1 min read

Startups and Weasel Language

“an innovative, software-driven mechanism to help manage the provision of alcohol in our spaces.”

The startup and business worlds needs to ruthlessly eliminate weasel language

Something that someone says either to avoid answering a question clearly or to make someone believe something that is not true

WeWork, the $20 billion behemoth, just announced that it would no longer offer unlimited beer to its members.

But in announcing the decision, a WeWork spokeswoman sounded like a cartoonish version of a Silicon Valley character: “an innovative, software-driven mechanism to help manage the provision of alcohol in our spaces.”

What the hell does that sentence mean?

It means nothing.

When discussing beer, “innovative, software-driven mechanism” is a weasel language. Its lack of clarity is offensive.

The startup world is full of weasel language. No longer satisfied with being an oh-so-boring company, registered companies are now “platforms” and “communities” and “experiences” and, in WeWork’s case, a “global network of workspaces.”

As a counterpoint, I appreciate these guys: “Snap is a camera company.”

As in all things worth doing, Keep It Simple Stupid.

Start with language.