#NameCO – just vote and see what happens

Looks like there were over 100 submissions for the effort to come up with a moniker for Colorado’s technology scene. Those names are now in a voting mode for about a week. Go here to allocate your ten points across some of the names you like the most and to check out the leader board.

I’ve heard and read a few grumblings that we should get back to doing stuff and building a reputation instead of trying to come up with a name artificially. While there is some merit to that argument and something that resonates with me personally, my view is that having a consistent name for “us” can’t be a bad thing if it happens to be one lots of us love and it happens to stick. So, why not try? It’s not as if a ton of effort is actually being spent doing this. I think the folks who are organizing it know full well that it could fail. So what – it could also work – so why not? Nobody is officially changing anything – this seems to me to just be an effort to try to create a groundswell and some consensus. There is no man behind the curtain.

Clearly, there is some interest in this. Over 100 names have been suggested so far, and most of them are not jokes. Some are, and that’s great. You get to laugh a little too.

I travel around and interact with other startup communities fairly regularly. I interact with investors and entrepreneurs from all over the country. Here are a couple of things that I’ve heard that drive me a little nuts.

1. “I’m in Denver today.” – This happens often when people come to Boulder. After all, they fly into Denver so that’s where they are, right? This isn’t a Boulder vs Denver thing, it’s just a confusion thing. Having a single name for our technology center (which clear spans from Boulder to Denver) would help with this phenomenon. Nobody says I’m going to San Jose when they mean they’re going to Mountain View. They’re just going to the Valley. It widens the geography and amplifies the signal of the region. I’d rather they just say “I’m going to Colorado.” – it’s more accurate and it ties us together nicely. John Ives actually suggested this moniker – not bad. But think about this for a second. When you hear “San Francisco” or “Silicon Valley”, if you’re thinking about technology centers, you interpret them as the same thing if you’re like me. They’re both just names commonly understood names for the same hot spot of innovation and technology.

2. “Oh, Colorado, yeah, you guys have some catching up to do with places like The Research Triangle“. I’m sure it’s great in North Carolina and all, but I really do suspect that people have simply somehow heard of Research Triangle and therefore assign it some automatic additional credit. Everything coming out of that area goes by Research Triangle. It’s consistent, so instead of hearing “This happens in Raleigh” and “That happens in Durham” and “That company is from Chapel Hill”, we instead consistently hear about Research Triangle companies. In fact, Research Triangle is an eight county area. They’ve established a brand for their community. I had even heard of it years ago, but I couldn’t tell you how. I suppose Techstars could just be that unnamed thing that collects a bunch of mentors and funds early stage startups, but it wouldn’t quite have the same brand equity nationally if that were the case. Names help. They matter.

Whatever. Go vote or add your own names and maybe one day we’ll get some consistent branding going for this great community that we’ve all helped to build.

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