folder Filed in Interviews
Names with stories: The story behind
By Kristina Mišić access_time 8 min read

Jude Gomila, Founder and CEO of Golden, is a leader with extensive investor experience, having backed more than 150 startups in various categories. He started Golden, an open knowledge database built by artificial and human intelligence, to create a database that would collect and organize human knowledge and fill in the gaps that encyclopedias have today. In this interview, Jude talks about the origin of the brand name, how did he get the domain and what is the most important goal for his brand.

Jude, what is your background, and what led you to start Golden?

I’m originally from London and moved to San Francisco around 10 years ago to participate in the Y Combinator batch of winter 2009. Previous to that, I obtained a Masters in Engineering at the University of Cambridge in the UK. In the Y Combinator batch, I worked on Heyzap, which we ended up selling to a public company in 2016. Over the last 8 years, I ended up investing in 150+ companies in a high variety of fields, from biology to space internet to supersonic planes. While doing so, I looked into many more companies and technologies in order to make the call on those 150 cos. I’ve always been interested in building/hacking on projects and what I call ‘extreme engineering’. I’m intrigued by the limits of what is possible and what is not. After doing many searches around these edges, I kept coming up empty-handed. Information was spotty and full of gaps, sometimes hidden in books, papers, forum comments, and scattered through the web in a non-standardized way. It was hard to get a holistic sense of a topic. If it was a very niche field it would take hours to gather information. I want to fix this, so I founded Golden in 2017.

How did you come up with a name Golden, what’s the story behind it?

I wanted a brand that is easy to remember and simple to replicate via word of mouth — a mind meme von neumann self-replicating marketing factory for the idea of what we were trying to achieve. I also wanted to imbed the incompleteness ideas of the mathematician Gödel into the brand as well. The actual registered Inc name is ‘Golden Recursion Inc’ — the concept behind this is that the company will produce useful tools and products by going around an iteration loop, over and over again. This was the inspiration for the logo as well — there is a twist though, that with each revolution of coming around the loop, we would see it from another angle (hence the twist in the loop) and hence come up with some new innovation on the problem. This loop would also symbolize recursion in general. Getting the domains and Twitter handle is a story in of itself that came after figuring out the brand meaning.

If you have to explain what you do, what your brand stands for and brings to the world, in one sentence, what would it be?

Golden is organizing knowledge and making it easier for people to understand and query information about any topic that exists.

Did you start off with the domain, or was it an upgrade from a previous domain name?

Originally, after figuring out the brand ‘Golden’, I bought the domain. Then I worked on getting the .co by flying out to Golden, CO, and doing a deal over lunch with the owner. It took another year of negotiations to get the .com. Surprisingly this brand has come together through some interesting events. I got the .com to cover the word of mouth case of the brand case for someone typing in the URL expecting us to be there.

What was the best and worst part about the process of acquiring the domain

The best part is actually the goodwill of the previous owners when they handed over the domain and some of the micro internet history that came with them. The worst part was, initially, dealing with some of the worst brokers that you could imagine, and the flakey ownership process and laws that surround these types of assets.

If you could have any domain name in the world would you still pick


Do you think that buying the right domain name should be a priority for startups?

Not really. The priority is building something people care about. The domain is a secondary element. The brand you build is a primary priority to me, which can be done without the domain at the start.

How important is the presence of your brand online? What plays the most important role in people finding you on the web?

The presence of the brand online is critical but secondary to the utility of the product. The most important goal for Golden is having amazingly useful information on the site about all topics. Brands can be built later, however, on the flip side, many technology companies are forgetting about brand building as classically many investors have devalued it. M&A activity also doesn’t merge brands well into mothership brands. The intangible power laws of brands are hard to add together.

What would be your advice to entrepreneurs who are wondering whether to invest in the perfect domain match for their brand?

I think this totally depends on your goals. Do you want to focus on product-market fit first, or are you building a long-term brand of a company? Either way, be strong on some set of competing variables. If the price is too high, keep investing your resources into the product until you have the leverage to get the domain you want.

Which is more rewarding: making a startup a success, or being able to continue keeping it successful?

So, the end result vs the present journey question. The result of the computation or the computation itself. To be honest, I don’t know.

What is one thing you find to be true that most people would disagree with?

I have an issue calling it ‘true’, but say we rephrase this to ‘a conjecture I have that most people would disagree with and bet against me’. Most of these are other people’s conjectures that I’m willing to go along with until reasonably proven right or wrong. For example, I’m willing to take a wager on something but not know the answer yet. By definition, these are going to be pretty whacky and some will get me into trouble but here it goes…. A small snippet, take a $1 bet with me:

  1. CMB radiation is not random
  2. Supersonic travel will be back overland in 20 years
  3. We should get rid of most IP laws for more variation (copyright, patents, trademarks, etc for the entire system)
  4. Biology is the new manufacturing
  5. Misinformation via fake news, deep fakes, etc will be solved with technology
  6. Governments will go through a radical revision and existing government structures will look nothing like we have seen before
  7. Computation may move away from the cloud and back to the client by way of extreme client-side simulation of the network with smaller updates from the cloud + backups, or the cloud ends up being the client.
  8. App stores will not be important in 10 years
  9. Ads will not be a good business model in 10 years.
  10. Software engineering will become more automated in the next 10 years and software ‘designers’/architects will emerge.
  11. The classic university system will run into major trouble / fail in the next 15 years.

{PS I know I might be wrong with all of these :>}

What is next for Golden, where do you see the company 5 years from now?

The team has many projects we are working on to improve the product and increase the speed at which we are filling out Golden. We are iterating the UI/UX but also developing more powerful tools for editing. Recently, we added shortcut keys, math editing, code block additions into the editor. We have new suggestion types coming out, quality feedback for the user when they submit changes, new templates, query features, and some secret projects in the works. Ideally, in 5 years Golden would have filled out a huge number of topics, be profitable, and have high orders of the utility of both the free and paid service. It will the core place to read up on topics on the web.

We hope this will be of use to you in the process of getting your perfect domain name. If you have any questions, need any help, or just want to chat with someone about the process, book a free consultation at MarkUpgrade.We are always happy to hear from you.

Find out more about Golden.

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