Project ChuckleDuck - How MongoHQ Became Compose


When we decided to offer more databases alongside MongoDB to our customers, one fact was glaringly obvious: we were going to have to reconsider our name. Don't get us wrong, MongoDB is great and meets the needs of many developers, but we know it's not a complete answer for everyone. So while we put together our technology to support those other databases, we began a search for a new name, codenamed Project Chuckleduck (after one of our favorite gifs).

As with most things at our company, the name change was a team effort. Our primary objective was to find a name that would better fit what we are doing, and what we want to do in the future. The new name would have to provide flexibility while at the same time relating to who we are. It was also important that most people in the company were happy with it, so who better to ask. Our brainstorming began on a company-wide Google Hangout where people presented their ideas for a name. The names were compiled in a Hackpad which we lovingly titled Battle Royale: Company Name Change. The names were all over the place with ideas like Mothership, Slingshot, Mason, Silo, Sproket and even Chuckleduck itself. After people had time to chime in with their thoughts, we narrowed it down to a couple of names we liked, the top three that came in were Slingshot (which got used by Facebook), Mason and Compose. Then it was time for some hard work.

Being a company that caters to developers and has a strong online presence, it was important that our brand presents itself well online. We had to research and find which domains and social media names were available, which proved to be quite a challenge. After accepting the fact that a good .com domain is difficult to acquire for less than $250K, we had to widen the terms of our search to include our entire domain name. We had to collectively decide how we were going to be branded - was a .com the only way to go? How about a prefix or suffix like get .com or What about another top-level domain like .io? Since you're reading our blog, you obviously know what path we chose, but it was not a choice made lightly; we spent quite a bit of time weighing out the merits of all of our options. Ultimately, we needed a name big enough to fit, with a meaningful link to what we're doing. We liked Compose because of the connection with Composition, a powerful concept in functional programming, describing the combination of specialized functions to solve a new kind of problem.

Once we had a name and domain we liked and had cleared the legal hurdles, such as the international trademark search, we were ready to move forward with the rest of our branding. As a team, we came up with over 20 logo concepts to look at, at that's not even counting discussions over the typeface for our name. Once we had a design concept that made everyone happy (not an easy task, but one we can say we accomplished), the easy part was over. We kept our designers busy with tweaks and changes for days until, right before launch, we finally had a logo and branding that said, "We are Compose."

We had a name, we had a logo, then it was time to have fun with it. Our team began playing with the logo and mashing it up with other concepts. DJ, our content curator, created space invaders with the logo, Brandon, an awesome designer here at Compose, threw in some suggestions, I tweaked the invaders a bit and bam, we had our banner image for social media and this post.

A name and brand change is not something that just happens on a whim, or at least it shouldn't be. Like everything else here at Compose, it was a team effort, open and engaged the entire company in the search. A great new name will go well with all the great things we have planned, and everyone here knows they were a part of selecting it. Because that's how we do it at Compose.

Thom Crowe
Thom Crowe was a marketing and community guy at Compose, who enjoys long walks on the beach, reading, spending time with his wife and daughter and tinkering. Love this article? Head over to Thom Crowe’s author page to keep reading.

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