Is it still

A friend of mine recently told me he gets incredibly irritated by certain phrases like “in this space” as in “companies that toil in this space are well positioned.” It should just be referred to as “a segment of the industry,” he snorted. He also cringes when he hears “business model” as in “we’ve adopted a hosted services business model.” My friend indignantly said, “Why is it a model? It’s just a business.”

He thinks such “sexy buzz words” and phrases were created to fool people into buying things during the pre-dot com era. That may very well be the case. But, such phrases have, today, evolved into regular vocabulary, fluidly rolling off people’s tongues as they talk of the IT industry. It’s all part a continual cycle in which, as time progresses and new technologies and fascinations emerge, new buzz words and phrases, too, will inevitably emerge.

I don’t mind “space” and “business model”, but I am beginning to tire of hearing the phrase “next-generation.” These days, everything seems to be next generation to an eager technology vendor looking to market its products or services. I suppose the label is useful for painting an image of innovation, forward-thinking, and so-not-like-the-stuff-you-already-have. I don’t doubt the phrase markets a company and its wares quite well, except it begins to lose its novelty the more you hear it. And, I’m hearing a lot of it.

Unlike its predecessors – “space”, “business model” – the phrase “next generation” has a shelf life. Some years from now, people will associate, perhaps not so consciously, “next generation” with a particular era in the world of IT, and therefore with particular technologies that will in the future be viewed as past-generation. I’m not sure marketing folks will be lining up to use it at that point.

But that’s okay, because sooner than we think, there will be another short list of buzz phrases that everyone is eager to use, and which, too, will soon lose their lustre.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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