Today’s column is not brought to you by the Letter “E” and for that we should be grateful. Let us pause a moment to give thanks for its passing.

Remember how companies rushed to put the letter “E” in front of their name and their slogans and concepts? We got things like e-enablement, e-community, e-business (the last one is the best of the bunch.) We got companies like ePartners and eLedger, and products like eEnterprise, originated by Great Plains, and e by Epicor.

These seemed to be designed by people out for revenge against high school teachers and with a hatred of rules about grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

For better or worse, eLedger disappeared. Great Plains became Microsoft Business Solutions and combined eEnterprise and Dynamics to produce the Great Plains line, along with Solomon and Peachtree, some of the all-time great software names. The Epicor product was the worst of the bunch. Fortunately, for editors and customers, it has decided to drop the e gradually in favor of the Epicor name.

Which leaves ePartners. When that national reselling firm proposed changing its name from the original TexSys RD, it polled the press. I argued the company should keep the name because it was established, even if it wasn’t ideal. Unless a name has negative connotations, (Buggy Software Inc., for example), it’s the quality of a company’s people and its products or services that give the name value.

However, the reseller’s leadership believed that prospects would become confused if its offices in other states carried a name that invoked Texas. While a lot people in the other 49 states would agree that not much of value comes from Texas, Texaco and Texas Instruments always seemed to do quite well. Dropping the RD and keeping TexSys would have made sense. But the company opted to e it out. Unfortunately, these names reflect a failed era. As a staff member here said about the e, “How ‘90s.”
All kidding aside, this is the problem with fads and follow-the-leader business decision making. Can you image if the same logic had applied when the telephone was just catching on? We would have had a plethora of t-business, t-commerce names and maybe t-Ma Bell! But it’s just business. It’s just commerce. Make good decisions. Know your customer. The old rules still count.

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