January 28, 2006

Asypta: Simple, Yet Pointless

Nearly six years ago now, while working at 3Cube, we were putting together collateral and Web page templates for a new product roll-out, and as is common, one of the tasks was to create faux persons and companies, as placeholders. Rather than go with the standard "John Smith" from "ABC Company" or "Acme Inc.", I tried to dress it up with more real sounding names, while staying generic. I believe "Linda Johnson" from GoodFiles Inc. was one of the chief participants in our FAQs...

During one of these meetings, I presented an example which included a company by the name of "Asypta". It didn't mean anything, but it sure sounded good, especially at a time when companies would rebrand themselves, or spin off subsidiaries with neat-sounding names that added no real value. For some reason, I got all sorts of questions about "Asypta". It sounded real enough that my colleagues wanted to know if I had an in on the ground floor of a top-secret pre-IPO start-up or something... but I kept using the example and sounding mysterious.

I stumbled on the idea of "Asypta" as companies often can be found with an A at the beginning, consonant, vowel, consonant, A. Think about how many you can name... for example... Avaya, Asigra, Altera, Atipa, Asera, Altria, Ariba, Aceva, Acterna, Acteva, Adexa, Azanda... and I'm sure there are many more. At one point in 2001, I had registered the domain name Asypta.com, with the dual intent of acting as if it were a fake company, or secondly, to "grade" company names by their "Asypta factor". Ariba would be a 10 on the scale. Avaya another 10. Something like Alhambra... not so much. Asypta eventually came to stand for "A simple, yet pointless, technical acronym." It's worth noting that almost none of these Asypta companies explain their corporate name on the Web site. Simple, yet pointless.