Feb 05, 2019
By Megan O'Connor, CEO
Who’s Clark anyway?
One of the questions I get asked all the time as CEO is—who’s Clark? Where did the name come from?
Well, like all good origin stories, Clark’s has layers (and a superhero).
When we were building the beginnings of Clark and thinking about the needs of tutors, the whole ethos of the concept was looking at how we could support these people who are doing such important work. Tutors are out there providing personalized, one-on-one education, often to kids with learning disabilities, social and emotional struggles, or anxiety around falling behind. Our thought was: if we can be assistants to the people who are lifting up our children, wouldn’t that contribute to a better world? We wanted our tools to free up teachers to do what they do best, which is working with kids—not operations.
We knew we wanted our service to feel personal and individualized. The goal was to have it be seen as a trusted member of the team for emerging education businesses, like a supporter of all the efforts of the company, so it needed a human name.
But what to call it?
Clark was started during an age of bots. It felt like a whole sea of bots and virtual assistants were being launched, and while Clark has now evolved well beyond just being a bot assistant, initially we were in that playing field. At the time, a well-known tech company launched a virtual assistant… and gave it a short female name. They took months afterward to release a male name for their bot, and as a female founder I thought, why is the assistant just automatically, reflexively a woman by default?
We looked at our potential user base. Seventy five percent of the people who use our software are women, so we decided to flip the table and give them a male assistant.
I started thinking about the personality of our services, and what we were trying to accomplish. We really see tutors as superhuman, especially when they’re using our tools to expand their reach even further. I started rattling off potential names, and when I said Clark, something clicked. Clark sounds a little bit like “clerk,” which touched on the administrative assistant aspect of the software, but it also immediately called to mind Clark Kent, who looks studious on the outside but is literally a superhero on the inside.
It was the perfect metaphor for tutors, who are flying around educating kids and sharing their special skills and expertise. Even though Clark is more than just a virtual assistant today, the fact that we have a person’s name still works. Our tools support the operational work of companies and facilitate the efforts of tutoring team members who are out there making the world a better place. For the tutoring companies using our platform, Clark is part of the team.