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How to Name a Stream Processing Software Company

We launched Immerok this past summer, and immediately we began getting questions about the company name. Since the story behind “Immerok'' is kind of fun and other company-namers might be going through what we did, we felt it would be helpful to share how we ended up deciding on the name.

Naming Attempt #1

Naming something is tough. Naming something with seven co-founders is tougher. We started brainstorming a bit and all kinds of ideas popped up. To help organize the process, we created this simple naming requirements framework:

Holger, Konstantin, and I came up with a short list of names together, which we then shared with the other co-founders. We were so close to choosing an Apache Flink-related concept, “Unbounded” as the name, but then realized that there are too many companies named like this, so we let it go.

Since we are in the streaming data business, we considered names related to rivers…names of rivers, things that live in rivers, and even part of rivers. In fact, Bed & Banks was the next choice that we got excited about. We even tasked a professional branding designer to create a first draft of some logo ideas:

Bed and Banks???

As a sanity check, I pinged some marketing friends to see what they thought of Bed and Banks. Here's what one of them came back with:

“I don’t think you can use that Joe. It’s too much like Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Although I guess Apache Flink could be the ‘Beyond’ part.”

They suggested we keep brainstorming (ugh), so we did.

More Brainstorming

As I said, finding a name with seven people is tough. The personal preferences immediately became apparent:

  • Holger the “it-needs-to-sound-professional” person,
  • Timo, the “it has to describe what we do” person,
  • Konstantin, who has different ideas as a default,
  • Austin, the “my family needs to like it” person,
  • And me, the “out there” person who just wants it to be witty and clever.

We brainstormed and brainstormed. Lots of good ideas, but reaching consensus just wasn’t happening. I decided to ask for outside help again...

Just Call it “Immer” something

Fun and games when ESL-namers ideate English-language names.

I asked a marketing friend if there was anything we could do differently to reach consensus on the company name. Not surprisingly, real marketers are kind of good at this. Here's how my friend described the process they followed:

"Normally, I’d take stakeholders through a bunch of brand identity formation exercises, but Joe mentioned that had already been done. I didn’t want to slow things down, so I just started ideating.

Since the company was in the business of data stream processing and real-time systems, I did the obvious thing and started with synonyms for “stream” and “flow.” Stream processing has been around a long time and those ideas were already taken, so this didn’t yield any usable options.

Next I started looking at non-English language versions of “stream” and “flow” synonyms. German was my first choice since so many of the founders were native German speakers. I didn’t like the results though.

Then I thought of something more conceptual…”always.” As in data that is “always” flowing.

In German, that’s “Immer.” I liked the sound of it. I figured they just needed to add another syllable to the end, and they’d have it. I tried a few suffixes, Immeron, Immerium, Immerix. The good news was that most of these passed the founders’ requirements checklist.

So I handed “Immer-” back to Joe, telling him that he and the co-founders just to come up with a final syllable they liked. "

Let’s “-rok”

So we were going through the list of immer-based names to come up with an ending syllable. Pretty quickly “ok” popped up and somehow it clicked immediately. There’s so much we liked about Immerok:

  • It incorporates its German heritage.
  • Our software processes data that always flows.
  • Always ok (HTTP 200) is a good state for a cloud service, and for a company.
  • Strong words in our industry start with immer, like “immersive.”
  • It works in English and German.
  • It rocks.

The name quickly grew on everyone, so we chose it and…set it in stone.

Immerok…”always ok.”  ♾️👌

Epilogue: Immerok dot com → Immerok.io

As said, .com was a requirement. And we got the .com domain for Immerok. We set up Google Workspace and set up Gmail for our team. We created a small stealth website. Everything seemed great.

Until we discovered that emails we were sending to other Google mail accounts…and receiving from other Google mail accounts were ending up in spam. Emails to/from non-Google mail (e.g., Microsoft) had no problems. We assumed that this would improve over time, and it was due to immerok.com being a fresh domain.

We couldn’t have been more wrong. This problem lasted for weeks. Google Support could not figure out the problem–everything looked normal to them. We did most of our communication with early users via LinkedIn and/or our personal email accounts. We soon learned that even mentioning immerok.com in the email body of an email sent from a non-immerok.com account caused it to end up in spam. We hired a Google Workspace consultant, who did an in-depth check. They couldn’t find anything wrong with our setup. To this date, it is still a mystery to us and to Google.

Anyway, we finally had enough, and changed the primary domain to immerok.io. It solved our email deliverability problems instantly. And that is why we are immerok.io today.

November 9, 2022
Joe Moser
Joe Moser
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