When I’m not off fighting crime or fucking your girlfriend, I work as an Editor for a company that writes business documents for business owners that are too illiterate to write them themselves. Through the course of this employment I’ve seen many affronts to the English language. Wanton and reckless apostrophes, the capitalization of EVERY FREAKING NOUN (because that makes your product seem more important), and, of course, spelling so bad I have to assume the word is in another language or the writer has had a stroke or some other cerebral incident. The most irksome thing I encounter, and encounter on the veritable daily, is complete and abject condescension when the writer clearly has no idea what they are talking about, or isn’t talking about anything at all. Which brings me to the subject of today’s post: Business Buzz Words (see, doesn’t it seem more important in caps?).
Business Buzz Words are those words used in the course of business that don’t really mean anything. Sort of like “extreme.” That’s a marketing buzz word. It’s just filler. Extreme soda/tobacco/Bible (these actually exist)/vacation/mattress is just a normal soda/tobacco/Bible/vacation/mattress painted neon green.
Business Buzz Words are the same thing only in a more businessey, money-grubbing context. They are the words you see in ads starring Sam Waterston or spewing out of the mouth of some ivy-league douchebag on an economic themed news show who offers nothing more to the world than hepatitis and a remarkable capacity for snorting blow. So today I’m going to demystify any mystification that may remain on these common and thoroughly odious words.
Let the buzz begin:
What it’s supposed to mean: Works together; forms a perfect union; magic.
What it really means: Magic; works well with others. “The baking soda, q-tips, and saltines create a synergy that make the unicorn possible.” Yup. When it means anything at all, it usually means magic, i.e. “we have no idea how these things work together or what they’ll do, but we hope you believe whatever it is it’s super cool.” When used in the context of different companies or divisions, it just means can work in a group…sort of. For example: “Our various divisions create a synergy that gets you the best project on time; every time” means “We generally get through the day with a minimum amount of passive aggressive inter-office memos and juvenile grudge holding, which enables us to bring you the same product you can get any where else but in 6 weeks* as opposed to the 2 weeks we’ll quote you, which is better than the 8 weeks our competitors will take.” The adverb of “synergy” is “synergistically.” Every time I read “synergistically” my brain clenches and a piece of my soul dies, so I’d rather not discuss it at length. Suffice it to say, “synergy” means nothing more than, “I’m an idiot, don’t ask me how my product works or how my business functions,” and has nothing to do with Jem’s computerized master. These people are trying to ruin Jem, and so I must ruin them.
What it’s supposed to mean: An informed treatise. Poignant words that capture precisely how hip, fresh, altruistic, etc. this company or product is.
What it really means: Page filler; some bullshit to bog investors down in so they don’t actually read the whole document or get so bored and distracted they don’t realize we either have nothing, what we do have has been done better, or we don’t actually know what we have or what we’re doing. This is a word for words that say nothing. How existential.
What it’s supposed to mean: New; unique; never been done before.
What it really means: Don’t look too thoroughly into our patent.
What it’s supposed to mean: Taken the old paradigm and improved upon it to the point were no one can compete.
What it really means: Took the old product/service/technology and stuck our label on it.
What it’s supposed to mean: Products, services, or atmosphere for the most refined tastes and discriminating palate.
What it really means: Strip club.
What it’s supposed to mean: Better than all others.
What it really means: Nothing. No really, this is just an adjective writers and editors in the business world throw in when the sentence needs another beat. Which isn’t so bad considering most of the words in business writing mean nothing, but this one irks my terkler in particular because usage has made it meaningless. Traditionally, “superior” meant that –noun- was better than –other nouns-. Now it just means “good.” When some one says “we have a superior atmosphere.” Superior to what? Most examples the “to our competitors” is implied, but sometimes it’s literally just “We are superior.” To what? Competitors? Other people? God? It’s a superfluous and unnecessary bastardization of a word that is still very necessary and useful. You don’t eat a sammich and say “This sammich is superior.” You DO say “This sammich is superior to anything found on the west coast.” GAH! Ok, I need to stop talking about this.
And there you have it. Toastygod’s proprietary verbiage on the synergies of the modern business lexicon in a classy and superior format for VIPs.
Suck it bitches.