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LEARNING THE LINGO

01.03.19

The sheer scale of advancements over the past decades, and the subsequent penetration into the pockets and purses of the masses, may have left a few of you feeling overwhelmed.

 

Sure, you know what “app” means. But how about Bitcoin? Quantum Computing? Serverless?

In many ways, navigating the minefield that is technology terminology is akin to sitting an A-Level exam on the works of Shakespeare with zero studying. In other words, it’s gobbledygook. 

 

In much the same way, learning to be “down with the kids” in the 2010s could warrant a semester or two at university, perhaps even an entire degree dedicated to the acronyms and slang terms that dominate adolescent dialogue.

 

Everything nowadays is “woke” or “lit” or “basic”. Children (and adults, for that matter!) spend hours perfecting their “flossing” – and no, I’m not talking about best practice dental hygiene. Think pieces deliberate over where “millennials” end and “Generation Z” begins. You can even take online quizzes to determine which social group (AKA marketing demographic) you belong to, should you be so inclined.

It calls to mind an episode of The Simpsons from 2001, New Kids on the Blecch, where Bart and pals temporarily ascend to stardom as hot new boy band “Party Posse”.

 

Popular 90s/00s band NSYNC made a memorable cameo in the episode, dancing on to our screens with slick synchronicity before perfectly encapsulating the absurdity of trends.

 

In one scene, band member Lance Bass states “Dudes, we gotta go. Our clothes are getting a little out of date.”

 

And now-megastar Justin Timberlake’s contribution throughout? Word.” 

A satirical stab at the very heart of youth culture from the master writers, as relevant today as it was 18 years ago. The reality is, you could replace “word” with any number of single-syllable, hollow interjections and still find the scene hilarious. The joke lies not with “word”, but for everything that “word” represents.

 

And whilst the ever-changing parameters for what is and isn’t a “cool” thing to say (old school word there, of course!) can be both baffling and overwhelming, the similarities with the exponential growth and transition of technological terms are there for all to see.

Take “Blockchain”. It is nigh impossible that anyone reading this blog hasn’t heard or read this term before today. And yet, how many of you could succinctly (and accurately!) explain its meaning with any level of confidence? 

 

I expect there are many parallels with the term “Brexit”. Every Tom, Dick or Harry has an idea of what they think it means, but does anyone really know?

 

Now, I don’t profess to know what Brexit means. In the simplest of terms, it is a portmanteau with a relatively uncomplicated etymology. However, those six letters represent more than just a word. They evoke feelings – frustration, fear of the unknown, confusion – and prompt debate. Whilst a wooden spoon is a wooden spoon, “Brexit” could mean a myriad of things and, in that respect, it’s clear that some words are much more interesting than others. 

 

I feel that way about “Blockchain”. 

The Cambridge English Dictionary identifies Blockchain as:

noun

a system used to make a digital record of all the occasions a cryptocurrency (= a digital currency such as bitcoin) is bought or sold, and that is constantly growing as more blocks are added.

Surprisingly, the summary itself feels out of date, referring only to the cryptocurrency use case. What it fails to convey is the vast, unquantifiable potential that Blockchain presents for transforming business operating models around the world.

 

And therein lies what piqued my interest…

 

In my line of work – as head of architecture, engineering and development teams – I converse daily in what can sometimes feel like an altogether different language to my mother tongue. 

 

These are not words with a singular, straight-forward meaning. And whilst they may appear simple at first glance, they can mask levels of complexity that can take years to fully comprehend.   

 

Take “Open Source”, for example. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines it as:

 

adjective

used to refer to software, etc. that is free to use and can be studied or improved by anyone because it is based on a code that anyone can use.

 

Whilst it describes what open source is, it doesn’t tell you what open source means. 

 

For me, it invokes thoughts of freedom; about the values, passion and energy of the communities involved and the hugely positive impact it has had on my own work. For others, open source equates to “cheaper”. Ill-informed cynics might think “free, when you ignore the maintenance – like a puppy.”

 

And that’s where iluli comes in…

With an in-depth knowledge of how technology is and can be used, achieved over 15+ years of working for a Fortune 100 company, I’ve set out to simplify the complex through fun, easy-to-digest illustrated videos and explanatory posts.  

 

And whilst tech talk forms the foundations of iluli, it is by no means an exclusive platform – you don’t have to be “down with the nerds” to find value in the content. 

 

My intention is, quite simply, to disseminate what I have learned through many years of professional experience in the hope of informing and inspiring others. 

 

iluli itself is a made-up word. As I begin this journey, iluli is a meaningless amalgamation of letters – a palindrome which I settled upon in part due to its succinct simplicity. In time, however, I hope iluli will become synonymous with the latest technology, knowledge sharing and the opportunity to learn. 

 

The first videos tackle topics such as Open SourceArtificial Intelligence and Encryption, and – my personal favourite - Jumping the Arc, an eye-opening examination of how timing can make or break a company when it comes to transitioning from existing to emerging technological platforms.

 

So, dive in and enjoy learning the lingo! 

 

Peace out.

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