The Name “Beeminder”

Friday, September 16, 2011
By dreeves

A Hello My Name Is sticker

Beeminder has existed in some form since February of 2008, when we made a rather ad hoc tool for a friend to track her weight. The main feature was automated reminders to reply with your number each day, so we called it Kibotzer, the kibitzing robot. We described it like so:

Kibitzer, noun: Someone who chimes in with not necessarily wanted advice.
+ Bot, noun: A machine or program that interacts with you in a vaguely human way.
= Kibotzer: A bot that bugs you about how fat you are.

In 2010 we decided to get serious about this as an actual startup and decided we needed a new name. Too few people knew how to pronounce “kibotzer” or knew what “kibitzing” was.

We filled pages with candidate names [1] until Michael J.J. Tiffany spared us further agonizing by suggesting “Beeminder” (and buying the domain just in case we liked it; thanks Michael!).

How do we love the name “Beeminder”? Let us count the ways:

  1. Beeminder is a “me-binder” — a self-binding tool.
  2. “Beeminder” rhymes with “reminder”.
  3. It’s about “minding your goals” in the “mind your p’s and q’s” sense. (“Bee-mindful”)
  4. Our esteemed co-founder Bethany Soule goes by “Bee”.
  5. Bees are just cute (and hard-working!).
  6. Beeminder sends reminders with a motivational sting. (Thanks to Johnicholas Hines for thinking of this and Julian Schvartzman for improving it.)

UPDATES:

  1. Beeminder helps you make a beeline for your goal.
  2. You use Beeminder because you want to be minded.
  3. Beeminder is sort of a generalization of Sobriety Minders, which are a real thing.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I love geeking out about names so much that I wrote an Onomastic Manifesto on my other blog, Messy Matters. Here’s how the names “Kibotzer” and “Beeminder” fare by my naming criteria:

(The more backfitted explanations for the name we come up with the more I feel like “Beeminder” deserves a green light on Evocativity. And we have “BMNDR” — both as a twitter handle and bmndr.com — for when we need more Brevity. So we’re pretty darn pleased with our name!)

Footnotes

[1] Like “flakeproof” (don’t flake out on yourself) and “goalbugger” (bugging you about your goals, and yes we know how it sounds in British English and some of us considered that a selling point). Some still crack us up make us facepalm, like “funky goal medina” (the date rape drug of goal-tracking software).

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