Where Did the Name “TrivWorks” Come From?

trivia.company.New.York.City.jpgTrivia company New York City

In six years of blogging, I’m not sure if I’ve ever addressed this particular topic directly – so here it goes.

Very often I’ll be skimming through a service I subscribe to called HARO, which stands for “Help a Reporter Out.” I used to work in public relations before going into event programming and starting my own employee team building company in New York City specializing in trivia events for corporate groups. HARO is very similar to another service we used back in my PR days called ProfNet – not sure if that’s even around anymore. Anyway, I am quite used to seeing requests on HARO for reporters seeking stories on how companies got their names. I’ve responded to many of these queries over the years, but never received any interest.

And so, I’ve decided to tell you the story myself – here on my blog!

It was the summer of 2009, and I had just decided to start my own professional trivia company. I had been hosting bar trivia nights in Manhattan for three years by that point, and the economy had recently tanked; I recognized a need for companies large and small to offer their hard-working employees a new and effective form of morale boosting and reward, and thought that a feisty, fully-customized team trivia contest would be just the thing. I had a strategic plan mapped out, a target audience, and was reading every book and article I could lay my hands on regarding entrepreneurship and how to start a business.

All I needed was a name.

I knew from my PR days that once I settled on my company name, I would be Googling it constantly – not as an ego thing, but to see what’s being said of it online, including news articles, blogs, review sites, listings and more. I’d also want to know how I was ranking in the search engines. To me, this meant that whatever my company name was going to be, I’d want it to be three things:

  • Something unique/memorable
  • Something I could brand
  • Something short

My first instinct was to name my new company with a clever play on words. I wanted to differentiate myself from “pub quiz” companies which were starting to spring up, who serviced mainly bars and restaurants with turnkey trivia nights for patrons. To me, this meant I had to be more creative than, say, “New York Trivia Company” or “NYC Professional Trivia Hosts” or something. I literally sat down and started making lists of words associated with what I do, and tried to come up with rhymes, puns, double entendres, anything which would help me establish my new brand as smart, witty and professional.

I failed.

Not only were there very few things I could come up with using words like “trivia,” “quiz” and the like, but when I’d do simple domain name searches, I’d find that just about any related .com domains were already long gone (one exception, which I was actually quite, excited about was “Quizicalities” – would you believe Quizicalities.com was STILL AVAILABLE! I told my then-girlfriend/now wife I was going to name my company Quizicalities, and she literally slapped herself on the forehead. So much for that idea).

Inspiration hit me as I was walking up Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, making my way back to work from a doctor’s appointment. I was thinking about a buddy of mine, Ben, who is from Tennessee. Ben’s a real character, a super charming guy with a wonderful sense of humor. I think maybe it’s a Tennessean thing, but Ben has this really interesting, quirky way of talking sometimes. He abbreviates stuff. If we were going out to sing karaoke, he’d say, “That was some good ‘oke.” He knew I was freelancing at a NYC scavenger hunt company at the time, and he’d ask me, “How’s the ‘scav?” When he’d come visit me at the UES bar I hosted trivia nights at every Tuesday, he’d say, “What kind of triv’ you got going tonight?”

So there I was, walking along Lexington between 79th & 80th, and I was thinking about Ben and thinking about my company.


“Trivia Works”


“Triv’ Works”


WHAM. That was it, I knew it. I just knew it. I whipped out my flip-phone (it was 2009, after all) and immediately did two things: I wrote down this funny-looking neologism under “Notes,” and I texted my girlfriend, “What do you think of this one?” A minute later, she CALLS me (already a positive sign, since every other company name idea I’d text her would get a one-word text in response – usually something like “no,” or “lame” (which they were).

I pick up, and she says, “I LIKE it..!”

Well, that’s all the approval I needed. Later that night at home, I registered everything I possibly could using my new brand name: my business entity, Website domain name, Twitter handle, everything. I loved the name, because it met all three of the criteria indicated above: definitely unique (it was a new word, after all), short, and absolutely something which I could brand and make my own.

Almost eight years later, I still love it. I love how the “W” in the middle is stylized in the upper case, to visually split the word into two distinct portions. I love how easy it is to say and to remember, and how easy it is to search for when looking it up online. It hasn’t been without its challenges: people still call it “Trivia Works,” which I guess is to be expected. When retaining a graphic artist to create my logo, I had him add the words “Live Trivia Entertainment” at the bottom, because the one-word name alone wasn’t descriptive enough to clearly communicate exactly what it is my company does. But all in all, I’m very happy with this company name, am extremely proud of it, and never regretted it once or wished I had named this shop something else.

For another insightful article on how I started a trivia company in NYC, click here.

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