Friday, 16 January 2009

Down on the upside

No, not the Soundgarden song.

Last week in her column, management fad and bullshit bingo columnist Lucy Kelleway unveiled her twaddle awards for 2008 - and, as usual, there are some real gems in there.

2008 was a great year for economists getting it all entirely wrong and then being spectacularly wise after the event. But here's a World Bank economist hedging his bets so cleverly it's impossible to know what the fuck he thinks.

He told those fine upstanding defenders of the English language, the BBC: "In our base case simulation there is an upside case that, er, corresponds on the flipside of the downside case in kind of an adverse direction."

She also gave an award for the best new job title. Now this is something I've noticed where I work as well - the higher up some people get the longer their job title becomes. But, of course, more is not always better.

Late in 2008 Diageo put out an announcement saying Darren Jones was joining "the Diageo Way of Selling team as Design Director for Customer and Channel Profitability and Trade Investment." Nice.

One award I particularly is the Nouns Moonlighting As Verbs category, which was so popular that the judges gave out three gongs. The 2008 Olympics introduced the world to the verb 'to medal'. This entry medals with a bronze. The Silver medal in this category goes to 'to auspice', while gold goes to the verb 'to sunset'. AOL used the verb to great effect last summer in declaring that it was canning some products. "Bluestring, Xdrive and AOL Pictures will be sunset. [They] have not gained sufficient traction in the marketplace or the monetisation levels necessary." In other words they were bollocks.

Another category was Improving Existing Jargon, which featured 'to cascade around'. Lest anyone be offended at the idea that a cascade falls from top to bottom, this new preposition makes the idea less hierarchical. There's also the outstanding phrase 'strategy staircase', which represents a step change on the existing strategy tree, and ladders the concept to a whole new level.

Don't you just love this stuff?

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