A Rose by Any Other Name
In 2003, I had an idea to create a new type of NGO that focused on championing local entrepreneurs and connecting them to global supply chains. I called it “Speartip”, wanting to convey the idea that this was the sharp end of economic recovery. Immediately, the inimitable Edward Rees pointed out, between guffaws, that “Speartip” was a weapon of death and destruction.
I returned to the whiteboard, and eventually came back with “Peace Dividend Trust”. The idea was that we were trying to create a post-conflict boom for local entrepreneurs, a peace dividend. The “Trust” came from our intention to capitalize a fund to support local entrepreneurs.
Now, nine years later, I’ve come to really hate that name, and I’m not alone. In fact, most of our staff, donors, supporters, and clients hate it. Why? We have many many many reasons.
1) It is hard to spell (our #2 Google search hit is Peace Divided Trust).
2) It gives you no idea what we do.
3) It misleads people into thinking we focus on “peace” not markets and entrepreneurs.
4) Which leads to endless invitations to peace forums. Endless.
5) But the entrepreneur, market, finance types avoid us like the plague.
6) We never set up that trust fund, making the third word an increasingly awkward vestigial appendage.
7) Non-English speakers can never pronounce it.
8) The majority of people outside of political science and economic circles don’t know what a “peace dividend” is.
9) Among those who do, many link it to the end of the Cold War and the movement opposed to the US military industrial complex.
10) The guys behind this site think we are supporting the US military industrial complex and won’t sell us the www.peacedividend.org domain.
11) There is no easy translation of Peace Dividend Trust into French, Creole, Tetum, Pashtun, or Dari.
12) And reducing it to an acronym only drops us into a very crowded alphabet soup.
13) I could go on, trust me.
So, four years ago we decided the name had to go. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we never found time to do it. Our pace of growth has kept us almost constantly focused on more important things, like actually creating jobs and reducing poverty.
Then, a couple months ago a few staff (including Edward) came to me and said “Our name sucks. We all know it. Why not just change it to ___________.” Their new name made perfect sense. It was easy to understand. It perfectly expressed our goals. It was easy to spell, easy to translate, and the domain was even available. Taking the decision was simple and our board agreed.
Which is why this Thursday, we will finally cast off the Peace Dividend Trust shackle, and call ourselves……
Well, you’ll have to check back on Thursday.