The language you speak without knowing

Brynne Kennedy speaks Mandarin, French and Portuguese and is well versed in investment banking vernacular. But five years ago, when she flew to California from the UK to raise funds for her tech startup, she had to learn a whole new language.
Venture capitalists in Silicon Valley and San Francisco were using terms and phrases she’d never heard. Kennedy immediately set herself a reading list of biographies of successful techpreneurs and studied up on technical terms.
You need to speak the language to play the game
The result? The graduate of Yale University and London Business School secured $35m in funding for her company, MOVE Guides, a software service provider for global relocation.
“You need to speak the language to play the game,” the 33-year-old says. “Once I did that I was able to successfully build relationships in the Valley, successfully raise money and successfully grow and lead our company… Now I live here so it’s all kind of standard, but five years ago it wasn’t.”
But even if you never set foot in Silicon Valley the language spoken there — known as technobabble, geek speak or Valley lingo — is increasingly inescapable. And that, say language experts, makes it something many of us speak without realising it, and something the rest of us should learn, even if we’re not squarely associated with the tech world.
In much the same way that corporate management terms such as ‘circling back,’ ‘brainstorming’ or ‘blue-sky thinking’ once infiltrated everyday language, as the influence of technology on the economy continues to grow, there will likely be a welter of new terms to add to our vocabulary.

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