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Why I named my digital PR firm Gerris Corp

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All y'all want to know what a Gerris is? Well, it's short for Gerris lacustris or the common pond skater or common water strider.

Why I named my digital PR firm Gerris Corp

Illustration by Oliver Uberti

Why did I choose it? Because I love to row and scull and always thought that carbon fiber racing shells—especially doubles—look like pond striders on the Potomac. I also love the idea of their dance between water surface tension, their agility, and just the plain beauty and elegance of their dance. Their dance is mostly hunting, courting, and mating. Where I live, and if you get close enough to the banks and can find some still water—kayaks are your best betyou find them on the Potomac, too.  

So, first I named my Hudson Boat Works rowing shell Gerris, then my Honda XR650L, and then finally the digital PR firm that Dan Krueger and I run together. That's the story. Oh yes, and they also walk on water (do I have a Jesus complex?)

Also, according to Wikipedia:

"G. lacustris is a predatory insect. The species hunts on or below water surface for insects and other small invertebrates using their strong forelegs which end with claws. They also have piercing and sucking mouthparts in order to consume other small insects that fall into the water surface and to feed on live and dead insects such as culiseta annulata, non-biting midge, and other water invertebrates. With their front pair of legs they’re able to detect ripples and sense vibrations in the surface film from struggling insects and handle or grasp their prey. G. lacustris eat other small invertebrates and digest them internally."


After incorporating, I ashed my buddy Oliver Uberti if he would design me a logo and I delivered me artwork. If I had ever contemplated renaming my agency, it was quashed by my affection I have for the logo. "But why would you make your logo a disgusting bug?" Well, it's the center of what makes up the ethos and aesthetic of my company and me. And, after Abraham Harrison, I never want my name to ever be a part of my corporate or professional branding ever again. 

More cool facts about pond skaters/water striders via Matt Miller:

  • when the water dries up, water striders develop wings and fly away
  • water striders fly around to scout out water before they land to hunt and mate
  • water strider legs are covered in thousands of microscopic hairs scored with tiny grooves, these groves trap air, increasing water resistance of the water’s striders legs and overall buoyancy of the insect
  • the water skipper’s legs are so buoyant they can support fifteen times the insect’s weight without sinking
  • even in a rainstorm, or in waves, the strider stays afloat
  • if a water strider’s legs go underwater, it’s very difficult for them to push to the surface
  • their legs are more buoyant than even ducks’ feathers
  • striders are capable of “speeds of a hundred body lengths per second
  • striders are highly efficient predators. A water strider rapidly grabs a small insect with its front legs
  • striders are particularly effective predators of mosquito larvae
  • there are actual ocean striders that lack wings and can be found far out to sea
I also think I might have the wrong Species but I do have the right Genus— besides, Gerris remigis has been renamed/reclassified Aquarius remigis and I really don't want my company to be cause Aquarius Corp as I am quadruple Pisces. That said, the following photo is what I think of when I think of Gerris.

Gerris lacustris, commonly known as the common pond skater or common water strider, is a species of water strider, found across Europe.

This is how I told the story over on Gerris Corp's about page:

Gerris earned its name from the Gerris lacustris, commonly known as the common pond skater or common water strider. The name was chosen by Chris Abraham, founder of Gerris digital, because he was inspired by the lightness of being exhibited by the pond skaters he sculled with in Washington as they skim along weightless on water tension, never breaking through the Potomac's meniscus.

And, in honor of the company being named after a small insect's Genus, we have also named the company Gerris digital, with the second name, digital, the species, being lower-case. Such as Gerris searchGerris outreachGerris engagementGerris social, and its parent company, Gerris corp.

Dec 11, 2017 11:50 AM