why so midwest? – a note by Robb Jibson
-in 2005 I was being asked by my new business manager to deliver a name for the new company he was helping me form. You see, jobs were getting bigger and things were scaling beyond the normal freelance status! You know, liability, workers compensation insurance. taxes. hiring people. buying gear. grown up stuff. Just some of those boring things you have to do in order to do it the right way.
Names are tricky for me; they need to be great!
And the overwhelming feeling is that the good ones are gone already!
My most influential mentor once told me that if he could go back in time he would not have named his company after himself. It was too short sighted and after he gained a team of people he felt weird because it was bigger than just him and the name didn’t reflect that! Even now that he has sold the company they kept the name! So I guess he did something right [and like a billion other things that he did super right]
I have always had trouble coming up with names. It is just not my thing. The things I like and enjoy outside of the business are not name influencers. I couldn’t call it “Walter Payton Designs” after all! I don’t think people would hire “Vespas, Coffee, Computers and Associates” for their production! I didn’t want to become one the the 3 letter faceless entities out there.
[apologies to the 3 letter faceless groups out there!]
With the paperwork done, the only thing waiting on filing with the state was the name! I was stuck.
I was watching a band at The Empty Bottle, a venue on Chicago’s north side. Walking out after the show something caught my eye on the floor.
It was a 1” pin back button. Those little buttons you alway see cool kids with. Little statements. Slogans. Fun Stuff.
It must have fallen off somebodys jacket.
It said “ so midwest.”
Here it is: The Original!
See I’m from here. I live here. I like it here. I stay here. It just felt right.
I had one of those “in the moment” things.
So I went for it.
Years later, looking back, it is kind of…. weird.
You do have to explain it to people. All the time.
I love hearing all the customer service people come up with what they think it is. South Midwest? Haha.
Its not a slight to any other place. We work all over the place. worldwide.
It makes zero sense outside of the USA. So Midwest of…. Russia? Europe? What?
But some people seem to like it. It is a gimmick. Its memorable.
After all, in time I’ve learned that it is just a name, a billing identity.
[ I learned my lesson 3 letter companies, and people do sometimes abbreviate it as SMW!!!]
What we have become is a group of dreamers and doers who like to create fun stuff for live events!
We also get to make art while collaborating with fun people.
So that rules!
So Middle Coast!