Catalogue of industry jargon, buzzwords, and acronyms associated with Corporate.

The catalogue of Corporate jargon includes 64 terms to date, including 20 acronyms, 30 buzzwords, and 14 catchphrases.

Corporate Catchphrases

30,000 foot view

Business definition: Objective, big-picture perspective on a company, project, or other topic under discussion.

What it means: Clever term to use during a meeting to change the subject away from tactical details when you don't know what the hell is going on.

Can you own this?

What it means: Pseudo-empowering way of assigning work to someone else.

How can I help

Business definition: The expression 'how can I help' is often used by management to conclude meetings with underlings. It may also be used by VCs when communicating with portfolio companies. The implication of the term is that the manager or VC is "working together" with the other party, not simply using financial leverage to impose control over their activities.

What it means: Term used by executives and VCs when meeting with employees or founders with 'actual skills,' to imply that their advice 'adds value.'

How can we avoid this in the future?

What it means: Phrase used to express dissapointment to peers when you do not have the power to fire them.

Just wanted to check in

What it means: Term employed to remind recipient that they have missed a deadline.

Just wanted to put this on your radar

What it means: Expression commonly used in email and Slack when calling attention to something negative, in order to avoid being blamed for it at a later date.

Keep me honest

What it means: Expression used by executives when promising things they're not sure are actually possible.

Let's take this offline

What it means: Magic phrase that allows you to deflect any conversation you don't want to have, by suggesting that the best place to discuss it is 'offline.'

Low Hanging Fruit

Business definition: The term "low hanging fruit" is commonly used in the business context to describe initiatives which are low-effort and medium-to-high-impact.

What it means: A term used to trivialize the level of effort needed to accomplish a task, when farming it out to your underlings.

Per my last email

Business definition: When your goal is to communicate controlled aggression about an ongoing project, using the opening line "Per my last email..." is an excellent way to do so.

What it means: Expression used to open emails, when the purpose of that email is to draw attention to a team member's failure. Often combined with CCing the boss to maximize effectiveness.

Thanks in advance

What it means: Term used to skip the conversation when assigning tasks via email.

Transform the way you think about X

Business definition: The formula "transform the way you think about X" is a powerful tool when attempting to convince old, wealthy people that your pre-revenue app idea is worth investing in.

What it means: Grammatical formula often used during the intro slides of a pitch deck.

What's the delta

Business definition: The expression 'what's the delta' and variations are commonly used in business to refer to the difference between two things, or the rate of change between two states, depending on the context.

What it means: A way of saying 'what's the difference?,' but with math.

X is the new Y

Business definition: A way of suggesting that a new product or service is a complete replacement for whatever currently dominates the market.

What it means: Simple way to describe new ideas to old people with money needed to build said new idea.

Corporate Buzzwords

Action Items

Business definition: A list of things you will do based on the content of a meeting. 

What it means: A polite method of describing orders given to a team, when those orders should have been given weeks ago, and the effective due date is tomorrow.

Agile

What it means: An MBA-approved excuse for turning in broken, half-finished work.

Bandwidth

Business definition: The term "bandwidth" is commonly used in the business or corporate setting to describe the density of obligations in your schedule.

What it means: Way of saying you're busy, while insuating that the other party is a waste of your time.

Blue Ocean

Business definition: The term "blue ocean" is commonly used by entrepreneurs and executives to refer to new or emerging markets where competition is low.

What it means: MBA-approved method of saying 'a low-competition market.'

Change Agent

Business definition: A Change Agent is an individual at an organization who promotes new processes and ideas, helping the company let go of outdated processes and engage with new technologies or practices.

What it means: LinkedIn job title for 'executives' who are 'in between opportunities.'

Circle Back

Business definition: The term "circle back" suggests that a topic is important, but that it should be returned to later in the conversation.

What it means: A gentle way of saying 'this is not worth discussing, and we will never discuss it.' Commonly used in emails.

Connect

Business definition: To connect with another person, usually via phone or LinkedIn.

What it means: To 'connect' with another person, but purely for superficial gain, and without actually understanding or sharing empathy for one another in any way.

Design Thinking

What it means: The most vague of all UX methodologies.

Double-click

What it means: Obnoxious method of saying 'tell me more about that.'

Ecosystem

Business definition: The applications and software components that exist within a "platform" (commonly a particular group of hardware, as in Amazon Alexa skills, or larger software, such as the apps designed for Apple products sold in Apple app store.)

What it means: A way to describe groups of people or products without being even remotely specific about what you mean.

Enterprise Value

Business definition: Enterprise Value is a term for the total value of a business. It is often used informally to refer to things which enhance the overall value of a corporation.

What it means: Value created by doing things which are net neutral on value to people, but enhance the percieved value of an enterprise when being considered for an aquisition. E.g. moving from a third-party analytics suite to a custom solution built in-house. Even if the custom solution has objectively worse functionality, it adds subjective value to the corporation, as they can cite their "proprietary analytics integration" as a reason for adding additional zeros to an aquisition offer.

