BEAUTY SICKNESS / • noun
"The chronic focus on beauty that directs cognitive, financial, and emotional resources away from other more important goals." Like shopping.

Source: KHOU

 

CO-CONSUMPTION / • noun
"Real-time co-viewing group video chat" that lets media consumers " 'live chill' together for hours," according to the president of group-viewing app Airtime. Imagine Friends if they'd just hung out co-consuming Seinfeld.

Source: The Drum

 

BOPIS / • noun
The trend to "Buy online, pick up in store," encouraged by big-box stores, like Walmart, hoping to blend virtual reality and actual reality. Little BOPIS has lost her clicks, and doesn't know where to find them.

Source: Forbes

 

CHAOYANG MASSES / • noun
Armies of "nosy neighborhood 'aunties and uncles' " enlisted by the Chinese government to catch foreign spies. Members get up to 500,000 yuan ($73,000) for tips on well-groomed men in white tuxedos playing baccarat.

Source: Stuff.co.nz

 

UBERIZATION / • noun
"A catchall phrase in France, trotted out by trade unions, CEOs, and politicians to describe threats from tech- driven rivals." How I wish this word had been coined by a Monsieur Serge Pricing.

Source: Bloomberg
 
From the July/August 2017 issue

AQUAPRENEUR / • noun
One who peddles the libertarian fantasy of "seasteading"--"building freer societies upon unincorporated parts of the world's oceans." This is a fabulous idea ... up to the moment a Chinese aircraft carrier sails into view.

Source: ValueWalk

 

NAAP / • noun
Alongside software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and many, many others comes ... network as a platform (NaaP). You are feeling very sleepy.

Source: Gigaom

 

FARMERS' MARKET EFFECT / • noun
Real estate prices near farmers' markets are 26 percent higher than elsewhere in Britain. And if you close on a house, the owners will throw in a sack of partially bruised heirloom apples.

Source: Zoopla

 

SIBAL EXPENSES / • noun
South Korean wage slaves are indulging in "sibal expenses," little expense account luxuries (taxis, snacks) that make up for their stress. No surprise, sibal is the Korean F-word.

Source: The Korea Times

 

SAPIOSEXUALS / • noun
The increasingly niche business of e-dating is joined by Sapio, an app for "sapiosexuals"­--those who are less attracted to superficial beauty than to intellectual depth. Swipe along the hypotenuse to hook up!

Source: Vocativ
 
From the June 2017 issue

AUTOLIVERY / • noun
Ford's new delivery concept: Self-driving trucks bring packages to a destination, and then drones bring them to "destinations inaccessible by car, such as high up in a tower block." The drone always smashes into your window twice.

Source: Ford

 

ROBOTIC HARASSMENT / • noun
"When machines begin to supplant people as the primary actors in the workplace, individuals naturally begin to feel unimportant." It's almost as if we don't aspire to a life of jobless penury.

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

 

LESS-CASH SOCIETY / • noun
Professor Kenneth Rogoff proposes a "less-cash society" with the elimination of high-value banknotes ($100, €500, ¥10,000) popular with criminals. Of course, this would end Hollywood's favorite McGuffin: the briefcase full of money.

Source: Daily Princetonian

 

TARIFFYING / • adjective
A gloomy assessment of President Trump's protectionist trade policy. Trump supporters would presumably counter that his rejection of the TPP and renegotiation of Nafta will, in fact, be ... TARRIFIC!

Source: The News-Herald

 

CLIMATE CASSANDRAS / • noun
People who suffer from "pre-traumatic stress disorder" while "in the grip of images of future [climate] disasters." This is why the British always carry umbrellas.

Source: News1130.com
 
From the May 2017 issue

AIRLINED / • noun
The anti-consumer practices of 19th-century train operators gave us "railroaded." Today, fliers get airlined by rising prices, tiny seats, and poor service. It's nice to know some things never change.

Source: AviationPros/PR Newswire

 

KAIGO-JIGOKU / • noun
"Caregiving hell"--a neologism used by young folk in Japan to describe having to look after aged relatives. Are the Japanese taking on the Germans in the "there should be a word for it" stakes?

Source: The Guardian

 

PANK / • noun
"Professional aunt, no kids." PANKs "play a financially meaningful role in the lives of other people's kids, are active on social media, and influence the purchasing decisions of those around them." We assume the male version is PUNK.

