Clearing the Cache

The Game of Names

Naming is hard, but it’s also important. A name is a communication tool that can quickly form a bond of understanding when it’s done well. It might even spark some humor, respect, or admiration if done very well.

A name doesn’t have to be original. Sometimes, making a clever association is a good name. Other times, a play on words is a great name. Here are a few names I’ve come up with that make me smile.

Cousin of One Gene

My cousins on my mother’s side have stayed in touch throughout adulthood. It’s a blessing to enjoy each other’s company and bond separately from our elders. As Facebook grew in prominence, we created a group on the platform to connect. Of the seven of us, three live in Oregon and four live in California.

The name is a play on double meanings. Our shared grandfather’s first name was Gene. And we all share genes since we’re blood related.

We Know Jack

My brother and I grew up playing video games. I’d say that our addition to that hobby has led us to our respective careers in technology. As we played multiplayer games apart from each other, we often invited friends to play with us.

We used a gaming platform Steam and I set up a group to make it easier to organize gaming sessions. As I brainstormed on names, it struck me that the common thing among all the gamers I invited was that they knew my brother.

And another double-meaning name emerged. Thematically, there’s also a video game named “You Don’t Know Jack”. So, I inverted that inspiration to come up with “We Know Jack,” which can mean that we know something and we know my brother Jack.


Part of my job requires me to create names. In programming, you generally have to name functions. One of the ways I enjoy my job is coming up with fun names.

For a product download, we had limited the maximum to 300. One of my interns had built the function to notify me when a customer would exceed the 300. In the notification email, there was a quote from the movie 300, “This is SPARTA!”

When it came time to automatically disable the download once they reached the 300 limit, I called the function to disable the download “Xerxes” because he was the Persian king who killed the 300.


Maybe names are important to me because I got to choose my own name, as did the rest of my family after migrating to America. I told how I chose my name in my best man’s speech for Jack’s wedding.