Level-set

Business definition: To "level-set" means to agree on the definitions of terms and metrics to be used in a meeting or conversation. Commonly used at the begining of meetings, to make sure everyone present has the same understanding of the project, product, or situation being discussed.

What it means: Clever term to use in meetings, which will prompt your team members to define terms and processes that you should probably already be familiar with.

Microblogging

Business definition: Microblogging is a type of content distribution which prioritizes short-form content on social networks over long-form content on the web or other traditional formats. The most common example of microblogging is tweeting (posting short-form text content on Twitter).

What it means: The practice of writing extremely long Instagram post descriptions.

Nearshore

Business definition: Nearshore outsourcing, or 'nearshoring,' is the practice of outsourcing work to nearby countries with more affordable labor costs. For the US tech industry, Uruguay and Chile are common nearshore locations with low-cost tech talent. For the UK, Poland is a common nearshore option for IT outsourcing.

What it means: When offshoring work, describe it as 'nearshoring' to justify raising the rate charged to the client by an additional 40–80%.

Omni-channel

Business definition: Omni-channel refers to the practice of engaging with an audience using multiple media types, or 'channels,' and ensuring consistency across channels.

What it means: The practice of doing everything poorly rather than doing one or two things well.

Paradigm Shift

Business definition: The term "paradigm shift" is used to describe situations where an entire situation or public perception is changing. E.g. the "paradigm shift" of smartphones becoming central to the mobile market.

What it means: An obnoxious way of saying that a product is so revolutionary that it will cause a 'sea change' in consumer behavior, when it is difficult to actually 'see any change' resulting from the product.

Passionate

Business definition: Adjective commonly used in the tech industry by people and companies who specialize in objectively boring subjects.

What it means: Adjective that literally every agency on the planet uses to describe themselves. Also used passive-aggresively to belittle coworkers, e.g. 'if anyone feels passionate about this topic, let me know.'

Ping me

What it means: Contact me by literally any means other than a phone call, because I will be ignoring you for at least a day.

Proprietary algorithm

What it means: Term used to describe any system which has limited or poor functionality, to excuse that functionality when attempting to sell the business.

Quick Win

What it means: Something your boss says when they assign you a poorly defined project with an absurdly short deadline and limited explainable connection to the core function of the product you work on.

Reshoring

Business definition: Reshoring, or 'backshoring,' is the process of moving offshored business functions back to a company's home country. Reshoring is the opposite of offshoring.

Resource Allocation

Business definition: Resource Allocation refers to the distribution (allocation) or resources (people, money, gear, etc) in a project.

What it means: Fancy way of asking what everyone's role is on a project.

Robust

Business definition: Term used by engineers to describe software that has relatively few bugs, and used by executives to describe literally anything even remotely functional and reliable.

What it means: Word used to describe software that actually works.

Scrum

Business definition: Scrum is an agile software development framework with a special focus on timeboxed, iterative testing and development cycles.

Sunsetting

Business definition: The term "sunset" is used to express the process of retiring or getting rid of something, such as an app feature; or in the context of HR departments, humans.

What it means: A poetic method of saying 'shut it down.'

Sync up

Business definition: The term "sync up" is commonly used in internal emails and conversations to describe one-on-one meetings with no purpose other than to understand what the other person is doing (or does in general).

What it means: Polite method for asking for an hour of a team member's time to ask them to repeat everything they already told you in other meetings.

Synergy

Business definition: Synergy is used in the corporate context to describe anything which is mutually beneficial, or any situation where the sum of two parts is greater that the parts individually.

What it means: Meaningless term kept alive by Microsoft Powerpoint.

Thought Leadership

Business definition: The term "thought leadership" describes individuals or companies who are experts in their industry and share their expertise publicly, influencing the development of the field.

What it means: A method for executives to justify spending exorbitantly on PR and travel so they can give vague talks about nothing at conferences attended by other executives.

User Story

Business definition: User Stories are human-readable summaries of software or product features, usually written from the point of view of an end-user in order to explain the purpose, value, and functionality of the feature.

Value-add

Business definition: The term "value add" is commonly used in the startup and corporate setting to describe anything that makes a given product, service, feature, or other topic of discussion objectively or subjectively better. Anything that enhances the value of an existing value proposition.

What it means: A way to say 'this improves the product' that simultaneously demonstrates that you have an MBA.

Corporate Acronyms

ARR

Business definition: “ARR” stands for “Annual Recurring Revenue”. Revenue from recurring payments, annualized.

What it means: A dollar amount commonly referenced by SaaS developers when their MRR does not sound impressive enough.

ATH

Business definition: “ATH” stands for “All Time High”. ATH or "all time high" is often used in news article titles to save space.

What it means: Businessy-sounding syonym for "rocket ship," often used by stock peddlers to promote their picks.

