Company culture is a huge competitive advantage: That’s why Zuckerberg obsesses over Facebook’s hackathons and why Yahooers “bleed purple.” Of course, anything that causes people to feel loyal to organizations that encompass thousands of people is a force to be reckoned with, right?
At Foursquare they name their conference rooms after Foursquare badges, like ‘Gossip Girl’ or (Yes!) ‘Wino.’ Twitter has so many projects named after birds that it’s built an internal Wiki in order to keep track of them all.
At TechCrunch we’ve gotten hung up on a “Sharks” metaphor lately; i.e. we’re a team of sharks that devours our prey (news, lol).
And Google, well, Google is kind of random — Aside from the “Smart Ass” ad relevancy system, Google tends to name its projects after animals, like Gmail was “Caribou” and Google Drive was “Duck.”
But not always. Google Plus was coined “Emerald Sea” after this Albert Bierstadt painting, with the metaphor being that if Google were to sit on its laurels and ignore Facebook’s rapidly encroaching advances, it would get swept up in an Emerald Sea much like the poor ship in the painting. Google Buzz was (inexplicably) called “Taco Town.”
Competitor companies at Google are code-named after locales, like Microsoft is Canada (because it once threatened it would move to Canada) and Aol is Hawaii (because founder Steve Case was born in Honolulu).
The coolest one I’ve heard? That Google’s Project Glass, its endeavor to build Minority Report-esque augmented reality glasses, is called “Wingman,” because it’s meant to serve as your wingman as you navigate life. You know, like using its facial recognition technology to lookup any potential hookup partners on Facebook … I’M JUST KIDDING (But yeah, the future seriously has so much potential for sketchy).