I return now to my lone, quixotic campaign to help stop dumb people with business degrees from trying to sound smart by using heinous business jargon.
Plug-and-play. This term has a technical meaning we need not worry about here. Microsoft introduced the term as marketing jargon in the ’90s, to imply that you could plug a printer or modem into a Windows PC, and have it work automatically, without loading software or changing settings. You know, like a Mac. On rare occasions, Windows plug-and-play actually works.
Business folks use the term to mean a process or product that is easily initiated or installed, and that works right away. Now think — have you ever experienced such a thing? Of course you haven’t. It doesn’t exist.
“Plug-and-play,” when it comes to business, is a lie. Don’t use it.
Turn-key solution. Means the same thing as plug-and-play. Does not exist, no matter what the salesperson tells you. The closest thing I ever encountered to a “turn-key” solution was WordPress — and it still took me a week to get a blog properly going.
Dynamic metrics. This also may have a highly technical meaning, but business people use it to mean “measurements taken while a process (such as online advertising) is operating,” as opposed to taking measurements when a process is ended. I hereby grant permission to IT pros and data analysts to use this term. Anyone else — you sound like an idiot. In fact, the next time you hear a non-techie use this phrase, ask him or her what it means. It’ll be amusing.
Right-sizing. Right-sizing = downsizing = FIRED. Never let anyone euphemize firings. Make them feel the guilt.
Synergy. The absolute nadir of corporate buzzwords. It means “different entities that cooperate, and become more than the sum of their parts.” This word has been overused to the point of meaninglessness. In practice, it means Company A bought Company B, and now the employees at Company A are not allowed to use any product made by Company B’s competitors. But they will pay full price.
Instruct your secretary or assistant to stab you in the hand with a fork every time you say “synergy.” You’ll learn. Same thing goes for “mediums” and “irregardless.”
Got any hated corporate gobbledy-speak of your own? Let is know in the comments!More Heinous Business Jargon to Avoid by Erik Even