When I was getting ready to make the leap and strike out on my own, I knew that I didn’t want to name my new company after myself. To begin with, I’d already decided that “O’Byrne Rubenfeld” (my family names – prior to previous generations’ assimilation) would be the name of my Irish-Jewish fusion restaurant. (Think multiple variations on corned beef, cabbage/sour kraut, and potato pancakes.) But I also didn’t want the new company to be about me; this wasn’t going to be the Alison Show.
The name I selected, Aggregate, has two meanings for me. I’m a big believer in collaboration. I don’t mean the “let’s all pretend to get along” strain of collaboration, but the collaboration that happens when people are willing and able to lay their soul bare and talk about what they want from a relationship – and what they can bring in return. Good collaboration happens when people or groups are honest about their self-interests and can identify when their collective self-interests can be met by working together. I wanted a name that suggested the idea of bringing different elements (potentially incongruous on the surface) together, but that didn’t drip with saccharine. No circles, no bridges and, please, no embraces.
The second meaning comes from the vision I had of bringing together people I admire to work with me. Having worked at big firms where picking vendors tended to involve picking from the list of other companies owned by our holding company. I was excited about working with the many talented friends and acquaintances I had encountered during my career, the kind of people who could make things happen with limited resources and lots of skill and who wanted to enjoy the time they spent doing so. The first folks I called when I decided that Aggregate was a go were David Wilson and Qui Moede. And they’re still by my side today – and will be for a while to come.
Ultimately, the deal was sealed when I asked my friend and former creative partner, Ray Page, to design our logo. I drafted a four-page “brief” for him filled with my vision for the company. He dutifully reviewed it and then responded with the glee of a man who loves typography, ‘Look at all of those G’s!”
Yes, look at all of those G’s. And welcome to Aggregate.
– Alison Byrne Fields, Founder and President