Sign up to receive 5 free days of our daily summary for tech news.

Special Offer: Try out The Information today for only $10/month for your first 3 months. 

The Art of Creating Great Names

A good company name is like a good song: It somehow sounds familiar even if you’ve never heard it before. Creating such names is no simple trick though. If it were, Karin Hibma and her late husband Michael Cronan wouldn’t be the legends that they are in Silicon Valley.

The couple is responsible for some of the most iconic names and slogans in technology. They’ve named products such as TiVo and Kindle, and developed countless logos and taglines. Their impact in the tech world traces back to the earlier years at Apple, where they did some of the initial design and brand typography work on the Lisa computer (the name, of course, came from Steve’s daughter). About ten years ago they switched from general design work to naming and branding.

Today the competition to stand out in the crowd of apps, phones and tablets is putting even more pressure on product names to stick and make sense.

Ms. Hibma, 63, spoke with The Information about the various naming trends she’s seen come and go in tech, from “IO” names to the silly names to the new trend in no-frills real word names. And she explains why her husband believed Kindle was a better name than Nook.

What Is The Information?

Notes bb3aa5069205d702dda37fc71dc6f1c59df2310c4379304e9f1199f052af4884

Exclusive Articles

We broke it first. Receive original reporting you won't read anywhere else from the largest newsroom in tech.

Notebook b5103017ee163370a1667c9ce59ab0ef023875a17888105d26c185cadf31bb69

Daily news analysis

Every weeknight, we'll send you our reporters’ views on the day’s top tech news—distilled into one email.

Conference calls c9e664e8b96ee347d3e92b8309938f268422b9db98cfabca5c826fbb75054b23

Conference calls

Get access to our reporters and other top executives with monthly deep-dive calls into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles.

Events 499acedd16cffc41445edd76bfd302b2836c2a27419890f17130a6b10e2aa3df

Special Events

For no extra fee, get access to more than a dozen events yearly, from intimate dinners to larger gatherings with marquee speakers.

What else is included in my subscription?

Become a contributor

Share your views and find other subscribers by completing your profile. You’ll be listed in our contributor directory.

Slack community

Discuss topics and current events with our subscriber-only Slack group and share news about your company with other subscribers.

Annual Subscriber only benefits:

Org Charts

Access the only collection of tech company org charts. Our expanding database includes companies like Amazon, Snap, and Uber.

Crypto Newsletter

Our experts investigate the latest in the crypto world to keep you in-the-know about the movements of digital currencies.

Stay up to date on Silicon Valley

Sign up for Jessica Lessin’s (The Information’s CEO & Founder) free Saturday newsletter and also receive a complimentary week of our daily afternoon tech commentary email.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Recent Articles


Lyft Moves to Restrict Employee Access to Customer Data

By Matt Drange

Venture Capital Startups Uber/Lyft

DoorDash Seeking Valuation of as Much as $12 Billion in Fundraising

By Amir Efrati


Silicon Valley’s Progressive Blind Spot

By Jessica E. Lessin


WeWork Finds Keeping Big Customers Can Be Hard

By Cory Weinberg