The new name, he said, should should "excite, inspire, and rally."
But what's in a name?
Friedman describes the ingredients in her blog:
- First, she wrote the naming brief, deciding the new name had to to appeal to two similar audiences: software engineers (the talent) and IT managers (the clients).
- She identified the company's core attributes: intelligence, creativity, maturity, eagerness, and "a pinch of nerdiness and gamer enthusiasm."
- She listed naming objectives: power, grace, speed, virtuosity, skill, unobstructed flow, hitting the core of what matters, freedom/no constraints, on demand, gaming/competitive fun, and essence (software, not hardware). Excluded from the list: freelancer, inexpensive, and temporary.
- She listed naming criteria: the new name could be real or invented; English or not; work with a .com extension or not; and be available in international trademark classes 35 (business functions) and 42 (scientific and technological services).
- She brainstormed names and, after three rounds, Dorsal surfaced. "A dorsal fin provides direction, stability and purpose, but is also essential for making fast turns or changes in direction," Friedman says. "Dorsal is also associated with the backbone and ideas of strength, durability, flexibility and so on."
- She confirmed Dorsal wasn't trademarked; it wasn't.
- She confirmed Dorsal.com wasn't reserved; it was. Her client chose instead GoDorsal.com, a URL that "adds the energy of an active verb to the name."
- Last, but not least, she tapped a graphic designer to create a logo. "Early on I drew in pencil the letter A in Dorsal larger than the others and the immediate impression was that the point of the A was the dorsal fin," Friedman says. That idea survived in the final version of the mark. "The change from Restack to Dorsal represents a shift from descriptive to suggestive," Friedman says. "That shift is mirrored in the visual brand, which rejects literal representation in favor of evocative suggestion."