Think carefully when naming your app.(

over 8 years ago from Lete Pacey, ok at design

  • Paul GellerPaul Geller, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

    Hi. I'm the creator. I went to college for International Politics and have an Ayn Rand tattoo (It's the cover of Atlas Shrugged but with my cat instead of Atlas holding a meatball instead of the globe... on a plate of spaghetti.) I once took a class called Life Cycles of Communist Regimes at Columbia University (which was not the only political theory class I took, mind you), so I have a pretty decent understanding of what Socialism means (in theory). From a strictly clinical perspective, my thought processes was as such:

    "Wouldn't it be funny if there were a social list-building application, where we could let the community build lists together?"

    Originally I called it Commulist. Not joking. But we thought Socialist was easier to say.

    In case you are wondering, I consider myself a practical libertarian, but don't devalue the need for a social safety net even if it turns out to be a less-than-efficient use of money.

    From a theoretical standpoint, Communism has never existed (by it's very nature communism must occur world-wide and in inevitable fashion.) Thus the "volunteerism" of Lenin (where the elites forced communism onto the "proletariat") was not truly communism and nothing that came after that (Stalinism, Maoism, Castro-ism?) was either.

    I am also keenly aware that Socialism, which some (mistakenly) think of as a watered-down version of Communism, is potentially more extreme than Communism, which is defined by "public ownership of resources." All of that being said, political ideology is not to be blamed for the hardships of a people. It is the corruption of their leaders. I agree with Machiavelli in that a "Just Prince" is the most effective form of government. The problem is that there is no such thing as a "Just Prince," because power corrupts. And so we find ourselves having an argument of what terrible political system is the least terrible and how do you keep leaders from being corrupt.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy my social list-building app, Socialist ( and don't lose too much sleep over the message that it sends. Because if it is sending a message, it's not that "Socialism is a preferential form of government to Capitalism." It's that Socialism the punchline to my joke.

    Here's my hilarious tattoo. Objectivists unite! Or go it alone. Whatever.

    16 points
    • Juan SolanoJuan Solano, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

      Thank you very much for the reply. I am glad you joined the conversation. I personally don't think the name is bad or good. People and your user acquisition will tell you whether it was a good or bad idea. And as they say "There is no such thing as bad publicity"

      But I was more interested in knowing the WHY you took the decision to name your app with such controversial name. You could probably understand deeply the theory of a political movement (which from your response I don't doubt) but that doesn't mean the public/your users will get the same message.

      The question is more related to marketing than what actually socialisms or/and communism means. How did you think the public will get your brand? What would be their top of heart or mind when they encounter your brand? Did you think it was dangerous? What positive connotations will that bring to your brand? Or maybe you think the controversy would actually attract more people?

      Thanks and I hope you get some more little time to expand.

      1 point
      • Paul GellerPaul Geller, over 8 years ago

        I think we'll learn our branding lessons a few weeks from now.

        The potential controversy played little role in our want or need for virility and user on-boarding trajectory/velocity. It was not even a thought that controversy over political identity would drive traffic or downloads. However, I am 100% sure that it is driving additional installs at this point.

        The main considerations in naming that app were:

        1) Does it describe what we do? Yes. It's a tool for social list-building. 2) Are there interesting presentation opportunities? (for instance, could we acquire the domain Yes. 3) is it fun? I think it is. You might disagree though.

        I think anyone trying to build a brand should be cognoscente of the potential for controversy in selecting a product name but should not shy away from controversy if the first three goals are overwhelmingly met, and if it is not blatantly offensive. Is the name of our app controversial? Maybe. But is it patently offensive? I don't think so, but offensiveness is usually judged by the community in which we reside. I work and live around reasonable people, some of whom may be politically active and some of whom may not be. I don't think they would find this offensive, though maybe ill advised. I'll take that risk any day. I am also a citizen of the Internet and so are the users we intend to attract. As far as this community is considered, "Socialism" isn't even in the ballpark of offensive. I think we took a reasonable risk and so far it's paying off.

        I think it would be really interesting if ended up as the top result in Google for "Socialist." Then I wonder if those that find the name controversial or have negative feelings towards Socialism will think we are promoting a political ideology or watering it down.

        5 points