When President Nguyen asked me to announce the names of her new faculty and staff at the Foothill College Opening Day event, I was honored…but also apprehensive.

I built the first version of NameCoach after my sister’s name was mangled at her commencement, because I knew that no one mispronounces a name intentionally – this type of thing can just be a tough job, especially given the brilliant diversity of cultures in our society.

Yes, it’s a tough job, but I was happy to have the opportunity to do it for President Nguyen. Especially since I used to teach at Foothill College, and genuinely appreciate the students, faculty, and staff there, as well as the spirit of the the College and the California Community Colleges system of which it’s a part.

It also gave me an opportunity to truly step into the shoes of our customers again. What’s the best way to ask people to record their name? How can I best use the NameCoach interface to practice and remember how to say them? What are our customers and users – teachers, deans, school officials, students – experiencing? While there are always improvements to be made, the feedback of our customers and dedication of the NameCoach team to continuously improving the product experience could not be missed in the current version – it allayed my apprehension and got me ready for the big day.

I can report that I was able to confidently say every name, and was thrilled when some new Foothill staff took me aside to say that they were grateful I got it right. It’s an important thing, to be truly and properly recognized the very first day, as you join a new community and institution – and I’m glad to have played a small role in that.

So thank you to President Nguyen, to everyone at Foothill College, and to my wonderful team at NameCoach.