And the hard work starts.

This is the third part of a series about the start-up Peecho. The chapters are:

  1. Starting up
  2. Business model
  3. Execution
  4. Community
  5. Investor game (part I)

Paperwork

After we figured out what we were going to do, it was time to move on to the execution. That meant paperwork - lots of it. The complicated ritual of establishing an official company was the worst part. We spent heaps of money on lots of paper with only symbolic value, written by a bunch of lawyers, a notary and the chamber of commerce. Before we knew what happened, we were proud owners of no less than four companies: two personal holdings, an investment organization and the actual company. Isn’t that weird? You ask for one, but you get four.

The gruesome administration effort was soon forgotten, when the rest of the work doomed on us. Starting a company means a lot of do-it-yourself. Next to marketing and sales, Martijn also deals with the administration, drives the car and cooks a fine dinner, too. I am the architect, evangelist, fitness instructor and graphic designer at the same time. Together, we make one really well-rounded employee, but four hands type faster than two. It’s more fun this way, too.

The penguin

Next to a master plan and skills, every company needs a symbol. We have our penguin. I designed the penguin during my graffiti years. As my little protest against authority, I painted it everywhere. Eventually, I transformed into a law-abiding citizen, and I started to draw the penguin on work-related whiteboards instead. It wouldn’t surprise me if you could still find a few in the Albumprinter building somewhere. So, it’s a dodgy underground-figure-turns-commercial story.

I apologize and promise not to make a movie. I may write a book, though. In digital form, the penguin turned out really basic, because we read the book “Getting Real” and lacked money at the same time. Don’t confuse the title of that book with the Ali G election slogan - I did, once, and got aughed at by my girlfriend. Anyway, among other things, the book claims that restrictions are good - run on limited resources and you will be forced to be more creative. So, I never use complicated, expensive programs for graphic design. I know that it becomes a mess if I do. To avoid brushes, filters and fades, I constrain myself to a cheap technical diagramming application instead. It’s very simple. It doesn’t support any funky stuff. We use it for all our graphic design now.

Urban Dictionary FTW

When it was used in vandalism, the penguin had no name. According to my marketing-savvy partner Martijn, a brand that is merely visual is hard to communicate. I can see his point. After all, he is the guy who suffers the most - when he isn’t doing the paper stuff, he is in phone calls all day. Therefore, the search for a really cool domain name started. We didn’t think of a name first. We approached it the other way around. We checked the lists of recently deleted dot-com domains and found our name quickly. “Peecho” is short, snappy and it sounds like it could be a penguin’s name. Then, we checked Google to see if it meant anything. After all, you don’t want to end up with a company named after a criminal organization or a fetish sex toy.

No dubious contamination was found, but we quickly noticed that our preferred company name indeed had meaning. It fit us perfectly. According to the Urban Dictionary, the word “peecho” is American slang. It is a noun, pronounced pee-cho, referring to a person or thing that is “incredibly cheesy, corny, lame... and trying way to hard to be cool.”

Excellent. Just what we needed. We had a mission, a logo and a name. We were ready to conquer the world.