Source: Forbes

 

SWIPERS / • noun
The rise of self-scanning supermarket checkouts has increased the incidence of swipers ("seemingly well-intentioned patrons engaging in routine shoplifting"). Is there some hi-tech reason why we don't just call these people thieves?

Source: BBC

 

CRAP / • noun
The latest acronymic investment strategy, CRAP focuses on computers, resources, American banks, and phone carriers. It's as if this column were being written for me.

Source: Seeking Alpha
 
From the April 2017 issue

TECHFIN / • noun
Whereas "FinTech takes the original financial system and improves its technology," said Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, "TechFin is to rebuild the system with technology." You might think this sounds like nonsense, but it is, in fact, gold-plated SenseNonTM.

Source: South China Morning Post

 

J.A.M. / • noun
The British government is proposing policies to help J.A.M.'s--those who are "just about managing"--avoid poverty. It's a cruel epithet, given Lewis Carroll's thoughts on unfulfilled promises: "The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday--but never jam today."

Source: The Telegraph

 

PREMIUM FRIDAY / • noun
Japan has a new plan to let people leave work a few hours early on the last Friday of every month. In the country that gave us a word for "death from overwork," Premium Friday is the HR equivalent of fighting a five-alarm fire with a bottle of seltzer.

Source: Bloomberg

 

TRUMP DUMP / • noun
When stocks go up, it's a Trump Bump. When they go down, it's a Trump Dump. When you lose the will to live because of the trumpet of trumped-up Trumpanese, that's a Trump Slump.

Source: Everyone

 

NEW-COLLAR JOBS / • noun
IBM is promoting the idea of "new-collar jobs" to describe work that doesn't need a four-year degree. Pretty soon, the only jobs that actually require collars will be the clergy and dog-walking.

Source: Marketplace
 
From the March 2017 issue

WORKVENTURERS / • noun
"Business travelers who are tech-savvy, spontaneous, and seek out rich travel experiences." And then presumably charge it all to their corporate gold card.

Source: AFP/Hotwire

 

FLEXICURITY / • noun
Danish employment policies that give companies more flexibility to hire and fire than is usual in E.U. countries. For Americans, "flexicurity" is having a backup Starbucks when your usual one kicks you out for loitering.

Source: Business Insider

 

CHAOS MAGIC / • noun
Chaos magic "creates realities which are temporary and subjective ... You opt into whatever belief system you think will help you reach your intended goals." It would be easy to mock, but it does explain the past 12 months.

Source: K-Hole

 

ALL-CAPS PORTFOLIO / • noun
Investing in S&P 500 firms with capitalized names (NVIDIA, QUALCOMM, etc.), companies that, oddly, beat the market in 2016. In the Yellow Pages era, you just needed a name like Aaa111 Locksmiths.

Source: Quartz

 

CYGIENE / • noun
Cyber-hygiene, or "real-time network awareness" and "pro-active risk management" to "fix vulnerabilities" and thwart "cybercriminals." But really, it's about not using your cell phone in the restroom.

Source: Albuquerque Journal2
 
From the February 2017 issue

POLICITEERING / • noun
Encouraging police to issue tickets to help fund local government. Rather like airlines that relentlessly chisel you for checked baggage, carry-on baggage, window seats, aisle seats, food, drink, oxygen masks...

Source: Mother Jones

 

STUD / • noun
The apocalyptic strategy of investing in life's essentials: staples, telecom, utilities, and defense. This is as close to "prepping" as you can get in a $4,000 suit.

Source: Carlson Capital/ Business Insider

 

ANECDATA / • noun
Trusting a gut feeling and anecdote more than actual, factual data. This explains the post-truth, pick-your-own-reality nature of modern life. At least that's what I reckon.

Source: San Francisco Examiner

 

MOONLIGHT CLAN / • noun
Young workers in China who "spend their salaries faster than they earn it." Which, frankly, sounds like young workers everywhere. But it does raise the intriguing possibility of a Chinese reboot of Friends.

Source: Global Times

 

MERGED REALITY / • noun
"A new way of experiencing physical and virtual interactions and environments through a suite of next-generation sensing and digitizing technologies." A computer wrote that, right?

Source: Intel
 
From the December 2016/January 2017 issue

FINTENTS / • noun
Mobile banking that combines "financial services" with "content ranging from fashion to culture." This lets you know the joy of checking out the latest handbags while discovering the true, horrific extent of your overdraft.

