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Complice has become Intend
Why I'm renaming my intentionality app business after nearly 9 years.
I’m renaming & rebranding this intentionality app from Complice to Intend.
“Complice” was a weird not-quite-a-word, that nobody could pronounce or spell.
“Intend” describes precisely the main unique value proposition of the app.
The business is still run by me, Malcolm Ocean, and I’m more devoted to it than ever.
Why not “Complice”?
I chose it in the first place because it’s a shortening of “Accomplice”, which felt resonant with the original vibe of the system (which started as email-based semi-automated coaching) but doesn’t particularly resonate with where the system has evolved to now.
I thought the name was obviously pronounceable, but it turns out that if you don’t know what it’s short for, most people end up with “comPLEECE” (which is a word in French with the same meaning) or “comPLYCE”. It’s also a word in Italian, pronounced “COM-plee-chay” but I never got that one.
I did get, on more than one occasion, “compliance”, which could be a name for SOME to-do list app, but would be the worst name for this one, which is all about first-person desire & purpose, not meeting some external standard. Like it’d be a worse name than just calling the app Durian or Passionfruit. Huh, actually… “passionfruit” would be a pretty good name—the fruits of your passions.
Since it’s a word in other languages, it lacks the searchability benefits of being a completely made up word, but since it’s unrecognizable and unintelligible in English, it lacks the benefits of being a real word.
So I’ve been kinda chafing at the name “Complice” for a long time. But once you’ve got a site, and videos, and graphics, and even stickers on laptops and so on… it’s a big deal to change it. And for many years, my business was a pretty passive one, not something I was particularly making big investments in.
But I’m now working on growing the business substantially, and I found myself noticing that I felt a lot more excited at the prospect of growing an app with a name I felt excited about, rather than one that felt familiar but awkward.
After ideating dozens of ideas, I finally found one that made me light up: Intend.
You could say there are 3 main verbs associated with this app:
intend: choose what to focus on, orienting to what matters
do: take actions, walk the path, do the work
review: look at how things went and reflect on past & future
Of those, intend is the most unique one, and the most important. The app has a pomodoro timer and checkboxes and so on, for doing stuff, and it’s got a very powerful fractal review system that synthesizes daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly reflections on each of your long-term goals or life areas.
But the thing that differentiates it most is in the daily (and moment-by-moment) intention-setting process. There’s no big backlog of tasks, piling up “out there”, captured neurotically or assigned by people sending you emails, and needing to be processed, tagged, organized. There are a small handful of intentions for today, chosen by you today, which come into existence by the act of intending them. As I wrote in Intentionality, not productivity, intending is internal and embodied.
And the word “intention” has been part of the system since before I even came up with the name “Complice”! The app & business actually evolved out of a system I was using myself, where I sent myself an email each morning to set my intentions for the day towards each of my long-term goals, then another at night reflecting on my progress. The morning email was initially called “standup” but then I changed it to “intentions” after a few weeks.
In the month I’ve been incubating the new name to feel into it, I’ve found myself in moments of lostness/confusion thinking “I want to intend” and basically what I mean is “go to this app I made and set an intention for what to do right now”. In general, you want your product to have an obvious moment for when to use it, eg:
see something cool ➔ “I need to take a photo” becomes “I need to Instagram that”
time to head out ➔ “I need to get a ride” becomes “I need to Uber there”
feel lost ➔ “I need to choose what to do” becomes “I need to Intend something”
There are other things I love about the name. I love how it has the word “tend” inside it. I love its etymology: Latin intendere "turn one's attention, strain (in quest of something), be zealous," literally "stretch out, extend”. The word “tend” comes from the same root. And I’ve got the domain intend.do, which in many ways I feel more excited about than a .com, since “com” doesn’t mean anything and “do” is another core aspect of what the app is all about.
I didn’t love everything about it! I was slightly averse to a name starting in “I”, since the letter on its own, in a typical sans-serif font, looks like a lowercase-L. I was slightly hoping I’d settle on a Germanic name, rather than one from Latin or French, since I’ve been starting to really love the grounded simplicity of Anglish (English reimagined without the changes introduced by the Norman conquest). Alas, “ettle”, the Old English word for “intend”, is awkward and weird rather than familiar & rooted.
I had a whole process of listening to those objections and making sure that I was embracing & choosing even the parts I didn’t like, rather than steamrolling them. If I pushed forward with enacting this decision without listening to my concerns, then when I encountered those concerns in the future, the parts of me carrying those concerns would be like “told you so!” because the decision would have been made in denial of those concerns.
The new Intend logo
I’m also really excited about the new logo! I’ll talk about some of what I see it as symbolizing in another post coming soon (EDIT: now live here) but for now I’ll let it stand on its own:
Head here to check out the new site: intend.do.