Updated: May 26, 2020
Naming a company can be tricky. At least as tricky as naming your child, if not more! You think of many options, but none seem to “ring”. The ring that is unique and wise people everywhere say: "It’ll come.. It’ll come one day when you aren’t thinking about it; you’ll just know it when it comes..” We rolled our eyes and waited for that “opportune moment” to arrive! “Oh, you are quitting and starting a company! Wow, what’s the name?” “What’s your start-up called?!” “Did you decide on a name yet?” In reality, we started brainstorming last year, months and months rolled by. We had our vision, mission, co-working space, break even calculations and everything that was needed to start a company - except for a name. How could we incorporate without a name? How could we introduce ourselves without a name? What’s our identity without a name?
Calming down, we set off. As our To-Do list (read here) mentioned, we HAD to finalise a name ASAP. We created lists. A lot of lists: of words in foreign languages, Indian languages, and portmanteau words. We looked everywhere for inspiration: magazines, lyrics of songs, thesauruses, The Big Book of Company Names. We read words aloud, felt each syllable roll around on our tongues, WhatsApp-ed to friends and family, debated with each other…still waiting for that opportune moment. We had some funny names like Murabba, LalJug, Kalpa, Goya, Kuidaore. We saw people cringe when we pitched these names to them. We cringed seeing them cringe :| The key here is resonance. It had to resonate with us. All these names did not. . . . A few years ago, right out of college, I backpacked solo in North East India for a month. In Assam, I was walking on a road parallel to the banks of the Brahmaputra river. It was a half an hour walk from the town of Tezpur through lush green pathways. It was dusk, and suddenly I saw small random flashes of light. I stopped and looked around. The flashes were all around me. Dozens and dozens of fireflies were flickering intermittently! Then the most magical thing happened, all the fireflies suddenly lit up together in unison for a few seconds before they became random again. I stood there in amazement. This repeated a few times. It was like a performance! On my return to a wired world, I immediately started researching this phenomenon. I was introduced to the concept of emergent behaviour, wherein individual entities come together to form beautiful patterns. Fireflies have an internal clock to light up at their own specific time intervals. So how do thousands of fireflies coordinate with each other? Each firefly nudges its clock a little bit forward to the firefly closest to it, until at one point they all flash together. There’s no central leader commanding the firefly army to behave a certain way. They create a beautiful performance by simply synchronising with their neighbours.
To state another example of emergent behaviour, every year ant colonies in forests traverse a certain fixed path. Individual ants do not know the route themselves, the memory of the path lies in the collective memory of the whole colony and gets carried down the ages. We see emergent behaviour in flocks of birds, schools of fish, symmetry in snowflakes, and so many more. As I was narrating this experience to Sezel one day, the ‘opportune moment’ arrived! We had a name for our company!! Why fire.fly? The phenomenon of the emergent behaviour inspires us. fire.fly resonates luminosity, resilience, self sustaining and importantly an invisible thread that links us to the magical world of human ingenuity. We believe that every individual has their own unique shine, and when they come together, they naturally inspire each other to make wonderful things happen. The world is a better place with the magic of compassion and empathy among people. fire.fly is the wand that brings about this magic. The .fly (dotfly) gives us the vast possibilities of building a brand and rekindling a sense of playfulness while making it unique.