Source: The Korea Herald

 

FESTECH / • noun
Hi-tech wristbands delivering "data-driven marketing for festival advertisers." Now, throw your hands in the air like you just don't care (that your every move is tracked, cached, and monetized).

Source: AdExchanger

 

INSECURE STABILITY / • noun
A false sense of investment security provided by "massive quantitative easing, negative or zero interest rates and emerging economies." We're all Wile E. Coyote--confidently running in midair, until we look down.

Source: News.Markets

 

CONTINUOUS CANDIDATES / • noun
Millennials always "on the lookout for the next gig and a leadership role." Also: The Bush and Clinton families.

Source: Business Insider Australia

 

ART WASHING / • noun
When real estate developers install art galleries in urban areas to gentrify them so they can justify raising rents. Developers deploying cynical tactics? Inconceivable.

Source: LA Weekly
 
From the November 2016 issue

CREXIT / • noun
When creditors exit the business-lending market. According to S&P, the "worst-case scenario" is "a series of major negative surprises sparking a crisis of confidence around the globe." Or, as the New York Post would say: "Crazy Confidence Crisis Creates Crexit Credit Crunch."

Source: CNBC

 

GENERATION MODERATION / • noun
A new breed of consumers who shun meat, binge drinking, and excessive eating because "resisting overindulgence and observing moderation is all about self-respect." And you thought Millennials were insufferable.

Source: Plate for the Planet

 

FINTEGRATION / • noun
When lumbering banks seek to "integrate fintech" into their products in an attempt to stave off competition from digital upstarts. This looks suspiciously like the Wall Street equivalent of dad dancing.

Source: Finextra

 

PARALLEL ENTREPRENEUR / • noun
An entrepreneur who­-;like Elon Musk-;launches a series of enterprises simultaneously. Those of us who aren't the living embodiment of Iron Man prefer our startups to fail one at a time.

Source: Your Story

 

STEXTING / • noun
"Strategic texting," a productivity-enhancing method management teams can use to brainstorm ideas and strategy. How long before someone sues for stextual harassment?

Source: Edtech UK
 
From the October 2016 issue

 

 

PINNACLE CARS / • noun
The "diamond-quilted, champagne-fluted" versions of already absurdly luxurious cars--like Bentley's Mulsanne, which starts at $300,000. All together now: "You are supreme/the chicks'll cream/for greased lightning."

Source: Motor Authority

 

MIAOSHA / • noun
A Chinese word for "instant kill" that describes the "sudden fall from grace" of senior businessmen and politicians caught in President Xi Jinping's anticorruption net. I wonder how this translates into Panamanian Spanish?

Source: The China Observer

 

PATIENT FINANCIAL TOXICITY / • noun
The impact of medical costs (notably for cancer) on patient healing and well-being. In other words, if the chemo saves your life, the co-pay's gonna kill you.

Source: Ispor.org

 

MRBs / • noun
Finance slang for "marijuana-related businesses," which, in Colorado alone, have generated billions of dollars in stacks of unbankable cash. At what stage do we start classifying potato chips, ice cream, and video games as MRBs?

Source: Leafly.com

 

UBERNET / • noun
The internet's zenith, where every person and every object is online and "the complicated web we're weaving can grow no further." Even then, I'll guarantee, your printer won't be able to connect to the network.

Source: Inverse
 
From the July/August 2016 issue

 

 

THE PENDULUM EFFECT / • noun
"When, after years of being unhappy in your career, you finally snap, and you want to run as far away as you can from your pain." The trick is to avoid the pit.

Source: Forbes

 

PEAK CURTAINS / • noun
Ikea's chief sustainability officer said, "We have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I'd say we've hit peak red meat, peak sugar... peak home furnishings." People who flog flat-pack knickknacks shouldn't throw shade.

Source: The Guardian

 

D.E.A.L. / • noun
An acronym for a new strategy to counter ad-blocking: Detect ad-block software; explain the value of ads; ask for a change in behavior; lift restrictions or limit user access. How about: Delete; eliminate; ax; liquidate?

Source: IAB

 

CALENDARIZATION / • noun
When "central bankers and their shills ... goose asset prices in the fourth quarter so investors will get a pretty statement in January." Conversely, many spend February setting exceptions as low as possible prior to Valentine's Day.

Source: Market Oracle

 

BAKUGAI / • noun
A Japanese term for lavish spending sprees by Chinese tourists--literally, "explosive buying." Just don't use this word while shopping in Tokyo's duty-free airport shops.

