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Twitter logo The micro-blogging website unveiled an altered version of the bird icon; New Larry is a deeper color blue, with three feathers instead of four as well as a more upward flight trajectory. He seems more serious than Old Larry.
Twitter logo The micro-blogging website unveiled an altered version of the bird icon; New Larry is a deeper color blue, with three feathers instead of four as well as a more upward flight trajectory. He seems more serious than Old Larry.


Twitter was almost Twitch, and other naming oddities Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz. Download our app here.

Strange but true: How 16 companies got their odd names

Do you ever wonder how some of the most famous companies found their odd names? Inspiration has come from a range of places, from Gulliver’s Travels to a pet bulldog, reveals this Business Insider piece looking at how 16 of the strangest company names came to be.

Twitter was originally called Status, according to the piece, but its founders wanted something to better describe what it was about. Turning to the dictionary, they came up with Twitch, which didn’t bring to mind “the right imagery.” A further search yielded Twitter, and we all know how that stuck.

Among other companies, Yahoo, the piece says, was named “more for its literary definition than for its acronym, Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.” The literary definition referred is the primitive creatures known as Yahoos in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, according to Business Insider.

That pet name? It’s Zynga, which was named after founder Mark Pincus’s American bulldog, Zinga. The domain name with that spelling wasn’t available, but it was spelled Zynga, and thus was the company name born.

The piece also reveals what Bebo is an acronym for, and which company’s name was actually meaningless...as long as it began with the letter M.

For other looks back at Twitter’s naming, and other monikers that were under consideration, check out this piece and this one and this one.

Thoughts on Small Business Saturday

Google or search Twitter for news about “small business” and many top hits will be about the upcoming U.S. Small Business Saturday, following Thanksgiving weekend.

It’s the third year for the initiative aimed at pushing shoppers to spend their money at small businesses. Where it was once in the shadow of Black Friday’s big-store shopping push, it has gained its own presence, says this Associated Press piece on The Washington Post site.

It’s certainly been a marketing success for American Express, which was behind the initiative, agree many, including these pieces on Inc. and on Boston.com. As for small businesses, well, it simply can’t hurt.

“The reason why this event is getting the coverage it is is because everyone loves small businesses and there's no reason to not shop small,” writes Jason Keith at Boston.com.

“It makes local communities come together, support one another and improve the local economy. It's good for everyone, with zero downside. That's the genius and the power of this campaign.”

Sex-toy retailers scoring on NHL lockout

Do retailers of sex toys, lingerie and the like have the NHL lockout to thank for a spike in sales? Some think so, according to this piece in the Huffington Post, quoting the Toronto Sun. Or maybe it’s just part of a larger trend thanks to a tough economy, suggests the Huffington Post, when people rein in spending and find  other activities to pass their time.


Business mentor opportunity

In the early days, a company can use advice and support. The Canadian Youth Business Foundation is offering young entrepreneurs an opportunity to work one-on-one with a business mentor for six months through its CYBF moMENTum program. The offer’s open to the first 60 eligible applicants in Greater Toronto, Hamilton and lower mainland British Columbia. Applications open tomorrow. For more information, click here.

Tomorrow: Small Business Summit Toronto

Tomorrow’s the big day for the Small Business Summit in Toronto. The day-long event, brought by The Globe and Mail, will feature keynote speeches, panel discussions, networking opportunities and more on topics ranging from hiring strategies to valuing your company. For more information, click here.


Is it time to hire a dedicated IT staffer?

This week’s Challenge: As Brave Control Solutions grows, its founder wonders what the most cost-effective way is to meet its information technology needs.


Is it time to hire a publicist?

Another hiring dilemma was also the focus of a Challenge in May: The founder of LoveSewing and the Sewing Studio knew that publicity would be increasingly important as she launched her latest initiative. But she had to weigh whether the timing was financially right for her small company to spend money on a publicist.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com

Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

Our free weekly newsletter is now available. Every Friday a team of editors selects the top picks from our blog posts, features, multimedia and columnists, and delivers them to your inbox. If you have registered for The Globe’s website, you can sign up here . Click on the Small Business Briefing checkbox and hit ‘save changes.’ If you need to register for the site, click here .


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