Red Shepard? Why Not 'Shepherd'? What's With The Name?
W e sometimes get these questions when introducing ourselves to a potential client or just trying to tell someone our web URL. I figured it was time to write something about it. At least then we would have some sort of resource to point people to, or a page on our site they might stumble across, to explain why we are named this way.
I'm the oldest of seven children. Growing up in a crowded household was a blast, and a total blessing as I look back on it today. But being the oldest in a big family meant a couple things: taking the fall for the mistakes of my siblings, and 'pioneering' things for the "greater good" of all us kids. For example, I didn't have anyone to look up to when it came to my first day of high school. What should I expect? What are the kids like? How do I go through this big scary lunch line? I just had to jump in and figure it out. Same goes for other life events: getting my license, applying for colleges, joining the track team, going to parties...the whole gamut.
No one was there for me to look up to, and my parents were very busy running two businesses and raising six more kids. It finally dawned on me that while I may not have a guide for all these life events, my siblings certainly will. I needed to own it. Because when it came time for them to face these things, they're going to ask me.
Fast Forward: Starting a Business
Like my parents, I wanted to start a business. In college I was starting to get deeper into the software industry, and I loved sitting for hours writing code, yet I also enjoyed working with people. I wanted exposure to as many different technologies as possible without sacrificing my extroversion. I fell into consulting after my first few clients — who were just acquaintances at the time — asked me to build an app. It was a perfect fit.
But I needed a company...what to name it? "It had to be symbolic", I thought; something that caught people's attention, and symbolized grand ambitions. I was always fascintated with the names that NASA came up with to name their missions and hardware. Names like "Apollo", "Gemini", and "Magellan" dripped of grandeur and wonder. Thats what I wanted!
When paging through search results and 'NASA names', I came across the Mercury 7 — the first men chosen to go into space. Most importantly, just like my siblings and I, there were seven of them. But what really caught my eye was the name of the first of them to actually enter space — the true unknown, where no one had gone before. His name was Alan Shepard.
Like me, he was the first of his group of seven to venture out into the unknown. I knew right way I needed to honor the parallel, and adopt the name for my business. Hence the spelling 'Shepard', instead of 'shepherd'.
But what about 'Red'? Easy. As the closest planet to the sun, Mercury is the hottest. It's often depicted in a red hue, and the logo for the Mercury missions was outlined in red — no brainer!
Just like Mr. Shepard was the first to venture into the unknown, I could be the first of my siblings to start a business. Ultimately, if they decide to do the same, they can learn from my mistakes. The stakes on my mission are not as high, but Shepard and I can both be pioneers in our own way.