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Visual Business Cliches
December 21, 2009 8:12 AM   Subscribe

Find the visual business cliches in this holiday poster from XPLANE. Boil the Ocean. Low-hanging Fruit. Drink the Kool Aid. Find the Strawman. (big PDF you really have to zoom in to appreciate).
posted by mathowie (57 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Since when is 'in the weeds' a business cliche? That's a waitron/back of the house cliche.
posted by spicynuts at 8:17 AM on December 21, 2009


I found the first one: using a PDF when a simple JPEG/GIF/PNG would have sufficed.
posted by nitsuj at 8:21 AM on December 21, 2009 [21 favorites]


This would be so much cooler if it was a clickable flash app.
posted by srboisvert at 8:22 AM on December 21, 2009


Pretty sure that "caught with your pants down" would be frowned on by HR.
posted by DU at 8:25 AM on December 21, 2009


Oh jeebus, one of them is "tow the line".
posted by DU at 8:27 AM on December 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was all about to think nitsuj was just being crotchety, but I zoomed in on the PDF and the illustration is just a bitmap. Boo!

It's still cool, though.
posted by zsazsa at 8:28 AM on December 21, 2009


Still expecting, looking for "eat our own dog food."
posted by zippy at 8:28 AM on December 21, 2009


Where is "f**king the dog"?
posted by phirleh at 8:28 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Re: tow the line, I wish they would make a visual "phrase misinterpretations" diagram next.
posted by kiltedtaco at 8:30 AM on December 21, 2009


Remember when "bandwidth" was something you worried about if you were organizing a parade?
posted by FishBike at 8:30 AM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Open up the kimono???
posted by Thorzdad at 8:37 AM on December 21, 2009


Is that an eBoy drawing or just heavily reminiscent of one?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:41 AM on December 21, 2009


Thanks, this may be a fun exercise for my business writing students.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:51 AM on December 21, 2009


Open up the kimono???

I've heard this term used when American companies sub-contract out highly technical work to Japanese suppliers and give them a lot of technical information in the process. The fear is that by showing them too much, they'll learn things that enable them to become much more effective competitors (rather than sub-contractors) in the future.
posted by FishBike at 8:53 AM on December 21, 2009


Using cliches frees up bandwidth so that I may do more thinking outside the box in the service of pushing the paradigm.
posted by spicynuts at 8:55 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


This would be so much cooler if it was a clickable flash app.

Not quite the same, but if you sign up for their email newsletter, they'll send out a "special link to download an interactive PDF with all the clich├ęs identified and defined." That's the old "baiting email with delayed gratification" trick, which I think is #58 on the list.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:59 AM on December 21, 2009


Opening the kimono just generally means letting someone in under the tent--sharing, generally, proprietary or confidential information. There's no real Japanese context at this point (if there ever was one).

I don't know how many other Mefites actually operate in the business sphere, but as a datapoint--I hear those terms non-ironically, every single day. I may play a game of bingo to see how long it takes me to encounter every one of them.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:01 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I found the first one: using a PDF when a simple JPEG/GIF/PNG would have sufficed.

Too big to fail?
posted by mazola at 9:05 AM on December 21, 2009


Where's "keep fucking that chicken?"
posted by jckll at 9:05 AM on December 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


...using a PDF when a simple JPEG/GIF/PNG would have sufficed.
The art is obviously vector-based with a lot of detail. A pdf shows it off far better than a jpeg or pdf can, especially the text.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:19 AM on December 21, 2009


"The visual thinking company is an information design consultancy that collaborates with companies to create understanding."
We syndicate transparent markets to enhance web-enabled solutions and engineer revolutionary e-services to maximize end-to-end users, because we monetize robust bandwidth and iterate next-generation supply-chains.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 9:22 AM on December 21, 2009


Ooh, I think I've got them all!

