I get that question a lot: “What does ‘ZOT Zin’ mean”.
Somehow: it just now struck me as odd that it never occurred to me to write a blog about this.
So here’s how I came about the name ZOT Zin Music.
When I first moved to LA early 2002
… shortly after graduating at Berklee College of Music in Boston, I decided I wanted to get back into offering private guitar instruction.
It then follows that one of the first things I had to take care off upon arrival in LA, was setting up and registering my new guitar teaching business.
In order to register my new private guitar instruction business, I had to come up with about 4-5 business names in case the one I wanted, already existed.
Picking a name for your business, is not something you go over lightly.
After all: if all goes well with your business (which is typically what you’re aiming for when you start one), then you will be stuck with that business name for a long time to come.
Moreover: the business name needs to be catchy, striking, memorable, interesting, easy to pronounce, etc.
I spent for ever trying to come up with business names I liked.
Hours were spent trying out word combinations, clever marketing targeted names, brainstorming… it took me for ever to come up with names I kind a liked.
But nothing really stood out: till I had a Eureka moment, and came up with what would be my first choice business name.
That choice was, as you already guessed: “ZOT Zin Music”
Evidently: I didn’t worry too much about availability of that business name as there was very little chance ZOT Zin would already be taken in the US. (You find out at your county’s business registrar’s office, where the business name application process involves a search on their computer databases first to see if that business name has already been taken or not)
Of course: I was happy when upon a search, I learned that it was available and I could adopt that business name.
ZOT Zin Music was born.
Now, to get to the point: here’s what it means.
The “Music” part is obvious of course.
I added “Music” to the name to make it clear that this was a company providing music services.
If I had been a famous or well established company, I could have left the word “music” out of the business name. ZOT Zin in itself though doesn’t make it clear enough what I do, which could cost me business.
Which leads to explaining the ZOT Zin part.
I grew up in Flanders, northern part of Belgium: a small country that is located north of France, south of Holland, and west of Germany. The country is bordered by the North See at the west.
The language I grew up with is Flemish. Flemish is not a written language. It’s a dialect.
The “official” language we speak in Flanders is Dutch, which is also spoken in Holland and South-Africa.
Flemish people smile when they see my business name, because they find it amusing to know that I live in the States operating my business under a company name they immediately understand and recognize.
“ZOT” in Flemish and Dutch means “crazy”
… with all exactly the same connotations and meanings that are attached to that word in English language as well.
When you think of “crazy” you think
- in love (crazy about someone)
- out there
- full of life
- but also insane
- mentally unstable
- a little bit dangerous
- amazingly, unbelievably special, talented, outstanding, extraordinary at something. (i.e. “That dude’s a crazy guitar player”)
It goes without saying that we only intend to take on and reflect the positive associations that come with the word “crazy”
The word “Zin” means different things in Flemish and in Dutch.
In Flemish “Zin” is a conjugation of the verb “to be”
In other words: the combination “ZOT Zin” in Flemish literally means “to be crazy” when translated to English.
I thought it was a fun extra that “Zin” in Dutch means “meaning”, as in “deeper meaning” or “meaning of life” (significant to me only because I strive to give people something beyond just guitar and music knowledge in their lessons)
I am “in love” (aka “ZOT Zin”) with music and strive, every day, to make each one of my music students to fall deeper and deeper in love with guitar and music too.
The company name completely reflects who I am as a person, what I stand for, and what I try to give my students.
As a plus: there is this association we make with people we think of as geniuses. Don’t we often feel like we can’t help but feeling that they seem just a bit “ZOT”? 🙂