December 3, 2013

"Apple has acquired a company with access to 'the hose'..."

"... the nickname for Twitter’s stream of 500 million tweets per day."

$200 million for Topsy, which I've got to assume is named after the character in "Uncle Tom's Cabin":
A ragamuffin young slave girl. When asked if she knows who made her, she professes ignorance of both God and a mother, saying "I s'pect I growed. Don't think nobody never made me."... The phrase "growed like Topsy" (later "grew like Topsy") passed into the English language, originally with the specific meaning of unplanned growth, later sometimes just meaning enormous growth.
Is it in poor taste to name a company after a slave girl?

Or do you think the company was named after Topsy the elephant, famous for dying of electrocution, captured on film by Thomas Edison in the year 1903?
Initially, Topsy was supposed to be hanged, but other ways were considered when the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals protested. Edison then suggested electrocution with alternating current, which had been used for the execution of humans since 1890.

Topsy was fed carrots laced with 460 grams of potassium cyanide before the deadly current from a 6,600-volt AC source was sent coursing through her body, partly as a demonstration of how "unsafe" his competitor's (George Westinghouse) alternating current design was.
Is it in poor taste to name a company after an electrocuted elephant?



The hose.

24 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

I can't begin to imagine what the smell must've been like when they fried Topsy.

Peter

Crunchy Frog said...

Is it poor taste to electrify a cyanide-poisoned elephant named after a fictional slave girl?

C Stanley said...

Never had heard of Topsy the elephant before. How sad!

Crunchy Frog said...

Did Topsy taste like chicken? Inquiring minds want to know.

ironrailsironweights said...

Did Topsy taste like chicken? Inquiring minds want to know.

You can buy elephant meat in South Africa. Elephants are not endangered in the area, and because they are extremely destructive to agriculture the government allows some limited hunting.

Peter

William said...

The hard part is hunting them with an electric chair.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

What was Topsy the Elephant's crime?

Kinda reminds me of the scene in blazing saddles where they are hanging the cowboy and horse.

Carl Pham said...

Given the hose allusions, I think Topsy was named after an obscure BDSM term, and reflects their corporate goal of a vigorous penetration of Big Data.

tim maguire said...

Seems like poor planning to give a company such a hard-luck name.

Carnifex said...

I was in Africa on safari. One night I was awakened by the trumpeting of a rogue elephant tearing through the camp. I shot him wearing my pajamas. What he was doing in my pajamas, I'll never know.

Thank kew, thank kew...I'll be here all week...try the veal...tip your servers...

EMD said...

Probably neither. Most internet startups have inane names like flooz.com or flipzy.com.

They just stuck -sy on the end of another word, like Newsy or Robotsy or Mallsy or Banksy.

bearing said...

Maybe they were thinking of "topsy-turvy."

St. George said...

Folks in Erwin, Tennessee, hanged an elephant in 1916.

Murderous Mary, they called her, and they used a steamshovel to do the job.

See fer yerselves....

St. George said...

Today Erwin is home to a hush-hush place that transforms weapons grade uranium from old weapons into reactor fuel.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Topsy was founded in 2007 by Vipul Ved Prakash, Rishab Aiyer Ghosh, Gary Iwatani and Justin Foutts. Which one are you assuming was channeling Uncle Tom's Cabin?

SteveR said...

That whole AC vs DC thing got out of hand.

Big Mike said...

Never accuse high tech entrepreneurs with having good taste, ma'am.

Gil said...

Maybe it's named after the Kansas City popcorn purveyor:

http://www.topsyspopcorn.com/

Or not.

Jay Vogt said...

Gil said...
Maybe it's named after the Kansas City popcorn purveyor:

http://www.topsyspopcorn.com/

Or not.


Best popcorn maker ever.

Jay Vogt said...

Little less than a day and a half's worth of net operating cash flow to pick that company up. Don't break a sweat for us shareholders Tim

jimbino said...

Westinghouse gained fame as the inventor of the air brake, but it was Nicola Tesla, who wired Niagara Falls and who was the champion of AC current.

Maybe you're thinking of Steinmetz, the inventor of practical electric motors?

SOJO said...

Peter Rabbit - topsy, mopsy, and flopsy.

T J Sawyer said...

Clearly named in honor of the Cozy Cole hit from 1958. They are drummin the hose.

Steve said...

"Grew like topsy" means to grow from undefined origin or to gradually become very large. The phrase has it's origin in the character Topsy but goes far beyond. Until today I thought that topsy was a fast growing plant and the Character Topsy was named for the plant. Here's to getting my etymology backwards.