Worst Startup Buzzwords of 2012

Among the startup community, lies millions of overused annoying startup buzzwords.  Like “Epic startup”.  Or the famous “We’re in stealth mode”…

Here are the Worst Startup Buzzwords of 2012:


1. Stealth Startup

EVERYONE has a startup in stealth mode nowadays.  Do any of us know exactly what “stealth” is supposed to mean?  Here is wikipedia’s explanation:

stealth n

1. moving with extreme care and quietness, so as to avoid detection
2. cunning or underhand procedure or dealing

3.the act of stealing

Want the irony?  Show me a single, great entrepreneur that moves a startup with extreme care!  You move it with your mojo and urgency.  And what are we supposed to be avoiding detection from?  The mothership?  Is it going to suck me up into it’s portal, read my brain, & steal all my ideas?  Whatever.  I’ll just come up with more ideas.  Ha ha, take that mothership.


2. Pre-Stealth Startup

So we thought stealth mode was one of the worst startup buzzwords of 2012, just wait till you hear “pre-stealth startup” a million times!  What is pre-stealth supposed to mean?  I guess we’re “preparing to enter stealth mode”.


3. Epic Startup

There is nothing epic about the word epic.  It is a word that is overused, mostly by the 25 year old & under crowd startups.  If you’re calling your startup “epic”, you’re probably headed for an “epic fail”.  Maybe we shouldn’t be judgmental on the choice of words, but when Reese’s Puffs uses this word for their kid commercial…it makes you rethink things.


4. Game Changing Startup

Every startup says it is game changing or life changing.  Look, startups are like kids.  We all secretly want to believe our kid is going to be president and rule/save the world, but it makes us sound bad when we go around repeating it over & over again.


 5. Hyper Everything Startup

What the heck is hyper geo local? Hyper social?  “Hyper social local geo mobile”, sounds like we’re trying to rap.  That’s great….but I still don’t understand what it is you DO exactly.  And if you really don’t know yet what you do, that’s okay, it can up to 2 years to find your niche.  That’s how innovation works, let’s just stop trying to fill it with all these words that have no meaning though (communicating & finding the right words is actually a very difficult task for many founders).


6. Cloud Startup

Quoting a funny startup attorney: “The cloud.  It’s like The Claw from Toy Story”.  All the little green men are saying “Behold…the clawww!  The claw chooses who comes and goes….”  Okay, almost everything is hosted on the cloud now. It’s really not a buzzword that signals a special startup.  To people like me it means nothing more then you switched hosting providers.  Although yes, cloud hosting is much more difficult to grasp technically then your standard VPS hosting.  But you can move from shared hosting, to VPS, to the cloud in less then 10 minutes if you wanted to upgrade.


7. Startup “ify” and “ly”

This trend was started by some big startup, possibly visual.ly; but I’m not 100% sure.  Whatever it is, every startup is using it now.  Let’s try to not follow the herd, after all…we are entrepreneurs.  We are trend setters, challengers of the status quo, not supporters & followers…


8. Pivoting Startup

Another one of the worst startup buzzwords , but this one does have some logical reasoning. I’ve actually used this buzzword many times at my own business, and will gladly admit it is my word meaning nothing more then “I failed”. So you can admit too!  Every startup makes mistakes, it’s part of learning & growing.  It’s a tough world out there, nothing to be ashamed of.  What you should be proud of, is that you got back up and did something about it.  Hense, you “pivoted”.


9. Lean Startup

Let’s to get to the bottom of this whole lean startup thing: it’s become a secret startup buzzword meaning your company is broke. Why can’t we just say “I’m on a shoestring budget”? Or how about “my startup doesn’t break even for x amount of time because it requires more risk and capital then your business”?  Businesses have, and always will, take hard work, a lot of money, & dedication to grow.  Sometimes it’s all up front, sometimes it’s spread out over time.


10. It’s like ___ but for ____.

Someone started this with all the entrepreneurs, and I can’t remember for the life of me who it was (but now everyone hates them).  They had good intentions though, it was intended to help founders explain their startup.  Hmm…but it didn’t work.  Just made everyone more confused, so now it is one of our Worst Startup Buzzwords.


*Note: This post is not intended to make fun of any founders. I’m guilty of saying at least 3 myself, and have since sought treatment.

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