What’s in a name? Everything. It’s how all projects start.
Most projects, in fact, are named before the ultimate product is defined in full, and require the need for military-style operational secrecy to preserve corporate assets and trade secrets. The military, in face, gave rise to the process of code names. Churchhill himself, it was said, named the Normandy invasion and had his own code of sorts for how operations were to be named. Projects with higher risk of casualty “ought ught not to be described by code words which imply a boastful or overconfident sentiment,” he penned. He also recommended avoiding names of “frivolous” characters and living people.
Today, there is a lot of advice on how to name projects and even codename generators online that are fun to use when starting a project. But we thought it would be most instructive look at the best code names of all time. It’s a subjective list of course, but these great project names are worthy of mention:
Apple is mum, but Insiders report that the company is working on a car called “Titan,” slated to be road-ready in 2019. With a name that gigantic, buzz is already building about the features that may or may not rival Google’s self-driving cars.
Earlier this year, when Verizon Communications was looking to take over AOL, they needed to keep the deal secret and came up with a code name. According to the Telegraph, Project Hanks is the name they chose, which may not make sense until you remember that Tom Hanks starred in the movie You’ve Got Mail (1998), a romantic comedy about a relationship built on AOL’s famous mail notification.
Unlike some other companies that have a codename and then change it to something else when it comes to market, in 2000, Apple developed its first version of Mac OS X with the codename Kodiak. It’s since followed that theme with updates with other powerful creatures of the wild, such as Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion.
This was the project name for the secret WWII program to recruit Cherokee, Creek, Choctow and other tribal members to transmit coded messages in Native American languages. It was also popularized in the Nicholas Cage classic of cinema, Windtalkers.
Project Blue Book
If you don’t already know, then you probably don’t have the clearance. But for the sake of disclosure… Project Blue Book was the code name for the US Air Force investigations into UFO sightings. But you didn’t hear that from us.
They may have been known earlier for their unofficial slogan “Don’t be evil,” but that doesn’t mean Google doesn’t have a secret lair. At the company’s secret “X” Lab, projects like the Self-Driving Car and Google Glass are built under the cloak and veil secrecy deserved of its uber-mysterious name.
The code name for a covert US Air Force mission to Laos during the Vietnam War to supply line crew technicians. Today, it’s the code name for a webpage that can no longer be found. Coincidence?
The super-secret project to develop an atomic bomb during World War II was a bee hive of activity for some of the smartest minds at the time, but all they could come up with in terms of a name for their work was “Manhattan” because they began the research in an simple office building located in Manhattan, New York. They eventually moved to more secure environs out of the area, but the classy name remained.
When Microsoft was looking to build upon its wildly popular XBox 360 gaming console, Durango was its name-o. But like all Microsoft projects, the project name was far from the final product name. In this case, they thought long and hard and hired the best people to release the One. XBox One.
One of the most famous projects of the last century, the Apollo program, was designed to land humans on the moon and bring them back home alive. It’s the kind of story more told in myth, which is maybe why NASA (an acronym for National Aeronautics and Space Administration) went back to the Greeks. Apollo is associated with the Greek verb meaning to destroy. That may sound counterintuitive, but in Greek mythology Apollo, son of Zeus and Leto, twin of Artemis, was the god of prophecy, medicine, music, art, law, beauty and wisdom. I guess getting to the moon required all that and more.
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