Why Is It Called Charlie?
The million dollar question… Answered for you by Tom Carrington-Smith, Co-Founder and CPO.
I̶t̶’̶s̶ ̶p̶r̶e̶t̶t̶y̶ ̶s̶i̶m̶p̶l̶e̶.̶ ̶W̶e̶ ̶n̶a̶m̶e̶d̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶a̶f̶t̶e̶r̶ ̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶a̶m̶a̶z̶i̶n̶g̶,̶ ̶b̶r̶i̶l̶l̶i̶a̶n̶t̶ ̶C̶o̶m̶m̶u̶n̶i̶c̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶M̶a̶n̶a̶g̶e̶r̶ ̶c̶a̶l̶l̶e̶d̶ ̶C̶h̶a̶r̶l̶i̶e̶.̶
First of all, it’s important to first understand where the idea for Charlie came from.We’ve started a few other businesses before, and culture has always been a huge priority for us.
Why would we work somewhere we wouldn’t want to spend most of our week?
But we were consistently terrible at onboarding new hires. I mean, running to the Apple store the morning of a new team member starting and forgetting to add them to payroll, terrible.
We’d spend more time doing admin then actually working on growing the business.
We built Charlie to take care of this stuff and give everyone more time to do the things they love. Because no one starts a business for the admin involved. They do it because they’re passionate about something or have an idea they need to let out. Or for the lifestyle… (people tell me this is a thing ¯_(ツ)_/¯ )
I’m rambling. Back to the question why is it called Charlie?
Well, we’ve always felt a system like ours should just work. It should be constantly running in the background, getting the admin done for you so you can have a bit more time.Rob and I came up with names like Cog, Engine, Dynamo…. Real liquid gold.
We pitched them to Ben. He agreed they were utter shit.
Back to the drawing board. What was this thing we’re trying to build? It was essentially the best person you’ve ever met.
They’re smart, but not a show off. They get things done, without bragging. They’re attractive, but not arrogant. They’re funny, but at the right times. They’re cool, but not so hip you’re intimidated.
The perfect person.
That really struck a chord with us and during a lunchtime wander we came up with the idea of calling it a person’s name. And we liked it.
We only had rule. It had to be non gender specific. We ended up with two — Charlie and Sam. Being really honest, we thought Sam was a bit Fireman and the letter S reminds me of snakes, so we settled on Charlie.
As we’ve grown, the idea that software should feel like a person is something really important to us. It’s people who are using our products every day, so why shouldn’t they feel like they’re interacting with a person? So they should *feel *like they’re interacting, even talking to a person.
This really is at the core of what we believe in when designing and building Charlie. We often talk about Charlie as if it is a person. In our eyes it really is.We hope for a future that involves less admin, not more. One day artificial intelligence may allow for many thoughtless tasks to be completed automatically, but for now the very least we can do is make software *feel* like a person.
And maybe even make us smile every once in a while.