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Saumil’s Guide to Stupid ValleySpeak: Classic

For n00bs to this blog check out: http://wordpress.com/tag/corporatespeak/

This one is borrowed straight from the marketing trash bin of good, old fashioned brick and mortar products. Let’s say that you have a web site. Let’s say that the site serves as a marketplace for connoisseurs of udon. I know, the wholesale market for a wheat-based noodle is probably small, but work with me here.

Let’s say that your site is just a royal crap-hole. It stinks. You’ve got an animated ticker on the home page with noodles flying from one end of the screen to another. Your users hate it. Your wife hates it. Even the annoying-ass kid who has a snot problem claims to be able to do better.

What do you do? You start building “version 2.0”, of course!!! Its a whole version up from the current version – it MUST be better.

But what do you do with version 1.0? You can’t dis it too much – people may get offended.

That’s when you start calling it CLASSIC.

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Categories: corporatespeak

Saumil’s Guide to Stupid ValleySpeak: Touch Base

June 29, 2008 2 comments

N00bs to this blog, check out the rest of the valleyspeak series here: https://bitbubble.wordpress.com/category/corporatespeak/

This one isn’t Valley specific, but oh well. I’ve spent several years walking around office hallways and cubos and overhearing people saying, “Let’s jump into a conference room and touch base”, or “My crack dealer and I are touching base at the street corner tonight, want to join?” and it has been getting to me.

As far as I understand it, touch base == call or meet someone irrelevant about something immaterial. No one or nothing is being touched (at least I hope not). And whose base is this anyways? Why is there a base involved in the first place? Is anyone climbing a mountain?

So why the hell do we keep using it?? “Touch base” is yet another example of corporate America’s slow but continuous emasculation and withering of plain, simple, understandable English.

I only wish Hemingway were alive so he could get into a cagefight with anyone who’d dare to use the phrase in his presence. Now that’s a fight I would pay to watch on HBO.

Saumil’s Guide to stupid ValleySpeak: Rock Star Developers

If you’ve read this blog before, you know that I hate stupid corporate terms that I come across in the Valley. Here is my previous coverage: https://bitbubble.wordpress.com/category/corporatespeak/

Today’s phrase is “Rock Star Developers”.

Everytime you hear a startup founder or a hiring dev manager, its the same goddamn grind: “We’re looking for rock star developers”. I’ve even had some morons come to me and say, “Do you know any rock stars?”. I am simply supposed to know that they’re talking about programmers, not The Chili Peppers. Oh how juvenile of me for questioning your assumptions.

Okay, let me set the record straight: COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS ARE NOT ROCK STARS. THEY ARE NOT ROCK STARS. THEY ARE NOT ROCK STARS. I get it – you’re referring to their competence level, but please. The comparisons are ridiculous. Ask me for von Neumann clones, then, not for people with a drug problem.

Just because a guy smells like a Linux box or hasn’t seen the inside of a gym in 3 years does NOT MAKE HIM A ROCK STAR.

Developers are fine with being developers. They like – nay, love – to build scalable systems. They love to push pixels around until every single one aligns perfectly to their command. Good ones obsess over the efficiency of their algorithms. They fix bugs and document their code (okay, scratch that last one).

No developer I’ve met in my nine years learning and working with computer scientists has said to me, “Boy, I wish a groupie would do lines on the back of this ThinkPad”. Does that really surprise you???

So quit your bogus rockstar developer fantasy. And just deal with the fact that you work in the kingdom of geeks WHO ARE NOT ROCK STARS.

Update: The stupidity never stops. Was hauling tail down 101 this morning and saw a large billboard in San Mateo by obsessed-with-pink Zecco that screamed the following three words: “Rockstar Developers Wanted”. Sigh.

Saumil’s Guide to CorporateSpeak: Circle Back

October 11, 2007 Leave a comment

This is the second edition of Saumil’s guide to corporatespeak.

Today’s phrase is “circle back”. This is just a lame, soft, ridiculous way of saying, “In order to make sure that all you lazy bastards got the shit done that you were supposed to get done instead of playing ping pong, foosball, nerf wars or drinking Odwallas, let’s all sit in a stupid conference room tomorrow so I can make damn sure that you got shit done”.

In other words, you know how the annoying milkman keeps following up coz you’re too cheap to pay his 10 dollar bill? Well, he is circling back. Go figure.

Categories: corporatespeak, snarky

Saumil’s Guide to Corporate Speak: Pushback

September 3, 2007 2 comments

In two brief years of selling my soul to The Man, I’ve learned very few real business skills. But fear not for me! I’ve picked up on other irrelevant artifacts of corporate culture. One of those skills is the ability to recognize and dissect somewhat artificial and fully bullshit corporatespeak. I’ll present these words and phrases as I go along.

Today’s word is pushback. It is a noun and may be spelled as one or two words depending upon context.

push.back

noun, verb

Definition: Pushback is a euphemism for “f*** you, I won’t do what you want me to”. It is a wonderful example of the usage of euphemisms. The word’s history can be traced back to 1987 when a rather skinny engineering manager physically pushed around a fat sales guy over a disagreement at work.

Example Usage: “Bob, I’d love to help you out but we received pushback from the boss” or “James, I understand why you want to pushback but don’t forget that I’m the boss” or even “I find it hard to pushback against your stupid ideas since you are kind of fat”. Okay, scratch that last one, but the other ones are legit.

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Categories: corporatespeak, tech, work