Choosing a tag line
A tag line is that little piece of text associated with a product and much loved by the marketing people. ‘Just do it’, ‘Where’s the beef?’, ‘Think different’. That type of thing. Catchy brief phrases that sort of make you feel good and, hopefully, remind you of the product.
So at the Nuno philosophers meeting it was generally agreed that we should have a tag line. Why not? Everyone else seemed to have one. That was the easy bit. Next problem, where to get a tagline from? I thought that maybe I could get the ball rolling and suggested ‘really good navigation software’. This seemed, to me, quite clear and to the point but everyone else laughed and said it was rubbish. None the less, even from this naïve attempt we learnt some important things:
· Thinking up a tag line can be difficult
· Thinking up a good tag line is harder
· If you are going to think up tag lines and share them with your colleagues then you need to be quite thick skinned
Next attempt was to throw the net a bit wider and see if any of the developers could dream up anything. We stoked them with extra pizza and coffee and they came back with ‘notepad of the seas’. This is quite a nice idea but needs some explanation for non-programmers. Notepad is a small text editor which has been shipped with Windows since forever. It just does one job; editing plain text. The thing is that it does this job really well, it is always there, it is reliable, it is predictable and it is easy to use. I doubt there is a sys admin or coder alive who has not used it sometime to modify a configuration and save the IT infrastructure. There are some people that even use it to write code, although this is generally considered a bit hard core. So, nice identification but too much of an explanation for a tag line.
Doing some background research I came across some useful pointers such as
· Keep it believable, succinct and interesting
· Make it thought provoking, unique and memorable
Which is all very well, but how? I also found an automated tag line generator but this mostly just seemed to quote Star Trek and I did not think ‘beam me up Nuno’ was going to cut it.
We needed to get everyone on the job, management, testers, coders, interns, even the janitor. Then things began to buzz. We started with ‘nav and go’. Then there was ‘show me the way home’, ‘software like mom used to make’, ‘be where you want to be’ and ‘you know Nuno knows’. Everyone was getting into the swing of this now, especially when we offered a bottle of wine for the best one. ‘ocean knowledge’ is one we might use for CherSoft. There was a rather blunt suggestion of ‘just buy the f**g thing’ which was tempting but inappropriate. Other little gems included the song inspired ‘it’s a greater navigator’ and ‘smooth navigator’. There were also little puns like ‘it’s all a plot’ and ‘useful in a fix’. My favorites included ‘life is too short for getting lost’, ‘navigator in a box’ and ‘just add water’.
Having got to over 50 candidate tag lines we thought we’d better put it to a vote. This proved interesting because there was no clear consensus at all. It would seem that the notion of what makes a good tag line is very subjective. In the end, through the use of a slightly implausible transferable vote system we arrived at ‘it’s all on the chart’. This has the comfortable feel of time served salt encrusted wisdom and a slightly subtle double meaning. With Nuno we try and make all the user interactions directly on the chart. There are no dialogs or status panels instead everything is, as far as possible, right there on the chart.
So there we have it, ‘it’s all on the chart’. Will this herald a new age in the development of Nuno? I doubt it but it was kind of fun.