Source: South China Morning Post
 
From the June 2016 issue

 

 

DEEP WORK / • noun
"Intense sessions of distraction-free work." It's a retronym--a new term that clarifies a concept rendered ambiguous by modernity. Others include "natural childbirth," "black-and-white film," "phone call," and "plain English."

Source: Deep Work by Cal Newport

 

CLOUD BROKER / • noun
Cloud traffic will top 6.5 zetta­bytes by 2018, so we need a "cloud broker" to "manage multiple hybrid cloud environments." We've never trusted clouds. They are responsible for tornadoes.

 

KERCHUNKER COMPANIES / • noun
Safe businesses that "grow their earnings" like clockwork: "ker-chunk, ker-chunk, quarter after quarter, year after year." Know what else makes that noise? Slot machines!

 

UNICORPSE / • noun
A dead unicorn--a company that fails to retain the magic billion- dollar valuation. Next up: a boom in underfunded, undervalued startups called My Little Ponies.

Source: TechCrunch

 

PROSUMER / • noun
A consumer who is also a producer (of solar or wind energy). There's definitely a joke here about what you consume affecting what you produce, but we wouldn't stoop so low.

Source: Gulf Times
From the May 2016 issue

FANG, BETS, MAGS, BAGEL / • noun
The acronymizers have been busy recently, devising FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google); BETS (Box, Etsy, Twitter, Square); MAGS (Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Salesforce); and BAGEL (Alibaba, Amazon, Google, Expedia, LinkedIn). Enough, already. RIP.

Source: Various

 

BIONIC ADVICE / • noun
Financial advisers are combining "technology and human interface with the client to deliver appropriate solutions." This sounds like the lamest imaginable remake of The Six Million Dollar Man--and we're paying.

Source: Financial Times

 

GARY / • noun
An investment strategy that focuses on "growth and reasonable yield." Yeah, I know. It makes me mad too. Where's the "irrational exuberance" that destroyed the middle class ... I mean, made America great?

Source: Aviate Global

 

NONPRIME / • noun
Subprime mortgages are back! Hurrah! But wait a moment--that can't be good, can it? No one liked subprime. Hmmmm. What if we rebranded them as "nonprime"? Genius!

Source: Housingwire

 

THE THIRD WARDROBE / • noun
The fashion industry is promoting men's pajama pants as the "third wardrobe" to "heighten that demarcation between work and personal time." They're thinking Cary Grant in silk pajamas. I'm thinking "The Dude" Lebowski in a bathrobe and sandals.

Source: Inquisitr.com
From the April 2016 issue

DATA WRANGLING / • noun
The "crucial first steps in preparing data for broader analysis." Data wrangling involves "discovering, structuring, cleaning, enriching, validating, and publishing." Or, as we used to call it, research.

Source: IT Pro Portal

 

CRISIS / • noun
As Goldman Sachs closes its BRICs investment fund, a new geographical acronym emerges for "the growing list of nations dissatisfied with the current world order"--China, Russia, India, South America, Iran, and South Africa. C'mon, guys, really? CRISIS?

Source: The Market Oracle

 

JIUJITSU MOVE / • noun
Marissa Mayer's technique of distracting from problems with inscrutable announcements. It's the verbal version of Yahoo's confusing, loss-camouflaging accounting system. As if business needed to be any more kung-fusing.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

 

BRANDALISM / • noun
The U.N. climate conference was rocked by 600 satirical posters attacking brands supposedly guilty of "corporate greenwashing." Brandalism is a movement dedicated to "a revolt against corporate control of the visual realm." Check it out on Twitter!

Source: Brandalism.org.uk

 

COMFORT CANYON / • noun
Airbus's pretentious description of the ever-increasing disparity between flying coach and business. Given the legroom in economy, I can't help noticing that it's also an anagram of "man cry foot con."

Source: Flightglobal
From the March 2016 issue

CYBERATTACK KILL CHAIN / • noun
The kill chain represents the seven steps of online crime from recon and lure to data theft. It's a bit like the seven stages of grief with the added bonus of having your bank account looted.

Source: Lockheed Martin/Ozy

 

PHUBBING / • verb
"Partner phone snubbing"--when incessant cell-phone checking damages romantic relationships. (It doesn't help when your partner is incessantly checking Tinder.)

Source: TechCrunch

 

NEXT-PATS / • noun
Apparently, Americans who live and work overseas nowadays have more flexible, entrepreneurial, and open mindsets than expats of old. This means venturing outside your Hilton, and ordering food other than a club sandwich.

