• David Verhaag

What's In a Name? Hint: it's not the answer to the old joke

There is an old dad joke, what do you get when you cross an elephant and a rhino?

Wait for it.


That’s a bad joke. And it sounds a lot like Olifano. But, much to my Dad’s disappointment, that is not how we chose the name of the company.

There are a few early steps in starting a company that are a lot of fun. One of them is choosing a name. Even in the early days when you have the foundation of the idea you need to start calling it something. Here is the short story of Olifano.

My wife and I were at a bar.

Wait for it.

Okay, not really a joke. We really were at a bar. Specifically Red Rock, a Salt Lake City brewery with a location in Park City. We were talking about the company I was starting and the characteristics of the solution I had started to build.

The solution would be smart. Intelligent. It would be a solution that helped people remember things they had read. It would help them remember the locations of things that they need for their work. It would be predictive, almost a sixth-sense. It would be supportive, always at the ready. It would help reinforce a company’s community of employees. It would help people see and make connections through their work that they might not otherwise see. It will help people do their best work.

Then we saw Red Rock Elephino (el-uh-fine-oh) on the menu. The logo is an elephant balancing on some hops. AH! Elephants have all the characteristics I was thinking of for the software! Intelligent. Great memory. Sixth sense. Supportive. Community-oriented.

Elephants also have many of the characteristics of the type of company I want to build. Elephants form tight-knit groups and devote time to taking care of each other. They demonstrate a great deal of empathy for one another. They leave an enduring impression on people. While they can be powerful and determined they can also be playful and family-oriented. Just check out those baby elephant videos!

So we had a direction but... “Elephino” was the name of a beer. So we ordered a round and kept thinking.

My last name is originally Dutch so we looked up the translation for “elephant” in Dutch and it is “olifant”. After some quick research on available domains and alternate meanings, we married the Dutch translation and the sound of the beer name and “Olifano” (ol-if-on-o) was born. Later, I found what I think is a wonderful logo and there you have it.

What’s in a name? What we do, who we want to be and a couple of beers.

If you haven’t already, please follow the Olifano Company Page on LinkedIn. We have some exciting announcements coming soon.

And if you're in Park City, hit me up. I'll buy the beer.

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