Using Big Data to name Marissa Mayer's baby

If the goal is to promote the Yahoo brand, the data points to a clear choice for the Mayer-Bogue baby


But do we just want the most popular name? In the book Freakonomics, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner find that baby names are correlated with their parents’ socioeconomic status. So how about names that correlate with more well off families (i.e., those with more money to spend on Yahoo Shopping or who may be more valuable to those using Yahoo search marketing)? 

Dubner and Levitt found that the most common boys name with both high-income and high-education white parents was Benjamin. Hmm. Benjamin was also the 19th most popular boys name in the U.S. in 2011, not to mention the #1 name in Argentina in 2011, #3 in Finland, #4 in Liechtenstein,  #7 in Canada, and #9 in New Zealand, among other places. Now we’re talking!

I think the choice of a first name is now clear.

Now, for a middle name, I’d say we think more internationally. So how about a name that will resonate in, say, China (lots of people there, quickly growing economy, etc.). The top surname in China in 2007 was Wang, shared by around 93 million people. They might take notice if Yahoo’s new CEO names her baby after them, right?

I think we now have our middle name.

So, we’re done? Not quite. This kid is basically internet royalty. Royals, you may have noticed, tend to have several middle names. How about adding one more name that might win over a few million more hearts and minds? Based in the data, I have a good one.


Huh, you say? Well, consider that it was the third most popular boys name in India in 2011, and - shocker - it was the most popular boys name in the Arab world as a whole, including being #1 in Iran, Libya, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and the UAE. Again, we’re thinking outside the box here to build global brand awareness.

So, put it all together and you have... (drum roll, please)....

Benjamin Wang Mohammed Mayer Bogue

I can almost smell Yahoo stock rising as I type this.

To me, this is the obivous choice. But, hey, if this doesn’t sit well with Mayer and her husband, they can always go with Jacob, a perfectly nice name for a future CEO, but, you know... (yawn).


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