First off, a certain high school AP English teacher would tell us it’s bad form to put the question mark outside the quotes, but hey, rules are made to be broken, and that one just seems silly.
But on the topic of this post, where the heck the Lantern name came from, is where we’ll spend the rest of our focus. When our founding team (4 anonymous founders – the team members are in stealth mode, but Lantern is very much in the wild…more on that later) first came together, we dreamed up this crazy idea of a ubiquitous deal platform, where we could literally walk out of our office, launch our app and figure out where to go to lunch based on what deals were going on around us. It had to be free to use, meaning you didn’t have to pay some intermediary just to get your discount and the deals had to be instantly available.
Free the Market!
At first we thought there should be some kind of rigid quality control system where we picked all the places that were featured on our new deal platform. But the more we talked, the more we liked the idea of a deal democracy, where users vote with their dollars and the free market sorts itself out.
Laissez faire it is.
Businesses would be able to sign themselves up, manage their own deals and promotions. Cool. But what are we going to call it?
With the initial market being restaurants, we thought about all kinds of names: some plays on fishing for food seemed to lead the way. As we iterated through names and ideas, we broadened our scope a bit and made several other categories that fit well with this new democracy. We kept coming back to that holy grail that everyone seems to be searching for – a cool way to find stuff around you. Ok, so we have the general concept. Some ideas centered around radii came up, local-isms were thrown around… Eventually, “lantern” popped out. A lantern illuminates the area immediately around it, helping its bearer see things she couldn’t see before.
“That was it. We’d call it Lantern.”
It would help get people to discover and try places all around them, by allowing proprietors to entice them with awesome, limited-time, limited-quantity deals.
The next step was to start building it…