Web developer Omid Hezaveh from Finland could build space rockets, explore the oceans and conquer the mountains. But instead, he built an open source service that helps us with pronouncing each other’s name.
While the idea is far from being the next Facebook, it actually solves quite a problem many people encounter in their public relations. Indeed, Scandinavian names are not common for American or British ears. That’s why Finnish entrepreneurs Jaakko and Mikko in their conversation with US-based journalists and investors are forced to turn into Jakes and Mikes. The Chinese go beyond, taking a permanent Western name to avoid confusion.
Just like Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp started Uber to solve the problem of hailing a cab, Omid started SayItLikeMe to aims to solve the problem of mispronunciation of people’s names. “Usually, people don’t get my family name in first few tries as it’s not a common one. Even though I have learnt to not worry about that too much, still I feel bad when I see someone struggling to pronounce my name,” admits Omid.
While listening to podcasts he noticed that very often hosts are guessing, pronouncing, and then apologising for the mispronunciation of the names. The boiling point for him to actually start the app was the moment when he was featured in The Change Log podcast, and guess what? Hosts Adam and Jerod, were struggling with pronouncing his own family name. That was the moment when he decided to do something about it.
If you suffer from the same problem as Omid, all you need to do it to log in the app with you twitter and record the pronunciation of their names. Your recording will be put in a database, where others can check up the right pronunciation to get the name more easily.
A beta version of Sayitlike.me with a modest knowledge of React and Nodejs is free and open source, as Omid hopes the community to help him to improve the service further. All the code is on github: Link