minute walk to the beach, small shopping area, and the local private clubhouse (access is included.)

While we typically only discount for business partners (and we offer a week's stay to clients engaging in major contracts) we're opening up the discount for the next few weeks to anyone that's interested in staying at our little corporate playground. So - if you're interested in staying here just tell 'em that Tate sent you and they'll agree to the discount.

Naming Content:

There appear to be some hard and fast rules when naming a resort home. You can pick:
  • A name that has a deep emotional connection with the owners (Alma mater, a child, parent, pet, etc.)
  • A name that describes the experience or atmosphere (Refreshing Breeze, Ocean's Friend, Beachcomber, etc.)
  • A name that is cute or a pun (Beez Neez, Noah's Arf, Ocean's Ten, or Prow'd Mary)
Why did we name our property Prow'd Mary? Because it's a prow front home that isn't within view of the ocean (thus giving us a reason to name it after the view.) There are three homes between us and the ocean and we didn't feel as though "Fourth In Line" or "Awaiting 300 Feet of Erosion" were really appropriate for the area. The place is a prow-front home (looks like the front of a ship) and it's the major feature of the building. We were shocked when the first name we thought of wasn't taken (given the enormous number of prow-fronts in the area) and since we happen to really like the homonymic song by John Fogerty it just felt right.

And as an extra bonus, there's a mondegreen in the song that has been interpreted as:
  • "pumped a lot of pain"
  • "pumped a lot of 'pane" (as in propane)
  • "pumped a lot of of 'tane" (as in octane)
So the name of the home and the line in the song are both a little difficult to get right. (Thankfully, people don't look for our resort property by trying to spell it.) Can't say that we meant the name to be a lesson in naming, but we takes what we can gets.

We wanted fun, we wanted memorable, we wanted not to offend our neighbors.

Check, check, and check.


(Should we have done a contest?)
June 15, 2007 | Tate Linden
Here's a quick aside - since I'm still getting back into the swing of things after spending time with Theodore (more on the story of his name another time.)

The night before Teddy was born we went to see Garrison Keillor's Prarie Home Companion. It was a great experience and Wolf Trap is an exceptional environment to take in a show. We sat on the lawn near the front and listed to beautiful music, heard Garrison talk, and basically enjoyed ourselved on what we had been planning as our last pre-kiddo outing. ...though we had no clue how literal that was.

The show ended and we walked about a mile to our car. And then sat.

And the weirdest thing happened... This group of people who had a pleasant evening together turned into the rudest bunch of drivers I'd ever seen. As we attempted to get out of the parking lot we spent about ten minutes trying to catch the eye of drivers so they would let us into the exit lane. This didn't work at all since no one would look at our car. We followed this with about five more minutes of frantic waving - which we should've known wouldn't work since (as noted previously) no one was looking at us.

Next step - I asked my lovely wife to ask a driver if we might cut in (since the cars were coming from the passenger side.) Sure - it took a few cars before anyone would even admit that they could hear her. (And for the record, it is remotely believable that someone might not have seen our frantic waving and yet was still allowed to drive a car - but for someone not to hear my wife say "excuse me" when both windows are rolled down and to also ignore the polite wave - that's just... yeah... rude.)

But the rudeness got worse. We finally made eye contact and were able to get an acknowledgement to our greeting (probably after 20 minutes total of trying) and we asked "May we cut in?"

The driver of a Lexus SUV smiled at us and said...

"No. Sorry."

Well... at least she apologized immediately for being rude.

The next car again was with the "I can't see nor hear you" crowd. The one after that saw the whole thing and actually was very pleasant - its occupants saying "it's not like anyone will get out of here much faster by squeezing you out."

A special thanks go to these kind anonymous people.

However - to the folks that didn't let us in - particularly that last two... I have this lesson in naming:
If you are going to be rude to other drivers while driving your own car and sitting in traffic that doesn't move - perhaps you should get license plates less memorable than "RN I HOT" and "TWITTY"
Should you see them on the road please give them an appropriate "hello" from me. Wave with as many (or as few) fingers as you please.

I suppose this actually does have something to do with naming for business. If you're going to put out a product that angers your customers you probably want to avoid a memorable name. This is one reason why we didn't take the "herbal Viagra" contract that came up last year. I didn't want to be the guy that named the product that caused semi-virile men to storm the gates of a product manufacturer. And I'm not a big fan of naming for obscurity.

And in fairness to the ladies in both offending vehicles - perhaps they were in a hurry to get out of there because they had a woman going into labor in their car.

Oh... wait... that was me.
May 28, 2007
May 26th, 2007 at 8.30 pm Theodore Joseph Linden was born. Weighing in at 6 lbs 10 oz. Congratulations Sarah & Tate!

May 17, 2007 | Tate Linden
I name things for a living. And I blog... And I enjoy both.

Today, however, I found out that by June 14th I'm gonna have a little kid... my own little kid (shared with my wife, of course.)

Apologies to both clients and blog readers, but even though I've known for about 8 months that there would be a day when I'd have a kid, just knowing that we have an assured last day on which our new kiddo can arrive has made me completely incapable of original thought.

If my kid were born today there is a definite possibility I'd succumb to a name like Aidan or Apple just because I can't think straight.

Weird that something so seemingly insignficant as a date on a calendar can throw me for a loop...

I plan on being myself again tomorrow. Really.
May 16, 2007 | Tate Linden
I'd never 'cracked the spine' of the online OED before. I'm not quite sure why. Especially after looking at my own name.
c1375 Sc. Leg. Saints iv. (Jacobus) 328 For scho had bulis wilde and tate,

{Th}at scho nocht trewit mycht {ygh}okkit be In carte, na wane, be ony degre.

What does that mean? Those that work with me probably could figure it out if they thought about me a bit. Also, I'm guessing my lovely wife could figure it out... My name (according to the OED) means "wanton, brisk, untamed".

How cool is that?

Was I predestined to be like I am by my name? Or is this just a grand coincidence? Bah. Doesn't matter. I'm going to play it safe...

In light of this new (to me) definition (and the fact that I've found a way to live my life in a way that fit the definition of the word) I am going to reconsider the list of names I've been advocating for my soon-to-be little tyke.

  • Jezebel
  • Twitchy
  • Hebetude
  • Pigpen
  • Pension
  • All-star
  • Dad's Hopes and Dreams
It's not like this could backfire or anything...
April 9, 2007 | Tate Linden
(I can say that, can't I? It's not a euphemism I'm familiar with, but I'm sure someone will take offense...)

There was a time long ago when the staff at Stokefire thought to themselves "Why is it that so many business start blogs, only to watch them fizzle and die?"

We were haughty. We were confident. We occassionally had an hour in our day in which we had time to think to ourselves how wonderfully haughty, confident, and gosh-darn right we were.

We are no longer haughty. Apparently haughtiness takes time. So do blog entries. Oddly enough, things that also take time include rewriting your entire naming process, going through a visual rebranding, responding to requests for proposals, and just plain getting your butt in front of people that want to do business with you.

We are humble.

And we now sort of understand. It happens because life happens. It happens an hour or a day at a time. Soon there's a week of no posts. And then two...

...and then you start getting notes from your clients and fans wondering what the hell happened.

We have some of the most incredible clients in the world - and we forget that one of the reasons they find us incredible (or at least they say they do...) is because of this very blog. When in the midst of a client workshop someone raises their hand and stops us - asking "when are you going to start blogging again" we know we've done something very wrong. We thought that focus on the client experience was paramount, but our clients were wanting to engage with us and see if there were lessons that our staff was learning while working on the project. They liked the fact we wove stories about them into our every day conversation. They wanted to see their name in backlights...

We were being stupid.

So... Hello to all of you out there who threatened to drain our laptop batteries if we didn't get back to it. Hello to my wife who barely stopped short of pointing out that if she can handle nurturing our unborn child in her belly while upholding our constitution and spending nights readying our home for the baby I can darn well invest some effort in keeping her entertained for five minutes of reading while she drinks her morning tea. Hello to Dana who I must also kindly beg to begin her posts again. Hello to Nancy, Denise, John, JT, Kevo, Florence, Mark, Jeffry, the five guys named Mike, Brent, Evan, Claude, and the rest of you that have been kind enough to come back regularly, comment and basically validate our online existence.

