What is in a name

Viva wasn’t always called “Viva“.  

The first name we had for the app was “Stat“.  It was intended to capture the ideas of FOMO (fear of missing out) and thermostat – the key feature of the app then was not the machine learning algorithms for individualising the events that each user would see, but a sort of hot or not “thermostat”.

Then we decided to use something that was more representative of the function of the app rather than a feature of the app.  For a month or so in 2015, we called the app “Muster“, as in muster your crew for the next party.  It was a little archaic to use muster in that sense and context, but it felt better than “Stat”.

“Muster” was not the right name and we knew it.  We threw names around for months after that, making funny noises in our office slash lounge room.  We drew pictures on the whiteboard and asked all of our friends for their opinions.  We decided during those months we wanted to capture the feeling of the app, and to choose a non-sense word to do so.  I started to read about linguistic physiology, and the works of Wolfgang Köhler and about the kiki/bouba effect.  A few weeks of baby noises later, we settled on “Speeba“.  We thought the sounds captured the feelings of fun and simplicity that we had strived to achieve in our app. 

We used “Speeba” for a long time, even bought the website http://www.speeba.com.  We were never completely comfortable with the name.  Much of the feedback was among the lines of “what does it mean?” or “how do you spell that?”  Giving an explanation about linguistics was never a satisfactory answer. 

One morning, I was in the shower singing Viva Las Vegas – I guess I was thinking about Kristina’s wedding there – but instead of humming “viva”, I had replaced it with “Speeba”… it was embarrassing, but the accident helped us stumble onto “Viva“.  

To live.

That was the spirit of the app.  Living was the ultimate motivation of the app.  To live was the action we wanted to encourage. 

Support for the new name was unanimous, and so that was how we decided on the name “Viva” in October 2015.

We hope we got it right!



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