For the most part, our name is the first piece of information we share when we meet someone for the first time. This means that our name might be the first thing people make judgements or assumptions about. Although most of us will agree that making assumptions about someone or something based on a name might not always be fair, we all do it, consciously or unconsciously. A name, therefore, has a powerful impact on first impressions which usually lay the foundation for future interactions. So, what’s in the Jamaican slang “duppy”?
When starting a company or trying to build a brand, coming up with a name is often one of the most difficult things to do. A good name needs to be short, easy to remember, be related to the company’s identity or objective, and tell a story. For example, the name of the social media giant Facebook has its origin in “face books”, which are directories of individuals in an organization. These books, containing names and pictures, were distributed to Harvard students at the start of the academic year, to help them get acquainted with each other. Consider another giant, Twitter, whose name changed over the years from “Status” to “twttr” and later Twitter (for simplicity). Twitter is defined as “a short burst of inconsequential information and chirps from birds,” that basically describes the goal of the platform.
So, what’s in the company name “duppydom”?
What does the Jamaican slang “duppy” mean?
The word “duppy” is a Jamaican slang (originating from Central Africa) which means ghost or spirit. According to Jamaican customs, duppies are generally seen as evil spirits that come out to haunt people in the night.
Jamaican islanders believe in the existence of two souls; a God-given spiritual soul and an earthly soul. When someone dies, the God-given spiritual soul leaves the earth to wait for judgement. The earthly soul, on the other hand, remains in the body for three days. After three days it rises in the form of a duppy unless precautions are taken to hold it down.
It is important to note that although duppies as generally known to be evil spirits who come back to haunt people, there are also good duppies who are considered to be the souls of loved ones, who appear in dreams to enlighten or provide advice. Duppies are believed to rise from the roots of cotton trees and bamboo thickets during the night or at midday.
From duppy to duppydom
As illustrated above with Facebook and Twitter, the name of a company tends to describe its objectives or tell its story. With a plethora of social media platforms existing today, we believe a name also needs to be unique, interesting and memorable. duppydom is an extension of “duppy” (a kingdom of duppies). duppydom is a social media website that allows its users to share their expertise about life and learn from other people’s life lessons (just like the enlightenment and advice provided by the good duppies). Not only is duppydom the name of the site, here, a duppydom is also another name for “life lesson”. And just like “googling”, when searching for a specific life lesson on duppydom, it is considered “duppydoming”.
We believe that every individual has a lesson to share, because we are expert about our own lives. We all go through various experiences in life, that we learn from and that shape us into the people we are today. One of the things we also learn is that we are often ill-prepared for life. There are many lessons we wish we were taught, so that we would be more prepared to take on the journey of life. Such important lessons include: How to combat bullying in school? How to be a better friend? Why charity is so important? Or, how to be a successful entrepreneur? This is where the need for duppydom is highlighted – as a portal for sharing your own life lessons and learning from others through their stories written as lessons learned (story-based learning).
Never undermine the lessons you have learned through your life’s experiences, because they will play an important role in your future and can also be a great source of learning for others. Imagine all the benefits that could emerge from people of various backgrounds coming together to share and learn life lessons. Today, this is possible because of duppydom.