Naming the Blockstack installer

Hey everyone, we have a GitHub issue open here where we are discussing the public and internal facing naming of the Blockstack Browser Installer.

So far we have the following;

@guylepage3 wrote:

We need to come up with a descriptive name of the Blockstack Install.

So far, @shea256 and myself have come up with:

  1. Browser Add-on
  2. Browser Plugin
  3. Browser Extension
  4. Browser Portal

Some others suggested have been:

  • Browser Gateway
  • Browser Upgrade
  • Browser Installer

Let’s try to resolve this item sooner rather than later.

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Just brainstorming some more:

Blockstack Network
Blockstack for macOS/Blockstack for Windows

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  1. Blockstack installer
  2. +1 to Larry for Blockstack for macOS e.g., iTunes is “iTunes 12.5.4 for macOS”

The reasoning here is that new users are not going to remember any other term than Blockstack (which already is a new term/concept for them).

I like the conversation we had earlier where we said it’s really exciting to be able to say:

“Blockstack is building a new browser.”

I’m thinking about what we can say instead if we’re giving people an installer.

“Blockstack is building…”

I think we’d still use the same line for marketing. There can always be a new browser for developers but users have the option to just use their existing browser if they want. Also, we might end up doing a bundle like Tor in the future, which comes with a browser – we don’t really know what would happen so probably best to keep marketing generic.

I mean for what we say to users and what we say to the press. I think we’d get in a weird situation where we say we’re working on a browser and users download an app but they can use their existing browser.

As I see it, we’re pushing a single product to both consumers and developers and that is the app you download that gives you a web dashboard and a local Blockstack node. In my view it doesn’t make sense to maintain and distribute another product that is an actual browser.

It helps to be able to say “blockstack is making an x” and “users download an x” and use that term for everything in every situation.

Option 1:

We say “blockstack is making a browser” but still give users the app they download that gives them the web view. When pressed, we explain that it’s not actually a separate browser but that it’s kind of a browser within a browser.

Option 2:

We say “blockstack is making a browser addon” (or plugin or extension or portal or gateway or upgrade).

I think option 1 is simpler.

It also doesn’t require a change if for technical reasons we do end up shipping a browser in our “installer”. The future might end up looking like this:

And we can avoid the “we’re making a browser” “oh wait we’re not making a browser” “oh no wait again, we are in fact making a browser”.

And we can avoid the “we’re making a browser” “oh wait we’re not making a browser” “oh no wait again, we are in fact making a browser”.

My experience is that you cannot execute a “generic” phrase for communications. You need to have a goal in mind and execute that goal with as short of a sentence as possible. Be direct and bold. People are inundated with messaging. If you “halfway commit” a message. You’ll get the same response from the audience.

We need to execute messaging for today. And run with it. If we need to change the messaging, we can change it. I feel we do need to keep this simple but installing a browser means that there is an app with a GUI of some kind. Like a traditional browser app. That is very confusing to say as we are currently making your existing browser accessible to this new “internet.”

We say “blockstack is making a browser addon” (or plugin or extension or portal or gateway or upgrade).

I feel we are installing a “system” or “platform” or “portal” that allows the user to access the “Blockstack internet.”

Therefore I would like to propose the following;

  • Blockstack Browser OS
  • Blockstack Browser Platform
  • Blockstack Browser System
  • Blockstack Internet Portal

Given the rate of change earlier and how things got outdated, I’d be careful about our rate of change in the near future.

As for names, I like the suggestion from yesterday’s discussion about using the term “Blockstack Dashboard”.

I like calling the web app the Blockstack Dashboard as well.

What about focusing less on what the installer technicially does and instead how we’d like the user to perceive it?

If we’re building the new (decentralized) internet, what about:

“Install Blockstack to connect to the new internet”
“Download Blockstack to get on the decentralized web”

Something along those lines.

From a user’s perspective there will be a bunch of web sites, apps and services they can’t use with this software installed - so they are disconnected.

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I feel a dashboard is only one page. An overview of everything. Dashboards are not multiple pages or views, etc. I am very confused when i hear the term “blockstack dashboard.” I expect to see only one non-scrolling page the gives me all the data I need for blockstack.

“Access the new internet through your dashboard”

Does not sound appealing to me at all. I also would assume it would be one page or view. I personally would not look into it. That may just be me.

See your point. Dashboards in web development are like this.

Consumers see dashboards as the thing on their cars - lots of menus, tabs, different views on software dashboards of today’s vehicles - Chevy to Tesla. Probably shouldn’t be taking UX cues from car manufacturers though.

What’s the thing called that slides up when you swipe up from bottom of iPhone? The web app is sort of like that - it sits just on the edge of the ecosystem.

I see how it’s not appealing and I don’t think we’d say this. Dashboard would be used in sentences like “Manage your identity in the Blockstack dashboard”. “Control access levels of your apps in the Blockstack dashboard”. “Connect your dropbox and use it for encrypted storage in the Blockstack dashboard”.

And I agree with Larry that for the high-level new Internet stuff, we should simply say “Install Blockstack to connect to the new internet”.

I see how it’s not appealing and I don’t think we’d say this.

One thing we’ve learned is that when we start saying something internally it creeps into public slack and then we use the terminology in presentations, forums and docs. Then it’s a thing. I feel this is quite important that we find a name that is closer to what it actually is or we’re sort of shooting ourselves in the foot.

“Portal” to me is a closer description of what this is. It’s not the best in the world but it does the trick.

A dashboard usually has dials and/or graphs of some kind.

I’m just going to sidestep this and take it in another direction and see if it sticks:

The Blockstack App Store

Copy on the site:

Download Blockstack

Media quote:

Blockstack is building a new internet for decentralized apps. Users download Blockstack and instantly have access to the Blockstack App Store in all of their browsers, where they can find apps and manage their identity and storage.

The Blockstack web app will have 3 or more tabs, which will boil down to something like this:

  • Apps
  • Identities
  • Settings

Note that the explanation flows really well. And the product that users actually see fits well with what we call it. User expectations and delivery on those expectations are aligned.


Download Blockstack
The Blockstack App Store

Sounds great. I like it.

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+1 @ryan… I like this. I believe we were heading down this path. But what would we call a repo internally, for example?


Awesome! Yes we were at one point.

Yup, that’s what I was thinking.


Perfect! This makes sense. I like it. :slight_smile: