By Eric Bonabeau
On August 29, 2000, I had three babies. One girl named Capucine, one boy named Hippolyte and one company named Icosystem (well, technically, I hired the company's CEO on August 30, but you get the idea). Given that together the three have consumed all of my time and energy over the last ten and a half years, I do not feel qualified to write about anything else. And although I would love to write about my delightful parenting experience (and how amazing my kids are), this blog's readers will probably be more interested in the things I have discovered on my journey with Icosystem. Luckily, Icosystem's interests cover a lot of different domains, albeit through a common lens: how to make decisions in a complex world.
The ominous panda generator and the addictive baby-naming site Nymbler are two examples of what we, at Icosystem, call the "hunch engine." When searching for a baby name (or an ominous-looking panda), you don't really know what you are looking for. Hopefully you'll know it when you see it. But random walking through the vast universe of baby names (and panda faces) can become rapidly boring, and unlikely to produce a real breakthrough. Have you noticed, for example, that most baby-naming books list names in alphabetical order? By the time you have reached the letter C, you no longer want to have a baby. Instead, Nymbler follows your hunches: I kind of like Ivy and Lily, but not enough to name my baby girl Ivy or Lily. On the other hand I do hate Amanda -- reminds me of a pest back when I was in second grade. These are feelings and hunches. How can we leverage them?