May 9, 2012

The “Wistia” Name

Alyce Currier


What’s in a (company) name? If you’re our customer or keep track of what we’re up to at all, maybe you’ve asked yourself what, or who, a "Wistia" is. Well, it’s time to clear away the air of mystery.

The short of it: Wistia is a made-up word. When Chris and Brendan were a pair of youngsters with starting their own business at the front of their minds, they began to register a stockpile of domain names — because why not? There were a couple of rules for naming that they abided by, aside from just brainstorming names that sounded cool: a business name should have one obvious spelling when it’s said out loud, and one obvious pronunciation when it’s read out loud. Okay, no name is perfect — there’ll always be those who write down or Google search or say Whistia or Wisteria or Wisita, but we’ve found that overall, Wistia does a pretty good job of fulfilling these two requirements.

In addition, they wanted to use a name that wasn’t an existing word — this way, they could create the entire brand for that particular word, not to mention it helps avoid the confusion we’d encounter in Google searches if the company were named "Burger King" or something. It also mattered a lot how the name sounded. Before Wistia’s inception, Chris and Brendan had been running Tropist, a portfolio site for filmmakers and artists of all kinds. That was a pretty decent name — even if it’s already an English word, it’s not a commonly used one. They were constantly testing new names on people (like,, and!) but Wistia just felt fun to say. In addition, “Wist” is an archaic past tense of “wit,” so it’s related to knowledge. And video is all about conveying knowledge! The “-ia” is purely aesthetic.

Since the name was chosen, we’ve stumbled upon a couple of cool backstories that we could have totally lied about and pretended were on everyone’s minds the entire time. For example, when Brendan and his brother were making the big wooden sign that hangs by our entryway, they realized Wistia is an anagram for “I SAW IT.” But let’s get real here: the anagram below is obviously the real story behind “Wistia.”

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