The “Startup”. Something that is seemingly everywhere, and seems to have a language all of its own. Outsiders are often left wondering if they don’t actually understand English, while insiders congratulate themselves for being able to communicate in this… this… gibberish.

But what is this language? Well, as you, dear reader, are about to find out – the more this language is used, the more nonsense we can find. And please, I’m begging you – never use this language in front of me.

Number one on my list, and for good reason. Two years ago, I attended a party and met some guy who was trying to sell his self-improvement book. Now he’s all over the internet trying to push his “blockchain-based” tourism business to gullible people who don’t understand basic mathematics. These days, it’s a fashionable term, but for the sake of your sanity, run for the hills if someone tries to interest you in a “blockchain business”. Run twice as fast if the term “pre-ICO” is mentioned in the same speech.

Elevator Pitch
No. NO. Make it go away! I don’t want to listen to you for 30 seconds while you try and ram your rubbish idea down my throat. In fact, just don’t “pitch” me at all. If your business is interesting, I’m sure I’ll find it by myself. I certainly don’t want to listen to some 22 year old trying to convince me that I want to invest in his sure-fire business that he runs from a basement belonging to his aunt after dropping out of university. I have better things to do, and so do you.

Pixabay, Startup

In other words, someone who usually hasn’t done most of what he says he has done. Often found hand-in-hand with a ridiculous personal biography designed to exaggerate every single achievement in their short life. Take my advice: any mentor worth having probably doesn’t have time for you and your business.

(Financial) projections
Please don’t lie to me. Please don’t lie to me. Please don’t lie to me. I like numbers, but I like when these numbers are real, not conjured out of thin air like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. I don’t need to be a financial expert to know that your 34524% growth projections are like your startup: complete rubbish.

First Mover
No, you aren’t. There are over 7.6 billion people in the world, and you think you are the only person doing what you are doing? Please, stop parading around the tiny startup community in Wroclaw and open your eyes to the world. The chances are that your “oh-so-unique” idea is nothing but a dull rehash of an existing business, and no, it doesn’t count if you add the word “blockchain” in there.

Opinion leader
Oh my. How many times do I have to tell you that writing an answer on Quora does not make you any sort of leader? Like your “First Mover” friend, the chances are that you’ve copied and pasted some text from somewhere else before rewording it to avoid accusations of plagiarism. I know, you know, and I most definitely don’t want to listen to your regurgitated opinions about “tech” and “business”.

Startup Guru
Really? That’s why you’re living in a provincial European city, because you’ve had so much success with startups that you just couldn’t stop yourself from moving here? Ah, and now you want to sell me a special coaching package for just 1999 Euro so I can be just like you? Where do I sign up?! I want to be a startup coach just like you!

So as you can see, these unlucky 7 definitions are just the surface of an entire language filled with nonsense. If your startup is genuinely worth something, you don’t need jargon or stupid animal similes (unicorns don’t exist, stupid), you just need a great product with a great team. Nothing more, nothing less, and you definitely don’t need to get up early on Saturday morning to talk about it.