Silicon Valley’s Least Favorite Buzzwords

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Buzzwords veritably tap into the cultural zeitgeist of a time, connecting to trends or new technologies that feel in particular linked for the moment. They are widespread, and in that sense extremely efficient, even if there isn’t any solid connection between their usefulness and their recognition. Even worse, many buzzwords change into cliche and over-musty, losing their initial vitality and changing into downright tense. With its never-ending stream of investor pitches and company pep talks, Silicon Valley is overrun with buzzwords.

Working in tech forces you to close one step sooner than the sport and, as a creator, it’s top to know when a observe falls out of settle on. After I’m no longer writing or answering emails, I exhaust most of my days in meetings speaking and listening about alternate and tech, which forces me to judge be taught about of the ebb and circulation of widespread jargon. Importantly, I be taught about which words americans are no longer the utilization of anymore or actively warding off for diverse reasons.

My maintain would love to admire which buzzwords to banish led me to procure Silicon Valley’s least licensed buzzwords. After speaking with about a dozen entrepreneurs, technologists, writers and venture capitalists, I discovered that there are four words that came up the most when I requested the ask: What are your least licensed startup-linked buzzwords?

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I endure in solutions being at school describing an app I changed into once engaged on to my father. He interrupted me, saying, “Don’t name it a platform. If all the pieces is a platform, then the observe is meaningless. Be divulge with what your product is.”

In every single put you be taught about, a startup is describing itself as some form of “platform.” Thanks to its ubiquitousness, no one with out a doubt is aware of what the observe capacity anymore. Whereas you jabber me that you race a mental-successfully being platform, I will like a vague thought of what you is liable to be speaking about, nonetheless I will don’t like any thought of what your organization with out a doubt does. 

The motive for this confusion is that “platform” is an increasing number of misused within the tech industry and the alternate world at vast. I may perhaps well well perhaps venture to remark that 90% of the entrepreneurs who notify their corporations or products as “platforms” are only the utilization of it as a judge-all duration of time. As of late, the duration of time is as vague because it is within the physical world; nearly any structure most steadily is a platform, and the identical is correct in tech.


Some would argue that “synergy” changed into once already a disliked relic of the 1990s, nonetheless it with out a doubt has made a comeback in present years. It’s successfully fair the buzzword equivalent of collaboration, teamwork, an provide of partnership or, for the lecturers and philosophers among us, a dialectic. Nonetheless, love masses of alternate jargon, it is intended to combine the meanings of plenty of words correct into a speedy, with out anxiousness digestible, consideration-grabbing duration of time. Sadly, when americans throw synergy into conversations with out it with out a doubt bettering their message in any substantive procedure, it comes off as a vague observe musty lazily to proper an hobby in collaboration. 


Though all four of these words are no longer successfully-cherished in Silicon Valley, “paradigm” will most doubtless be the most hated. It’s a long way always musty within the context of a “paradigm shift,” indicating that a company, product, carrier or particular person can lead to frequent trade to present processes, beliefs or techniques. “Paradigm” grew to change into the dramatic buzzword that inspiring entrepreneurs and techies like musty (and overused) to inform the capability to consequence in Earth-shattering improvements to things that we like come to accept as licensed on fable of most early builders imagine they’ll be ready to trade the enviornment. 

The vitriol in direction of “paradigm” and “paradigm shift” doubtless stems from their affiliation with hyperbole. The truth is that nearly all agencies, products, companies or americans will no longer drastically trade life as we’re aware of it. 

The following time somebody comes to you to chat about a company that desires to map a “paradigm shift” of their industry, ask them to safe divulge. Execution is all the pieces, and paradigm shifters are few and much between.


Amongst the professionals with whom I spoke, “paradigm shift” and “disruption” were veritably lumped collectively because the most disliked terms. It’s a long way on fable of they veritably demonstrate an identical intentions. If somebody wants you to imagine that their company goes to fundamentally trade the procedure one thing is accomplished and utterly outsmart the giants of the tech industry, that’s comely and successfully, nonetheless it’s top to aim to exhaust descriptors that leave the listening celebration taking beneath consideration you like a sport-changer. Because the builder, it’s most efficient to no longer with out a doubt drawl it your self.

When you initiate as much as hear or be taught this duration of time in every pitch, PR marketing campaign or even group assembly, it begins to lose its luster. No longer all the pieces most steadily is a disruption to the situation quo. There’s a motive the situation quo exists — on fable of it is notoriously hard to disrupt. For every proper disruption in Silicon Valley (and the tech industry extra broadly), there are a thousand wannabe disruptors ready within the wings. 

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In a tradition the put a brand new billion-buck thought is born weekly, it could perhaps well well fair moreover be uncomplicated to safe overzealous with empty words which will most doubtless be intended to entice, excite and snatch americans’s consideration. Buzzwords are an addicting shortcut, nonetheless after a whereas, hearing the identical catchphrases in every pitch, physique of workers assembly or interview can safe with out a doubt aged.

Sounding out of contact and old-customary is a particular-hearth option to lose credibility within the repeatedly evolving world of tech. Be divulge with what you’re saying, and be intentional with the words you to put off. 

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