Fun High-Tech Cliches

Here’s a fun editorial on CNET entitled “Tech cliches to live by.” Here’s the opener:

Todd, a friend of mine, once gave me an invaluable piece of advice: if you fall asleep in a meeting and wake up not knowing what’s going on, just say “so where’s the value add?” at the first pregnant pause.

Here’s a summarized list from the article, along with a little of my commentary:

  • They need a Lou Gerstner type. (I remember when Scott McNealy barbed that IBM now stood for International Biscuit Corporation when Lou was appointed. Boy was he wrong.)
  • Anything to do with Moore’s law. (And to make one really ill, invoke Metcafe’s Law.)
  • Be like Google. (That’s like saying “be like the guy who won the lottery.”)
  • It’s an inflection point. (Agree that term is abused but as a mathematician I remember that it still has meaning: a sign change in the second derivative.)
  • Let’s tear everything up. (I don’t hear this one, much.)
  • Just think what Apple could do with that. (Or Frog Design, for matter.)
  • It’s a different business model. (And often one that loses money. If you look at the Valley’s most fashionable business models at present — SaaS and appliances — both are quite adept at losing money.)
  • Follow the money. (I like the idea of this one, but agree it’s hackneyed. Back at Business Objects, after we bought Crystal Decisions, the Bain consulting guys we hired to help with integration said this all the time. Or should I say “Bane” consulting?)
  • Patents are stifling innovation. (A fashionable, if uninformed and arguably illogical viewpoint, in my opinion.)
  • History is written by the victors. (Sad but true in my mind. See my post on Ingres to see relational database history from the other perspective.)

I think he forgot “software wants to be free,” “let’s run it up the flagpole,” “let’s socialize that,” “we’re getting traction,” and “it’s orthogonal,” but otherwise it’s a pretty good list.

3 responses to “Fun High-Tech Cliches

  1. Add “we are in violent agreement”, which is normally someone who is not listening to a word you are saying.

  2. Nice! For another take on droll babble, check out business process management leader, Savvion’s Buzzword Bingo (http://www.savvion.com/blog/?p=29). Print out the Bingo cards and bring them to your next meeting. There are two version: one for Business people that would rather poke their eyes out with a sharp stick than hear another acronym; and one for IT people that think businesspeople just like to hear their own voice. Would be great if we could all just speak like humans, wouldn’t it?!

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