CHAPTER 1

WONGA

Errol Damelin hired a creative branding agency to come up with the perfect name for his new website, the money-lending business that we now know as Wonga. It was the type of agency that the Government hired to create the much-derided Olympic logo. It was expensive. It was, Damelin told me when we met a few weeks shy of Wonga’s fourth birthday, a mistake.

‘The agency sent through long lists of names with endless analysis about each one’, he remembers. ‘They did a lot of work – but they had to, to justify their fee. Nothing stood out. Then my co-founder and I were talking to friends about the name over drinks one day, and they suggested Wonga. We put it to the branding people, and they sent back a very detailed, rational response ...

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