What’s in the name Village One?

Lots of companies choose a guiding metaphor for interactions and expectations: Netflix has their company culture famously modelled around the idea of a sports team, Apple is focussing on “experts leading experts”, and smaller studios and startups often use the metaphor of a family-like work environment.

Even before Village One got its name we had strong feelings towards these: A company is not a family and we don’t want to all the emotional baggage that comes with the term. We’re also not a sports team, which makes the atmosphere needlessly competitive.

As a guiding metaphor we wanted something democratic + non-hierarchical, where people meet as equals and form a community. Where new members can join and also leave without feeling bad, where we support each other and rally around common goals and values. Where we work side-by-side, but also keep our autonomy.

Then we stumbled upon this article in Quartz and it hit us: We were thinking of a village.

What followed was a weeks-long process of finding a name that hints at being a village:

  • we considered the Cornish gwig which means forest village
  • we came up with odd fictional village names, like Radiant Lake or Humble Harbor
  • we tried prefixing village in various ways, like hypervillage or supervillage
  • we collected similar words, like outpost, settlement, nest or camp
The initial Miro post-it clusters with our naming ideas

But in the end we didn’t like any of those and we went back to basics and decided to keep it simple: Focus on the the word village and add a number to hint at potentially bigger plans. We knew we wanted to stay small as an organization, so from the start we assumed we might split at some point and form a network of several specialized co-ops over time. Village One made sense, because we’re the first and there might be more to come. Also the domain village.one was still available.

If you can read German, here’s how it happened:

Having village right up there in the name also means we can play around with its word space: Others we corresponded with called us the villagers (and also the village people, of course), our newsletter is titled The Villager’s Dispatch (like a newspaper from the village), a recurring governance meeting might be our townhall, etc.

So here we are, months later, having said and written our name hundreds of times, still excited everytime we hear someone else say Village One!

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