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An opinionated list of the worst startup jargon and buzzwords

An opinionated list of the worst startup jargon and buzzwords

It was ‘martech’ that finally did it.

Reporting on the startup space, you become accustomed the consistent stream of jargon, buzzwords and acronyms.

Being relatively new to the beat, over the past 12 months the SmartCompany team has been repeatedly exposed to my visceral reactions to the more nonsensical words that float around this industry.

It was fine. We’d have a laugh and move on. I got to a point where I could write about various ‘techs’ and a handful of ‘preneurs’ without wanting to put my head through the laptop screen.

Then ‘martech’ entered my sphere of consciousness. I could no longer stay silent about the linguistic assault we’ve allowed to take hold.

When I took this job, I wasn’t spiritually prepared for the sheer onslaught of neologisms — particularly those that have been applied in a ham-fisted manner to ‘tech’ and ‘preneur’.

Do they matter in the grand scheme of things? No. Should anyone who uses these terms be offended? Also no. I am but one woman being opinionated for the fun of it.

But it is –almost – the holidays, so what better time to air out some low-stakes grievances for cheap clicks?

The worst startup jargon and neologisms, according to me only

BaaS — Banking as a service

Was banking not already a service? Straight to jail.

Martech — technology, but make it marketing

I really can’t explain why this is the one that broke me. It’s not necessarily worse than other terms like fintech, healthtech and proptech. Actually no, that last one is quite rank.

But regardless of the ‘why’, this was the catalyst for the rage blackout that induced this entire article.

Insurtech — technology, but also insurance

I actually hate this one more than martech. It’s barely saving any letters. Come on, guys.

Mompreneaur/mumpreneaur — a mother who is also a business owner. The business may or may not be related to children

I have huge respect for mothers who are also out there smashing the business world. That rules. You’re awesome.

I just have a really bad response to the whole ‘mummypreneur’ thing. Maybe I need to unpack my own biases here. Please feel free to tell me why I’m wrong.

I do of course get that in some cases it is a branding play. And if it is and that works for you, get that bag ladies.

But yeah, I don’t know, it’s always rubbed me the wrong way. It’s not like we label dadpreneurs, right?

Oh god, please don’t tell me that’s real.

Decisioning — literally just decision-making, but more complicated for no reason

I assume anyone who uses this term in a business setting is a Disney Adult.

Girl Boss and ShEO 

If I see these in my inbox I block the sender.

Circle back

Please don’t.

Petpreneur — you own a pet business 

When you have a business that operates in the pet space, but you want to be taken less seriously.

Regtech — regulation and technology, together at last

Whoever came up with this was probably trying to make regulation sound more interesting, but failed.

Contentpreneur — so, an influencer

This was made up by people who don’t like being called content creators or influencers.

Pastorpreneur — where you can tithe and thrive

Not one we come across much in Australia, but it is very real. The basic idea is a spiritual leader doing business things for God’s Glory.

This one has done some proper spiritual damage. Call an old priest and a young priest because I need to exorcise the existence of this word from my body.

What are your most detested business buzzwords, jargon and isms? Let us know in the comments!

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