col·lab·o·ra·tion (n.) - the action of working with someone to produce or create something.
freight lane (n.) - a transportation route routinely serviced by a carrier. For example: "We run the Chicago to Dallas lane three times a week"
Today we're excited to announce our new brand, CoLane! We love our new name because it's simple and exactly what we do - collaborate with our customers on freight lanes.
Collaboration and co-creation is at the heart of our business. Zeke and I started this company with a core principle of co-locating engineering with operations. Beautiful things happen when you combine diverse backgrounds and perspectives and point them towards solving the same problem.
CoLane brings this principle to the forefront.
"But Fraight was a great name!"
We loved the name Fraight - it was playful and punny. And it treated us well for over two years. But it had to go. Like all parts of the business, you have to listen to feedback, keep an open mind, and be willing to kill your darlings.
Reason #1 - It's not about the tool
Business is not about the tool you are using, it's about what you do with it. Having an "A.I." pun in our name brought too much attention to the tool. I'm quite positive that J.P. Morgan has never sold a customer by talking about their Microsoft Excel skills.
A final nail in Fraight's coffin was a Jeff Bezos interview from 1999. The reporter is drilling him about whether Amazon is "a pure internet company" and Bezo's gives the perfect response "internet schminternet...we're a customer-first company".
I love it.
Reason #2 - Simple is better than clever
Fraight was also just too confusing.
No, no its freight with an "AI"...F-R-A-I-G-H-T
For comparison, imagine we started a business that competes with the US Postal Service, and called the company “mail”, but spelled it wrong.
Was CoLane your first choice?
Far from it, the first one was a big fail... literally.
Once we agreed we needed to sunset "Fraight AI" my immediate thought was to just shorten our name to FAI. There's plenty of successful acronyms in our industry - UPS, XPO, TQL to just name a few.
I knew FAI.com would be taken, so I went to GoDaddy and...
I took it as a sign to slow down, and find something we love.
Got it. So where did you get CoLane?
We love the idea of working together and being our customers' wingman. We think of our virtual assistant, Archie, as our "co-pilot". He takes over for the easy, boring stuff, and handing over the controls for the more important tasks. In fact we almost called the company CoPilot.
But the problem with using a real word, like CoPilot, is that everyone already has an attached meanings and assumptions about that word. For instance, when I say CoPilot, you might think of Goose from TopGun, or assume that we specialize in air freight. We're not in the business of telling people their assumptions are wrong, so we were convinced that we should just make something up.
Since we focus on recurring lanes (as opposed to the one-off spot market), I was pretty set on finding an option using the word "lane". I spent a couple weeks going through LaneShip, LaneTrue, OneLane, LanePilot...
Around that time, Torie and I were sitting in a meeting with a corporate partner, my mind was racing on "Lane" names, when someone said the word "co-create". And then boom. CoLane.