What is in a Name?

Power of Names


What is in a Name?

The Business of Naming

In a day aboard the daily business I happen to meet a couple of people. Interestingly they call me by different names. Have come to realize, bottom line it depends on how and where we met. So I hear “Tony?” of course that’s the main often. It rings already that that could be some nigga from the hood. We bump shoulders for greetings. Who does that? It’s painful with learners though. Chances are high that they are part of the inner circle. The chaps with whom we belong to the same “nyumba Kumi” cluster. Yes those guys who stare down at you through the bathroom windows of their apartment but never say hi when you nearly collide at the gate. Then down the road somebody hisses “Winston?” Note please that these ones hiss. They don’t shout. They hiss and welcome a conversation. They tend to be official and to their bet we met along the corridors of work or school y extension. It’s awkward but I find myself replying in English. “Yes my name” I say it then shy at what I say. Deep down the street I bump into some guy. We meet face to face on a busy street. He maintains an unapologetic eye contact and extends an open arm for a handshake shouting “Eboyi!” With them it sounds like it’s so strange they found you. Perhaps they have been looking for you all over the town and someone is giving them a bet for their money if they ever found you. It’s my name I nod with recognition. It’s easy when it’s face to face but very hard when someone shouts from the crowd in agitating soprano. The mind takes long to digest and divulge it’s me being addressed here. When it does finally, I sigh, so that that’s my neighbor’s daughter from Kanyamkago village. We share a fence back at the village. A live fence not a dead walled one. We grew up together those days but dint talk to each other as often as we are about to do at this opportunity.

What is in a name? So much is in a name. So much that no one can explain in a minute even if you have watched a thousands words comic by Eddie Murphy staring Jack Mc Call and you can speak a thousand words a second just like him or better who knows?

What is it that is in a name? Businesses are yes separate independent entities ran by individuals. They thrive on names. A name defines a business. Business owners spend fortunes and years building names. Names last. Names mean a lot. Names mean business. It’s why a name matters. Matters a lot when its business we are talking about. Yes we keep mentioning a name not business but names. Its business we are talking about anyway when we mention names.

In one business seminar of the yester days (They called it “Entrepreneurship seminar” I don’t know why they insisted. Perhaps it’s just a name. Or it sounds sophiscated. Polished. Augmented. Specific. Schooled; such words) The comical speaker took an entire three hours. THREE HOURS to discuss “business naming” Getting out, I dint curse sitting through three damn hours but rather concluded business name is just as important as the business itself. In many of his examples, I picked out a few. He said he calls his pet dog Bobby. (Bobby is his former boss, he used to bully him. He thinks he looks like a dog. That resemblance part is a lie) A name he said extends, centralizes or limits your business territory. Mama Jimmy Inn appears like it only serves tea at the village whereas Coffee Global stands out like it’s bound to open franchises in every continent.

Cutting across the industries, Industries’ are obviously there in silence. Of course they are made by something, something that stands out to define them. True its names. Names that talk of businesses that have ruled the industries for ages. It’s how big a name is. A name sums up industries, wraps up competition and make figures look like they are only relevant to the high school calculus tutors not career burdened middle level sales managers.

Talk of the soft drink industry and someone says “Coca cola” then some naughty boy shouts from the notorious corner “Pepsi” Right; those two names define the soft drink industry decades back. Talk of Visa card and Master card and everyone thinks they are the only entities offering credit and debit card services. You thought that’s funny? Think again. Mention social media and half the population of Nairobi will tell you Social media is Facebook with the remainder insisting Facebook is social media. The guys’ upcountry, do they know about Facebook? Wait are they at per that San Francisco and Facebook are related. Are they?


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