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I’m sure you’ve heard many stories of three year olds asking “but, why?“after every answer tossed back from a struggling adult. Maybe you’ve been the adult in that scenario. But what’s funny and ironic is how that still holds up later in life.

Here’s what I’m talking about…

If you can’t explain what an acronym means, how it works, and what precisely it does in three questions, don’t bother.

Whenever some smug analyst or manager tries spewing “SDLC” this, or “IoT” that at me, I don’t blink.  I wait for them to finish exhaling all that hot air, and then calmly ask them “what is that?” and “how?” and “why?”.  It’s not surprising that over the past ten (10) years of doing this, the average success rate is around 1 in 10.  Yep. 10%.

I’ve even had MBA-emblazoned, pressed-suit-wearing, grad-ring-spinning, executives throw their best round of brochure-infused, cliff-notes-injected, conference lecture-coated barrage of pseudo-IT acronyms at me.  Duct-taped with Econ-101 terms like ROI, EOS, and even “de-leveraging” (I’m not kidding).  I just apply the Ali rope-a-dope technique:  Let the opponent wear themselves out, then knock them over with a feather (in his case a heavy punch to the face).

Try it yourself.  The next time someone tries to impress you with “Internet of Things” or “Service Layer Abstraction“, start the timer and unleash three (3) simple questions:

  • “What is it?”
  • “Why does it matter?”
  • …and most importantly, “How does it work?”

Here’s the tough part:  You can’t go hunting for this, it’s a matter of passive opportunity.  If you pick the argument it doesn’t work the same.  Oh, and don’t try this on the president of your own company.  He/she probably won’t find it humorous.

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