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Glocal et al
September 11, 2012 9:33 AM   Subscribe

Actual things that came out of human mouths at day one of Techcrunch's Disrupt SF Conference. (New York magazine)
posted by Wordshore (84 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah. Phrases. I was really hoping it was going to be photos of larvae.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:34 AM on September 11, 2012 [67 favorites]


/gets as far as "global"

NUKE IT FROM ORBIT!
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on September 11, 2012


"Now, let's talk about disrupting the disruptors."

Uh, I think this one is supposed to be in the "Conversations between Doctor Doom and MODOK" article.

"Can you talk about getting conceptual liftoff?"

It's on iTunes now. You can find it in the discography between Moving Pictures and Signals.
posted by griphus at 9:36 AM on September 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's funny; I've seen very little actual innovation at "innovation in _____" un/conferences. The catchphraseology is breathtaking, however.
posted by smirkette at 9:37 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


We don't measure our success by financial results

Nothing wrong with this as a phrase (as opposed to "glocal" which doesn't even). I can definitely imagine myself being annoyed by it depending on whose mouth emitted it, though.
posted by DU at 9:38 AM on September 11, 2012


"We don't measure our success by financial results."

This one could be a good thing. But, more likely, it was just excuse-making.
posted by Zed at 9:38 AM on September 11, 2012


While certainly not defending these hideous abuses of the English language, I do think it's funny that a community that loves academic jargon so much slags off on business jargon whenever it can.
posted by downing street memo at 9:39 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Needs more enterprise solutions.
posted by rocket88 at 9:40 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's not business jargon. Business jargon is things like "APR" or "return-on-investment". This is the conversational equivalent of "SEX! now that i have your attention." No meaning is supposed to be imparted by these words, they are only there to make you pay attention long enough that the droid can pat you down for investment dollars.
posted by DU at 9:41 AM on September 11, 2012 [16 favorites]


Could be because I understand most of these terms, but this is pretty weak.

"Looks like it's searching for a use case."

As a software developer I say "use case" all the time. It isn't empty business jargon.

"Plat-Ag" is funny, though.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:42 AM on September 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


One word for you. Are you listening?

CYBERSPACE.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:45 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can't wait to see the breathless coverage of these luminaries on BoingBoing
posted by Dr. Twist at 9:47 AM on September 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would hire any one of these people for an AaaS* solution

* asshole as a service
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:48 AM on September 11, 2012 [14 favorites]


"Looks like it's searching for a use case" stands out because it's a critical statement, not a hype-ey or excuse-ey one.

Plat-Ag, on the other hand, is clearly jargon from the 25th century, meaning Agricultural Planet (like Plat-Ind for industrial planet, Plat-Gov, and of course, the infamous Plat-XXX).

So there was at least one time-traveler at the event.
posted by feckless at 9:48 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


No meaning is supposed to be imparted by these words

There is meaning, it's just complex and could be better-stated.
posted by downing street memo at 9:50 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Phrases from this list that are used regularly where I work, and have a legitimate meaning:

- go-to-market strategy
- iterating
- use case

So yeah, this is pretty weak, Plat-Ag aside (platform-agnostic is a legitimate term, but if your abbreviation doesn't roll off the tongue, it isn't real.)
posted by davejay at 9:50 AM on September 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Glocal" sounds like a Dr. Seuss character.
posted by mangasm at 9:52 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


on the other hand "CoS" is shorthand recently adopted by a few members of my team to mean "Chain of Slowness", aka the terrible, terrible end-to-end technology chain for one of the products -- so I suppose Plat-Ag probably started via email -- but nobody says stuff like that out loud, do they? Like, nobody says "i-eighteen-n" when they mean internationalization, it's just shorthand used when typing.
posted by davejay at 9:53 AM on September 11, 2012


There is meaning, it's just complex and could be better-stated.

There are levels of meaning. Take "glocal".

Level 1: It means nothing, since it isn't a word.
Level 2: It means a combination of global and local.
Level 3: So it means they'll do business with anyone? What business doesn't do that? The real message they are trying to get across with this word is "I just dazzled you with a cre8ive word and now I'm hoping you'll throw money at me."

Which is what I said.
posted by DU at 9:56 AM on September 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Some of these would be less awkward with a bit of copyediting, e.g. "app-discovery platform," not "app discovery-platform."
posted by hilker at 9:57 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a software developer I say "use case" all the time. It isn't empty business jargon.

As technical jargon, it sort of works. As business jargon... meh.

In the '90s, everyone used business terms to describe technology. Nowadays, everyone is using technology terms to describe business.

