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8 Start-Up Buzzwords to Avoid

If you use any of these words, consider this your start-up slang intervention.

Ninja / • noun, a person with advanced skills. As in, "Dave is our secret ninja; he's the best coder we've ever hired." Is this a real company or a 6-year-old's fantasy? Why not throw teenage, mutant, and turtle in there while you're at it?

Value prop (or proposition) / • noun, the reason a customer would want to buy your product. As in, "I don't see the point of another crowdfunding site. What's the value prop? Another thing customers value? Plain English.

Killing it / • verb phrase, to perform successfully. As in, "Our team is really killing it right now. We hit 10,000 users two months after launch." All you are killing is my desire to have a conversation with you.

Productize / • verb, to turn a custom feature into an independent product. As in, "We took that process and productized it." Sorry to break it to you, but no one knows what you are talking about. Everyone is just nodding to be polite.

Rockstar / • adjective, outstandingly good. As in, "We're looking for a rockstar developer to join our team." OK, but don't be surprised when one of them trashes a hotel room at South by Southwest.

Grind / • verb, to work very hard. As in, "Our team is just grinding it out." Wow, sounds like a great sweatshop you've got going there! Sign me up!

Inflection point / • noun, a moment of dramatic change in the life of a start-up. As in, "We're growing 10x, month over month, and we haven't even hit our inflection point yet." Let me guess--you have a chart with a hockey stick on it.

Stealth / • adjective, secret. As in, "Ben won't talk about the stealth start-up he's working on. All I know is that it has something to do with the cloud." Are you protecting missile codes or launching a company? Careful; I think your phone may be bugged.

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