Source: TransferWise

 

HALL OF MIRRORS / • noun
Ensnaring cybercriminals by planting false data across a network so that hackers don't know what's real or fake. Presumably, this is modeled on the world of online dating.

Source: Illusive Networks

 

DIGITAL DEMENTIA / • noun
"The cognitive challenges and attention problems that result from overuse of digital technology." You know, when you find yourself in a chatroom and can't remember why you came in.

Source: UCLA
From the February 2016 issue

D-PATIENTS / • noun
Putting "patient-centered design"--not technology--"at the center of health care" requires D-patients ("patients that design"). Be sure to mention this during your four-minute appointment with an iPad-fixated doctor.

Source: Stanford Medicine

 

BLITZSCALING / • noun
Reid Hoffman's term for the need to scale at warp speed to beat the competition. The Luftwaffe would like to add you to its professional network on LinkedIn.

Source: TechCrunch

 

FORCED ADOPTION / • noun
Ensuring people use a new IT system by switching the old one off.
You: "You're not my daddy!"
I.T. guy: "I am now."

Source: Aviation Pros

 

MATAHARA / • noun
An abbreviation of maternity harassment, i.e., the mis­treatment of pregnant workers in Japan. Luckily, another word--womenomics--has been coined to fix this. So all is well.

Source: The Economist

 

GERICONOMY / • noun
App designers are being encouraged to tap into the lucrative and growing "geriatric economy." I have two words for techies targeting the "gray dollar": bigger fonts.

Source: Politico
From the December 2015/January 2016 issue

BIMODAL I.T. / • noun
Simultaneous management of two modes of IT delivery, one focused on safety and accuracy, the other on agility and speed. Aha! They finally admit you can't have both at the same time.

Source: Gartner

 

THE INTERNET OF THINKING MACHINES / • noun
"Smart devices that will increasingly replace human thinking," according to Sangchul Lee, CEO of LG Uplus. I know we should be terrified, but this does sound awfully relaxing.

Source: Mobile World

 

PROOF-OF-CONCEPT-AS-A-SERVICE / • noun
A lab environment for testing networks. POCaaS joins software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS). We eagerly await the launch of service-as-a-service.

Source: Intercloud Systems

 

MICROMANAGEMENT IN AVOIDANCE OF FAILURE / • noun
When management's aversion to risk curtails employee ambition and initiative. The very definition of the vice presidency.

Source: Leslie Hawthorn

 

OMNIGOOGLIZATION / • noun
A French neologism for the hegemony of "American digital imperialism." They haven't forgiven that "freedom fries" thing, have they?

Source: The New York Times
From the November 2015 issue

 

WIDE-MOAT INVESTING / • noun
"Investing in companies with clearly defined, defensible, competitive advantages that are likely to last upwards of 20 years." This is madness! What's next? Profit?!

Source: U.S. News & World Report

 

HIGH-NET WORKERS / • noun
Those with "all the headaches of high net worth" salaries but without the assets to be truly rich. Like being old enough for marriage, but too young to drink.

Source: The Street

 

GRETIGUE / • noun
Grexit fatigue. Grevery­one is grincreasingly grexhausted by grunimaginative and grating grocabulary for Greece's greconomic gruncertainty. Grenough!

Source: Business Insider

 

FAUXMENTUM / • noun
When a technology startup, its investors, or the market has exuberantly inflated expectations for growth. Fee, fi, fo, fum, I smell the hype of fauxmentum!

Source: Mark Suster

 

STEALTH CLOUD / • noun
When employees install user-friendly software apps "through the backdoor," bypassing IT and HR. It's an apt name: Stealth clouds are perfect for hiding Angry Birds.

Source: Personnel Today
From the October 2015 issue

 

BEANIE BABIES / • noun
Great news for Starbucks: 15 percent of 2-year-olds in Boston drink coffee every day, according to the Journal of Human Lactation. We anxiously await similar research by Cigar Aficionado magazine.

Source: Malaysian Digest

 

GRIMBO / • noun
The Citigroup economist who coined Grexit ("Greece exiting the euro") has now come up with Grimbo ("the Greek euro limbo"). Either way, the people of Greece look like they're utterly Grucked.

Source: Bloomberg

 

AVOISION / • noun
Betwixt tax evasion and avoidance is "avoision"--where those who "seek legitimately to minimize tax end up being impugned as selfish, criminal, [and] unpatriotic." As Leona Helmsley said, "Only the big people avois taxes."

