What's In A Name? - 03.20.00

In the past couple weeks, I've been asked by several different people why I actually chose the name of almostcool.org to register. They wondered why I named my site why I did, and partially the motivation behind why I named myself something obviously modest when the web seems to be all about the biggest and the best. Each time I was asked this question, I fired out a quick response with a few of the reasons, but later in the day I'd always remember something that I hadn't told them, so I decided to actually write about it.

Back in 1997, when I started my site at Geocities (there's not much there anymore), I wondered just what the heck I should call my site. Several of my friends had sites with interesting names (like 0sil8 and Mouser.org), but I wondered whether I should actually come up with a name for my site, or just call it by my name. A site I did in college was called "Ullage" (meaning "the amount spilled during shipping"), but since I had retired that site, I also thought the name should go with it.

Eventually, I started kicking around some ideas, and I wrote down several things that I thought were interesting. I was going to name it "Goon Gumpos" after an Aphex Twin song, then I thought about naming it "Nauseadotcom" after the Sartre book, but nothing really seemed like it worked to me because it was always a take on something I had read or heard.

Around the same time that I was coming up with something to name the site, the thing that struck me most about the web was the proliferation of "Cool" sites. It was before portals were the big thing, and way before blogging was the buzzword, but "Cool Site Of The Day," "Project Cool" and "Aint It Cool" (as well as other cool-related sites) seemed to be everywhere I looked. Messing around one day with the initials from my name (Aaron Coleman), "almost cool" just suddenly popped into my head. Something about it completely struck a chord with me, and I adopted it from that day on. Since then, I've done a lot of thinking about it as a name and why I think it did just that.

The main reason that I think I liked it so much was because it was confident without being arrogant. Granted, I used already over-used word of "cool," but by prefacing it with the word "almost," I automatically set myself at a category lower than those upper echelon of sites (although I must admit that "Cool Site Of The Day" has turned into a hideous beast of a site). In the beginning, I knew that my site was going to be nearly all text-based (and I'll admit that even now it isn't the most amazing site), but I had hopes of things to come with it. I really did hope that I could reach an audience and interact with people all over the world with it. To that measure alone, I've succeeded just as much as I could have possibly hoped to.

Another thing that I liked about the name is that it was very tongue-in-cheek and somewhat self-effacing. When I was fresh out of college (around the same time that I started the site), I'd been completely humbled by the world. After graduating from school, two job opportunities completely fell-through and I moved back to my home state with 16 thousand dollars in college loans and no friends. Over the course of the few months after I moved back, several of those things started to change, but the fairly humble title perfectly described how I felt. If I wanted to succeed, I'd have to work my ass off and even if I did, there would always be other people out there who could humble me in a brief moment.

Really, this outlook hasn't really changed, although it's gotten a lot healthier in the past two years. Things have greatly changed in my life and I'm not only finally starting to become more confident in my abilities, but I'm happy with what I'm producing with this website and the friendships that it's helped me to form with people all over the place. Even with that, though, I realize that there are way more talented people on the web, but I wouldn't have it any other way. If there weren't, who would I learn from?

And so, I continue along with the name of my website that has really become more of a motto for me than anything. I'll continue to be astounded by other people every day, but hope that in my little corner of the world, I can offer up something interesting to others as well.