Monday, September 25, 2017


Long post warning!

The Urban dictionary defines corporatese as, “A manner of speaking that uses the most amount of words to give the least amount of information. Most often used by Upper Management when not wanting to, or be able to, give a direct answer. Very often used when put on the spot.”

The habit of corporatese goes so deep in corporate types that they slowly lose the ability to speak like normal human beings. This leads them to use phrases, terms, and idioms that baffle the uninitiated. These replace normal language and end up being clichés. Some of us, who refused to be the corporate types or hate clichés or both, refuse to use them and cringe, involuntarily, every time we hear them. I have found that looking for and noting down corporatese is a good way of keeping your sanity in many meetings.

When the corporate types use corporatese, the uninitiated - not yet the corporate types - are still intelligent and get the gist of what is said. The aspiring corporate types absorb corporatese like blotting paper and inflict it upon their unsuspecting underlings. For them, using corporatese signifies belonging to the upper echelons.

Some, resist corporatese and continue to retain their language and native intelligence. The aspirants succumb to it with dire consequences. The aspiring types, already in the process of losing their native intelligence, often hear unfamiliar corporatese wrong and use it wrongly, often with hilarious results. Suddenly, the symbol of power and belonging invites laughter and derision.

Here is a list of corporatese for the curious. As you may guess, this is only a small list. The list of corporatese can be quite long. You can imagine the size of the problem.

Statutory WARNING: Reading this may be injurious to your mental health.
No issues        
No problem, it is of no concern, it is no trouble, don’t mention it  - as a reply to  an expression of thanks
Not an issue
No problem, it is of no concern, it is no trouble, don’t mention it  - as a reply to  an expression of thanks
Touch base
We will review
We will compare notes (later)
I will ask your or tell you before
Buzz me, ping me
Contact me
Call me
Message me
Pain points
Difficult things
What someone does not like
Drop a mail, shoot a mail
Send an e-mail
Perhaps "drop a mail" could be right sometimes because it is like "dropping a bomb"
Invitation, meeting request
Let’s do it
You do it
EOD (Can we touch base, EOD?)
By the end of the day or when you finish it, whichever is later.
“Can we have some analytics on number of applicants through social media?” -  All that was required were two numbers!
Big data
Small data that you do not know how to analyse.
Low hanging fruits
Things we can do easily
Let us talk to him/her
Let us confuse or confound him/her
Ballpark figure
Quite often, just a guess
Estimate without any basis. (Trying to give respectability to a blind guess)
Time frame
Approximate time or period. Even just one time. We will meet 6:30 time frame
Bandwidth (E.g., I don’t have the bandwidth)
Time or interest, usually the latter.
In other words I can’t or don’t want to do it - usually the latter. (Non-technical people trying to gain the respect of technical people. Unsuccessfully)
Human resources are our biggest asset
If it was, you would call them people.
Bad apple
Someone you do not like
A human being
Data point
Talk to the manager of the person who is of no help
Shot in the arm
Often mistaken for Slap in the face
Connecting the dots
Damn Steve Jobs.
He said that once and everyone is connecting dots now.
How things are connected. What really happened. How the whole pattern was evident, in hindsight
Ah ha moment
When something mundane was realised
Paradigm, paradigm shift
Viewpoint. (We can blame Stephen Covey for this one) Ah ha moment above could also be a moment when the paradigm shifted
Where I am coming from
No, not your place of birth or where your home is.
Just the way you looked at it. Your viewpoint. As you see it. Your opinion.
Based out of
Based in.

One working in Bangalore says, “I am based out of Bangalore” Where you work, not the place you are NOT in.
Going south
Worsen, weaken
In lieu of
In view of
Meet up
Put your hands together
Clap, applaud
I agree. It is quite often followed by a BUT, leaving you wondering what absolutely means.
Let’s park the question.
We will answer that later, which never comes.
Hold on to that thought
Same as above. It is damn inconvenient and I don’t want to talk about it.
That is a very good question
I have no clue what that means or what the answer is.
Followed by, hold on to that thought or let’s park the question for now, meaning it will never be answered.
Motherhood statement
A statement of wish, not a concrete idea how to achieve it.
Elephant in the room
An obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss, or a condition of collective thinking no one wants to challenge.
Bio break
Time to use the loo!
Work together
(Stephen Covey may be blamed again. Corporate types did not learn the successful habit of synergy. Learned only the word)
Both parties are equally unhappy  (Stephen Covey again)
Take home
Conclusion, gist
Going forward
In future, from now on, later
OK, will do, and also perfect!
Take it offline
Discuss something separately, not in this meeting.
Take it outside the meeting.
Same as above
(As if meeting is a place)
Monkey on the shoulder
Not my/your problem.
To make a question out of a statement.
You are joking. Right?
Tiger team
Task force of people with specialisations. Or a scapegoat team.
Put down one’s papers
To resign. Spin-off of another corporatese - “Put in one’s papers.”
On the same page
We have the same understanding of the situation
In sync
As above
I am/We are on it
We are not top of it
We are working on the problem. Used mostly in times when we have no clue how to solve it.
Revert back
Respond, answer, report after an event.
Let’s connect
Let us talk/discuss
When one doesn’t know what to say but is somehow compelled to say something. Silence is anathema to the corporate types
Increase the number of people you know. Talk to people so that you can use them later
“We will leverage his skill” = “Let’s make him do this job”
Loop in someone
Add someone to an e-mail thread. (Like the hangman looping the noose around someone’s neck)
Based on.
Basis Industry average, there is no pay hike this year.
Close the loop.
Conclude the discussion.
I was not in the loop.
I did not know
I did not get a copy of the e-mail
I gave a shout
I organised this meeting.
I actually heard someone say, “I gave you guys a shout so that going forward we are all on the same page.”
At this point
At this point of time
At this point in time
It is called “now”, you moron!
A futile attempt to sound precise in something as nebulous as now!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I am an Inventor

I am an IP Consultant*. I help inventors patent their inventions. I enjoy working with imaginative people who have created something new. I explore with them what they have created. I help them understand a lot more about their own invention - its place in the world of patents, technology and business. Talking technology' with inventors invigorates me like almost nothing else does.

