Wesabe — what in the heck is that? First, I should say, naming a startup is a special form of pain that I wouldn’t inflict on anybody. I was inclined to name it Knight Industries, but my co-founder Marc didn’t think that was a very good idea (you were right Marc). After months of brainstorming I came up with Wesabe which is based on the Spanish word “tu sabes,” or “you know.” Wesabe meant “we know” and our tagline is “together we know.”
This was great until I told the name to our good friend Neil, who is grammarian in both Spanish and English, and he had this to say:
The problem with tying this name to the Spanish-language verb saber (to know) is that the verb is conjugated thusly:
yo sé (I know)
tú sabes (you know, informal)
él, ella SABE (he/she knows)
nosotros sabemos (WE know)
vosotros sabéis (you know, plural, informal— today used only in Spain)
ellos, ustedes saben (they know, or you, —plural, formal— know)
As you can see, saying “we sabe” doesn’t sound cute or street slangy in this context. I doubt that the name would even register as Spanish or Spanglish for a Spanish speaker or a speaker of both languages.
Thanks Neil, thanks a lot. Which means, nosotros sabemos it isn’t conjugated correctly. It also nicely illustrates a point that Marc and I have been making for a while — there is a lot more knowledge out there than there is in here. And if you want to know something, for example proper Spanish grammar, ask and you’ll probably get back a ton of great information.
That said, we are sticking with Wesabe — to us it sounds great and it conveys our goal to our users.
Besides together we really do know.