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#83138 - 10/09/02 06:28 PM Biz buzz  
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Frank Lingua, president and CEO of Dissembling Associates, is the nation's leading purveyor of buzzwords, catch phrases and cliches for people too busy to speak plain English. Business Finance contributing editor Dan Danbom interviewed Lingua in his New York City office.


Danbom: Is being a cliche expert a full-time job?


Lingua: Bottom line is I have a full plate 24/7.


Danbom: Is it hard to keep up with the seemingly endless supply of clichés that spew from business?


Lingua: Some days, I don't have the bandwidth. It's like drinking from a fire hydrant.


Danbom: So it's difficult?


Lingua: Harder than nailing Jell-O to the wall.


Danbom: Where do most cliches come from?


Lingua: Stakeholders push the envelope until it's outside the box.


Danbom: How do you track them once they've been coined?


Lingua: It's like herding cats.


Danbom: Can you predict whether a phrase is going to become a cliche?


Lingua: Yes. I skate to where the puck's going to be. Because if you aren't the lead dog, you're not providing a customer-centric proactive solution.


Danbom: Give us a new buzzword that we'll be hearing ad nauseam.


Lingua: "Enronitis" could be a next-generation player.


Danbom: Do people understand your role as a cliche expert?


Lingua: No, they can't get their arms around that. But they aren't incented to.


Danbom: How do people know you're a cliche expert?


Lingua: I walk the walk and talk the talk.


Danbom: Did incomprehensibility come naturally to you?


Lingua: I wasn't wired that way, but it became mission-critical as I strategically focused on my go-forward plan.


Danbom: What did you do to develop this talent?


Lingua: It's not rocket science. It's not brain surgery. When you drill down to the granular level, it's just basic blocking and tackling.


Danbom: How do you know if you're successful in your work?


Lingua: At the end of the day, it's all about robust, world-class language solutions.


Danbom: How do you stay ahead of others in the buzzword industry?


Lingua: Net-net, my value proposition is based on maximizing synergies and being first to market with a leveraged, value-added deliverable. That's the opportunity space on a level playing field.


Danbom: Does everyone in business eventually devolve into the sort of mindless drivel you spout?


Lingua: If you walk like a duck and talk like a duck, you're a duck. They all drink the Kool-Aid.


Danbom: Do you read "Dilbert" in the newspaper?


Lingua: My knowledge base is deselective of fiber media.


Danbom: Does that mean "no"?


Lingua: Negative.


Danbom: DOES THAT MEAN "NO"?


Lingua: Let's take your issues offline.


Danbom: NO, WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE MY "ISSUES" OFFLINE.


Lingua: You have a result-driven mind-set that isn't a strategic fit with my game plan.


Danbom: I JUST WANT TO PUSH YOUR FACE IN!


Lingua: Your call is very important to me.


Danbom: How can you live with yourself?


Lingua: I eat my own dog food. My vision is to monetize scalable supply chains.


Danbom: When are you going to quit this?


Lingua: I may eventually exit the business to pursue other career opportunities.


#83139 - 10/09/02 06:44 PM Thanks for touching base  
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It's been a best practice revisiting this quality driven, inside the box mindset. I'll need to tweak my knowledge base so as to empower my language with value-added, client focused words.

I can't get that 'ball park' taste out of my mouth...


#83140 - 10/09/02 08:15 PM Re: Thanks for touching base  
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Alex Williams Offline
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...so what is the difference between a buzzword and a cliche?


#83141 - 10/09/02 10:10 PM Re: Thanks for touching base  
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In reply to:

...so what is the difference between a buzzword and a cliche?


...A buzzword is hot; a cliche is cold. That's my bestimate.


#83142 - 10/09/02 10:46 PM Re: Thanks for touching base  
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when you frame the difference between buzzwords and clichés as hot and cold, you have failed to contextualize the real difference.

the speed of transactualization is increasing and old words are not a valid way to express our understand of the shifting paradigm.

new words are need to constuct the framework of reality, so that we can begin to move out our old logical constructs and into a dynamic changing, flexible workplace.

clichés are used to express whar are held to be truisms of the old frame work, but they ideas they express are a kind of nostalgia for a time and place that never really existed. in many ways, the virtual reality we are creating, is more real, simple because we know from the outset, it does not truly exist. virtual reality is easily manipulated, and infinitely upgradable, making it a value added format.



#83143 - 10/10/02 01:56 AM Re: Thanks for touching base  
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Alex Williams Offline
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To me "buzzword" has a mostly negative connotation. It conjures up a self-important person, perhaps the assistant to a Somebody, who is talking down to me, and using language as a power tool in the most shameless manner imagineable.


For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,...


A cliche to me is an overused expression, sometimes expressing a truth, as in "You get what you pay for," or "It was raining like cats and dogs."



#83144 - 10/10/02 10:11 AM Re: Thanks for touching base  
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A cliche to me is an overused expression, sometimes expressing a truth, as in "You get what you pay for," or "It was raining like cats and dogs."

Spot on my own definition of cliche, Alex. Interesting, though, cos I'd say just "It was raining cats and dogs". UK difference?

I reckon a "buzzword" is usually more of a word than a phrase: "multitasking", "leveraged", "joined-up", "hot-desk", etc. Buzzwords tend to have a more limited lifespan than cliches (and good thing, too ), although some worm their way into everyday speech, and even into dictionaries.



#83145 - 10/10/02 10:43 AM Re: Thanks for touching base  
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In reply to:

"It was raining cats and dogs


I guess that's really the expression used here too. (I really don't use it, hence the mistake.) I typically say "It was pouring rain," to distinguish a hard rain from a light drizzle.


#83146 - 10/10/02 12:17 PM Re: Thanks for touching base  
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Meanwhile, I think Helen of troy needs a vacation.


#83147 - 10/10/02 01:01 PM Re: Thanks for touching base  
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rego park
thanks-- Dear Asp, i was being to think no one got it.


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