In ten years, everyone is going to be using comic book references: "We're absolutely Reed Richardsing on our intention-aware technology masterplans. We hope to find a Lex Luthor for the fall unleashing, but we're prepared to go Secret Wars as an alternative to keep from Black Lanterning.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:57 AM on September 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


"Plat-Ag."

I would like to know for what company the person who said this works, so I can go short their shares. Forever.
posted by chavenet at 9:57 AM on September 11, 2012


Welcome to my life already...
posted by Devonian at 9:57 AM on September 11, 2012


I thought it was a combination of global and lo-cal. Like hummus.
posted by theodolite at 9:58 AM on September 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I can't read "glocal" without thinking "cloacal".
posted by gurple at 9:58 AM on September 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


yeah baby I'm a first round funded Y.C. no-idea gamified maker-culture cloud based social network pivot master

Nobody who doesn't live in Silicon Valley gives a shit
posted by ook at 9:58 AM on September 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


maker-culture

Ugh, everything good gets taken over by leeches and made terrible.

Another reason why worse is better.
posted by DU at 10:01 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Did anyone else, reading the list, imagine it in George Carlin's voice?
posted by kinnakeet at 10:02 AM on September 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well now I can't stop doing that, thanks kinnakeet
posted by ook at 10:04 AM on September 11, 2012


Glocal means something to me. The first part refers to the potential ubiquity of the service. The second part to the implementation of it.

All business speak sounds like wankery, and further from profitability or less tangible the product/service, the more wankery it is.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:04 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


See for us it would be "We fully support the Administration in providing strategic, cost-effective bla bla bla bla bla."

If it has strategic and says a whole lot of nothing, yea, that's us.
posted by stormpooper at 10:10 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is this notable? All industries are afflicted with jargon to some extent. None of these examples strike me as especially egregious.
posted by sid at 10:10 AM on September 11, 2012


While certainly not defending these hideous abuses of the English language, I do think it's funny that a community that loves academic jargon so much slags off on business jargon whenever it can.

I edit shit like this: "Due to the specified metareflexive quality the examined corpus should possess blah blah yadda..." I think I can say with some authority that this community does not love academic jargon. In fact, there are some remarkably good writers here.

That said, business jargon is also good for lulz.
posted by scratch at 10:10 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do think it's funny that a community that loves academic jargon so much slags off on business jargon whenever it can.

I am actioning a plan to liaise between dynamic post dimensional, vertically integrated mass media marketing strategies and the personal results-oriented co-executive reform empowerment facilitators.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:11 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Glocal means something to me. The first part refers to the potential ubiquity of the service. The second part to the implementation of it.

Maybe that is what they meant to impart. It doesn't make sense, though. If you have a global food business, say, that is "implemented locally" that means you are growing stuff HERE to sell THERE. That's just a global business, period. The opposite of local.
posted by DU at 10:13 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


davejay, what does that mean in programming in terms? Like, how do you "iterate your butt off"? Because in normal usage, you have to iterate 'something' - iterating isn't a thing you just ... do.
posted by Tevin at 10:13 AM on September 11, 2012


[WE NEED MORE MONEY FOR OUR REDTUBE CLONE]

(Closed captioning provided by Hyundai)
posted by griphus at 10:13 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


That was meant to follow Devils Rancher's comment.
posted by griphus at 10:14 AM on September 11, 2012


Did anyone else, reading the list, imagine it in George Carlin's voice?

Carlin 2.0

Seven Words You Can Never Say At All

Plat-Ag
Glocal
Iterating
Go-to-market
Use-Case
Gamified
Butts
posted by chavenet at 10:14 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


maker-culture

Ugh, everything good gets taken over by leeches and made terrible.


(not Fremen-ist)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:15 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Business jargon?

Eh, try reading the abstracts from an academic architecture conference some time.

It'll curl your hair, and not in a good way.
posted by aramaic at 10:17 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anybody who says "I-18-n" aloud knows that it's something people are willing to pay other people to do, but doesn't actually know what it is.

Fun game I've sometimes played: use arbitrary numbers and letters in business correspondence. See how people react.
posted by ardgedee at 10:19 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, just because you actually say a word in your chosen profession doesn't mean it's not stupid and jargony.

