Word Play

Here’ s a little trivia for your Thursday morning. Do you know what Nintendo means? Or how Nokia got its name?

Of course you do. (Not.)

As the Wall Street Journal today explains, “Nintendo” in English translates as “leave luck to heaven,” while Nokia is named for the nearby Nokianvirta River, which in turn is an ancient Finnish word for sable.

It’s part of a fun and anecdotal look at how those and some 14 other electronics companies — including Motorola, Coleco, Magnavox, Samsung and a host of others — came to be known as they are today.

I won’t rob the Journal of its work by listing them all here. Click on the link, though: it’s worth the two minutes.

Gou’s Big Con

Credit the Wall Street Journal for determination. The paper finally landed — after five years of trying — an interview with Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou. The piece (click here for the link) takes readers inside the Foxconn fortress (aka its Shenzhen plant, a one-square mile walled city which employs 270,000 workers).

Even for those of us who lived through Enron, it’s hard not to come away disgusted. ” ‘I always tell employees: The group’s benefit is more important than your personal benefit,’ ” the Journal quotes Gou as saying.

A typical mid-level assembly-line worker earns about $230 a month, including overtime pay. The chairman’s net worth: $10 billion. Apparently “Gou” translates to “group.”