What's in a Name?
A funny thing happened this week: our Communications lead (and blog editor) asked me to write about why our company is called Talos. I then immediately went to our Creative and asked her if she remembered when exactly we had decided on the name. She was no help; apparently, when we synced up to design the logo three years ago, I arrived with the name. You see the thing is, as the founder, I should know how we first landed on Talos.
But I have not the slightest clue.
For every venture we have in development, I can give the name story:
RDV is the abbreviation for rendezvous and arose out of a day spent trouncing around in Hong Kong with a French friend, who kept using the abbreviation in texts when we would split up for work meetings and arrange to reconnect later. It fit perfectly the application I was yet imagining since RDV is centered around getting friends to meet up and a rendezvous is, by definition, a meeting at a specified time and place.
Our dating app HNST, still in design, is the word honest sans vowels. We have joined the rest of the technology world in a battle to spoil the English language one misspelled word at a time. Also, what is more fundamental to dating than just being hnst about who you are (or at least what you want)?
Erro is something we are cooking up to help manage our workflows and tasks. It is Basque for root, and our concept relies on creating a common root for tasks, files, billing, and communication. Since when did we ever separate what we do from how much time we spend doing it? My mother’s side of the family is originally Basque, and the language has both a visual weight to it and an absolutely bizarre structure, perfect for naming companies.
But as for Talos, while I cannot give you a brief, tidy narrative on why we chose our name, I will give you an explanation of why we probably did because I hnst-ly can’t remember.
Greek-inspired names are nothing new in the tech world (shout out: Pandora), and a copy of Bulfinch’s Mythology sits on my desk, as it has since middle school. The myth of Talos, like that of the other greek gods, varies in telling and has conflicting representations, but here’s the short version: Talos, a bronze giant, would circle the island of Crete thrice daily to protect its ports from pirate raids.
To the outsiders, he was by all accounts a lumbering bronze guardian whose weapons of choice were heating himself in a fire, and then hugging people to death, or throwing rocks at approaching ships. (If I ever kill someone, it will also be in hug form.)
In all stories though, he was a protector of commerce. He let traders and travelers come and go from the shores of Crete while sinking enemy ships with giant boulders before they ever made landfall. This is where the Talos mission begins to align with the myth.
Our company is geared toward fixing a system for early stage development that we see as inherently biased and more than a little outdated; allowed to blossom within its seclusion only because the digital revolution is just coming of age and the returns are enormous for those on the vanguard. The world is, however, changing, and as billions rise to the middle class in the Global South, technology development will need to change with it.
Talos as a company, much like Crete, stands at a crossroads, and our role is to link the 21st century version of traders and travelers: the founders and investors of the modern age. We are a waystation for people and ideas at the earliest stages, and we vigorously guard them and our company. We reach out to partners across oceans, all from the small island of Manhattan.
What’s most valuable in our safe haven is the age-old wisdom departed to us from the diverse places and people that make up our company. Much like Talos was often described as the last of an ancient race of bronze men, descended from the tree nymphs who themselves raised Zeus, our company, and the place we guard, is one that ignores the fleeting whims of this rapidly changing world in an attempt to nurture that which we so often lose in this new digital age: A true connection to each other and those meaningful pursuits which offer not just change but progress toward the kind of world we will be proud to leave our children.
In aligning name and mission, we've reached back in time to the advent of modern democracy, commerce, and thought. But, to avoid meeting our end in a new dark age built on a mad rush to new digital or technologic heights, we are building a company that protects a small space in this world for the thoughtful pursuit of a better future, through innovation and entrepreneurship.
We hope to build technology for not just any new world, but a better one. And to do that, we must guard a place for the individuals who so often get lost in the noise and displaced from the modern empires which hold sway in our homes and devices.