Rappel with a sled
Jewish picnic
Drunk on cigars at a baseball diamond
Recycled brains
Graffiti shipping containers
Buying the butcher
Pointing at a concert
Like a moose stealing fuel from a milk van


What do I win?
posted by randomination at 9:24 AM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


The art was vector-based, but they squished it into a big bitmap. Which be a lot more usable if it were released from the PDF dungeon.
posted by echo target at 9:38 AM on December 21, 2009


What, no "Polishing a turd?"
posted by e1c at 10:08 AM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Up until this very moment, I thought this was from x-plane.com and wondered why they put forward such a weird campaign.
posted by mazola at 10:09 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Since when is 'in the weeds' a business cliche? That's a waitron/back of the house cliche."

Isn't that a racing term? I thought it referred to losing control of your vehicle and going off the course.
posted by Eideteker at 10:36 AM on December 21, 2009


seconding Admiral Haddock: this stuff is pervasive in business. I once had a boss who, with zero irony, ended a staff talk with, "At the end of the day, the bottom line is: it is what it is." Fifteen words, zero content. And this was someone on a high six-figure salary too.
posted by scruss at 10:44 AM on December 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


"in the weeds" is a golfing term, as so many business hideosities are.
posted by scruss at 10:46 AM on December 21, 2009


in the weeds I have only heard in Southern New England AA where it means an active alcoholic who frequently passes out in the weeds.

Open the Komono is cited in an Enron book (I am pretty sure its the Smartest Guys in the Room) as being popularized if not originated by Enron with the meaning of exposing your corporate secrets to outsiders to encourage a partnership.
posted by shothotbot at 11:02 AM on December 21, 2009


Can I get the image in cornflower blue?
posted by Babblesort at 11:05 AM on December 21, 2009


Thanks, mathowie - this will be a good "new year's resolution" link to send to my clients. I'm with Admiral Haddock - this language is everyday parlance in my sad little world. Here's a few more biz-speak gems that they can save for next year's illustration:

throw under the bus
80/20 rule
monetize something
value added
secret sauce
core competency
stick to one's knitting
come to Jesus meeting
paradigm shift
wiggle room
rubber meeting the road
phoning it in
above my pay grade
career limiting move
silver bullet

I could push the envelope on this but don't think I need to get too granular. Any more might be gilding the lily. Going forward, all of us stakeholders should task ourselves with transitioning to more out-of-the-box thinking!
posted by madamjujujive at 11:10 AM on December 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


"in the weeds" is common in every kitchen/bar I've ever worked in to refer to being so far behind as to need a miracle to catch up....much like a golfer landing way off in the weeds or a race car driver going off course. So was "86 x" where x refers to any menu item that the kitchen runs out of (e.g. - 86 the scallops!). Much debate as to where that term originated.
posted by spicynuts at 11:17 AM on December 21, 2009


Love these Where's Waldo pictures. My favorite depiction: thinking outside the box.
posted by bearwife at 11:26 AM on December 21, 2009


GAH! That would be "IN IN THE WEEDS"! I hate when people don't understand wordplay.
posted by scrowdid at 11:45 AM on December 21, 2009


If you work in a cubicle, by definition you're thinking inside the box.

Well, ok, you're not thinking, but you are inside a box.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:45 AM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's the takeaway from this?
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:47 AM on December 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Help! Can't find:
10, 000-foot view;
Cutting corners;
See if it sticks.

Also, those are clearly geese, not ducks, hacky-sack is played with a sack, not a ball, it's not 'tow' the line, and that 'off the reservation' one is also a bit dodgy.
posted by Flashman at 11:48 AM on December 21, 2009


rubber meeting the road

I've always liked "Marketing: where the rubber meets the sky."
posted by FishBike at 11:53 AM on December 21, 2009 [5 favorites]


86 the scallops!...Much debate as to where that term originated.

For what it's worth, spicynuts, here's Cecil's answer.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 12:00 PM on December 21, 2009


"Come to jesus meeting"?? Most of these I would find funny, but I'm completely bewildered by that one. What is it supposed to mean?
posted by kiltedtaco at 12:05 PM on December 21, 2009


"Come to jesus meeting"?? Most of these I would find funny, but I'm completely bewildered by that one. What is it supposed to mean?