Words I have been forced to say with a straight face at meetings include only "operationalize" and "marquis footprint", but I still think they're stupid. I'm just not in charge of deciding whether they should be/must be used, is all.
posted by emjaybee at 10:20 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is not business jargon; this is a very specific slice of hype-over-content-driven tech startup industry jargon. That is, this is an industry which is all about coming up with an idea - ideally a small but profitable twist on something which has already been developed and sold to Google for billions - then flogging that idea as the most incredibly revolutionary new astonishing huge thing that is going to completely take over the world and destroy everything in its path, in hopes of scaring up a couple million in VC funding. After that, you continue flogging the idea as the biggest thing ever, only you actually start trying to convince people to pay you for it, in hopes of flipping the whole mess off onto some megacorporation (the "exit") in exchange for real money, which you can then spend doing it all over again.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:21 AM on September 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Plat-Ag" kinda tickled my own wannabe linguist funny bone. "Plata" is silver in Spanish. "Ag" is the chemical symbol for the element silver.
posted by notsnot at 10:21 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


New York does not get to judge.
posted by effugas at 10:23 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you have a global food business, say, that is "implemented locally" that means you are growing stuff HERE to sell THERE.

Why? The brand can be global, the manufacturing, implementation of the marketing strategy etc can be local.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:29 AM on September 11, 2012


maker-culture

They have Fremen at this thing? Were there spice samples? Was any mention made of the little makers, or were they forgotten like always?
posted by LionIndex at 10:32 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Heh. I'm here doing the photography for TechCrunch. Believe me, the stuff NY Mag put here is pretty tame compared with what I've heard.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:35 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


"What's your current go-to-market strategy?"
I think that's a pretty neat word. "Go-to-market" seems to describe a particular process in starting a business or putting a new product out. I suppose it is jargon, but much clearer than a lot.
posted by Jehan at 10:44 AM on September 11, 2012


Like, nobody says "i-eighteen-n" when they mean internationalization

I couldn't figure out how these two things were related to each other (much less mean the same thing) and so I had to google it and now I hate the world just a little bit more than I did when I woke up this morning...
posted by TwoWordReview at 10:52 AM on September 11, 2012


So much of this is just a verbal marker of belonging and social positioning among peers. I don't know why we do this, but we do. I attended a meeting of a number of senior management recently, where one dropped the jargon word "ring fence" into the conversation. Almost reflexively, each and every senior manager then attempted to find a way to work "ring fence" into a sentence. It was almost comical to see how they jockeyed to indicate that they were part of the group through the use of words.

Oh, and glocal definitely is a word in the social sciences, meaning how a global movement is adapted and made use of by a local community, rather than simply swallowing the community. It indicates the continuance, survival and adaptation of a specific culture against global pressures to assimilate or become homogeneous.
posted by LN at 10:53 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


My go-to-market strategy involves dragging my granny cart about two blocks down the street.
posted by Kabanos at 10:55 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Go-to market strategy makes oodles more sense to me than go-to-market strategy. Is there maybe a typo there?
posted by bukvich at 10:58 AM on September 11, 2012


ACTUAL THINGS THAT CAME OUT OF HUMAN BEINGS MOUTHS AT THE EVOLUTION CONFERENCE

"If you examine the molecules..."

"The traits were inherited by the male offspring."

"Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organization."

"Simian"

"Biological imperative dictates that..."

HAHAHAHHAHA weirdos.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:58 AM on September 11, 2012


Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler...
posted by not_on_display at 11:00 AM on September 11, 2012


Where's the video? "Things Startup Yes-Men (and women) Say, Vol. 1".
posted by mrbill at 11:05 AM on September 11, 2012


"We don't measure our success by financial results."

I wish I would have said that before our new owners announced they were closing us down Q1 of '13. I might have changed the course of history had I but known that one simple phrase...
posted by MikeMc at 11:09 AM on September 11, 2012


"This is good, but what is best in life?"
"Financial results."
"Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?
"To crush your competitors, see them downsized before you, and to hear the lamentation of their vendors.
posted by griphus at 11:11 AM on September 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


Why is this notable? All industries are afflicted with have jargon to some extent. None of these examples strike me as especially egregious.

Precise and concise matters to some.

In the examples from the confirence, it is not the jargon, but the meaningless cliches and the puffery. The speaker isn't showing thought in what they are saying.
posted by zippy at 11:13 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can you give some examples that are puffery as opposed to terms you just don't understand? A Go-to-market strategy for instance is essentially "a plan for getting customers." It's a perfectly normal thing to ask at a tech conference.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:23 AM on September 11, 2012


It doesn't matter what comes out of the mouths! It just matters that the mouths are projected onto a two-story videoscreen against a TechCrunch-green background whilst simultaneously being tweeted, +1'd, githubbed and HN'd. Thus spoke McLuhan.
posted by oulipian at 11:25 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


+1 Klout in Glocal.
posted by Artw at 11:26 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I mean I hate the term "disruption" but not because it's pretentious (though it is highfalutin). I hate it because the way the tech economy works often is by convincing some rich people that even though you making something that someone else does much better (it's a Google Search killer!) you are going to Disrupt their established means of profiting by doing something old differently instead of making a product that does something new and awesome. If you actually make something new and awesome, you don' t have to disrupt anything, and everyone will want to fund you anyway.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:27 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Eh I don't know why I'm defending a bunch of CEOs. It just seems like there are a lot more things wrong with the industry than the jargon, which is on the whole pretty clear and useful for talking about businessy markety stuff.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:29 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Klout in Glocal

The hippest neighborhood in R'lyeh.
posted by griphus at 11:30 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a perfectly normal thing to ask at a tech conference.

