Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.


So much aggression is pumped out in the cause of business.

There are those, indeed, who believe there is really very little difference between business and war.

They study "The Art Of War" as if it was a primer for, um, conquering market share. They read biographies of famous war heroes in order to elicit snippets about leadership.

Because leading a bunch of salespeople into a new territory is, of course, almost identical to invading another country or bombing it.

Perhaps, then, we might try a clear-out of phrases that should be left to military circles. Here are my picks for elimination.

1. Road Warrior.

You stay at the Inter-Continental, not a grubby tent somewhere on another continent. You don't go into battle, where you might lose your life. You go into meetings, where you might lose your patience. You fly in a comfortable seat, not on a bench. You eat in nice restaurants, not in makeshift canteens. Road Warrior? Golden State Warrior, more like.

2. Bite The Bullet.

This phrase is quite old. Some say it originated in 19th century Britain. It referred to soldiers being whipped but still "chewing the bullet." The suffering experienced in business is utterly minimal to the suffering experienced in war. So please, keep your powder dry on this one.

3. Pull The Trigger.

Yes, you're going to agree to a deal. You're going to launch a new strategy. You're going to slip a new initiative in front of your tired and disloyal staff. You're not going to shoot anyone. You've never shot anyone. Would you even have the courage to shoot anyone? Or would you suffer from trigger-mortis?

4. War Room.

Advertising agencies love this term. Bless them. They're doing a pitch for a candy brand and they create a war room. It's a place where their secret deliberations about the pitch occur. It's where all their secret ideas are put up on the wall in so much secrecy that random people wander in and out because no one ever remembers to lock the door. War room? It might as well be a store room.

5. Thermonuclear War.

Steve Jobs did some wonderful things. Even if the movies suggest he did many terrible things. But he did apparently say: "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this." Ah. Oh. No. Thermonuclear war is a terrible thing from which real human beings never recover. A contretemps with Google is rich people shouting at rich people, with lawyers as their weapons.

6. We're Bringing In The Big Guns.

Not quite. You're actually bringing in some senior members of staff to supposedly "wow" someone with their mere charismatic presence. This is not completely akin to hauling in very powerful weapons in order to kill people.

7. Hold The Fort.

Yes, you're required to answer the phone or any questions someone might have while your boss is out for a boozy lunch. You're not required to shoot at anyone when they suddenly attack you and you're the lone defender of the citadel. It's close, I know. But it isn't quite the same.

8. Blitz.

Let's try and blame the NFL for this one. It's short for "Blitzkrieg," a lightning form of war that disrupts the enemy. The NFL adopted the shortened form around 1959 to signify sending some extra bulky people to hit a quarterback. Now, there are even ad agencies called Blitz. How quickly we forget.