The strange origin of the names of today's world famous companies

From Apple to Starbucks, the names of the companies we still know have surprising (and sometimes ambiguous) histories behind them.

Pepsi – Coke.

BMW – Buick.

Rolex – Swatch.

All of the brand pairs above, sell essentially the same product, but some people choose one company’s products over another just because they recognize the name “sounds familiar” . or the “name” that the brand will give them. For that reason, many startups go to great lengths to choose the perfect name (and suffer the unpleasant consequences of choosing the wrong one). But while the names of many companies today are chosen to make it easier for customers to identify what the company sells , either to represent the spirit or motto of the company – or simply because the web address contains what it is. That name… still hasn’t been bought by anyone, but some big name companies have an interesting and even controversial history behind their names. Below are a few examples.

The strange origin of the names of today's world famous companies
The company actually had two other names before Amazon was picked up.

Amazon is one of the largest companies in the world today, the most influential and profitable on the planet – a huge achievement when it is less than 25 years old. Starting with selling books, Amazon today sells almost everything in the world. But if it started out as a book-selling company, where did the name Amazon come from?

It is often said that the founder of Amazon – Jeff Bezos – chose the name Amazon because it begins with the letter “A” , and in 1994, the search engines mainly returned search results in table order. letter – means Amazon will show up near the top of the results. Bezos has also stated that he came up with the name Amazon because the Amazon River is the largest river in the world and he dreams of turning his company into the world’s largest bookstore.

But that’s only half of the story. The company actually had two other names before Amazon was picked up. The first is Cadabra, Inc. – as in the mantra “abracadabra”, implying that shopping online is now a very new and magical experience! However, Bezos dropped the name after his lawyer said it sounded like “cadaver” – which means… “corpse”.

Bezos then named his store “Relentless” and even registered the domain (which is still redirecting to to this day). However, many of his friends argue that the name makes his company appear aggressive and threatening.

Considering that Bezos is now the richest person in the world (with a net worth of 0 billion), the name “Amazon” is a no-brainer choice.

The strange origin of the names of today's world famous companies
Apple is a lot better name than any other name we can think of, says Steve Wozniak.

Today, the name “Apple” is synonymous with “computer” , but in 1976 when the company was founded, taking the name of a fruit to name a computer company was obviously quite strange when the Computer companies at the time mostly had technical-sounding names. For example, Microsoft or IBM (International Business Machines). So where did the name Apple come from? Here’s the story Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak wrote in his 2006 book iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult :

“It was a few weeks after we agreed on a name for the company. I remember driving Steve Jobs from the airport along Highway 85. Steve had just come back from Oregon, to a place where he was. called “apple orchard.” It was like a town Steve suggested a name – Apple Computer The first comment that came out of my mouth was, “What about Apple Records?” This was (and still is) was) the name of the Beatles’ record label.We both tried to find more technical-sounding names, but couldn’t think of any more that sounded good.Apple was the better name. a lot more than any other name we can think of.”

That’s the story Steve Jobs confirmed to Walter Isaacson years later. Writing in his 2011 biography of the Apple founder, Isaacson said:

“About naming Apple, [Jobs] said he was “going on a veggie diet.” He said he had just come back from an apple farm, and thought the name was. sounds “fun, lively, and not too scary””.

And everything else has become history. The company’s name became so well known in the computing industry that in June 2007, when Jobs appeared at the Macworld Expo to announce the iPhone, he also announced that the company would be removing the word “Computer” from its name. his call. “Mac, iPod, Apple TV and iPhone. Only one of them is a computer. So we’re going to change the name,” Jobs said.

The strange origin of the names of today's world famous companies
Gap acquired “Banana Republic Travel & Safari Clothing Company” and shortened its name to “Banana Republic”.

In 1978, Mel and Patricia Ziegler founded a company called “Banana Republic Travel & Safari Clothing Company”. The couple got the idea for the store after collecting all kinds of unique clothes from around the world during their business trips. They set up a store in California and sold hunting-themed items, with a hand-drawn catalog depicting adventures. In 1983, Gap acquired “Banana Republic Travel & Safari Clothing Company” and shortened its name to “Banana Republic”. Today, the company has 600 stores worldwide.

So what makes the origin of this company’s name so interesting? In fact, its name hasn’t changed. Many people find the name “Banana Republic” offensive because it means “humiliating” small countries, usually in Africa or South America, whose inhabitants are predominantly brown or tan people. Black, politically unstable with corrupt government run by “puppet ” leaders of foreign institutions, such as powerful American companies.

According to the Griots Republic, the term was first coined by American author O. Henry in 1901 to describe Honduras and its neighbors, which were being exploited by American companies for their natural resources. . In this case, Honduras was used by the United Fruit Company to grow bananas, resulting in the deaths of many of the country’s people. Today, the United Fruit Company is known as Chiquita-yep – the company that has banana-decorated grocery stores across the United States.

Given the negative socioeconomic and exploitative connotation of this name, it is quite surprising that even after 35 years, Gap has not changed the name Banana Republic – and even emphasized it further by truncate the original name of the company. The company’s original founder, Mel Ziegler, has said that he wishes Gap would change the name. In 2012, he said: “I wish they renamed it… the name has nothing to do with what the company did in the first place.”

The strange origin of the names of today's world famous companies
In fact, Starbucks should have been named “Redhook”.

Someone talks about coffee and you most likely think of “Starbucks”. But have you ever asked yourself what exactly is “starbuck” ? The company was founded in 1971, certainly not named after any of its founders. So where did that name come from?

It was one of hundreds that founders Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker considered. In fact, Starbucks should have been named “Redhook,” Bowker recalls:

“At the time, I was composing a bunch of names, and the method I used was to take a list and randomly pick the ones that I thought were promising, maybe 100 or more. In the end I did. I stopped at about six. I was sitting at a coffee shop on First and Virginia Street, and going through them one by one, and Redhook appeared in front of me at the time, I didn’t know it. is the name of an industrial area in Brooklyn. I tend to use names that have a ‘k’ in them. I like the popping sound, the way it cuts through the air.”

Another potential option is “Cargo House,” which Bowker said “would be a terrible, terrible mistake.” Later, Bowker’s advertising partner agent mentioned that he thought words beginning with the “st” sound sounded powerful. As Bowker recalls:

“Someone has somehow come up with an old mining map of the Cascades and Mount Rainier, and there’s an old mining town called Starbo. As soon as I saw Starbo, I, of course, remembered. Melville’s first mate [named Starbuck] in Moby-Dick, but Moby-Dick has nothing to do with Starbucks; it’s just a coincidence that the name sounds pretty good. There are times when you’ll see people remind you of Pequod’s coffee-loving first mate, and then someone says to me, no, it’s not that he likes coffee in the book, he likes coffee in the movie. . I don’t even think Scarecrow Video has a copy of that movie. Moby-Dick has nothing to do with coffee as far as I know.”