folder Filed in Interviews
Names with stories: The story behind Mindstone.com
By Kristina Misic access_time 9 min read

Joshua Wöhle, the CEO of Mindstone, talks about his brand, why they picked Mindstone as a brand name, and their vision to create a platform that provides anyone, anywhere in the world with the tools, confidence and motivation to take ownership of their own learning.

What is the story behind Mindstone?

In 2013, when I co-founded SuperAwesome — the biggest kids technology company in the world — I learnt the first principles of building a company from the ground up. Having sold that company to Epic Games, I thought about the next 20-30 years of my life, and how I could optimise that time in the best possible way.

Thinking back on my own learning journey — from dropping out of college twice, to getting a remote MBA from the Open University — it hit me that the principles of education taught by these institutions had all been wrong.

I realised that what people need is a learning model that focuses on the learner, not the institution, the system or the employer. That’s why I founded Mindstone.

I did an enormous amount of reading in the two or three years leading up to this venture. A pattern that emerged from my research was technologists trying to change education and continuing to fail over and over because they didn’t ‘get’ education. I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen, and luckily got introduced to Patrick. He’s a great teacher and his leadership has been rated outstanding by Ofsted. He was a teacher for 18 years with a specialisation in the theory of knowledge. He got to the point where he realised that although he was pretty good, his impact was always going to be limited to about thirty students at a time (inside a classroom). And he was trying to figure out if there was a way to amplify his impact, because as much as he was enjoying teaching, the systemic problems in our education system require more fundamental changes to the way we approach learning.

Melody came from a different angle: she was (and is) passionate about the Edtech space itself and how it was changing, having spent four years with Knewton, which was a very interesting experience. Then she spent two years investing in Edtech, specifically around the future of work and how people learn. She agreed to join Mindstone because she realised she was more passionate about operating a company and scaling it herself than just investing in it.

As our Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Florian’s angle is very different again. He’s a self-learner: He did his bachelor’s remotely and he built some really big systems before he ever got his degree. So his perspective is that the internet was his teacher. He’s passionate about giving anyone the ability to take any subject they want to learn and really go in-depth. Developers are often able to take this self-directed learning approach, and Florian is interested to see how we can take that and scale it across many different industries. For example, how do you become a top-notch economist without ever going to university, based on everything that’s already available online?

When did you start thinking about your brand name and how did you settle on Mindstone?

Obviously thinking about our brand name was one of the first things we had to do. Funnily enough, we had two names before finally settling on Mindstone: NSPR (Inspire without the vowels), Bloom (named for Bloom’s taxonomy, a hierarchy of thinking skills) and now Mindstone.

Our co-founding engineer Stefan came up with the name Mindstone. We needed it to be visual (so people could remember it), it needed to have positive associations with learning (Milestone, Keystone, Mind, etc.) and when we tested a few alternative names with users, Mindstone came out on top.

What was the reason to get the domain name Mindstone.com for your brand?

We are a consumer brand, so name recognition matters. We wanted people to take us seriously, and outside of the startup community users still look to “.com” as a sign of trust and credibility.


We are a consumer brand, so name recognition matters. We wanted people to take us seriously, and outside of the startup community users still look to “.com” as a sign of trust and credibility.

Joshua Wöhle, the CEO of Mindstone

How has owning Mindstone.com affected your business? Do you own any other domain names?

Owning the “.com” domain provided instant credibility. Brands often struggle to get a “.com” domain name, either because it’s already taken or too expensive to acquire, and considering we had already changed our name twice we were super relieved to get it for Mindstone.

What would you do differently if you were entering your category market as a brand today? 

I think if we had to restart everything we would come up directly with Mindstone as our brand name. When you launch on a big vision, you often get tempted to look ahead and focus too much on how big your brand will get in the future as well as on future products. However, at the very beginning, all that matters is your first product and its name (ie: your brand name).

Why should entrepreneurs value their brand?

It’s the first thing people experience when they try your product. The product experience is a mix of expectation & reality, thus the brand is an important part of the mix. Once you build up your clientele/user base, their loyalty and trust is then added to your brand equity. It adds perceived value to everything you do. Over time, acquiring the next client becomes easier and easier and your brand becomes a reflection of the quality of your work.

Has the pandemic affected your company in any way? What has changed since?

Since we are a digital company we’ve been rather fortunate during Covid. The whole team was already working remotely and we were building our product for half of the year. It was a pain however to not be able to see each other in person, which truly makes a difference.

In regards to the business, I think Covid also shed considerable light on our industry (ie: Edtech). Trends that were already underway in terms of blended learning and remote learning were given a huge boost, and it also threw the problems with our existing learning systems into sharp relief.

What do you do to make sure your marketing is effective?

We test it continuously. We test the copy of your website, we run user interviews, panels, we run ads, etc. You can never rest on your laurels. The goal is also to seek out that next customer who needs a clearer message or has a specific pain that we are solving while accepting that you will never be able to please everyone.We test it continuously. We test the copy of your website, we run user interviews, panels, we run ads, etc. You can never rest on your laurels. The goal is also to seek out that next customer that needs a clearer message or has a specific pain that we are solving whilst accepting that you will never be able to please everyone.

What would your advice be to entrepreneurs who are just starting out, in general, and when it comes to branding and naming?

Regarding naming, focus on what your company actually does and try not to dwell too much on storytelling. Your brand will build its identity along the way. Also, look at the standards in your industry. Even though every company is unique, every industry has visual standards that customers expect depending on where you position yourself in your market. Finally, don’t go down the path of democratically voting on names. It never works, you never agree.Regarding naming, focus on what your company actually does and try not to dwell too much on storytelling. Your brand will build its identity along the way. Also, look at the standards in your industry. Even though every company is unique, every industry has visual standards that customers expect depending on where you position yourself in your market. Finally, don’t go down the path of democratically voting on names. It never works, you never agree.

Where do you see your business in the future and how does your brand name fit into that vision?

Our vision is to create a platform that provides anyone, anywhere in the world with the tools, confidence and motivation to take ownership of their own learning. If we reach our vision we hope that, at that point, our brand name will be seen as the standard-bearer in the industry.Our vision is to create a platform that provides anyone, anywhere in the world with the tools, confidence and motivation to take ownership of their own learning. If we reach our vision we hope that, at that point, our brand name will be seen as the standard-bearer in the industry.


We hope the above information will help you in making informed decisions about your brand. If you want to say hi or have any questions about naming, branding, and domain names get in touch, we’re always happy to hear from you.

Find out more about Mindstone

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