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This morning I had to send an invoice by paper mail to Japan. It must have been a long while since I last did so. This client is a household brand in the world, yet their accounting department still sticks to rules written decades ago. They do not accept electronically signed PDF documents and their documents are not designed for users outside Japan. When I mentioned their peculiar practice, their reply stunned me: That's the way things have been done. This reminds me of Peter Diamandis who said in 2014 that 40% of Fortune 500 companies would no longer exist in 10 years, and the reason is separately given by Clayton Christensen (famous for his book The Innovator's Dilemma): Success of a big company makes it difficult to adapt to changes. Here's the post.

March 1, 2017 (Wed)

A domain name exercise


I'm always curious about peer-to-peer lending because it illustrates the power of the internet to connect people who have money with people who need money. When there is a lending platform that offers both security and convenience, then no bank is needed.

The p2p market in China has skyrocketed in recent years. Transaction value has increased from about $60b in 2014 and $150b in 2015, to a whopping $420b in 2016. Massive growth also breeds dodgy startups too. For example, about 2 weeks ago I read a news story about eight p2p marketplaces all closing door on the same day. Additional information reveals that all of them are owned by the same company.

Because of my interest, I tend to focus on the domain names concerned. The good news is that all of the eight names use the most sought after extension (.com) in China. The bad news is that the names are poor in quality. They were likely acquired as fresh registrations at very low costs.

When I come across such news, I enjoy doing an exercise where I ask myself what name I would choose. I start from a company's brand name, which is usually shorter than their actual, legal name. The next step is to find the Pinyin spelling of the brand name. The final step is to construct the .com name matching the Pinyin name. For the best choice, I also look at the acronym .com of the Pinyin words because Chinese companies love very short domain names.

For example, one of the marketplaces is called 聪明投 (meaning "smart investing"). Its Pinyin spelling is Cong Ming Tou, so a better domain name is Congmingtou.com and the best choice may be CMT.com. The following table describes the eight marketplaces and my suggested domain names.

BrandPinyinCurrentBetterGreat
1. 聪明投Cong Ming Toucmtouzi.comCongmingtou.comCMT.com
2. 奶瓶儿Nai Ping Ernaipinglicai.comNaipinger.comNPE.com
3. 早点儿Zao Dian Erzaodianlicai.comZaodianer.comZDE.com
4. 火牛财富Huo Niu Cai Fuhuoniu360.comHuoniu.com, HNCF.comHN.com
5. 玩儿家Wan Er Jiawanerjialicai.comWanerjia.comWEJ.com
6. 钱罐儿Qian Quan Erqianguan360.comQianquaner.comQQE.com
7. 乐行理财Le Xing Li Cai lexinglicai.comLexing.com, LXLC.comLX.com
8. 海新金服Hai Xin Jin Fuhxjinfu.comHaixin.com, HXJF.comHX.com


In #4, #7, and #8, you may notice that I use a different rule. For example, I suggest Huoniu.com instead of the spelled out Huoniucaifu.com. This is because 4-p names are quite long, usually. In the three cases, the first two Pinyin words are sufficiently unique to be easily remembered by consumers.