This is a bit of a trite thought, but: Can it be that company names actually matter? Consider some examples:
- Microsoft: stands for "microprocessor software". Still the dominant software vendor for descendants of the original microprocessor. Never made commercially successful hardware.
- Intel: stands for "integrated electronics" (chips.) Upon commoditization of DRAM, successfully pivoted to microprocessors – a harder-to-design, easier-to-differentiate kind of chip. Growth slowed when less "vertically integrated" competitors emerged, with both chip manufacturing (fabs) and circuit design/"IP" (CPUs, GPUs etc.) getting commoditized (TSMC + ARM is cheaper than Intel.) Had/has a consumer product division which was never successful.
- Google: "a very large number", does "things that scale". After its original service, web search, had success with webmail and a smartphone OS. Not known for particularly attentive customer support (support doesn't scale.)
- Amazon: "plenty", does "things that scale". Originally an online retail company, had success with e-book readers and "cloud infrastructure". Does everything it can so you never have to talk to support, which doesn't scale.
- Samsung: "three stars", the world "three" representing "big, numerous and powerful". Indeed they are, in a wide variety of areas.
- Facebook: a one-product company. Buys up other messaging, sharing and social networking companies so people can't flock elsewhere. Facebook phone tanked.
- Twitter: another one-product company.
- Apple: name stands for sweet stuff (say loyal users to befuddled me.) Used to be called "Apple Computer", renamed to plain "Apple" in 2007. Successfully incorporated device and chip design, server- and client-side software and retail into its business.
- IBM: international business machines. A long-time near-monopoly in business computing, still going relatively strong in data storage systems, job schedulers and other corporate IT stuff. No considerable success in any consumer market despite the IBM PC being the first wildly successful computer for consumers (PC division eventually sold to Lenovo.)
- The Walt Disney company: vigorously lobbies for copyright protection for characters created during Walt's days. Few characters created after Walt's death are nearly as successful; arguably the most successful ones came from acquiring Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Money spent on buying Pixar probably could have been saved if the company didn't fire John Lasseter but instead let him develop his ideas about computer animation. Would Walt have failed to see the potential?
- Toyota: originally "Toyoda", a family name. Today's CEO is a founder's descendant. The founder's first name is not in the company's name. The company does not seem weakened by the founder's demise.
Some of my Google/Wikipedia-based "research" might be off. And I doubt that founding a company called "Huge Profits" would necessarily net me huge profits. However:
- The company name often reflects founders' vision.
- Such a vision doesn't change easily, especially if a company is successful – because success is convincing/addictive, and because an organization was by now built around that vision.
- Once the founders are gone, the vision becomes even harder to change because nobody has the authority and confidence. (Indeed one way in which organizations die, IMO, is through the continuous departure of people with authority that are not succeeded by anyone with comparable authority. Gradually, in more and more areas, things operate by inertia without adapting to changes.) Steve Jobs had to come back to Apple Computer to rename it to just "Apple".
So if you're the rare person capable of starting a successful company, and you insist on it being a huge success and not just a big one, make the vision as unconstrained as you can imagine.
P.S. For investment advice taking company names into account, I recommend Ian Lance Taylor's excellent essay titled Stock Prices.