I am always astonished by the appearance and rapid spread of industry buzz-words.
Faster than an internet virus, these borrowed phrases are hastily dropped into marketing presentations and soon become lingua franca before being usurped by something new.
In fact, the use of buzz-words in presentations has become so popular that it has spawned its own interactive conference game: Buzz-word Bingo.
It is usually played when that PowerPoint presentation has gone on too long, and it is very simple. All you do is write down phrases you expect to hear and tick them off when they are regurgitated.
Phrases such as 'scalability', 'shrink-wrapped-solution', 'shelf-ware', 'vapour-ware', 'stickiness' and 'eyeballs' have littered sales pitches over the past few years.
More recently, the ubiquitous '24/7' banker has been applied to good effect to most software and hardware products. And today, everyone seems to have 'magic binoculars'.
No wonder the end-user community is cautious about buying technology; they probably can't understand a word their suppliers say. What on earth are magic binoculars?
I suppose that, in fashion terms, magic binoculars are the new 'visionary', just as black is the new beige for PCs.
I presume the transition from visionary to binoculars has occurred largely because of the recent unpredictability of the IT market.
Many former visionaries, who trotted out road maps like oracles, have been less clairvoyant of late. Others have come out with visions that are too scary for investors' tastes.
These fallen sages need a little help from the old magic bins to help them see what's coming down the line.
But I think magic binoculars are the IT equivalent of beer goggles: selling perception, not reality.
The problem for VARs is that end-users have taken the goggles off. They want solid solutions, not vapourware, to help their business.
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