Why We Changed Our Name to “Sanborn”



We changed our name for two reasons:

  1. “Sanborn” is what people call us anyway.
  2. It’s simpler this way.

If you are:

a) my mom
b) one of those people who has a natural curiosity about branding
c) someone who is bored or drunk and doesn’t want to go back to doing something more productive just yet

…walk with me and I’ll take you deeper into how we arrived at this decision.

Since you want to hear a breathy, introspective, marketing buzzword-laden spiel about this process as much I want to meet Jean Claude Van Damme in the final match of the kumite… I’ve decided to present this as a Q&A between 2016 Chris Sanborn (me… the 39-year-old dipstick who tries to run the company today) and 2004 Chris Sanborn (me… the 27-year-old dipstick who started the company).

2004 CS: So… (becomes flustered…almost falls over)

2016 CS: What is it? Are you ok? Jesus…

2004 CS: You’re so…old. And…swollen? And…

2016 CS: I think I get the picture there bud. Not sure what to tell you. Good news: you still run a very cool company 12 years from now and have a beautiful wife and three wonderful kids. Bad news: as a result, your boyish sheen has melted off and left you with (motions to self) this.

2004 CS: Fair enough. So where were we?

2016 CS: Well you were losing your composure and I was trying to explain how we got here.

2004 CS: As you were. Take me through it.

2016 CS: Let’s actually start with you…why did you name the company “Sanborn Media Factory” to begin with?

2004 CS: Well…”Sanborn Media Factory” right now consists of me, a totally boss Dell gaming laptop and a palatial 325 square-foot studio apartment that doubles as my primary residence that I share with my girlfriend Amie Duffy.

2016 CS: Ah…right…so #irony? Tiny one person operation = opposite of big, powerful factory?

2004 CS: Not sure why you made a pound sign with your fingers before you said “irony” but yes…that’s half of it.

2016 CS: Ahh right…the hashtag won’t be invented for another 3 years. Skip it. So what else about “factory?” Lots of things are big – why that?

2004 CS: I’ve always felt more comfortable in places where you can smell the sawdust and the sweat. A factory is a place where the physical space is defined by the work that needs to be done and really nothing else. It’s raw and powerful and without pretense. I like those things…especially in my working life.

2016 CS: I guess that makes sense. Although you realize how much time you’re about to take off people’s lives typing @sanbornmediafactory.com for the next decade?

2004 CS: I haven’t thought about that, no.

2016 CS: Yeah – that’s what I keep telling people too. What about the “Sanborn” part of the name?

2004 CS: It’s my last name.

2016 CS: Yea…mine too. Got that part down pretty good. But that’s it?

2004 CS: You’re interviewing yourself dude…I think we’ve established your DEFCON 1 level vanity. But more or less the intent there was that I wanted the company to always feel more like a family than a machine. Tying my name to it is the best way I can remind myself of that every single day.

2016 CS: Fair. Ok…so I’ll do my best to get you up to speed on this change to “Sanborn.”

2004 CS: Sounds simpler.

2016 CS: You are a keen study sir…and devilishly handsome to boot…I must say.

2004 CS: Stop it…(makes hand gesture to keep going).

2016 CS: So yea…it’s simpler, which is inherently better. But we also have noticed that our clients and people we do business with always end up calling us “Sanborn” instead of “Sanborn Media Factory.” So some of it is about just following the grain of the wood…which feels more natural.

2004 CS: Makes sense…so how did you go about it?

2016 CS: Performing surgery on yourself is pretty difficult but we like pain so we went for it.

2004 CS: By “we” I assume you mean the company is more than just you at this point?

2016 CS: Yea…there are 35 people in the company and we chose a small unit to run with it. My partners (Cris Hazzard and Amie Sanborn) and I set the high level goals and then watched as this team created something that felt more like “us” than we ever could have come up with ourselves…which is a very weird (and rewarding) feeling.

2004 CS: It must be nice to have people design and code and project manage things for you.

2016 CS: Yea…you need to stop doing that. You’re a lovely man but my god, there are much more talented people in the world waiting to run circles around you and take this whole thing to another level.

2004 CS: Sounds like a plan. Well thanks for getting me on board your silver delorean and jamming it up to 88 mph. The future sounds pretty cool.

2016 CS: Do I always make strange analogies based on iconic movies from the 80’s?

2004 CS: You say that like it’s a bad thing. What other road should we travel?

2016 CS: Where we’re going…we don’t need roads.

2004 CS: Does this have something to do with that hashtag thing?

2016 CS: (Puts hands over face) Nevermind.