As an engineer I designed and developed products and I invented a few things. I did not think of them as inventions then, just something interesting. When a senior colleague learned of one such interesting thing, he told me, "you should patent this". I was busy getting the first few of the devices carrying the invention ready to be supplied to the customers. I put that suggestion on hold.

When I could finally work on the suggestion, a blank wall confronted me. A big one. No one in the company knew how to get a patent. After a few weeks of struggle, I gave up the idea. Little did I know then that I could not have possibly got a patent once the first device was out of the door!

It sounds ironical that I now assist people in applying for patents!

In an unexpected way, recently I applied for a patent on an invention. The idea dawned on me when I was sketching from a reference picture on my laptop. I proposed to a friend that we could develop an application to implement my idea. He suggested that I apply for a patent and here I am!

Let me assure you, this time it was a lot easier!

Cloverleaf IP Consultancy and Services is my company
I am also a Senior Consultant with LexOrbis

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Oskar Kokoschka

I had been to The Netherlands on work. Pradipto who works for Philips in Hamburg had invited me to visit him and his family. I had a delightful stay at their place for a few days. His daughter, a girl of about three then, became an instant friend.

One evening, Pradipto took me out to see Hamburg by night. It was just wandering about without a clear plan. We went to the street where The Beatles performed before they became world famous. One of the surprises for me was the familiar logo of Der Spiegel visible in the night atop a building far away. I had been reading the online edition of the magazine for years by then and realised, sheepishly, that I never knew that it was published from Hamburg. The building we saw was its headquarters.

My friend took me to a sort of monument in the open. Just a set of walls and steps. On one of the walls was a picture that looked vaguely familiar. More by its style than by the painting itself. I walked closer to it and saw that it was by Oskar Kokoshcka!

Art Abroad VIII

Monday, March 06, 2017

At the Apex of the Glass Pyramid

A lifelong (about fifteen years, I guess) ambition fulfilled. Paris and The Louvre!
Let us get it out of the way. No, I was not disappointed by Mona Lisa - La Giaconda (pronounced something like la szhakOnda) as the French call it. I had already read so much about it, including people's disappointment when they saw it, ("It is so smaaaaaall!") that I had a fair idea of what to expect. Seeing it for real in the dim (to protect the treasure from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays) light was thrilling and satisfying. I had bought 1600 ASA (ISO) film at a hefty price just for the purpose and it paid off. Renting a radio device and headphones, walking into the area marked off by a metal strip embedded in the wooden floor around the niche where it is hung and listening over the headphones to the story and glory of la Giaconda was a pleasure!

The greater pleasure was actually to see Leonardo's Madonna of the Rocks and the huge charcoal study he made for it, the huge canvasses of the Romanticists, Eugene Delacroix's Raft of the Medusa, for instance, and Venus de Milo and so on.

The Raft of the Medusa was an eye opener. Having seen it only in books, the sheer size of it and its impact were totally unexpected. I sat on the wooden bench in front of it and gaped at it for as long as I could without seriously compromising the time I had for the whole museum. That left me wondering. What is an adequate length of time to see the whole museum?

To have something of the Louvre with me apart from the memories and the photographs, I bought a mini guide to the museum. Once in a while, I take the book out and go through it to travel back in time and walk through my garden of memories.

Art Abroad VII

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Vincent's Fire

As soon as I came to know that I would be visiting The Netherlands, I made a to-do list. The first item on the list was "Visit Vincent van Gogh Museum"
To be completely truthful, it was not a physical list but it existed only in my mind. As an aside, does a list that exists in the mind have a physical existence? Are phrases like "in the mind" and "a physical version of it" the result of arbitrary dichotomous thinking?
Visit I did. It was a long-standing ambition, ever since I heard of van Gogh and fell in love with his paintings, fulfilled.
It is a building with a modern design. Spacious and great for exhibiting van Gogh's works. These paintings were gifted to the museum by the wife of Vincent's brother Theo, Johanna. The museum has some of the most famous and more mature works of Vincent and is a pleasure to see them all together. While the raw power of his brush strokes and his unique vision can be discerned even in good colour prints, seeing them for real is an experience beyond compare.
I entered the first floor of the museum and took in the overall look of the hall. As I moved inside I could see a painting come into view from behind a pillar. It is a painting depicting an old house the cooking fire in which is visible through a window.

(Cottage at nightfall) From that distance and in that lighting, it looked as if someone had lit a red LED there to indicate the fire. I was captivated and went straight to the picture and peered at it. It appeared to have been made with a single stroke of a rough brush carrying red paint. In my imagination that has remained THE brush stroke in art.

Vincent was on fire when he painted that!

Image: Courtesy

Art Abroad VII