October 03, 2012, 11:27 AM —
Congratulations to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and her husband Zachary Bogue who welcomed their first child, a baby boy, into the world on Sunday. As I write this the baby has not yet, so far as I know, been named; in fact, Mayer has invited friends to suggest names, meaning they are (sort of) crowdsourcing the naming of their baby! No word on whether they’ve started a Kickstarter campaign for his college fund.
Many have already jumped in the pool, suggesting clever names for the lad. I’d like to take a different approach, one based on Big Data. Big Data, it’s been pointed out recently, can be used for all sorts of things like protecting troops on the battlefield, telling football coaches when to go for it on fourth down and ensuring sustainable sushi. So why not use it to pick a name for the Mayer/Bogue baby?
Some have already turned to data to pick a name, in particular one that will result in a good outcome for the baby. But, really, is that the right outcome to focus on? This kid has already hit the lottery with these parents and should have every opportunity to succeed in life, whatever his name.
Instead, how about using data to pick a name that will resonate with as many of Yahoo’s target users as possible? Mayer, after all, was hired away from Google in July to breath new life into Yahoo. What better opportunity to generate some positive buzz for the company then the naming of the new CEO’s new baby?
Let’s start with popular names. According to the Social Security Administration, the top five names for baby boys in the U.S. in 2011 were: Jacob, Mason, William, Jayden and Noah. Delightful names, all.