Build something worth naming before obsessing over the perfect name.

Hi there -

Here is this week’s “1 principle, 2 strategies, and 3 actionable tactics” for running lean…

1 Universal Principle

“Build something worth naming before obsessing over the perfect name.”
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Tell me if this sounds familiar…

You wake up in the middle of the night with the perfect name for a new product.

You pull out your phone and run a quick search only to find that the name and/or domain name has already been taken.

You’re devastated and can’t go back to sleep!

I’ve been guilty of prematurely obsessing about product names, domain names, logos, and book covers at the outset of a new project in my past life.

Now, I channel my brain cycles toward building something worth naming before obsessing over the name.

Here’s why.

2 Underlying Strategies at Play

I. Prioritize starting risks before scaling risks.

A good product name, like a good location, does not guarantee success.

Much like you can find bad restaurants in good locations, you can find bad products with good names.

The reverse is also true.

A product’s name, domain name, and logo all fall under scaling risks versus starting risks.

They help a good product grow faster but don’t turn a bad product into a good one. In fact, because they typically come at a premium, they shorten your runway and could accelerate failing.

This is why it’s far more important to prioritize building a good product before finding a good name.

Note: It’s important to emphasize that I’m not advocating picking a bad name. Just don’t obsess over a perfect name or (.com) domain name at the outset.

II. Customers don’t care about your name at the outset.

What do names like Uber, Apple, or Lego tell you about the product? Customers aren’t initially attracted to a name but a promise of something better communicated by your product’s unique value proposition.

This is best illustrated by the food truck shown in the image below. Can you find their name?

The name of the food truck (Chi’lantro) is intentionally less visible than the big banner: Korean BBQ Tacos (UVP).


Because when a foodie is walking down the street, seeing a big banner with a clever product name tells them nothing about why they should walk over and check out the menu. But seeing a clear unique value proposition tells them exactly what they should expect.

3 Actionable Tactics

I. Start by earning attention.

The first battle of any product is earning attention. Start by crafting and testing a compelling unique value proposition (UVP).

Crafting a compelling UVP requires deeply understanding your customer’s problems, wants, and needs. Prioritize those risks over naming.

II. Then, earn trust.

Once you can repeatedly earn a prospect’s attention, channel your energy on racing to deliver value through your solution.

Trust is the next currency to acquire.

III. Finally, optimize your name (if still needed).

As attention and trust compound you start earning revenue and referrals — aka meaningful traction.

Earned traction puts you in a position to buy a better name or domain name to optimize for growth.

That's all for today. See you next week.




P.S. If you’d like to systematically prioritize the right starting risks, check out my upcoming BOOTSTART course.


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