Around a thousand years before electronics, a monk called Poppo was asked to prove his faith, because Sweyn Forkbeard was having doubts about his baptism. Legend has it that Poppo proved his faith by holding a red-hot metal glove, yet he remained unharmed.

Sweyn Forkbeard’s father (King Harald Blátǫnn Gormsson) had already converted from paganism to Christianity although his conversion wasn’t what he was famous for. His place in the history books had been assured by uniting Norway and Denmark in AD 958, quite possibly giving him cause to smile.

If you’d seen his smile, you may have noticed that he had an off-colour dead-tooth which the sagas say were stained from eating blueberries, for Blátǫnn is old norse for “Blue-Tooth”.

A couple of weeks ago on 10th October, Denmark officially authorised the creators of Bluetooth technology to use the name and symbol of the aforementioned Danish King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson for a period of 1,000 years.

The modern technological version of Bluetooth was devised and named in 1996 when, in a spirit of collaboration, Intel, Ericcson and Nokia held a meeting to standardise short-range radio communications between electronic devices. The name was only supposed to be temporary until their marketing departments came up with another.

Intel’s Jim Kardach said “King Harald Bluetooth was famous for uniting Scandinavia just as we intended to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link.”

Three Business Take-Aways That Spring To Mind :

  • Collaboration. Cooperation between related businesses means that synergy from the collective can be more productive than the sum of the parts.
  • Vision. The inventors of Bluetooth had a clear goal : a wireless communication protocol that could connect devices across different industries, brands, and functionalities.
  • Branding. If the name sticks, use it! In this case, they’re good for the next thousand years, so there’s no rush to change it now.

As an aside, the Bluetooth logo is derived from Viking runes and it’s a bind-rune merging “Hagall” (associated with the forces of nature and the universe, symbolizing disruption, change, and challenges) and “Bjarkan” (associated with growth, rebirth, and new beginnings). Both runes correspond to the initials of the 10th-century Danish king.

That’s something to think about next time you’re going around in circles, trying to connect devices and not going mad.

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