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Own Your Name

January 9, 2019

In 1979, a young car salsemen named Larry opened a dealership in Murray, Utah. Naturally he named it after himself. The only problem was there was already a car dealer named Larry Miller. But, that was his name too, right? You can’t be forbidden from using your own name. Can you?

Apparently, Mr Miller of the new dealership in Murray met with Mr Miller of the established dealerships. It was agreed that the new guy could use his name if he always included his middle initial, “H.” And thus was born the Larry H. Miller dealerships.

Today, fourty years later, Larry H. Miller is a well known entity in, not only Utah (11 dealerships), but Washington (3 dealerships), New Mexico (5 dealerships), Idaho (4 dealerships), California (3 dealerships), Arizona (9 dealerships) and Colorado (11 dealerships.) Larry H Miller also owns a string of movie theaters, parts stores, and the Utah Jazz professional basketball team.

I read a quote that Larry H. Miller reportedly made after meeting his namesake.

We’ll see who remembers Larry Miller in 10 years.

Virtually everyone in Utah knows the name Larry H. Miller. In fact, if you were to say his name as Larry Miller, it would ring false on many people’s ears. He owned his name.

When I started these scribbles and sending them out on the internet, I thought about a name. There are plenty of clever cute names. There are inspiring and uplifting names. I finally decided that I would just name this corner of the internet after my name. There was only one problem. RODNEYBLISS.COM was already taken. There’s a real estate agent back east that owns the domain. He seems like a nice enough guy. But, he’s obviously using the domain. So, like the successful car dealer, I added my middle initial, M. That’s why this site is called

My brother is also a computer guy. He owned and used it as a landing page for his online presence. He lost track of the renewal date and his domain became available. A lawyer ended up buying it. The lawyer’s name isn’t Richard Bliss. He lost control of his name.

There are actually a couple of Richard Bliss’ that have been in the news over the past years. One was a spy in Russia. Another was part of a shooting in Florida a few years ago. We also have a nephew named Richard.

You can now find my brother’s online presence at

Think about some of the famous names in history. Look at the following list.

  • George Washington
  • George Washington Carver
  • George Herbert Walker Bush
  • George Walker Bush
  • John Adams
  • John Quincy Adams
  • Larry Miller
  • Larry H. Miller
  • Rodney Bliss
  • Rodney M Bliss
  • Michael Jordan
  • Michael B. Jordan

Each name is like another name. But, each one is a unique individual. They each forged their own identify and identified their name with it. Some, probably did it almost unconciously. The sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, probably had to deal with sharing a name with his famous father, the second president, John Adams. The same with Presidents Bush.

When I left home, my mother advised me to go by my full name, Rodney, rather than the name I grew up with, Rod. Today my family still calls me Rod. But, when working it lands wrong on my ear to hear someone call me anything but Rodney.

I enjoy working with interns and people new out of college. It’s humbling to have the chance to influence people new to the workforce. They haven’t yet forged their professional identity. They haven’t yet owned their name. It’s one of the first things I tell them: decide how you want to be called.

My friend Howard writes the Schlock Mercenary online military comic. He described it this way.

Your name is in the mouth of others. Make sure it has teeth.
Maxim 16, Seventy Maxims of Highly Effective Mercenaries

Slightly different aspect, but certainly the same idea.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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