Source: Daily Telegraph

 

BALANCE SHEET UTILI­ZATION FEE / • noun
JPMorgan Chase's euphemism for the 1 percent yearly charge it levies on cash deposits. In related news, Tony Soprano will begin charging New Jersey residents a "kneecap-enjoyment tax."

Source: Bloomberg

 

PRUNES / • noun
If unicorns are disruptive startups worth $1 billion-plus, then "prunes" are the companies they disrupt, which are "literally shriveling before our eyes." Rather like these absurd metaphors.

Source: Lou Kerner
From the July/August 2015 issue

 

CHAOTIC ARCHITECTURE / • noun
"If we take advantage of...chaos and have it as part of our architecture, we can move forward rapidly but in a structured way that will last." Chaotic architecture: as appealing as amateur dentistry.

Source: Enterprise Project


DADVERTISING / • noun
The slew of Super Bowl ads that "celebrated fatherhood" is part of a new "dadvertising" trend. Thank heavens, after decades of feminist dominance, Madison Avenue is finally supporting men.

Source: CNN


MODERN EXPLORERS / • noun
For hoteliers, "modern explorers" are "savvy, curious consumers who want an uncomplicated but intuitive experience." Make base camp at the minibar, then ascend the peak of room service.

Source: Hyatt


FRACKLOG / • noun

Oil barons are sitting on a "backlog of unfracked wells" just waiting for prices to rise before they turn on
the taps. Similarly, I am hoarding Forever stamps to fund my retirement.

Source: Bloomberg


CLINTON BLUR / • noun

"The unique way in which Bill and Hillary tend to mingle their political, personal, and philanthropic interests." When did the presidency become a steppingstone to bigger things?

Source: Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweizer
From the June 2015 issue


VULNER-IBIQITY / • noun
"The state of living with ubiquitous vulnerabilities." Apparently, when a toaster is hooked up to the internet of things, it becomes "a vulnerable, exposed toaster." Hey, we're all vulnerable and exposed. At least the toaster makes toast.

Source: Mobile Enterprise


D!CONOMY/ • noun
This unnecessary abbreviation of "digital economy" (yes, with an "!") was the keynote theme of CeBIT's 2015 conference. Who would have thought the Centrum fur Buroautomation, Informationstechnologie und Telekommunication would be so keen on abbreviations?

Source: CeBIT


18-HOUR CITY / • noun
Between the 24-hour "global hub" and the 9-to-5 "company town" is the "18-hour city," epitomized by Denver, along with Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte, North Carolina. I think this means anywhere you can't get a slice at 3 a.m., but will still be charged $10 for a beer.

Source: PWC


JOYFLATION/ • noun
"The combination of the oil-driven slowdown in inflation and accelerating economic growth." Also known as the fleeting moment between suffocating price increases and ruinous deflation. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Source: Bloomberg


FORGOTTEN CENTURY / • noun
"Father of the internet" Vint Cerf warned of a "forgotten century" if today's digital information cannot be read by future technologies. We should get Hillary Clinton to back up all of our files on her server.

Source: The Guardian
From the May 2015 issue


UNDERCORN / • noun
A "unicorn" is a private tech startup valued at more than $1 billion. (Think Uber or Airbnb.) But the moment investors stop believing in a unicorn, its magic evaporates, and it turns into--an "undercorn." Nope, I don't get the pun either.

Source: Fortune


PROSPERITY TRAP/ • noun
The "prosperity trap" ensnares the richest and most powerful, whose "wealth insulates them from the consequences of their actions." It is, apparently, "psychologically as debilitating in its own way as the poverty trap." Except, you know, for that unimaginable supply of money.

Source: The Guardian


WIN/WIN/WIN/WIN / • noun
An expert says "precision medicine"--which targets a subgroup of people with a disease--is a "win/win/win/win" for patients, doctors, insurers, and pharma. We're talking some pretty powerful hallucinogenic drugs to make all four groups believe they've won.

Source: Politico


R.U.D. / • noun
When Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket crashed into the Atlantic, he dismissed it as a "full R.U.D. [rapid unscheduled disassembly] event." Won't be long before this euphemism is used to describe the euro.

Source: Slate


HOTEL CALIFORNIA / • noun
"A workplace so good you'll never leave. It's as much fun as life outside of work." Workers who become seduced by Ping-Pong and free food should remember that, as the Eagles sing, "we are all just prisoners here, of our own device."

