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Startup Jargon – Millennial Generation’s Gift to The World [Infographic]

August 9, 2014 infographics

Startup Jargon – Millennial Generation’s Gift to The World

Monitise engagement, disruptively growth-hacking viral gamification?

If you work at a tech-startup, or know someone who does, you’ll be familiar with the jargon involved. As we’re all about transparency and fairness here at CurrencyFair, we thought it would be best to reveal the magic behind the lingo.

Our recent exposé of Business Jargon dealt with common nonsense and spin from the wider world, so here we’re focusing on startups.

Here’s a pretty infographic showing some of the most popular words and phrases the cool kids are using these days. We’ve explained a few, but will leave the rest up to your imagination – to be honest, some have even the hippest of CurrencyFair hipsters confused!



Gamification is the process of turning something, literally anything, into a game, in the hope of getting people involved so deeply that they don’t even realise they’ve wasted their entire lunch break tending to imaginary turnips.

“Rewarding Engagement” is another phrase we’ve heard used to justify gamification, but you’ll notice Engagement is also in our list of jargon, so it can’t be true, whatever its merits.

You can’t argue with an infographic.

Digital Nomads

We covered this one in our Rise of the Digital Nomad post back in April, but it’s a phrase which has gained a little momentum since then.

Essentially, it describes someone who works predominantly online, without a need for physical office space. This allows a greater freedom of working hours, and cuts out the massive costs involved with running an office – insurance, furniture, teabags etc. It also allows the Nomad to sit on the couch in their pants all day long, while still getting stuff done.



One of the more annoying words, particularly in marketing circles. To the innocent, it’s a win-win. Get something to “go viral” and watch the leads/signups roll in. It’s that simple!


Going viral describes the exponential, explosive increase in visits/shares of a particular post, image, video or infographic. The most successful viral campaigns usually start out innocently enough, the viral element being an advantage of creating good content, plain and simple. Unique, funny, controversial – they all help to make things more “shareable”.

The problem is when you attempt to make something viral, which is approaching the issue from the wrong end entirely. This is why the word strikes fear into marketers and techies.

“How can we make something that’ll go viral?” asked no successful CEO, ever.


Also included in this bucket are “Guru”, “Rockstar” and references to Gandalf or any other Tolkien characters.

No need to elaborate too much on this one. If you’re hiring for your startup and the interviewee has any of these titles on their CV, be afraid.

Unless you’re Google, then they’ll fit right in.



In the wider world, leverage is “…a measure of the force amplification achieved by using a tool, mechanical device or machine system”.

Not so in a startup! Leverage can mean using something to your advantage, to amplify your product or idea in a way which, outside of this ecosystem, might be considered IP theft, infringement or just downright sneaky.


Being disruptive, in a startup sense, means you’re forcing your way into a niche, bludgeoning the existing competition with your revolutionary new ideas and systems, and taking the game to the next level.

While that sounds great, and often is, the problem arises when every single startup in the world uses this word to describe what they do.


A Hackathon sounds fun. For tech-types, “hacking” means a lot of different things, from coding (which can actually be fun) to mischievous internet-based skullduggery.


If your boss suggests a hackathon, and you work at a startup, be careful – it’s a trick.

A creative way to “onboard” (that’s another one) employees into non-paid overtime, using cute words out of context can fool a large percentage of them, and not wanting to feel left out or miss free pizza, the rest of the staff will surely join you on your Saturday morning data-entry “team bonding” experience.

For a look at what a Hackathon really is, check out Vooza’s excellent video.


Changing direction during the growth stage of a startup business hurts everyone involved. While it might not mean total failure, it’s definitely a small admission that the original idea wasn’t quite ready for the world, and pride is a cruel mistress.

Why not dress your failure as a deliberate shift in the other direction? That’ll solve it! Introducing the Pivot, saving company founders’ blushes since 2004.

There’s plenty more words and stupid phrases on the list, but as mentioned, we simply don’t understand them all.

Startup Jargon

Have you heard any recently that struck a chord? Let us know in the comments below.
Please – we need help catching up.

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