Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Milyli Is Born

What is Milyli? I'm glad you asked.

Fine, you didn't ask and couldn't care less. Since you are reading this blog, I'm going to tell you anyway. All three of you.

In a little bit... but I'll tell you how to say it now: Mih lih lee.

A couple of posts ago I wrote about how hard it was to name a company. I pondered all the wisdom and guidelines from countless other people that have undertaken the same opus.

It was mostly bunk. We followed the bit about choosing a nice and short name with an available domain. But the only other piece of advice that even applies to the name we chose was something along the lines of "Don't name your company something silly sounding. It worked for Google, it probably won't work for you." Yes we used anti-advice. Milyli even rhymes with silly. But we like it and it grows on you because you can say things like "Welcome to the familyli."

The ironic part of the whole thing is that it was one of the very first names suggested. It had meaning (I'm getting to that). The domain was available and yes it is already ours. Milyli. See? =P At first, It just sounded a bit too different. As it turns out, all those naming exercises were just a waste of time. Ah well. What I learned is that you should pick something you like and add the meaning yourself. That's what tag lines are for after all. Or in our case, start with meaning and work back from there. No I will not give you the meaning yet, I'm still getting to it.

Besides, being different is not a bad thing. Milyli hasn't gotten confused with Innatrobe or Techware or RedHat or Microsoft or anything plain sounding like that. People tend to remember the name if not how to spell it. But we got a bunch of the 'misspelled' domains already too, so no problem there. =P

And it has meaning.

I used to work at a company where responsibility was something you had to fight tooth and nail for. The developers were barely able to design the application to modern standards using modern tools without fighting with the president of the company (also product visionary, CTO, lead designer, designer, etc.). Lucky for the developers, unlucky for design, we were able to focus him on design early on. The problem was that all designs had to go through him which meant designs arrived slowly. The upshot of this was that, when we did get a design, we had time to do things right. "Should I breeze through this so I have time to work on another feature or should I do it right," I would ask the dev manager. "We have time," he would say...

"Make It Like You Like It"

And there it is. The meaning. And that's what this entrepreneurial thing is all about for me and my co-founder really. We got tired of working for companies with low barely usable standards for software. We got tired of not designing or working from designs that were not thought out. Tired of wasting time waiting for redesigned features and the extended bug hunts such changes usually involve. We wanted to think out the requirements the first time, develop a clean solution and use the copious time difference to really polish the application. The way I like it is to think about things and make sure they get done right and on time the first time. As much as possible.

In theory, this leads to a better application that is easier to sell and support. Which in turn leads to a growing Rolodex of customers. A side benefit is that those customers aren't fighting with you because your salespeople had to tell them that your application also predicted winning lottery numbers just to sell some licenses.

I also want the company to be more people focused than the companies I have previously worked for. I want to work with and rely on the most talented people and as the owner of a company, I want those people working for me. The best developer being ten times more productive and all that. I want a work environment that I want to work in. Yes, Aeron chairs for all or something equally ergonomic for the same price point. And such.

That all might sound a bit too Spolsky-esk for some. What can I say, it all makes sense to me.