oPen no mo pen?

May 14th, 2007 by Jeff

The “oPen™” name was originally assigned by the development team as a project name for our interactive, handheld scanning tool. Although the name oPen is certainly a clever double-entendre, it was never intended to be the name of the commercial device. In that capacity the name has a couple of major problems.

Calling it a pen plops it into a mundane category of existing products that embody only a small amount of our functionality. These handheld scanners (e.g. C-Pen, IrisPen, DocuPen, etc.) have a reputation for producing a frustrating and limited user experience. With all of that established baggage already out there, oPen may as well be shmoPen. Who will notice?

The value proposition Exbiblio offers to consumers goes far beyond the functionality of a hand-held portable scanner. That value proposition is likely to exist over time in other form factors like cell phones. Tying that value proposition to a brand name that evokes images of a “pen” is potentially shortsighted. Initial branding discussion within the company yielded the following with respect to oPen brand positioning.

    Positioning – what we offer to each specific customer:
    For users of printed materials, oPen technology provides user-friendly tools that quickly and reliably enable them to infuse their documents with web functionality while enabling them to capture, store, share, annotate and link information.
    Brand Promise – What we stand for in the hearts and minds of our customers:
    Tools that transform paper media into a web portal.
    Key word:

Two insights came out of this discussion. The first was that that our technology should only be embodied in cool tools that are very user friendly. The second was that the product’s commercial name should convey that we are providing portal technology that links the paper and digital worlds.

An internal brainstorming session around naming yielded well over 100 names. The most popular of those are listed below. These and others will be tested for name recall, name pronunciation, top-of-mind associations and connotations, fit with core product positioning, preference and foreign language difficulties. A $1,000 finders fee will be paid to the first person not from Exbiblio who submits a name via the blog that ends up being used with the technology.

Internally generated names (so far):

  • oPen
  • Gotit
  • Nex
  • T10
  • Kai
  • PortaLink
  • Plink
  • Guru
  • Reed
  • Eight
  • Index
  • Linkit
  • Enki
  • Iye
  • Gato
  • TransPortal
  • Connex(io)

21 Responses to “oPen no mo pen?”

  1. Claes-Fredrik Says:

    I like “Echo” too.

  2. Francisco and Paul Says:

    This is too much fun, we better stop now or we’ll spend the whole day inventing words.

    “KeyWord”: a word that acts as the key to a cipher, used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document, of great significance.

    “gotcha!”: Simple, fun, fast, expresses satisfaction at having captured. It is like Gotit, which we like.

    “amalgaMate”: To combine or unite. Related to alchemic transmutation of printed ink into digital essence. Mate as close, usual and familiar companion / tool.

    “lockpick” / “master key”: “Unlock printed text and open the door of the physical document to the digital realm”

    “Magnifier”: Enlarge, enhance, maximize, increase, extend, expand, amplify, intensify.

    “Insighter”: A tool to gain insight?

    “Snippet Wand”

  3. Jeff Bowman Says:

    Good work guys, you are in the contest. I particularly like “gotcha” as more than two syllables is tough to work with at the consumer level. Keep at it.

  4. Adam Says:

    “Scan Stick” (or “Scanner on a Stick”)

    Gotcha! is pretty great I agree…

  5. Mathew Says:

    I like ‘XB’ as well.

    Its short, references Exbiblio, fits onto one key, and is nice to say.

  6. Paul Says:

    Here are some more suggestions:


  7. Claes-Fredrik Says:


  8. Bill Valenti Says:

    ClipStik or DipStik

  9. Claes-Fredrik Says:


  10. Robert Says:

    A few random long-shot suggestions:

    “Blink” / “bLink” : the requisite play on ‘link’, coupled with speed/agility/deftness aspect

    “discoverKey” : a rather hokey attempt at conjuring up, well, the act of encountering new info

    “Textra” / “tExtra” : another portmanteau, intent on conveying the idea of text…and a bit extra

    “Nexi” : a bisyllabic play on ‘Nex’ (which I’d assume is based on ‘nexus’), adding a bit of a proper name form

    Ha. As I look at these now, it makes me realize that naming my child was probably a far easier task!

  11. Andrew Donley Says:

    Hi Jeff, wanted to express that in exploring some logo variations one consideration was to use a creature to associate with Exbiblio. As it is a proven method to associate a brand, team, organization, comany, etc…. with a creature, the owl came to mind, made a nest and hasn’t left yet.

  12. Francisco Says:

    Sorry for crowding on, but this is better than sudoku:

    “inkcyte”: -cyte from Greek ‘vessel.’ Sounds like ‘incite’ (as to encourage or stir up), or ‘insight’
    “inkling”: hint, idea, notion, impression, suggestion, indication.
    “docket”: annotate (a letter or document) with a brief summary of its contents.
    “linkfest”: -fest in nouns denoting a festival. Fun, although it is becoming a web n.0 kind of word
    A derivation of a great previous one (clip) -> “clipper”: an instrument for cutting or trimming small pieces (no nails please). Also a nice boat.

    In Spanglish (that weird mix of Spanish and English), “Zink” where the ‘z’ is pronounced ‘th’ as in Katherine, serves as free association of elemental, think, ink, include.

    Following Andrew’s idea, which I like, and if I may incur in a humor note, I would propose: from the movie Frankenstein, when the creature is born in the castle lab, to substitute the doctor’s scream “It’s alive” for “Ink’s alive!”

    Finally, although tech names tend to be short exabrupts sinning in the fluff side (see twitter, linkedin, skype, etc), please consider also longer beautiful words, with elegant pronunciation, in the best literary tradition of ‘Ex-biblio’. Just to keep the trendsetting flair even in the name.

  13. Nancy Says:

    It’s obvious: “Portable”

  14. Paul Says:

    “líbero”: With accent in the ‘i’. Latin and Spanish, means free.

    “wanderer”: Move in a leisurely, casual way. Related to wand.

    “extenographer”: The ex-biblio’s stenographer for the XXI century

    “latticer”: Transforming the underlying fabric of space-time-text. From lattice

  15. Lauren Says:

    A suggestion came from Martin for a name consideration of the device:

    Qi™ – pronounced ‘key’, an alternate spelling of ch’i which means ‘life force’ or ‘spiritual energy.’
    Ch’i™ was also mentioned as a possibility.

    I think Qi™ is great. It’s catchy, the double entendre is clever, and the positive meaning behind it reflects the company.

    A quick online search doesn’t show any tech device or product with the name.

  16. Mathew Says:

    i really like that name too. Also, two letters.

  17. Claes-Fredrik Says:

    I like it too. BTW, it’s the Chinese word for the Japanese chi.

  18. Martin Says:

    For the record, this name was proposed to Exbiblio by a friend of mine – didn’t originate with me. I, too, think it is very promising.

  19. Francisco Says:

    Qi is simply beautiful.

  20. Francisco Says:

    My last blog entry, I promise:

    “Coda” or “Codex”: I just like how they sound. Related to manuscript text in its archaic sense. Play well with its function code (decode) and Ex (of ExBiblio). It could even be Coda the scanner and Codex the repository (the manuscript).

  21. Don Cuniff Says:

    Qi is a great name but it needs a translator from a marketing point of view. Therefore, the full marketing name should be

    The Qi NexPen

    my .02


    I’m ready to take delivery.