Source: Stuffocation, by James Wallman
From the April 2015 issue


WORKPLACE TELEPRESSURE / • noun
The "preoccupations with and urges for responding quickly to messages from clients, co-workers, or supervisors" that "interfere with needed work recovery time and [produce] stress-related outcomes." Or, in English: "You've got mail...and it's killing you."

Source: Journal of Occupational Health Psychology


WAN OPE / • noun
A contraction of one operation, it's a Japanese term for the controversial business practice of forcing one poor sap to run a shop or fast-food restaurant all alone, often late at night. "Wan ope" is supposedly tied to labor shortages, so there are downsides to low unemployment.

Source: Nippon.com


UBIQUITOUS SENSING / • noun
Welcome to "a world where sensors will monitor everything and collect data to a mindboggling degree." There will be a trillion sensors in five years, one of which should detect my yawning.

Source: Electronics Weekly


SOLUTION AVERSION / • noun
A reaction to "scientific evidence based on whether one views its policy implications as politically desirable." It's why conservatives reject the idea of climate change and dinosaurs ignored meteors.

Source: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology


APEC BLUE / • noun
The color of the suspiciously clear skies during a recent economic summit in Beijing, when officials closed or slowed 50,000 factories and kept 12 million vehicles off the roads. In the U.S., such results come only with a crippling recession.

Source: Businessweek
From the March 2015 issue

 

INTERNET OF HEALTHY THINGS / • noun

The convergence of "health" software and "wearable" hardware. The result is a platform on which one's medical status and fitness regime coalesce into a perfect storm of relentless electronic nagging and guilt. CTRL ALT DEL.

Source: mHealthNews


SACRIFICIAL ARCHITECTURE / • noun
Computer code written to be discarded, which empowers coders to consider future changes as they work. It's also how I describe my New Year's resolutions--which are as good as abandoned when pledged.

Source: MartinFowler.com


ACTIVE NUTRITION / • noun
"Active nutrition" is "sports nutrition"--including bars, gels, and beverages--for people who don't do sports. Target market: people who order Diet Coke with their Big Mac. In other words: genius.

Source: Food Business News


CAREERCATION / • noun
"Careercation" is a way of incorporating retirement into your work life by including long vacations throughout your career, instead of waiting until old age. Ringing any bells, freelancers?

Source: Careercation, by David Niu


CATASTROPHIC LONGEVITY / • noun
A long-lived populace is "the scariest scenario in life insurance." Not as scary as insurance companies creating armies of killer robots to nudge the stats in their favor. But that would never happen, right?

Source: Institutional Investor
From the February 2015 issue

FOG COMPUTING / • noun
"Fog computing is a paradigm that extends cloud computing and services to the edge of the network." First they spoke of cloud computing, and I did not speak out, for I was not a geek. Then they started banging on about fog computing, and I lost the will to live.

Source: Cisco


2 DEGREE C FINANCE / • noun
"The use of capital to develop and build out a low-carbon economy that minimizes and is resilient to the impacts of climate change." It's investment that supports the U.N. goal to limit global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Or, we could cut hot air by simply banning public relations.

Source: HSBC


GNAW ON THE OLD / • verb
Few jobs and pervasive bribery force wealthy urban Chinese graduates to "gnaw on the old"--i.e., on their parents' money and networks--to get ahead. It still beats unemployment in the countryside, where the gnawing options are limited to vegetables.

Source: The Huffington Post


BLENDED FAMILY BUSINESS / • noun
A "family firm that has invited members of a second family into senior positions." As Rupert Murdoch did at News Corporation. What could possibly go wrong?

Source: CampdenFB


COLLECTIONS / • noun
Rather than build, large hotel chains are bringing existing hotels into their "collections," an inexpensive way to expand their networks and loyalty programs. I don't care how they build their networks, so long as my towel gets folded into a swan.

Source: 4Hoteliers.com
From the December 2014/January 2015 issue

 

UPGAUGING / • verb
The airlines' code for "increasing capacity without increasing fleets." They do it by replacing smaller planes with larger ones or adding extra seats to existing vessels. But you don't need to be a wordsmith to spot the similarity between gauging and gouging.

Source: The Dallas Morning News


INVERSION / • noun
"Where a U.S. corporation merges with or is acquired by a foreign company based in a country with a lower tax rate." President Obama has slammed inversions as "wrong" and "unpatriotic"--which obviously will bring an immediate halt to this massively lucrative strategy.

