What's in a name?

I am proud to announce that the Boagworld podcast has won this years .net magazine award for best podcast. However, I do also have some regrets.

It is getting embarrassing now. When I setup the Boagworld website and subsequent podcast it was just a personal side project. The name was a silly in joke. I put no consideration into it.

In the dot com boom I worked for a startup called TownPages. I headed up a team of designers who unsurprisingly enjoyed taking the piss out of me. One of those designers (a guy called Rob Crook) took offence at me having two monitors, while the rest of the team had to make do with one and so coined the term boagworld. He painted me as an empire builder, drunk with power :) The name stuck and eventually I bought the domain. It became a form of self deprecation that referred to my over inflated ego.

When I finally decided to create my own site Boagworld seemed the obvious choice. The site and podcast was me sharing about myself, why wouldn’t I choose Boagworld?

Four years on and it has become an embarrassment. Winning the .net award has particularly driven home how bad a choice it was.

Boagworld has long since stopped being about me. It is about the community and those who contribute to it. The success of the show is down to a whole bunch of people:

  • Marcus Lillington – He didn’t even get a mention in the .net magazine!
  • Ryan Taylor – Who produces the show every week
  • Paul Stanton – Who finds all of our news stories
  • Anna Debenham – Who publishes the show and edits the interviews
  • The interviewees – Who come on the show every other week and share their knowledge and experience
  • The forum leaders – Who make the community such a vibrant and friendly place.
  • Those who leave posts in the comments – Many say blog comments are negative and aggressive. That has never been my experience on boagworld. You guys add genuine value in what you post.
  • Those who contribute to the show – Your questions, jokes, and reviews have added an extra dimension that was lacking for a long time.
  • Our transcribers – Who painstakingly write out a transcript of every interview we broadcast. It blows my mind that people do this for free!

Trust me, this is not false humility on my part. I am more than happy to shout about my personal achievements. However, I have noticed the more I hand control to the community, the more successful the show has become. Perhaps there is a lesson there for other website owners.

So am I going to change the name? Of course not. I think it is too late for that. Anyway I suspect many of you would object. However, it does make you realise just how important it is to get your branding right from the beginning.

  • To be fair Paul, LillingtonWorld doesn’t have the same ring ;)…

  • Ben

    I wouldn’t be opposed :P
    HeadscapeWorld :)

  • Paul,
    You still an Empire Builder, Drunk with Power and has an Ego as big as BoagWorld :D
    No :) I’ve listening to you (and Mr. Lilington) since day one and I was proud that the ‘first’ ever Podcast on WebDesign had to come from the UK :) My iTunes Podcast Subscribe list is full to the brim, but BoagWorld is one of the fews that I regularly listen to every week.
    Congrats for winning the .NET Award ! You’ve done a great job and you (and the other crews) deserve it.

  • I think with familiarity comes… hmmm, don’t want to say contempt in this context… Let’s see if I can put it in a way that’s not offensive :)
    I’ve seen or heard the “boagworld” name so often in the podcasts & on the site that it’s a label now, to me it’s a brain shortcut to represent your brand. I never think about the actual name itself, it’s irrelevant.
    I think that anyone new who listens to the postcast will get past the name pretty quick – the brand is much more than “Boag’s world” and it’s clear from your content.
    Great show, keep it up – been listening since Day 1. (Well, maybe Day 25 or so) ;)

  • Dennis Deacon

    Congrats on the award and distinction of “empire builder.” And special congrats to the entire team. Boo & hiss on .NET for not mentioning the members of the team, especially Marcus. Must have been that joke from show…
    I too have listened to the show (retroactively) since the beginning, and it just keeps getting better. Except for Paul’s pronunciation of certain words.
    One of your #1 fans in those States,

  • Boagworld is one of the only podcasts I listen to on a regular basis and it is great that you won the .NET Award for Best Podcast. Congratulations! Maybe if our site would keep to a regular podcast schedule like you guys then we could maybe be considered for an award. I know from producing a podcast and running a website how much time and effort it takes to keep to a regular schedule. I am really impressed that you guys have gone so long week after week producing great show after great show.
    I think your regular schedule and great content are huge reasons why you deserve the award and also why it doesn’t really matter what the name of the show or website is. I know when I first found your site and podcast a few years ago I didn’t realize that your last name was Boag. I just thought Boagworld was something you thought up with a bunch of friends one night. After I learned your last name then it made more sense, but now I think everyone that is a regular visitor and listener knows that Boagworld is more than just your personal website anymore.
    Though, in some ways, I have the opposite problem that you have with Boagworld. My website that I have owned and operated for almost 10 years doesn’t have my name attached to it and when people arrive they probably think it is just another website run by some nameless company or group of developers. I have a bunch of people helping write video game reviews and posting news, but all of the design, development, and backend stuff was all done by me. But, because I don’t have my name attached to it I don’t get much recognition for running the site and I can’t really use it to promote my web design and development skills.
    Because of this I am in the process of developing another website for my blog and porfolio to highlight those traits that I have. If I would’ve named my current website around my name and marketed it that way then maybe I would have had more recognition within the web design and video game industry compared to what I have now???
    The regular members of the site know that I own and operate it along with the help from other members, but for new people that arrive they probably don’t realize that one guy does all the design, development, marketing, and management work and that one guy is me.
    Anyways, keep up the great work and don’t worry about the Boagworld name, since it is now synonymous with web design and develop and an “award winning” podcast about these topics!

  • Sod them! You’re the man!

  • gblake

    Congratulations to the BoagWorld team, one and all. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t get around to voting (sheer laziness on my part) but was pleased to hear that you won! You were my choice if I had voted.
    I think the name is great actually and that it works really well. It’s even short to type.
    Thankyou very much for everyone’s hard work on the show and on the site and long may it continue. We do appreciate all of the effort that you put into it (ok the effort that Ryan, Paul S. and Anna put into the show!).

  • I think the name is fine. I remember being told about yourself and the podcast a while back though and thinking WTF!?!? The difference is though that once someone gives you a chance the quality shines straight through.
    I love the post too. It’s always good to see where things started. You dual monitor maniacal nut-job. :P
    I would say that though that I’m quite pissed off that Marcus didn’t get a mention, that’s just bang out of order. Either way, congratulations on the Boagworld team on the award!

  • I love the post very much. I liked the name very much. It is very unique and different. Thank you very much for sharing the post. Good job.

  • Heartily congratulations for winning the award. I have really enjoyed reading the post. The name is different and exceptional. I liked the post very much. Thanks for the sharing. You really did a great job.

  • I’ve yet to even hear of another person named “Boag”…With a unique last name like that, I think it is awesome. You guys make Rissington Podcast seem like a sad joke. Congrats to your team and good luck!…If you make it to Episode 300, I’m flying to England. ;)

  • Marcus

    @Carl… see you in, ummm… sometime in 2012. We will no doubt make it to 300. We really do not know when to stop talking ;-)

  • I think it’s about time Boagworld went mainstream .. I think you should approach a digital TV company and see if you can get the show aired on TV some time in the early hours or on during the daytime.
    I was thinking perhaps Boagworld TV on Cebeebies at 3am.
    Or perhaps you could go on Radio 4 in the same slot as In Our Time? I do think of Paul as being very much Melvyn Bragg for the Web 2.0 generation.