Everyone loves to hate business jargon. Whether it's digital mesh or customer success, the latest trendy buzzwords are always easy to mock as pretentious, unnecessary, and self-aggrandizing. But the trouble with jargon, some contend, goes deeper than farcical self-regard and snooze-inducing writing.

Jargon can turn off potential employees who don't come into an industry via traditional routes (such as veterans, for example) and who might feel self-conscious for lacking this secret handshake terminology. Impenetrable language doesn't just make you look foolish or signal stagnation and lack of creativity, in other words. It might also be costing your business top talent.

And apparently, it's not just behemoth corporations and cheesy self-promoting "coaches" who make this mistake. According to a recent talk by Kristina Lee Podesva, "Startups as a Second Language," highlighted by Flickr and Hunch founder Caterina Fake on her blog, startups are also often guilty of employing insider language that can be alienating to those who aren't yet comfortable living within the bubble of startup land.

"One of the issues we face here in San Francisco and Silicon Valley is a sense that the people all around us are as conversant in startup and tech culture as we are," Fake writes. "But we need to remember, and remind ourselves repeatedly, that we're a small minority in a larger population." 

From "mt. gox" to "brogrammer," Podesva highlights the insider language of the startup scene, so those in the know can think deeply about whether all this jargon is really helping them improve their woeful diversity stats, as well as empathize and solve the type of problems that confront a more representative sample of the population. You can check out the complete list below.

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Are there any terms missing from this list, and do you agree that the tech industry needs to do a little soul-searching about its use of jargon?

Published on: Sep 12, 2014