BPO

Business definition: “BPO” stands for “Business Process Outsourcing”. BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) is a form of outsourcing that focuses on functional areas of a business rather than specific tasks. BPO vendors are engaged for a variety of business processes including accounting, IT, sales, and customer support. BPO is generally leveraged to reduce costs.

What it means: A way of saying 'outsourcing' without using the word 'outsourcing.'

C2H

Business definition: “C2H” stands for “Contract to Hire”. C2H is an acronym meaning 'Contract to Hire.' A C2H arrangements are common when a company wants to hire for a role but is strapped for cash to make a full-time offer, or wants to put a candidate through an extended 'trial period.'

What it means: A fancy way of saying 'contractor' which encourages the contractor to overperform in hopes of being offered a real job.

COB

Business definition: “COB” stands for “Close Of Business”. COB is used in emails to mean 'close of business.' Similar to EOD (End of Day) and EOW (End of Week), there is some disagreement about the specific time of day expected by the sender.

CRO

Business definition: “CRO” stands for “Conversion Rate Optimization”. Conversion Rate Optimization is the process of increasing the amount of desireable user actions taken through a page or product, usually through design or copy changes.

What it means: An acronym to add to your resume as a designer, which allows you to raise your rates by at least 50%.

EBITDA

Business definition: “EBITDA” stands for “Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization”. EBITDA is a company's earnings (revenue minus expenses) that does not include additional costs of doing business, namely interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. The calculation for EBITDA varies depending on who you ask, but is normally defined as: operating income + depreciation and amortization.

What it means: Yet another way for executives and accountants to conceal negative net income.

EOD

Business definition: “EOD” stands for “End Of Day”. EOD generally refers to 5pm, but is often extended until later in the evening.

What it means: If I don't have this by 5pm you're in trouble, if it's not in by midnight you're fired.

EOW

Business definition: “EOW” stands for “End Of Week”. In the corporate or business setting, the acronym EOW is commonly used in emails to set expectations around deadlines.

What it means: Term which manager believes to mean 'Friday,' but which employee believes to mean 'Sunday at midnight.'

HiPPO

Business definition: “HiPPO” stands for “Highest Paid Person's Opinion”. The term "HiPPO" describes the person with highest status at the company during a debate. In situations where data is not available to support a decision, the HiPPO generally gets to make the call, usually while bulldozing over the opinions of subject-matter experts around them.

What it means: Manager who demands your decisions always be backed by data, while simultaneously insisting that you add emojis to the marketing content because 'I just feel like it resonates with the youngs these days.'

KPI

Business definition: “KPI” stands for “Key Performance Indicator”. KPIs are the measurable metrics used to assess employee and company performance.

What it means: Acronym used by managers to describe arbitrary performance metrics, while also reminding everyone present that they went to business school.

M&A

Business definition: “M&A” stands for “Mergers and Acquisitions”. Mergers and Acquisitions are two types of growing a business via the purchase of an outside business. When the companies are of equivalent size, they may "merge" into a new business entity, or even pursue new branding. Most often though, they will retain the branding of the dominant party. When one of the companies is much smaller, it is generally purchased or "acquired" outright by the larger corporation.

What it means: Specialty for businessmen who are good at making promises and bad at maintaining products sustainably. So long as you're adding revenue, there will always be investors who don't care about the growth trajectory of individual portfolio assets.

MRR

Business definition: “MRR” stands for “Monthly Recurring Revenue”. MRR is a valuable metric for SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses. It refers to the monthly revenue generated from subscriptions, before subtracting expenses, labor, cost of customer aquisition, and etc.

What it means: A variable which contains arbitrary goals for SaaS businesses.

P&L

Business definition: “P&L” stands for “Profit and Loss”. A P&L Statement (Profit and Loss Statement) declares profits and losses for a business.

What it means: Financial statement which you must downplay, when attempting to get more venture capital on the strength of revenue.

QQ

Business definition: “QQ” stands for “Quick Question”.

RPU

Business definition: “RPU” stands for “Revenue Per User”. RPU or Revenue Per User refers to the amount of revenue generated by each individual user of your product, site, or app.

SMB

Business definition: “SMB” stands for “Small and Mid-Size Business”. SMBs are businesses that operate with headcount and revenue below that of an enterprise corporation. The term is mostly used casually in the sales or product development context. Finance will generally use the term 'SME' (Small-Medium Enterprise) which has stricter country-level requirements.

SWOT Analysis

Business definition: “SWOT Analysis” stands for “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats”. A four-quadrant grid for showing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a situation, product, or project.

What it means: The lowest-level basic strategy skill taught in business school.

SaaS

Business definition: “SaaS” stands for “Software as a Service”. SaaS, also known as Software as a Service, is a web-based model of software licensing and delivery in which centrally hosted data and services can be accessed from nearly any device with an internet connection and browser.

UGC

Business definition: “UGC” stands for “User Generated Content”. UGC or User Generated Content is used to described content created by the users and an application, website, or other software platform. UGC may be text, audio, video, or any other content format supported by the platform.