And what’s in it for me?
That’s what I asked when I encountered Mycestro. I saw it as a three-syllable name, because my brain picked out “my” before it performed any further analysis. I was stumped by “cestro,” though. Ancestor? Incest?
Even reading in TechCrunch that Mycestro is a “3D mouse for your fingertips that you’ll look funny using” didn’t help. Not until I listened to the inventor, Nick Mastandrea, narrate a Kickstarter video did I realize that Mycestro is a misspelled portmanteau of mice and maestro. It’s meant to be parsed myce-stro and pronounced maestro. The reasoning, TechCrunch says, is that when you use the device “it looks like you’re conducting your own private orchestra.”
An intriguing image, and I wish Mr. Mastandrea had explored it further instead of falling in love with that misleading, wince-inducing portmanteau.
As I’ve said many times, portmanteau names rarely succeed (see Infegy, Blellow, Shpock, Rapiscan, InnoCentive, Smorn, and others). Mycestro joins the Hall of Failed Portmanteaus – the Halfaport – with several strikes against it: We rarely speak of computer mice in the plural, the weird myce spelling suggests something mushroomy, and the ce-st combination in the middle of the word confounds the tongue. And, as I’ve already noted, it’s very difficult to un-see the first-person possessive pronoun in the first syllable.