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From MeetHook to Postitute: How Many Names Did it Take to get to HearBy?


One of the most agonizing and frustrating parts of starting a new company, band, or even person is coming up with the name. It was no different for us.

A name has to communicate what your company does, be memorable, sound good, and also not be taken. Those first three are hard enough, but the last one gets more difficult every day–more companies are founded, more names are taken. Plus in the tech space, almost every conceivable url domain has been bought and camped since the early 2000s. So even if a company isn’t operating under your potential name, chances are someone already owns “” and they want several thousand dollars for it.

This is why so many companies have drifted towards unorthodox spellings:,, and, are just a few examples. So when we sat down to name HearBy, “HearBy” it took us a couple months of running through a lot of terrible names to get there.

Below we present some of the good, the bad, and the undeniably stupid names we considered before we arrived at what you see on the masthead:

The overtly sexual ones:

  • MeetHook
  • Hookspot
  • Postitute
  • Skimpulse
  • Bonmo
  • Tiptect
  • Tiplist

The ones where we tried to replace “w” with two “v”s:

  • vveb
  • vvire
  • Novv
  • Novvel

The Latin American ones:

  • Peakador
  • Survéza
  • Piña
  • Piñya
  • Pinto
  • Postata
  • Bolo
  • Piqant

The Italian ones:

  • Guidite
  • Guidita
  • Bizcotti
  • Buzzcotti
  • Sharetto
  • Postente
  • Sharo
  • Rave-ioli

The ones that sound like diseases:

  • Daptic
  • Spotstac
  • Listerial
  • Gobo

The ones that definitely would have gotten us sued:

  • Refn
  • Pinshare
  • Mapster

The ones that sound like synonyms for vomiting:

  • Recho
  • Yuproar
  • Barkout
  • Barkup
  • Binup

And the ones that are real words just spelled poorly:

  • Topick
  • Obzerve
  • Piqasso
  • Refind
  • Spique (pronounced like “speak”)
  • Heatre
  • Placemint
  • Spottes
  • Favered
  • Populaite
  • Upror
  • Megafone

And that’s barely even half of them. If you ever have to enter the naming process, make sure you give yourself an ample amount of time. Because if you don’t, you’ll probably spend much more trying to sell something called “Barkup”.


The Text Recommendation: HearBy’s MacGuffin


A MacGuffin is a plot device in movies and literature that isn’t all that important to the story but kickstarts the characters into doing something interesting. Take the Sorcerer’s Stone in Harry Potter, “Rosebud” in Citizen Kane, or the titular Maltese Falcon, those are classic MacGuffins.

The MacGuffin for the HearBy story looks a little bit like this:


I’ll bet you a hundred shares of our (valueless and imaginary) stock that you’ve participated in a text exchange like this in the past month.

Matt and I both went to colleges away from home that drew in kids from all over the world, then moved to a completely different city after graduating. I’ve got my hometown friends, my college friends, and my new city friends and we’re all constantly traveling and asking each other stuff like:





I’m always happy to help out my friends and it’s validating to feel like an authority on the places I know, but I often felt like I was giving the same stock responses. Wouldn’t it be easier if there was just a place where I could list out where I would recommend they go in the first place?

Matt described having the exact same experience when I met him. We thought there had to be an easier way to share info like this on a wider scale.

We tried making custom Google maps, but those were clunky and would require a map for every city I’d been to. We tried writing lists in Foursquare, but there’s no way to compile both of our lists onto one map. We found a new app called Posse that let you mark your favorite places, but only solved a couple of the problems with FoursquareYelp is so flooded with opinions that any new review is just a drop in the bucket, and don’t even think about finding your friends there.


Google Map with a late stage STI

So we started talking about what our ideal solution would do. It would:

  1. Let you see all of your friends’ favorite places and why they like them.
  2. Compile the favorite places all of the other sources (blogs, magazines, celebs) you might be interested in so you wouldn’t have to search constantly for Jonathan Gold’s 101 or all the places Anthony Bourdain‘s been.
  3. Have information on both a list and a map to show you what great places are near your current location (or any location).
  4. Avoid a numerical rating system like Yelp, which can unjustly quantify the merits of a given place.
  5. Be embeddable and emailable, so you could post your own list map on a blog or website or even email it to someone without an account.

That’s when we thought, why don’t we try to make that?

Stay tuned for the next post for all the interesting things involved in “making that”…