Bummer Buzzwords: The Un-Buzzwording Prologue

Like many, I entered the tech industry young and relatively quickly after graduating from university. In those first weeks, I expected to be out of my element while I learned about the company, my job, and what it meant to be a full-time employee. And though I couldn’t tell you much about what I did while I acclimated, one memory (or a memory of a memory) has stayed with me: my seeming inability to communicate in the way my seasoned peers did. At almost every meeting I was in, someone wanted to circle back on a topic or discuss a team’s bandwidth. It left me longing to speak the way they did to fit in. Because even though I know English, this corporate and “techified” jargon was completely new to me.

I spent the next months (even a few years) drinking the Kool-Aid. I ate up all the dog food until I was unironically referring to small tasks as “low-hanging fruit” internally and externally calling release features disruptors and/or robust and/or game-changing.

I didn’t realize what was happening until I was telling a friend about my day and explaining the morning sync I had with my product manager, the company-wide All-Hands meeting I attended, and the 1x1 meeting I had with my boss. My friend looked at me blankly and responded, “So you had three meetings.” When I started to respond back with “not exactly,” I laughed because technically, yes—they were just three meetings. And over the course of several weeks with similar conversations, I had to come to terms with a terrifying thought: I’d become a full-time spewer of marketing, tech, and corporate buzzwords.

In just a few years, I’d gone from longing for these overused phrases to be part of my natural vernacular to loathing the fact they were. So, as I actively try to wipe them from my head, I thought I’d share the experience with the SolarWinds® AppOptics community and see what you all think are the bad, the ugly, and the outright worst when it comes to buzzwords. This will be a series to cut through buzzwords, dissect them, and—of course—give my unsolicited opinion of them. In the coming months, expect to see technical terms, tech-adjacent terms, and the terms keeping the corporate world spinning, including the following:

  • DevOps: A Philosophy? A Job? An Entire Industry?
  • "Let's Sync": A Developer's Guide to Meetings as Told by Buzzwords
  • Buzzword Bingo: A Full-Stack List of Developers’ Worst Tropes

But this isn’t all, and I’d love to recruit YOU to tell me the buzzwords you hate the most. Comment below the words and phrases that irk you to your core, and we’ll cover them.

See you back here soon!

In the meantime, here’s a shameless plug: at SolarWinds, we're all about simple—especially when it comes to application performance monitoring (APM). So kick those buzzword-fluffed alternatives to the curb and try out AppOptics free for 30 days.

Anonymous
  • Great Topic, I have long wondered if many even understand the Buzz words and acronyms they spew, and when you ask for simple clarification you get that "Look". This not some sort of secret clan we all belong to. Most of us work for a company that's looking to technology to simplify and bring efficiency so the company becomes more profitable. That should be enough job security. Learning the business jargon would seem difficult enough. Understand your core business operations. Bridge that gap between technology and business needs and you'll soon be leading those team meetings.