I'm an entrepreneur. I recognize these things are normal to hear. My parents were english teachers, so these things can be painful to hear, because ...

Jargon and any specialized vocabulary is good where necessary - when it allows a more exact expression (to a particular audience) than everyday English: "broken tibia" rather than "broken leg." "OPSEC" rather than "secrecy," "tort" rather than "wrong."

It is bad where it takes longer than the equivalent everyday English to explain a concept, or where it is a cliched expression that shows the speaker does not think about how to express things directly.

For instance, while "what is your go-to-market strategy?" is precise, it is an unnessary cliche and could be said more simply and just as clearly: "how will you launch?" or "who are your first customers?" The jargon doesn't do anything other than show "I have learnt this jargon."

Using a cliche is not a sin, but someone who primarily uses cliches is parroting rather than thinking about what they want to express. So heavy cliche, as sometimes seen in communities, is an indicator of shallow thought.
posted by zippy at 11:40 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


... heavy cliche use ...
posted by zippy at 11:41 AM on September 11, 2012


Plagnostic

Iterati - People who keep trying to control the world.

posted by mmrtnt at 12:20 PM on September 11, 2012


The Iterati are the subject of this upcoming documentary.
posted by zippy at 12:29 PM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This thread has inspired me to publish my 2011 wordlist.

Feel free to use any of those in business or to annoy someone.

posted by mmrtnt at 12:41 PM on September 11, 2012


Can we Rasta-fy it by 10%?
posted by ShutterBun at 12:44 PM on September 11, 2012


rocket88: Needs more enterprise solutions.

No, no, no ... none of these people would be seen _dead_ using the word 'enterprise'. Entirely the wrong dialect of jargon. These people scoff at the Enterprisey lot the same as we scoff at them.
posted by memebake at 12:45 PM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would have thought Plat-Ag was an alloy of platinum and silver.
posted by NMcCoy at 1:10 PM on September 11, 2012


"Anybody who says "I-18-n" aloud . . . doesn't actually know what it is."

S2e of us do.

BR
P5s H6c
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 1:25 PM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


In ten years, everyone is going to be using comic book references: "We're absolutely Reed Richardsing on our intention-aware technology masterplans. We hope to find a Lex Luthor for the fall unleashing, but we're prepared to go Secret Wars as an alternative to keep from Black Lanterning.

What, you mean you're already not?

Man, I was totally going to Stark that up, but then Dave got all Cap on me and I had to completely Galactus the project. Dammit.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:34 PM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I look forward to the day when meetings are all "Shaka when the walls fell".

Though this is business, so probably more of the "Sisko in the Pale Moonlight" sort.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:42 PM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


/Perfects anti-life business equation upon mastering the Facebook API.
posted by Artw at 1:42 PM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Glocalalia?

posted by mmrtnt at 2:02 PM on September 11, 2012


They have Fremen at this thing? Were there spice samples?

You know what they say...he who controls the spice leverages his market position vis-a-vis the Spacing Guild and uses that business strategy to control the universe on a going-forward basis.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:32 PM on September 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


We're absolutely Reed Richardsing on our intention-aware technology masterplans. We hope to find a Lex Luthor for the fall unleashing, but we're prepared to go Secret Wars as an alternative to keep from Black Lanterning.

There's a hilarious sequence in Jonathan Hickman's Future Foundation in which Dr. Doom invites a collection of other mad scientists to a symposium at the Baxter Building to discuss strategies to defeat Reed Richards.

see! there's a sort-of tech conference connection there! totally not a derail!
posted by Zed at 2:54 PM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Plagform Atnostic was Slartibartfast's direct report in the fjord design department, as I recall.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:25 PM on September 11, 2012


I think that's a pretty neat word. "Go-to-market" seems to describe a particular process in starting a business or putting a new product out. I suppose it is jargon, but much clearer than a lot.
posted by Jehan at 1:44 PM on September 11 [+] [!]


Really? I think of piggies, some of whom have roast beef.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:52 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hope PlatAg catches on, cause I just registered platag.com.
posted by modernserf at 8:59 AM on September 12, 2012


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