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What’s in a Name? The Journey to Our Name ‘PurpleSlate’

What’s in a Name? The Journey to Our Name ‘PurpleSlate’

You may have wondered how we came up with the name PurpleSlate for our mobile invitation maker app.  Well, it was quite a journey — a hilarious one at that.  It’s perhaps a similar journey other startup, entrepreneurial ventures go through (which doesn’t make me feel like the entire effort was in vain).

At the time I joined PurpleSlate, the name of the app was Beep!  Yes, that’s right, Beep! with an exclamation point.  I really liked Beep!  It was fun, catchy, and used the language device called onomatopoeia, or the naming of something by imitating a sound associated with it.  (Most smartphones have a default beep when receiving incoming emails or messages, so I liked the idea.)

We also did our homework to make sure that the name is not taken by any app existing in the App store.

BUT..The problem we soon found out was that there was a mobile app named Beep, in the chat/messenger category, that was coming up soon. We stumbled upon it while trying to reserve domain names for Beep. Our idea of creating a mobile invitation maker with chat features seemed too close, and the Other Beep appealed to an audience that was primarily interested in, um, a very specialized segment of chatting.  We could not launch an identically-named product that was so close in features.  As such, we had to find another name for our app.

Going back to the idea of onomatopoeia:

I wondered if perhaps we can find the word for Beep in a foreign language.  As PurpleSlate eventually plans to launch in India, I thought:  let me translate Beep! into Hindi.  A visit to Google Translate with the audio option yielded a brilliant word:  Vump (pronounced VOOMP).  I loved the idea, as even in English, it seemed like a combination of the words Vroom and Thump.  However, a discussion with Neha Mohta, founder of PurpleSlate and a native hindi speaker from Kolkata, explained to me that the word Vump would be strange to native Hindi speakers.  Dejected, I had to go back to the drawing board.

But I was still enthralled with the idea of a Hindi language brand name.  I found the Hindi words Amuntran, which means invitation in Hindi, and also Ixat (read as Eksath), which means together in Hindi.  Both of these words received thumbs down.

Then I thought:

All of those product managers in Silicon Valley can’t be that creative — there must be services out there that create brand names (without paying a multimillion dollar branding agency).  Panabee, Wordoid, BrandNabber, and Dotomator helped me find dozens of meaningless, difficult to pronounce, nonsensical words.  Some were intriguing, but most seemed just plain silly.

I liked the idea of the app capturing and sharing moments, so there was a brief consideration of the name Momenter, but this sounded too much like an archiving service or an online antique store.

PurpleSlate it is..

Neha came up with PurpleSlate and the name caught on with me quickly.  I love the use of colors in brand names, and slate engenders the idea of creativity. Neha says she came up with this name while on lunch date with her husband and that the ‘slate’ is where our users will ‘chalk’ out their plans to meet their friends, family and loved ones.

Tell us what you think of our name — we’d love to hear your thoughts!

And sign up here to get notified when we launch.


Posted by Jake Wengroff on July 12, 2015.

Jake WengroffI have served as the Founding Chairman of the Social Media Strategies Summit, and have written for publications such as and InformationWeek. I have been quoted in Time, Reuters, Bloomberg, and other publications on the topics of social media and marketing. If you enjoyed reading this post, join our email list to get free email updates.

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