Note: This article is part of the How to win a Hackathon series.

For me, this is one of the hardest parts of the entire application development process. I have a list of ideas I’m passionate about that’s so long, I could never hope to make a dent in it, but naming each oneā€¦that’s the challenge for me.

The best advice I can give here is to not let it hold you up. Envision the idea, assemble your team, discuss the vision together over coffee, the golf course or cigars (my personal preference) and then start planning it. Let the concept sink in, and as it matures during planning, something may come to you.

Go to the Rails Rumble archives and read through the past entries and see if anything comes to you and see what you can learn from those names.

I had a few sleepless nights trying to come up with PeepNote and Commendable Kids. The challenge of course, was not only naming them, but getting a domain name that is available. There’s no requirement for a hackathon that you have your own domain name. You could host it at project-name.railsrumble.com, for example, but I think part of the overall first impression and experience for the first time visitor is seeing a professional domain name that matches the name of the site.

One final note. As hard as it is to come up with a name, don’t be afraid to hold out for a great one, and even throw away a good name for an even better one. Before I came up with PeepNote I had firmly settled on, and purchased, Tweepleville.com. I was sold on it at the time, but as the concept developed, I wanted to provide for a future where the service went beyond Twitter. PeepNote came to me during a brainstorming session and I switched at the last minute (about a week before the hackathon started). Thankfully I was open to the change, and I think PeepNote ended up being stronger.