The 10 Most Anxiety-Inducing Startup Terms

Source: Death to the Stock Photo

Startups have disrupted grammar, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

But I think I feel bad about it. Now get off my lawn.


  1. To Obsolete, and Other Non-Verb Verbs.

Tech-niks don’t mind bending a rule. As a result, it has become common practice to turn anything into a verb. You can verb anything. See?

I’ll always protect my sources, but the other day I witnessed someone using “to obsolete” in a sentence, as in, “This feature obsoletes the product.” English teachers the world over issue a collective shudder. Runner up: “To Architect.”

2. Wantrepreneur and Other -Preneurs

Do you want to be an entrepreneur, but you haven’t done much about it yet? You’re a “wantrepreneur.” If you have a social enterprise, you’re a “socialpreneur.” If you are the mother of a human being and have started your own venture, you’re a “mompreneur.” Try it with your own words. It’s fun. Tacopreneur. Myrrhpreneur. Etc.

3. Decacorn

A billion dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Ten billion dollars.

Scamper off, unicorns. Companies valued at ten billion dollars or more are now sometimes called “decacorns.” They snort lines of glitter, shit double-rainbows, and they eat unicorns like you for breakfast.

4. “Learnings.”

Used flagrantly, with reckless abandon. This one’s here to stay. When the Oxford English Dictionary has officially added the words “wine o’clock,” “rly,” and “awesomesauce,” the rules of the game have changed. So don’t hate the player. But you’re still free to hate “learnings.” Please. Hate it for me.

5. X-Tech

Fin-tech. Fash-tech. This-tech. That-tech.

Food-tech. E-tech. Health-tech. We-tech.

Boat-tech. House-tech. Shoe-tech. Mouse-tech.

Red-tech. Blue-tech. One-tech. Two-tech.

……Oh….sorry. Carry on.

6. Pivot.

When change, shift, turn, adjust, or move won’t cut it. For some reason.

7. Silicon X

Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, Silicon Roundabout, Silicon Prairie, Silicon Beach. How geographically acute are we willing to go here? Personally, I won’t be satisfied until we’ve added a glacier, an archipelago, and a hinterland.

8. Onward

As in, ending an email with “Onward!” Variations include “Onward and upward!” There isn’t enough coffee in the world for “onward.”

9. Ninja

Soon to be ousted by a swarm of “champions” and “heroes” in one epic battle for the future of job listings.

10. Ramen-Profitable

When you’re making just enough money to be able to eat ramen for dinner. Not the newfangled Momofuku kind, but the one with carrot squares made of dust. I don’t know why I put this phrase on here; I like this phrase. Forget I mentioned it.