Hello blog.

I admit it. I've missed you.

And yes... I've got a whole lot to talk about. (Gotta remember to mention office space tomorrow...)

I'll start tomorrow. Promise!

Tate Linden Principal Consultant Stokefire Consulting Group 703-778-9925
March 27, 2007

Time Shutters Life

Three years after relaunching Life magazine as a newspaper supplement, its third incarnation, Time Inc. said it would fold the title with the April 20 issue, citing the decline in the newspaper business and outlook for ad revenue in the newspaper supplement category.

The iconic titles name, which will continue to operate online and through its books, had begun to find its footing after rocky start since its most recent reincarnation.

March 16, 2007
The Three Little Puppies. That's what one British school renamed the traditional Three Little Pigs story for a school play, so as not to offend Muslims in the community, London's Daily Mail reported.
March 7, 2007

images-1.jpgBen & Jerry have named a new flavor, Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream™. The concoction is "a decadent melting pot of vanilla ice cream with fudge-covered waffle cone pieces and a caramel swirl. It’s the sweet taste of liberty in your mouth."
February 28, 2007 | Tate Linden
[This post is entirely off topic. If you're looking for naming expertise or commentary you'll want to pass this post up.]

A few of you have sent me emails asking why I didn't post yesterday (and one of you accused me of not posting today either... ha!) I'm sorry that your daily fix of name-related blather was missing.

I have what I believe to be a good excuse - I was incapacitated.

No... really.

At about 11 PM on Monday night I walked into my room (after three days of priming and painting our basement) and felt a painful twinge in my lower back. Thinking this odd I adjusted my posture to make it stop. What followed was described by my wife as me doing a 30 second impression of a folding chair being taken down.

foldingchair.gifI might add that I was none too silent while my act was going on. I don't have a clue what I said, but I know it was loud. It ended with me completely flattened out on my chest.

Have any of you ever had such horrible pain that you can't do anything but laugh? That was me. Lying on the floor completely unable to tense any muscle in my body - but oddly able to emote the exactly wrong thing.

Over the last 48 hours I have gone from not being able to move at all, to having to make my pregnant wife lift my various bodyparts to get under the covers of our bed, to literally dragging myself into the bathroom, to crawling and then stumbling. Today I feel like I'm almost human again, though I'm carrying around a few of those freezer-ice packs that some vendor sent me when I ordered cheese online.

Incidentally, ordering cheese online is not something I would recommend. Especially the variety pack. No human being should ever have to eat hard cheese with lemon rind in it.

So those ice packs make for interesting conversational interludes, though. If there's ever a lull in conversation I now know I can just whip one out and place it gingerly above my butt. It doesn't matter how quietly or stealthily I do this - everyone in the room will notice. People in the room will begin to take bets on whether or not I have hemorrhoids. I then must jump in to explain the situation, wave around the ice a bit, show people that, yes - the little wet spot from the ice is on my back not my bottom, and tell them that no - I will not do anything further to prove that I do not, in fact, have hemorrhoids (wagers be damned.)

This is followed by a ten minute interlude of everyone exchanging back injury stories and maybe a couple women expressing their concern for my pregnant wife who apparently is going to be experiencing some issues in one or both of the two body-areas mentioned in the previous paragraph as part of the whole miracle of life thing she's got going on.

Anyhow - all of this leads me to the writing of this post. If, during the next few days you ask me why I am carrying around a little bag of freezer-ice (as if there is any other kind that I might have access to...) I will shortcut all of the awkward (for me) discussion by saying the following -
I wrote about it on my blog. (A conversation killer if there ever was one.)
...or maybe I should just print this out with a space for pity-comments and atta-boy's at the end.

Either way, I hereby retire from my promising ceiling-painting avocation. At least until I find spots that I missed in the first three passes.

Tate Linden Principal Consultant Stokefire Consulting Group 703-778-9925