A meeting that involves one attendee, usually a superior, giving another a stern ultimatum about performing up to expectations or getting canned.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:09 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Come to Jesus: Bring to heel. I do this with clients all the time when they've gone astray (or off the reservation!) and must be talked into following common sense (or talked of a ledge!) I could go on forever....
posted by mtstover at 12:13 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Out of curiosity, where is "boiling the ocean" from? I only ran across it a few weeks ago (and have yet to hear it in its native habitat). It has the sound of tech slang that's been overheard and reapplied as business slang, but I haven't heard it as tech slang either.
posted by hattifattener at 12:35 PM on December 21, 2009


A "come to Jesus meeting" - one in which you urge someone to see the light or else.

More on the come to Jesus meeting phrase:
"Numerous charismatic preachers traveled the country, "saving" people as they went--one of the most famous was Aimee Semple McPherson. (The familiar Billy Graham crusades are an outgrowth of this, as well as several denominations, pentecostal or otherwise, that make up much of today's evangelical Christian community.) These evangelists exhorted people at camp meetings to "come to Jesus" in language that was charged with emotion, vividly evoking the damnation that would come if a sinner did not repent."
posted by madamjujujive at 12:43 PM on December 21, 2009


I might appreciate this holiday poster more if it weren't coming from a consultancy that uses these cliches without irony the other 51 weeks of the year.
posted by klarck at 12:59 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


skin in the game, i want it, where is it?
posted by infini at 1:25 PM on December 21, 2009


where is "boiling the ocean" from?

In web business I've heard people use it as a metaphor for completely obliterating a market, getting rid of all competitors and everything that came before.

Something like "yeah, we're going to be the new Napster, bigger than the iTunes store, the ONLY place to get MP3 files on the web. We're totally set to boil the ocean on this one. We just need your investment signature here, and here, and here."
posted by mathowie at 1:41 PM on December 21, 2009


They could have at least attempted to illustrate "let's not all give each other blowjobs just yet".
posted by idiopath at 2:16 PM on December 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


God I love cliches. They're cliches for a reason!

"Like kissing your sister."

"Golden parachute"

"Throw it in"

"Elevator pitch"

"Soft sell"
posted by autodidact at 2:23 PM on December 21, 2009


Boiling the ocean has a totally negative context typically in my business. It means you are totally casting about for a solution in a non-targeted way, and wasting a huge amount of effort in the meantime. Thus you are "boiling the ocean" to find the result at the bottom. It is the opposite of a hypothesis driven approach.
posted by mtstover at 2:38 PM on December 21, 2009


I've only heard 'Boil the ocean' in the context similar to that of mtstover.

Definitely not a positive quip, used frequently to identify grandiose solutions.
posted by mrdaneri at 4:06 PM on December 21, 2009


"Boiling the ocean" is an impossible task - the allusion is usually applied when someone takes what should be a simple, easy task and makes it massively over-complex, or overly ambitious.

"In the weeds" usually means a discussion has gotten derailed into irrelevant detail.
posted by kcds at 5:42 PM on December 21, 2009


This could be a real challenge. I'd like to see a graphic designer come up with an image for "Capitalizing on our synergies". Or "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
posted by Hardcore Poser at 6:37 PM on December 21, 2009


An old word that is being deployed in a new way of late: "optics" to describe how a situation looks.

For example, "Our actions may be perceived negatively, but despite the optics, we have to move forward."

This usage particularly annoys me, for some reason.
posted by jackrational at 7:10 PM on December 21, 2009


In Netherland we have the phrase 'gouden handdruk' (gold handshake) for giving somebody money to be let go of. Recently I heard a colleague refer to that as a 'gouden voetafdruk' instead.
The gold bootprint.
posted by joost de vries at 10:54 PM on December 21, 2009


*smothers giggle* I read that as 'gouden voetdafruk'
posted by infini at 1:11 PM on December 22, 2009


One man's set of trite cliche's is another man's subcultural vernacular.

Do I roll my eyes every time someone tells me that the band they saw last night "kicked ass"? No, I do not.

Respect, people.
posted by GuyZero at 9:53 PM on December 23, 2009


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