Source: Seattle Times


OVERTRACKING SYNDROME / • noun
When the act of monitoring a behavior becomes obsessive. Think fitness trackers, which count every step you take, every move you make, every smile you fake, every claim you stake. Frankly, if you didn't track it, it never happened.

Source: Shape.com


M2M / • noun
"Multichannel networks" are suddenly a thing of the past, and the future is the "many-to-many programming service." M2M is "built around a lineup of thematically aligned content from a range of partners." I've read that quote five times, and I still have no idea what it means. Nevertheless--M2M! You read it here second.

Source: Variety.com


HAWKERPRENEUR / • noun
A Singapore street vendor wants to sell the recipe for his chicken rice to eager "hawkerpreneurs," a combination of hawker and entrepreneur. He's charging 42,800 Singapore dollars, his father's lucky number. Not so lucky for the chickens.

Source: The Straits Times
From the November 2014 issue

 

DATA LAKES / • noun
"Low-cost repositories for data of all types and sizes." Don't forget the "No Phishing" sign.

Source: Insurance Networking News


CHATVERTISING / • noun
"People conversing directly with brands via bots." Willingly interacting with ad robots? Feels just like striking up a conversation with someone in PR.

Source: The Wall Street Journal


SPORNOSEXUAL / • noun
The journalist who gave the fashion industry the "metrosexual" has defined its successor, the "spornosexual"--"where sport got into bed with porn while Mr. Armani took pictures." To wit: H&M selling a three-pack of David Beckham boxer shorts for $34.95. Because six-packs move three-packs.

Source: The Telegraph


EVENTIZE / • verb
Creating television events "that viewers need to watch immediately for fear of being left out of the cultural conversation." Think major character deaths and "live" tapings of weekly shows. It's about creating an "urgency to view"--or what Grandpa used to call "good TV."

Source: AP
From the October 2014 issue

THICK DATA / • noun
From the people who sold you big data now comes thick data, which [drumroll] "captures not just facts but the context of facts." Ah, yes, context. What a revolutionary idea. Good thinking, Poindexter.

Source: wired.com


OMNI-CHANNEL BANKING / • noun
"Delivering a consistent and seamless [banking] experience across various touch points"--a.k.a. confirming you're broke on a variety of technologies you can ill afford.

Source: thefinancialbrand.com


INSTA-PITY / • noun
The shame of picking the wrong filter when posting on Instagram. What is the correct filter to express the smugness of selling a revenue-neutral company for $1 billion?

Source: elle.com


DIGITAL MESH / • noun
Car service Uber is developing a digital mesh--exploiting its brand and technology to offer its customers much more than mere transportation. Expect "surge pricing" on hot dogs on the Fourth of July.

Source: washingtonpost.com


CUSTOMER SUCCESS / • noun
"Customer success is about more than delivering service or support. It's about having real-time visibility into the issues customers are facing and finding smarter ways to manage those issues." Your call is important to us; please continue to hold.

Source: labs.openviewpartners.com
From the July/August 2014 issue

KIOSKS / • noun
"Merger and acquisition microfirms" with a handful of employees. Smaller than boutiques, kiosks are, apparently, challenging monoliths like Morgan Stanley. The dictionary defines kiosk as "a light ornamental structure"--which sounds about right.

Source: The New York Times


BRANDTER / • noun
"Banter between brands in social media." That's right: corporate behemoths desperately tweeting "jokes" to one another in a wretched bid for our love. Can't we just turn the internet off for a while?

Source: TheDrum.com


AUTHENTIFAKING / • verb
A way to ace a job interview by mixing 90 percent corporate flimflam with 10 percent authenticity. But do you really want to bluff your way into a job you then have to do?

Source: Lucy Kellaway/Financial Times


CEO UNIONS / • noun
"Corporate compensation committees composed disproportionately of CEOs' fellow CEOs"--who, inevitably, keep increasing executive pay. A fair day's bonus for a fair day's golf.

Source: Harold Meyerson


EXTREME PROACTIVITY / • noun
Facebook demands "extreme proactivity" when hiring, according to its director of product design. "You want a designer who has looked for opportunities in their own lives: problems that need fixing. Things that could be easier." Like deleting your Facebook account?

Source: FirstRound.com; The Washington Post
From the June 2014 issue
Published on: Jun 29, 2016