Here is the story of how Ping got its name and how the company arrived at where it is today.
In January of 2002, the original name of the company was NEXT IDENTITY. The thought was that this was to be not only your NEXT identity, but also your last identity, as it would be inherently networked.
I knew I wanted a four-letter brand, similar to COKE, FORD, NIKE, PLUS, VISA, DELL, something simple to read and pronounce in any language. Next was perfect, with one little exception, Steve Jobs wasn't that motivated to sell it. Go figure.
So it was back to the drawing board.
Within about a week, I had generated another 20 or so candidates, with PING perhaps #10 on my unordered list of possibilities. In talking to an old friend about it, he mentioned the notion of 'Ping my identity.' Used in a similar manner to the network utility "Ping IP address." It was an instant hit, and so the original name and logo was created, PingID, seen here.
I modeled the look of the logo after PLUS, STAR, VISA. The reason being, we figured that at some future point, people would 'select' a branded identity provider, in much the same way that if you go up to an ATM, you make sure that your 'network' is supported. We actually see this playing out today in the 'Login using Facebook or Twitter or Linkedin' links on websites.
Only a bit later did we realize the world wasn't quite ready for an identity network, when there were no identity transactions and no one could actually convey identity. Duh.... they didn't have the software to do so.
So we created Ping Identity the software company, to implement the emerging standards of federated identity, and help to enable the networking of identity, hopefully, so that one day we could come full circle to the identity network.
Eleven years later, we're building PingOne, the next-gen IAM platform, which in combination with PingFederate and some innovative new pieces engineering is perfecting, provides all the functional pieces of the original vision and the foundation of an identity network.