PartnerHacker Weekend 07/30: Language Matters

A quick recap of the PhD from this week:

Recently published:

Watch your words

People dramatically underestimate the power of words in business.

Cheesy PR campaigns and overpriced rebranding exercises have soured a lot of us. The idea of choosing the right words or coining new ones can seem like a silly exercise, overly romantic, or over-dramatic.

It can be all of those things. But what cannot be escaped is the power of words. There is no neutral. Good language must exist if for no other reason than that bad language does.

Humans are logical, but we do not think in logic models. We think in stories.

--> Words are the building blocks of narratives.
--> Narratives constrain and expand what lenses and frameworks are possible.
--> Lenses and frameworks are the boundaries for ideas and conversations.
--> Ideas and conversations determine strategies and tactics.
--> Strategies and tactics drive action.
--> Action drives outcomes.

It all flows downstream from words, and the ways they are arranged into narratives.

The wrong vocabulary leads to the wrong narrative which is the ultimate limiter on everything that follows.

If you think this is an exaggeration, read George Lakoff's Metaphors We Live By, or dive into research around the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis and similar phenomena.

Words are what separate humans from every other creature on this earth. It's no wonder we're also the only ones who make tools and build businesses.

It starts with words.

From company name to category story to product description to email copy – the words you choose frame not only the possibilities for the other party, they also constrain or expand your own range of thought and action.

Often in B2B SaaS, the biggest language challenge is being too in the weeds. The ability to zoom out to higher levels of abstraction help get to the Why. This both requires and results in better words to describe what you're doing.

Consider the difference between network-based computing and the cloud.

Which one opens up the imagination? Which is accessible to non-technical people? Which directs our gaze upward, towards possibility? Which connects to the natural world in all its vastness and beauty, instead of the world of machines with all thier buzzing and humming?

It's not just a cute marketing decision.

These words alter our ability to perceive and dream and build and act and inspire.

Don't fear words. Embrace them. They are your greatest, most human superpower. They are the tools to shape reality.

Big words and big wins

Join us Friday, August 5 at 2-4pm ET!

It will be a blast.

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