Yesterday, Travis Kalanick (@travisk) tweeted the following description of his future plans as an entrepreneur:

"I'm announcing the creation of a fund called 10100 (pronounced 'ten-one-hundred'), home to my passions, investments, ideas and big bets. It will be overseeing my for-profit investments as well as my non-profit work. The overarching theme will be about large-scale job creation, with investments in real estate, commerce, and emerging innovation in China and India. Our non-profit efforts will initially focus on education and the future of cities."

The Twitter-verse immediately went ROFL, because, in trucker slang, the phrase "ten-one-hundred" means, "I need to pee."

Since Kalanick probably didn't intend his new brand name to carry that subliminal message, what is the true meaning behind it?

NOTE: If you're not a programmer, you can skip the next two paragraphs.

My first thought was that since "10100" looks like a binary number, maybe it's code for a number in a different base. However, "10100" is "20" in Decimal, "14" in Hexadecimal, and "24" in Octal. Not much to go on there.

My second thought was maybe "10100" was meant to be ASCII, which is a computer code representing letters and numbers. In ASCII, "14" represents "DC4," a.k.a. "Device Control 4," a nonprintable character. So again unlikely.

So, then, what is the true inspiration behind "ten-one-hundred?"

Simple. 10100 is a shorthand representation of 10 raised to the hundredth power (i.e., 10^100) which, when written out, is:

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

In mathematics, this huge number is commonly called "googol," which is the term that was the inspiration for the corporate brand Google.

Therefore, by naming his fund "ten-one-hundred," Kalanick may be signaling that he intends to compete against Google. That brand interpretation is buttressed by Kalanick's stated intention to focus on China and India, both countries where Google is not the market leader.

Or maybe Kalanick just needs to pee.

Published on: Mar 8, 2018
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.