When we started working with NBT Technology in May, 2003, it was four guys in a room on Bryant Street in San Francisco. The last time we looked, their market cap was $5 billion. NBT stood for, believe it or not, Next Best Thing.
They knew they had to do better than that. Spearheaded by a former Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley, they had a brilliant idea and they were really nice guys to boot. They worked well as a team (a problem at a lot of startups) because they had a history together. But getting across what they did was complicated.
Riverbed makes a product that everybody needs but nobody really understands. There was even a lot of confusion on the part of I.T. people, and that’s their job. So we decided that we had to make it really simple.
"What’s good about our name is that most tech startups use some nonsensical word that starts with an I, an X, or an E and means nothing. Taking the opposite approach helped us make a name for ourselves."
— Jerry Kennelly, CEO, Riverbed
After the third naming session, it wasn’t happening so we came back to the idea that two of the top guys were fly fisherman. We started thinking about water. And how rivers are the pathways of civilization. And Riverbed was born.
They were happy. We were happy. When you allow the personal side to spill over into the corporate side, it often releases a tremendous amount of energy. But it has to be done carefully.
This is a case where everything clicked. As Riverbed grew they came back to us again and again for more work. We developed their website, ad campaigns, an animation that was produced by Laika, the studio Will Vinton (California Raisins, Coraline) built in Portland. And, of course, more names.
199 Fremont St.
San Francisco, CA 94105