Why three words matter

As we prepare for our launch we began picking between the words that we wanted to represent our company when we explained it to patients and clinicians.

It got me thinking about why three words should matter so much. On the one hand, it seems the fashionable thing to do, with many companies choosing three generic words to represent them. 37 Signals created the eNormicom parody of this back in 1999.

But: words matter, and in brevity is elegance.

My favourite example is constitutions. Three words say so much about a country and its history. For the USA, of course, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are well known and speak well for the country’s preference for individualism. After the Americans, the French adopted “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” as their watchwords. We see this in their socialist solidarity. And for our Canadian cousins, “Peace, order and good government” continue to speak for so much that is good about their country.

Contrast these inspirational words with the original draft of the US constitution which had plumped for “Life, liberty and the pursuit of property”. Naturally, we hope to learn from the inspirational examples.

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