Dec 31, 2012

Time for a buzzword diet?

I’ve been swimming drowning in buzzwords for a while, being into startups and all.

Beyond the birth of a new idea, where buzzwords are an efficient shorthand for something fresh and progressive, I’ve seen them become a liability as the idea starts to spread. They get misinterpreted, hijacked and used to exclude rather than include. Where they were once shorthand to communicate a common understanding, they become a way to disguise a lack of understanding.

Worst of all, I’ve seen a tendency to pull discussion towards abstract and semantic hair-splitting, rather than practical progress.

As an educator and community convenor, I’m trying to understand the best place for buzzwords, and keep them there.

Am I being ruthless? Or is it about time for a buzzword diet?

I'm Salim Virani. These days I'm a Kernel Steward, and also having fun building random stuff.

In the past, I designed peer learning programs for Oxford, UCL, Techstars, Microsoft Ventures and The Royal Academy Of Engineering. I also played a role in creating the Lean Startup methodology, and the European startup ecosystem. You can read about this here.

What am I up to these days?

I’m working on a communication tool for community groups and unconferences. It focuses on autonomising focused teams rather than top-down coordination.

I’m on the Kernel Stewards team, where we help ~2,000 fellows understand the what the development of blockchains mean to humanity on anthropological scales, and how to use them altruistically and prudently.

Books & collected practices

  • Peer Learning Is - a broad look at peer learning around the world, and how to design peer learning to outperform traditional education
  • Mentor Impact - researched the practices used by the startup mentors that really make a difference
  • DAOistry - practices and mindsets that work in blockchain communities
  • Decision Hacks - early-stage startup decisions distilled
  • Source Institute - skunkworks I founded with open peer learning formats and ops guides, and our internal guide on decentralised teams

Random Projects

  • Cuppa - decentralised collaboration protocol (WIP)
  • Nonfungo - completely on-chain NFT sale notification bot for Discord. (Look ma! No Opensea API!)
  • Powerplays - real-time token launches