How Blue Goldfish Came Into Its Name

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Blue Goldfish brings together two symbolic concepts to describe the intersection of technology and customer experience. To fully explain the connection we must rewind briefly to 10th century Denmark.

King Harald Gormsson ruled Denmark in the 10th century. The medieval king was notorious for uniting Scandinavia and converting the Danes to Christianity. Legend has it that Harald sported a nasty dead tooth that turned blue, earning him the nickname Blåtand, which is Danish for Bluetooth.

Fast forward ten centuries to 1996. A consortium of companies including Intel, Ericsson and Nokia came together to create a new short-range wireless standard. The three companies were all working on their own solutions and faced a challenge to name the new standard.

In 1997, the first step towards solving the problem came about in Toronto. Two of the engineers working on the project ended up going out for a night of drinking. Intel’s Jim Kardach met up with Ericsson engineer Sven Mattisson. Kardach had been working on a program called Business-RF and Mattisson had developed a comparable standard called MC Links. Over the course of the evening, the discussion turned to history. Mattisson had just read a book called The longships by Frans G. Bengtsson about the travels of warriors serving King Harald Gormsson. Upon learning about the nickname Bluetooth, Kardach perked up, “It occurred to me that this would make a good codename for the program.” Kardach went on to pitch the idea to others in the group.

After much debate and no consensus, the group decided that Bluetooth would be a placeholder. Later on, the group decided to abandon Bluetooth when it came time to finalize the name. They agreed the standard would use IBM’s idea PAN, an acronym for Personal Area Networking. But it turned out that PAN presented some intellectual property challenges. A search for PAN online delivered thousands of different results. Again, Bluetooth became the working name until marketing decided on a different name. It never happened. Bluetooth became the standard bearer.

King Harald would have been proud that his 10th-century nickname would become a 21st-century fixture. His mark also appears on the Bluetooth logo, which is the Nordic letters H and B combined into a bind rune. Drop the mark on a blue background and you have the familiar Bluetooth logo seen on millions of devices around the world. All because of a good king and his bad tooth.

Blue is a logical name for this book, which highlights convergence, just as Bluetooth was the result of a consortium and King Harald united Scandinavia. In our case, convergence represents big data and little data coming together to deliver notable trends and personalized insights.

WHY GOLDFISH?

The origin of goldfish, at least as a book title, dates back to 2009 having now become a signature part of this book series. A goldfish represents something small, but despite its size, something with the ability to make a big difference.

Why else did we decide to go with the term “goldfish?” Find out when you read Blue Goldfish.