I remember driving down Interstate 95 some years ago and seeing a billboard for a new computer called the iMac. Being a Mac kind of guy, there was no doubt in my mind that Apple was on the leading edge of personal computers, not only ease-of-use-operating-system-wise, but also in sheer attractive and sexy design. It got me to thinking… and right then and there I should have known better.
At that time, as Scott Specialty Gases, we were not only the largest supplier of EPA protocol gases, we were quite literally defining the leading edge in the production of high accuracy mixtures that virtually guaranteed accurate measurement of all that nasty effluent various industries emit into our atmosphere. Okay, so it isn’t the most glamorous way to make a buck, but hey, someone has to help keep our planet green. In addition to these protocol calibration gases, we had a really slick online supply management system called eScott™ that offered numerous real time, online tools to further help our customer comply with various environmental regulations.
Seeing that billboard, what suddenly crystallized in my mind was a unique “bundle” of environmental products and services that was just crying out to be marketed as iComply. And so I busily crafted persuasive copy presenting the Scott all-inclusive offer to acid rain utilities and various other industries. I had big plans for an extensive marketing campaign, complete with trade advertising, trade show graphics and assorted collateral materials. I even ordered giveaway trinkets emblazoned with an iComply logo. Oh, I tell you, for several days I could scarcely see my reflection in a mirror without seeing the word GENIUS stenciled on my forehead–right up to the time when the VP to whom I reported nixed my entire idea. He told me that iComply was a nonsensical name that no one would understand.
Look, sometimes you just know certain things. I knew… I KNEW… my boss was wrong. I knew he was DEAD wrong. I’m thinkin’ the creative folks in Cupertino would’ve enjoyed a pretty darn good belly laugh over his foolishness, especially when you consider it was the “Bondi Blue” iMac that ushered in a new era of profitability for Apple. Enlightened as I was at the time, even I didn’t realize just how wrong my boss was. I’ve learned to pick and choose the battles I fight in the work place. This wasn’t one of them, but in retrospect it should have been.
12 years later finds me finishing a datasheet for a product we call IGAL™. It’s a new and rather unique system that window manufacturers can use to fill insulated windows with pure krypton, xenon, argon or rare/noble* gas mixtures. IGAL’s major claim to fame is that it is substantially more efficient than other systems currently in use. It allows window manufacturers to save a great deal of rare gas during production–and since rare gases are quite pricey, that translates into BIG $$$ savings.
The product name refers to Insulated Glass and Air Liquide. (We really love acronyms here at Air Liquide.) And unlike some of our acronyms, it makes makes a lot of sense. There is also somewhat of a tie to the electronics “i-world” because it’s the electronics and operating system inside the IGAL box that give rise to the product’s efficiency. One minor problem: our company prefers the French pronunciation, so that ‘eye-gal’ comes out sounding ‘E-gal‘.
Arghhh, I can’t seem to win at this i-business. I know darn well that customers and prospective customers alike, with their iPhone in one hand and iPad or iPod in the other, are going to say iGal… just as naturally as they say iTunes… just as naturally as they would have said iComply. I’m just sayin’.
*Noble gases are odorless and colorless and exhibit a very low level of chemical reactivity. The six noble gases that occur naturally are argon (Ar), helium (He), krypton (Kr), neon (Ne), radon (Rn) which is radioactive and xenon (Xe).