Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Count the Buzzwords

Today I looked for the most buzzword laden paragraph I could find. In pursuit of this, I went to Google and typed in a few of my favorites - "deploy", "solutions", and "web-enabled."

I came across this paragraph from Synergex:
A portable and scalable framework from Synergex, Synergy/DE enables companies to develop and deploy multi-platform, Web-enabled applications that integrate with e-commerce solutions, ODBC-enabled reporting tools, RDBMSs, ActiveX components, wireless devices, and other third-party applications and data. Synergy/DE has a long track record backed by millions of end users worldwide and a substantial presence in a multitude of vertical industries. Through a structured combination of remote or onsite education and consulting services, in tandem with proven software tools and comprehensive technical support, Synergy/DE offers the ability to create dynamic, high-performing solutions to fit your vertical application needs.

I'd like to congratulate Synergex. I didn't think it was possible to cram so many buzzwords into one paragraph. Somehow they pulled it off. The only words that are not buzzwords are the short connectors like "and", "that", "or", "with", or "from."

Nothing kills readership quite like acronyms. Synergex does a good job of jamming in two obscure ones, ODBC and RDBMs. A very small percentage of the population could tell you what these mean and the rest are not going to stick around to find out. My mother is not familiar with either of these terms, so already Synergex has violated Dejargonator Rule #1 - Write it so your mom can understand it.

Can you imagine someone being sold this product and reading this? Try to imagine someone talking to their co-workers and saying, "Well, it is web-enabled and offers us the ability to create dynamic, high-performing solutions to fit our vertical application needs." I can guarantee this phrase has never been uttered to anyone anywhere.

Here's my attempt at translating:
Synergy/DE helps companies to create software. We also offer consulting services.

That's it. No ActiveX. No RDBMs. No "multitude of vertical industries." I threw them all out and this was all that was left. The final result was so spartan it made me laugh out loud.

It's only when you actively dejargonate™ something and throw out all the junk that you realize how vacuous these statements really are. This is the kind of writing high school kids do - puffing up papers that say nothing but meet the minimum number of pages.