πŸ’Š Names-as-a-Service, FUDwear, and Pascalian Medicine

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Before we dive in, one quick reminder: I run a podcast called Business Brainstorms where I regularly brainstorm ideas with niche industry experts and fellow entrepreneurs. Currently, my favorite episode is this one in which Daniel Sim shares all kinds of amazing Shopify app opportunities. If you like this newsletter, you'll definitely enjoy the podcast as well. Make sure to subscribe since lots of amazing episodes are coming out soon and I sometimes forget to promote them.

Now let's dive in.


The Signal


  • Here's the link to the article I screenshotted above. The short version is that this British teenager runs Special Name, a website designed to provide Chinese parents with culturally appropriate English names for their babies.

    At first she offered the service for free but nows she's charging 79 cents per name and so far was able to earn more than $400k.
  • I also recently noticed that Starter Story gets most of its traffic from posts covering naming ideas. Almost 30% of the top keywords it ranks for contain the word "name".

    Just a few examples: "boutique name ideas", "photography business names", "kids clothing brand names", "good youtube channel names", "podcast name ideas list", "clothing store name ideas", "candle name ideas", "bicycle company names", "unique bakery names". There are hundreds of similar keywords that drive significant traffic to Starter Story.

    Pro subscribers can access a comprehensive, enriched list of keywords Starter Story ranks for organically here.

    (As an aside, I recently signed up for the Starter Story Premium Plus plan and was really disappointed. The focus is clearly on quantity over quality. Most of the content is written for the Google crawler, not for humans. For example, this is how they explain the business idea to "Start an API": "Often times, as a API, you typically work alone and do not have much face-to-face interaction with other team members." In other words, it's automatically generated garbage.)


  • There's an incredible number of niches you can offer names-as-a-service in.
  • Baby names for Chinese parents is just one example. What other countries and languages could this model be applied to?
  • If you search for terms like "boutique name ideas" all of the top results are simply static lists of names. Not a particularly good solution imho but it's clearly working. Using GPT-3 it's very easy to churn out lists as Starter Story does.
  • Slightly better are naming tools like Namelix. However, since they make their profit through affiliate commissions from premium domain sales the incentives are not really aligned. The name ideas tools like Namelix generate are usually low-quality since this pushes people towards the premium names they also list. Moreover, the names are usually not dynamically generated but simply pulled from a large database. (ML models are expensive to host and run.)
  • Next we have on-demand services like Special Name which involve some human touch. You can use tools like GPT-3 to generate a long list of ideas Β for each client but then curate it manually to make sure they're really relevant.

    (I recently explored this model very successfully with Product Ideas. I own the domain BrandNames.ai and hence I might try to apply the same model to the naming niche.)
  • Given that names are extremely important for parents or business owners I bet at least some of them would be willing to pay $50+ for a premium consultation with a naming expert.
  • Now the absolutely best solution would be to tie all of these levels together. Churn out static lists at scale to attract visitors from Google. Then sell them your naming services or tools.

FUDwear and Pascalian Medicine

The Signal


  • FUDwear is a term recently coined by Shaan Puri to describe brands that take advantage of people's fears. (FUD stands for Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt.)
  • One example are trousers with pockets that protect you from electromagnetic radiation emitted by your smartphone.
  • It never occurred to most people that this sort of thing would be a problem, but once it's out there, they are willing to pay a premium price for a solution.
  • "Better safe than sorry" is clearly a rule many people live by.
  • A related concept is Pascal's wager. It's an argument in philosophy made by Blaise Pascal that contends that you should live as if God exists and seek to believe in God because the potential reward if you are right is infinitely greater than the finite cost if you are wrong.
  • Pascalian medicine is what we end up with if we apply the same argument to medicine.
  • For example, multivitamins are a perfect example. For any individual vitamin in them, there's a relatively small probability that supplementing it does anything good β€” but a higher probability that at least one does. Moreover, it won't hurt you to take them.
  • Similarly, it probably makes sense for someone with Covid to take both Vitamin D and ivermectin even if the chances that they really do help are relatively low. The downside is some mild inconvenience and cost. The upside is a non-zero probability that they could save your life.
  • (Obviously I'm not a doctor and this is not medical advice. Comments like this are in fact another great example of the same phenomenon. It probably makes little sense to put it here but definitely won't hurt either.)
  • One guy who takes the Pascalian medicine idea to its limits is Futurist Ray Kurzweil who reportetly takes 100 different supplements every day.
  • Another interesting case study is how the bulletproof coffee guy made a killing by making people paranoid about mold on coffee beans.


  • Whenever people start to become concerned about something, there's an opportunity to offer products or information to help them feel better.
  • The piece by Tucker Max on Doomer Optimism is a good look into the mind of someone applying Pascal's wager to his whole lifestyle. He mentions that he trains for the worst with Sheepdog Response and I bet they're killing it with their training courses.
  • The whole prepper community is fueled by the same mindset and they love any kind of gadget that might give them an advantage.
  • To catch these kinds of trends early spend some time on Reddit (on /r/askscience in particular).
  • The top question during the past year is: "Many of us haven’t been sick in over a year due to lack of exposure to germs (COVID stay at home etc). Does this create any risk for our immune systems in the coming years?".
  • Clearly there is an opportunity to sell products, ebooks, or courses to anyone worried that their immune system got too weak.
  • Even more specific is the following highly-popular question: "Will babies who have experienced their first year of life within the pandemic see long term immune system effects?"
  • Also the stuff that's in our drinking water starts to concern more and more people. Opportunities range from diagnostic services to filtering showerheads, to complete home filtration systems.

I hope you enjoyed this report. If you have a minute, please respond and let me know what you think.



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