If “Siri” seems like a strange name to you, don’t fret. Steve jobs felt the same way, according to Siri co-founder and former CEO Dag Kittlaus. Kittlaus, speaking at Technori Pitch yesterday in Chicago, explained that Siri means “beautiful woman who leads you to victory” in Norwegian, and was a potential name for his future daughter. When his first child was a son, it freed up the name to be used for his software.
Reportedly, Jobs was hesitant to use the name when it came time to implement it on the iPhone, but Kittlaus kept pushing to keep it. When no alternative was found, it became the name of the voice assistant software we use today.
Kittlaus explained his initial contact with Jobs to the audience.
Three weeks after we launched I got a call in the office from someone at Apple that said, “Scott Forstall wants to talk to you and he’s the head software guy.”
And I said sure…
Only it wasn’t Scott that called, it was Steve. And Steve never announces where he’s gonna be and what he’s gonna do because there’s too much commotion around it. So he said, “Dag, this is Steve Jobs.”
And he wanted me to come over to his house the next day, and I did, and I spent 3 hours with him in front of his fireplace having this surreal conversation about the future.
And, you know, he talked about why Apple was going to win, and we talked about how Siri was doing. And he was very excited about the fact that.. you know, he was very interested in this area in general but, you know, they’re patient, they don’t jump on anything until they feel they can go after something new and he felt that we cracked it. So that was his attraction.
I ended up very lucky, timing wise. I got to work with him for a year before he got real sick. And he’s pretty incredible. The stories are true. All of the stories.
Looking back, if you were Steve Jobs or Dag Kittlaus, what would you have named Siri?