The Naming of Things

Fascinating article about the product naming industry {new york times}:

He administered a questionnaire to 150 Stanford and Berkeley students, asking them questions like: Which sounds faster, “fip” or “fop”? Leben found a consensus. “Fip” was faster than “fop.” Why? Because of the way the sounds were generated in the mouth, Leben says. “Fip” feels lighter and faster because the vocal tract is open only a small amount. There is less acoustic substance for “fip” than there is for “fop,” the pronunciation of which causes the jaw to drop and the tongue to lower, creating a heavier, more powerful sound.

Reminds me of this episode from the Startup podcast, How to Name Your Company, in which business partners Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber talk with friends, family, and professional namers to come up with a name for their new podcasting company.

How Campaigns Target & Customize

Interesting piece about the Obama campaign’s efforts to target their email campaigns to different subscribers based on demographics, past donations and other variables.

Campaigns are increasingly tailoring their messages — and their funding requests — using massive databases of personal information about potential voters. Here are six variations of a Thursday night message from the Obama campaign, based on emails submitted by 190 recipients across the country.

“Message Machine: You Probably Don’t Know Janet” {propublica}