Entrepreneur Startup Terminology

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Entrepreneurs have created their own vocabulary.  The Wall Street Journal recently posted some important terms that every startup professional should know:

Accelerator:  A program that helps young startups refine their product and pitch themselves to investors, in exchange for a cut of equity. Example incubators include Y Combinator or Techstars.

Blueskying:  Making optimistic promises, particularly to investors.

Brogrammer:  Stereotypically, software developers come in two types:  nerds and brogrammers.  The former are usually introverted, while the latter are loud and outgoing.

Co-Working:  Working out of a shared office space with other cash-strapped startups, on a per-seat basis, typically with free coffee, kitchens and pint pong tables.  Companies rent desks or small workspaces to startups with large offices.

Customer Success Associate:  A customer-service rep. at a startup.

Demo Day:  The day when an incubator’s companies pitch to potential venture-capital investors.

DevOps:  A DevOps engineer is a software developer who works with both the software-development and the operations teams at a company as they write, test, and roll out software.

Freemium:  The free version of an app that also has a better, paid version.

Green Meadow:  A market where no competitors exist.

Growth Hacker:  Someone who thinks of clever ways for the company to grow.

Hockey Stick:  A graph showing rapid adoption of a startup’s product.

MVP:  The first commercially viable version of a software product. As in “Minimum viable product” Releasing an MVP sets the clock ticking, because investors and customers expect a better, bug-free version soon.

Next Level:  The ultimate in startup compliments. This generation’s version of “far out” “switched on” or “rad”.

Ninja:  A term of praise for a person’s skill.

PEBCAK:  An acronym for “problems emerge between chair and keyboard” – a sardonic programmer term for what happens when users are too dumb to use software correctly.

Prezi An app that creates digital slide presentations.

Pufferfish:  Making a startup seem larger than it is. Among other tricks, startups have been known to decorate empty desks and to create elaborate voice-mail systems to make it seem like more people work there.

Slack:  A team-measuring app popular with startups. Also, a verb meaning to message someone using the Slack app.

Space:  The area of an industry where a company competes. For example:  That startup plays in the food tech space.

Subprime Unicorn:  A company formerly valued at more than a billion dollars, now fallen on hard times.  Many companies that were once highly prized by investors are now worth much less, or are rumored to be so.

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