Product Design

The Name Game

Co-Founder
Richard Perrott
on
October 24, 2017

“So why’d you choose the name WatchTower?”

I’d estimate that 1 in 50 people ask us this.

I like that ratio.

It signals that our name doesn’t sound like every other “insurtech” company out there. Conversely, it’s a small enough percentage to suggest it’s not a distraction.

Nevertheless, we felt compelled to share the line of reasoning behind the name WatchTower in the event it’s helpful — or interesting — to others.

First, what not to do

We’d grown a bit tired of startups self-identifying as lowercase adverbs.

TechCrunch summarized how most new companies compromise during their name search due to fatigue.

"Startups put great effort into finding the perfect name. Ideally, it should be short, memorable, descriptive, and easy to pronounce.
Names that meet all the criteria are commonly taken, however, so most founders find a compromise. They settle on a creative misspelling, add a word or just string together sounds they like."

I can’t think of a more erratic approach than stringing together random sounds to name your company. Nothing screams “high performance culture” like a misspelled company name, right?

We decided early on that we weren’t going to settle.

We used science!

Instead, we agreed that our company’s identity should be associated with a strong noun.

It’s well understood that the human brain remembers pictures better than words. So it stands to reason that it’s easier for people to recognize a word they already associate with an image, rather than something abstract.

A strong noun accomplishes that. It places less burden on the person hearing the name because it relies on memory recognition instead of recall.

Recognition is usually considered to be “superior” to recall…in that it requires just a single process rather than two processes. Recognition requires only a simple familiarity decision, whereas a full recall of an item from memory requires a two-stage process…”

Simply stated, a strong noun requires less brain power.

Sure, a name is what you make of it, but it helps to have a head start.

We used logic

WatchTower also passed the “bar test” (you can say it in a loud bar and the other person will understand). It’s easy to hear once, remember, and Google later.

It’s why we exist

Above all else, WatchTower conveys oversight: an idea that’s central to our purpose.

We started this company to connect, and empower, this industry so that insurance works when people need it.

Too many mistakes occur today due to the disconnected, manual nature of the employee benefit insurance deal flow. And those mistakes have a costly impact to real people’s lives.

We exist to break that paradigm.

Our first step toward accomplishing the vision for a modern, interconnected deal flow is a cloud-based platform to support the distribution process between brokers and insurance companies.

We aim to lower transaction costs while improving the experience. Win-win.

But this is just the first step.

As transactions occur on the platform we’ll be able to provide the first hyper local view of what’s actually happening in the employee benefit insurance marketplace. Who’s writing business? Who’s renewing business? Who’s losing business? We’ll have this data, and as a neutral third party player we’ll be uniquely positioned to answer these questions objectively.

As the platform grows our vantage point will elevate higher. The hyper local perspectives will accumulate into a bird’s-eye-view of the insurance market. Macro plan design and pricing trends will become available in real time for the first time ever.

To us, the name WatchTower represents this elevated position; to help the industry identify shifts on the horizon that are much harder to see from the ground floor.

So what’s in a name? 

A little science, logic, and an unobstructed view of what’s possible.

For those wondering what the second place name was: It was “Benfuego”.

I think we made the right decision.

Go team go
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