We’ve been around for 10 months now, and we’ve learned quite a bit about what it means to be WYZGYZ.
First, it means having to explain how to pronounce your name as soon as you hand out a business card or make or receive a telephone call. People trying to say it experience a two-stage process. First, it’s “W – Y – Z…” or “WYSIW…” or “whiz…”. They rarely get to the end before they’re confused into silence. Then I say “wise guys.” Stage two is an instant comprehension followed by “OH! I see it now. It looks kinda like WYSIWYG, but it’s not. Cool.”
Beyond the pronunciation barrier, there’s also a meaning barrier. The term ‘wiseguy’ is steeped in mafia history. It’s also a term for someone who makes rude or disrespectful jokes. Clearly neither of these definitions are appropriate for this business, which is why it’s a bit of a barrier to overcome.
Then there’s the literal meaning: wise guys. To call the company a collection of guys is sexist, and the word wise implies knowledge gained from experience, which is good, but not forward-thinking.
So where does that leave WYZGYZ? Deconstructed, it’s not much, and the reactions I’ve described so far have actually happened. So I’ll describe what it means to me, and how it ties in with the goals of the business, and hopefully clear the air and make the name more palatable.
WYZGYZ is supposed to be about smart people doing cool things. We’re wise because we’ve been in industry for a while, but we also realize that it’s dumb to get set in our ways and think every problem is yet another nail that can be solved with the same kind of hammer. So we bring the wise-ness of experience but a whole lot of smartness and creativity as well. We’re guys in the sense that we can be thought of as friendly people you can get to know and work with instead of corporate personality-free suits. When you think of WYZGYZ, we want it to be with the same sort of mood you would say “those guys are awesome” or “those guys know what they’re doing.” Not a gender-specific application of the term, and personable and friendly enough so that you care and you know they care.