(And Why Big Companies Are Just as Happy We Don't Work for Them)

To: Inc. Edit Staff

From: George

Subject: The Name Game

I need your help for an FYI item. It seems that General Mills is introducing a new cereal. Not just any cereal, mind you, but a "delicious multigrain cereal." Its principal selling point is that it features "three great tastes" in every bowlful: crisp corn,

crisp rice, and -- you guessed it -- crisp wheat. Needing a name for this stuff, General Mills hired a hotshot consulting firm in Sausalito, Calif., Lexicon Naming, which tackled the assignment using "a combination of structural linguistics and personal creativity," or so it says here in its press release. The project took more than a year to complete. And the winner? Not so fast, guys. First, we're going to see what we can do. We're going to tackle the assignment the way any self-respecting small company would -- seat of the pants. In an hour. No structural linguistics allowed. Just tell me what you think would be a good name for the only cereal that "gives you THREE wholesome grains in one deliciously crisp cereal."

One hour later . . .

A.M. Hat Trick Triboro Treats

Amazing Grain Mother of All Cereals Tri Cobb

Arise! Multigrain Trifecta

Awake! MyGrains Tri-Grain

Basic Three Power Grains Trim

Basix Right Pix Trinity

Crisp Grains Snackles Trio

Crispoids Start Triples

Crispy Cubed Start-up TripleCrisp

Crunchers Tasty Morsels Triple Threat

Good-4-You Threebies Triplex

Good Morning 3-Free Triplix

GreatStart 3-Sum Triptix

Grist from the Mills Thrice Crispies Uno, Dos, Tres

Groats Treble Crisps We-Be-Three

Harvest Tribeca Whole-Sum-3

And the winner is . . . Triples. From the press release: "According to Will Leben, professor of linguistics at Stanford University and director of Lexicon's linguistics program, Triples has a number of strengths as a name. First, the word has a positive meaning: 'an amount three times as much or as many.' Second, Triples offers positive associations, such as a triple in baseball or triplets. Third, in its pronunciation, both syllables begin with stop consonants; the t and p help to reinforce a crackling sound. And finally, it's easy to say and remember." Inc.'s editorial assistant, Vera Gibbons, couldn't agree more. She came up with the same name in 13 minutes.