Origin Story: How Inqune Got Its Name


The first question many people ask when they first learn about Inqune is “How did you come up with the name?” We love this question, because we know that the story behind a name can say lot about a company, their philosophy and early history.

So, what does Inqune mean?

Inqune (n̩ ˌkuːn) combines the attitudes of being in tune and inquisitive. We work with our clients to get their teams in tune – with one another and with the company’s message and process, setting team members up to grow and lead. We do this by asking deep questions about what the company values and what it does – this can be an uncomfortable process, but the rich understanding that we gain from it lets us produce optimal results.

To successfully work with a company we must first tune in: we must understand the company’s culture, their values, and their assumptions. We must talk about how they want to be seen in the world, and how they currently are seen, and whether those things align. We need to understand their marketing and branding along with their priorities and choices, so that we can incorporate all of that into the future of their employee development programs and tools.

How did we come up with Inqune?

Tactical Considerations

1) Short. We didn’t want to spell or @mention something that was very long.

2) Domain & Twitter handle should be free. You can pay a lot for a domain name, but here at Inqune, we value being lean and scrappy. We didn’t think shelling out for a domain was a good use of our resources.

3) Look. We wanted to use our name in a logo celebrating another Inqune value: clean, clear, simple design.

Strategic Considerations

1) We wanted it to reflect our philosophy that employee development, learning, and growth is directly influenced by everything else going on at a business.

2) We wanted it to convey our best selves. We are: lean & scrappy, clean & simple, exploratory & inquisitive, and creative.


1) We brainstormed words that represented our values & philosophy. There was a lot of scratch paper. Think of the Julie & Julia movie scene when they are naming The Joy of Cooking – lots of post-its on the wall.

2) We asked a lot of people.  We had an epic family brainstorming session in Palo Alto and another one in New York with people from different industries and backgrounds: Doctors! Journalists! Wine sellers! Coffee roasters! Ops managers! A huge thank you to Josh Shapiro, Becca Shapiro, Shira Ballon, Tyson Evans, and Jacob Ballon for their ideas & input.

3) We asked our designer, Matthew Strong from www.strongstudio.com. He drew on our desire for simplicity and played with the Q a bit – which reminds us of a magnifying glass. A great tool for business explorers!

4) We tested out our story.  We told people about how we arrived at the name Inqune and got positive responses from the clients we wanted to work with.

And that is the story of how Inqune got its name.