Been There, Done That

There are a handful of over-worked phrases that make me cringe; that drive me crazy; that, when used in casual conversation, might induce me to attack the offender with the sharp end of a staple remover. You know most of them: Been there, done that. Is that your final answer? Don’t go there!

But we in high-tech have our little phrases too. Phrases that we use too much. Buzzwords we toss around like footballs. Terms and jargon so over-done, we've totally screwed up their meaning.

Here's the list of the most over-used terms and phrases in high-tech, and the definition of what they really mean:

>24 by 7
When you and 6 other folks have to do the work of two-dozen people, most of whom left months ago to join some Internet start-up.

>5 feet
The width of the entrance through which you're trying to push a 5' 6" power distribution unit.

>50,000 feet
The level at which most Executives want to hear about technology.

>Achieving competitive advantage
The way you convince management to buy some incredibly overpriced software.

>Best practices
What it takes two years to achieve, and by then they're not anymore.

>Competitive salary and benefits package
What they offered the guy who replaced me, even though I wasn't making squat.

>Continuous availability
What happens when your boss makes you wear a pager.

>Cost-effective solution
Getting the vendor to knock 25% off the price, since management never went along with that "achieving competitive advantage" stuff.

>Critical path
The tasks that were assigned to the guy who just went on vacation.

>E-Business initiative
What you call every IT project from here on out, or it won't have a ghost of a chance of getting funded.

>E-Business strategy
What companies wish they'd had before they jumped into their third consecutive disjointed, behind-schedule e-business initiative.

>High-flying technology company
An employer that makes you travel 6 days a week.

>Internet speed
Making mistakes faster, then making sure more people see them.

>Internet start up
The stock started up, but by the time I sold, it was 78% off its high.

>Leading-edge handheld technology
Technology so new and confusing that you have to lead the consulting team by the hand, even though you're paying them $240/hour.

>Leveraging core competencies
Convincing management to let you keep doing what you're doing today, because you sure as hell don't want to try anything new.

>Marketshare
What your competitor has even though you spent a gazillion dollars on mindshare.

>Mindshare
What you have to spend a gazillion advertising dollars on before you get marketshare.

>Must-haves
See "Nice-to-haves"

>Next available representative
The vendor's single point of contact the day after you sign on the dotted line.

>Nice-to-haves
Projects we'll put off to next year

>On-site customer account manager
The vendor's single point of contact before you sign on the dotted line.

>Site stickiness
How well your Web site attracts and keeps eyeballs

>Site yickiness
What you have if you don't have site stickiness

>Wireless network
Moving your whole department to another floor, then finding out the cabling company is running 6 weeks behind.



Mike Cohn lives in Atlanta, where he's glad he's not 365 by 7.