For Fresh off the Boat Entrepreneurs: Language in Silicon Valley

The language used in the Silicon Valley is quite interesting and if you are new to the area — like myself — it is very likely that you will hear a new word everyday.  Here are some of the more common words that I have heard in the past few days as I do business here.

BHAG: Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  “A Big Bet”

Crushing It:  This is like “clicking on all cylinders.”  It means to be extremely successful at something that grabs people’s attention.

Bootstrapping: To use your own money to start a business from scratch.

Burn Rate: The rate you are using (or losing) cash to keep your business afloat.

Deck: This is your pitch deck you use to present to investors.

Exit Strategy: What is your plan to exit your business?

Growth Hacking: A term used to describe ways to accelerate growth in your marketing using cost-effective methods.

Iterate: This means to keep trying to do something and making improvements after each cycle / failure.

Low Hanging Fruit:  The easiest way to do something successful for your business.

Pivot: To change the direction you are going in your company.

Ramen Profitable: To have enough cash coming in so that you can cover costs and eat ramen for survival.

Most likely none of these words will make the dictionary any time soon but if you want to do business here in the valley, then you will need to add these to your mental rolodex.


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