Renán Ignacio

TL;DR: You may know me by different names depending on how you met me. If you met me professionally or in grad school, you likely me know me as Renán. If you met me socially or through family or old friends, you likely know me as Ignacio or Iggy.

My full name is Renán Ignacio Del Valle Rueda.

In a tradition common for folks born in Spanish speaking countries I have:

  • A first name
  • A middle name
  • A paternal last name
  • A maternal last name.

Breaking my full legal name in Chile looks like this:

  • First name: Renán
  • Middle name: Ignacio
  • Paternal last name: Del Valle
  • Maternal last name: Rueda

The paternal last name is my biological father’s paternal last name while my maternal last name is my mom’s paternal last name.

(Still confused? See

Having the same first name as one’s father is pretty typical in most Latin American countries. In order to avoid confusion, many people go by their middle name. So I spent the first ten years of my life being called Nacho (a nickname for Ignacios which existed before the food).

When I moved to the US, the kids I went to school with decided Nacho was a funny name so I opted to use the full thing: Ignacio.

It turns out that despite being a pretty common name in Spanish, Ignacio is not an easy name for American English speakers to pronounce. I don’t know that I can list all the mispronunciations I’ve heard over the years but Ig-Neigh-See-Oh is probably the one that sticks out the most (courtesy of a fantastic business law teacher we had in my high school).

Year after year, first day of class after first day of class, all the way through the end of 12th grade, I had to ask teachers to call me Ignacio.

Along the way I picked up some other nicknames. Ignacio is just too long to call for a pass on the field while playing soccer so my teammates started calling me Iggy.

In college, where you’re usually just another face in the crowd, I didn’t think it was worth the effort to ask every lecturer to call me by a different name, so I started going by Renán for the first time in my life.

Up until college, I had never used my first name for anything outside of legal documents. I was now using Renán in the classroom and Ignacio outside of it.

Since I met my advisor during undergrad as one of his Distributed Systems students, by the time I joined his research lab I was only known by Renán. And since almost everyone that knew me as Ignacio had moved away after finished undergrad, I was being called Renán more often than not. Even folks I became very close friends with in Grad school all still know me primarily as Renán.

When I left academia, I was offered a job at company where my PhD advisor’s former student worked. Since my advisor introduced me to my future manager, the name Renán made the jump from academia into industry.

Now, 8 years after my first internship, everyone in my professional circles knows me only as Renán (and ocassionally happen to know I have some sort of middle name). My childhood friends and those who knew me during my high school and undergrad years all still call me Ignacio or Iggy.