True story: when Alex was 5, his parents paid him 2 cents for every dandelion he pulled up from the yard. He probably exacerbated the problem by blowing the seeds off the top of every one he pulled up. But we tell this story not only because it was the first line on his resume, but was a stark lesson in the arbitrariness of what we consider weeds.
Which brings us to Dandelion, a new startup from Alphabet (Google’s parent company) created to offer affordable geothermal heating and cooling systems for the home.
The idea is simple—300 feet into the earth the temperature is always 50 degrees. Send a pipe down that far, and in the summer, the system cools your house with that air. In the winter, when the temperature outside is freezing, water in the pipes absorbs some of the earth’s heat to warm your home.
The system costs 20-25 grand, and is currently available in select upstate New York counties, which is perfect for giving people sweating it out in the city this summer another reason to dream about moving north.
Now, the sticklers out in the sticks will tell you that dandelions are weeds. But dandelions, as weeds go, are great. You can make a salad from the leaves. You can make wine out of the blossoms. Traditional medicine systems used it to treat various ailments. (A pretty useful resource for a weed!)
Dandelions are tough, resilient, and can flourish anywhere—sidewalks and concrete driveways be damned! The yellow flowers are cute as buttons. Plus, it’s downright magical the way the tiny seed umbrellas are swept off by the wind. No wonder we make wishes on them.
As a name, Dandelion gets to a natural, happy thing in your yard. It sounds elegant yet homey, suggests tenacity and strength (of a lion!), and is very pleasing to read and say. People who grew up with the flowers generally have fond associations with the word. It is a bit long syllabically, though not bad simply counting the number of letters.
But how does Dandelion convey geothermal heating and cooling you say?
The company’s approach centers on drilling pipes into the earth to access a steady temperature, much as the dandelion sends it long taproot deep into your lawn to access a steady supply of water and nutrients. And dandelion wishes subtly suggest the company’s aspiration for a future where homes are heated and cooled with renewable resources.
Note that these are beautiful, and apt, metaphors, but don’t directly communicate heating or cooling. One could make the case that the company would be better served with a name that clearly expresses the company’s core functions given that the technology has never been marketed to individual homes before and could be unfamiliar to consumers.
But if geothermal takes off, there will be plenty of Geothermal Citys and Cool Earths around so a name like Dandelion, with its deeper meanings, will really stand out. Plus, the company may want to expand its business down the road.
Dandelion has legs (roots?) for the long term.
(When choosing a name, particularly when naming a company, always think long-term. You don’t want to be limited by it a few years from now. For other company naming tips, see our many Resources. If you need more help, drop us a line.)