Your Start-up Name Matters (A Lot)

Soon after Livestream CEO Max Haot launched his live video broadcast site in 2007, he realized the power of the company's name to drive (or impede) growth.

Video Transcript

00:00 Max Haot: I remember the naming process with the co-founders. It took probably a weekend. Well, the criteria was to find something we thought was great, but it turned out that we were wrong.

00:18 Haot: And we put that service out there called Mogulus and we were seeing bloggers starting to use it and then they would stop using it because they didn't have the content, they didn't have the audience, they didn't have the know-how. But then we found event owners were starting to use our service. And then we would see that at bigger audience, the content was more compelling because it's an event. It's already there, you just capture the event.

00:51 Haot: It became very clear that helping events extend themselves beyond the four walls of the event, help them live stream on mobile device and on the web, is our goal and our mission.

01:09 Haot: I didn't have... Nobody came and sat me down and said, "That name is stupid and you should change it". I think I woke up one Saturday and realized, "You know what? I don't wanna be the CEO of Mogulus anymore. I want to be the CEO of a brand that is really impressing people and I think is right".

01:25 Haot: So, we took the idea... I took, privately at that time, the idea of, "Okay, it needs to be descriptive". And so, if you look at what we do, there's not that many different names you can find. Live-video... There was a word 'webcasting' used in the '90s, but we didn't think that was... The real word that people used in the newspaper and media is 'live-streaming'. I started to then talk to the co-founders about three or four name ideas and immediately they were like, "Yeah, you're right". Also World Cup there, the feedback that they had received that we hadn't talked about.

01:58 Haot: I remember we placed the first bid at $50,000 to buy it to an auction platform. Then we got a response, "No, we won't... That much". Then we placed another bid and so on, and we ended up agreeing to purchase it for about $100,000 plus the broker's fee, which at the time, when I was telling people, they were like, "$100,000 for a domain name, are you crazy?" But if you think about it, it's the best marketing investment I've ever made.

02:27 Haot: Once you realize that you don't like your name anymore, there is only one thing you wanna do. As quickly as possible, finish this process and have this new name that you're proud of but also you want the company to grow into.