in Startups

Do you speak fluent startup?

I saw this excerpt of an internal memo written by Elon Musk to employees at SpaceX where he condemns the use of acronyms unless they are industry standard, or otherwise approved by him.

The startup world is a minefield to navigate for outsiders and newcomers; not just with acronyms but terminology too.


Full-stack, burn rates, accelerators, agile?

When giving talks, both Lauren and I have told the story of how we thought Ruby on Rails was a 90s rockband the first time we heard it mentioned. It’s only partially a joke. It gets a good laugh with the right crowd.

The truth is, I remember heading home one evening after a meetup a few years back and googling the difference between angel investors and VCs (that’s venture capitalists btw (by the way)).

Despite Elon’s message, it’s undoubtedly a disadvantage to not ‘speak the language’. Understanding the key terms and having a strong grasp on the definitions of terms will stand anyone in good stead.

We all start somewhere and it can be a tough learning curve. With that in mind, I had an idea to start a startup glossary. Needless to say, I wasn’t the first person to have this idea so below are the best resources I could find that should help anyone (even those of us who could use a refresh) learn the true definitions of the commonly used terms.

The Startup Glossary by Founders Institute (amazing resource, broken down into 10 categories – start here)

35 Startup Buzzwords Every Entrepreneur Should Know [INFOGRAPHIC] via Forbes

Glossary: Startup and Venture Capital terms you should know via TechRepublic

16 Startup Metrics & 16 More Startup Metrics by Andreessen Horowitz

Bonus: the book that I have heard being recommended most often for founders that are going through fundraising. Venture Deals: Be Smarter than your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Brad Feld

Have I missed any resources that should be included? Any definitions that are still particularly ambiguous? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading

  1. Here’s a new resource, this one a book — Valley Speak: Deciphering the Jargon of Silicon Valley

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