The CNO problem

Mati Horovitz
Cloud Computing
March 15, 2022

The CNO problem

One of the big problems of a product company is the shortage of CNO people. Do you ask what it is? Well, this is my acronym for 'Chief Names Officer' who is in charge of the names of the products and features in the company.

But in fact, it's a non-existent role because they didn't give it a name😉.

The name of a product has a deep meaning that we do not even notice. Want an example?

Without stopping to read, guess how many apps are installed on your smartphone.

If you do not know the number you may be surprised to find around 80+. This is the average. And how many of the apps are phone dialer apps? One or two. So why is this device called a Smartphone? And not a Small Computer?!

If you are not young you should remember the days of the "PDA", (Personal digital assistant) which was the name that determined who thought it would be very interesting to market a digital personal assistant.

But the adoption rate was relatively slow. In those days I opened an online store for PDAs, and people would ask, what exactly is it? What can be done with it?

Keep in mind that in those days the desktop computer was still big, and people were more technologically challenged than it is today, and the small assistant sounded a bit like a "pocket washing machine" And the natural question is what can be done with it?

In contrast, a "phone" was a product that people knew and understood, and as soon as some genius CNO changed the name to "smartphone" people began to prefer a smartphone over a fool one. And even when Steve Jobs stunned the world with the wonderful device whose most functionality is not a phone call, he announced an iPhone.

And this is what a product company encounters throughout its life, it produces new things, but does not know how to call the product and feature by the right name. In a name that everyone understands.

Think of the name Elementor, to me it is ingenious. Because, among other things, it makes it possible to perform a nickname like 'Elementorist' (An Elementor Expert) who already appears today in job positions. But that name did not come easily at all, I joined Elementor after the Brit (the Jewish celebration when the baby's name is given) (😜), but I was able to hear the echoes from the discussions and suggestions that were behind that name. And this is not just a one-time challenge on setting up the company, but a challenge that accompanies a product company all the way. For every feature, we want to give a name, on the one hand non-generic, and on the other hand, something that makes the 'click' instantly.

The main message I learned along the way, is that an inaccurate name for a feature can frustrate marketing. That is in other words also the opposite, if you have created something that is really good, and people are not enthusiastic about it, you need to go back to the market and check what is the terminology that people already using in this domain.
Dedicated to Ariel Klikstein The CNO.

Mati Horovitz

Full Stack Squad Manager @ Elementor

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