The birth of a business, like the birth of a baby, is usually accompanied by wrangling over a name. When 17 employees of Intel Corp. broke away last year to form what is now Sequent Computer Systems Inc. of Portland, Ore. they threw a "Name the Company" party for some of the community's leading businesspeople. Each guest was invited to suggest a name for the company.

The company's founders eventually picked Sequel out of 50 suggestions offered, but later altered it to Sequent when a search revealed that Sequel is the trademark of a British corporation's hardware products.

"It was a lot of fun, and it was a nice way to celebrate the end of the process of starting a new company," says Larry Wade, Sequent's co-founder and vice-president of marketing. "We had just resigned from Intel, and the party was an expression of relief to get under way."

The BYOB party was held in the empty building Sequent chose to start operations. Wade notes that the walls were covered with plain paper and felt-tip pens dangling from strings. While guests wandered around and munched on hors d'oeuvres, they scribbled creative titles for the fledgling high-technology company. The Intel defectors, dubbed "The Gang of 17" by the press, received such suggestions as Extel, Outel, Spintel, Exodus and N<2>C<2> (for "No Name Computer Company").

"When we changed the name from Sequel to Sequent, we threw another celebration," says Wade.

Some people will use any excuse to party.