What’s In a Name?

When I started OneWhoServes, Inc. I knew the name of the company would be very important. I knew the “rules” about naming companies; it’s got to imply a big company even when you’re small, it’s got to be early in the alphabet so that it’s high on the list in the Yellow Pages, it should say or imply what kind of business it is, and so on. I kept these rules in mind as I tried all the names I could think of using different combinations of the words that always show up in computer business names – words like “computer”, “advanced”, “expert”, “technology”, “systems”, “data” and the other handful of commonly used words. Nothing I tried seemed right.

A couple of weeks before I was going to open the doors, I was beginning to get desperate. So one evening I sat down and started to think about who I am and what’s really important to me. I realized that for me, it’s always been about service. I’ve always been the first one to volunteer to help load the truck when a friend is moving, the first one to help with a weekend project, and the first one to pitch in on an unusual business or organizational task. In fact, whenever I hear of a need, my mind immediately begins working on what I can offer to help with the solution. So I picked up my Bible and opened the concordance and began reading all scripture references that had in them the word “serve” as the root, including serve, serving, service and servant, hoping that something might trigger an idea. I had read many passages when I got to Luke 22:26-27. This is the story where Jesus’ disciples begin arguing about which one will be the greatest. Jesus answers them by saying “The one who will be the greatest will be like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table, or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” When I saw the phrase “one who serves” repeated three times in these two verses, I closed the Bible, wrote down the new company name and got up from my chair.

You don’t have to tell me that this name does not satisfy any of the rules. However, this name does much more. It tells very clearly who we are and how we conduct our business. We treat everyone the same, like a member of the family, serving each one as they would like to be served.  I think you’ll agree that that’s much more important than satisfying a few arbitrary rules, especially for something as important as a name.

Gordon Walton