The Dangers of TechnoMarketingBabble

Everyone’s encouraged to be a content producer these days. It’s not marketing, it’s content! Sometimes the tell-tale signs are obvious. The author feels obliged to lapse into unrestrained hyperbole in the first paragraph, proclaiming unprecedented greatness for some unproven new feature or technology that represents a “total revolution” in the way you tackle a certain technological problem.

Other times though, marketing content is written with more restraint. If you can’t read the subtler signs, it becomes harder to tell if you’re being truly educated or just unwittingly lured by the siren call of the marketing content producer.

Where will it all lead? Already, some of our political leaders have swallowed marketing technobabble wholesale, with talk of building a country “powered by the internet of things and big data to develop cyber physical systems and smart factories.” Who is to say that others are immune? I, for one, start to worry that technical people will begin to take marketing content seriously.

Developer Phil: So, Ed, how are you getting on with that little T-SQL data migration script? You’ve been on it a while.

Developer Ed: (sighing wearily): To be honest, Phil, I’ve been distracted by vaster game-changing revolutions in effective analytical solutions. The internet of things is generating huge volumes of data, massive quantities, at an incredibly fast velocity. Unless we start to leverage business intelligence insights, quickly, this organization will drown in the tidal wave of data and lose its competitive edge!

Phil: Yes, dreadful – and while we’re all still reeling from the shock of finding out that our company suffers from 5 of the 7 signs that our cloud-based storage strategy is failing us. Still, never mind.

Ed: It’s seems hopeless, Phil…(banging fist on table)…We have to start thinking much more holistically about Big Data’s ROI! How else will we make the right investments in Big Data tools and frameworks to manage the real-time data workload?! The third platform is here, Phil, and we’re not even at the right station!

Phil: Thinking holistically about that little T-SQL script might be a good start?

Ed: And don’t even get me started on the parlous state of our Big Data analytics pipeline. It’s shocking. We need Hadoop clusters for scalable, resilient processing, Spark data streaming, a cloud-based data sink for message queuing, data analytics and visualization tools. I could go on!

Phil: Yes, and maybe if we can add a sprinkling of the pixie dust of machine learning, we can finally start to exploit the unreasonable effectiveness of ACID intelligence. Surely, that’s our best hope of being at the forefront of the new digital transformation?

Ed: Steady on, Phil. Even I’m not buying that one.

Help us thwart this danger! Send in your most egregious examples of technomarketing talk, so others can learn to spot the warning signs.

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  • William Sisson

    A few years back I was writing such a T-SQL data migration script and thought couldn’t I be doing something more game-changing and disruptive with T-SQL? A couple of hours later I had come up with my XML (eXcitable Marketing Language) generator.

    This can come up with sentences like

    A modular, object oriented, rich runtime provides the parallel, agile, fine-grained infrastructure utilizing the contract based, loosely coupled, digitally enabled model.

    The lightweight, service oriented, parallel runtime integrates a disruptive, flexible, digitally enabled process choreography using a database agnostic, agile, contract based repository.

    The event-driven, parallel, complex service orchestration allows a service oriented, object oriented, database agnostic object relational mapping exploiting a heterogeneous, big data, digitally enabled model.

    I have had to update the vocabulary a bit (whatever happened to the Enterprise Service Bus, did the wheels fall off?). In fact the main problem with the program at present is having to constantly update the data. Buzzwords are changing so rapidly that almost before you have finished typing one in it has already become obsolete.

    Perhaps the next step is to introduce a bot that searches the internet and is able to detect the least sign of disruption or any paradigms that might be behaving a bit shifty and introduce the appropriate vocabulary automatically?

    I don’t want you to think I am person without conscience, I understand the social consequences of this latest round of automation. Thousands of tech marketing people will be thrown out of work, with their jobs now being done by software.

    • coreylawson

      Oh, the one that’s killing me now is everyone at work latching onto “minimum viable product”… OMG. *self face punch”

      but, who knows. maybe “minimum viable product” is also Web Scale, so I shouldn’t worry too much.

  • Peter Schott

    I wish I could remember the exact discussion and terms at the time, but my favorite was when two of the more senior people – dev and a sysadmin started talking about their “plans” for the future of stuff in the company. They made up terms, assigned adjectives in ways that made no sense, put together strings of different techs, including some I’m pretty sure came from movies or television. They kept this going for about 10 minutes in front of the VP of IT, with him nodding along as the two asked questions, “answered” them, and kept on going. The VP admitted that he was thinking at the time that he had hired some really smart people to handle all of this stuff. This kept going until they snuck in a reference to a “flux capacitor”, which apparently was the threshold at which suspension of disbelief stopped. The good thing is that the VP of IT realized he didn’t know everything and hired people who could so he could work with the business, communicate the desires back to those who would do the work, and communicate back up any difficulties with that. He was able to laugh about it afterwards. Sadly, he was one of the first on the line for layoffs when they restructured the department (and worse – for someone whose ethics and knowledge were both sub-par). He had a good sense of humor and decent business sense, with enough tech knowledge most of the time to realize when someone was trying to pull something. (probably sharpened a bit by that incident)

  • rogerthat

    As a programmer, marketing nonsense leaks out my ears moments after it echos in my skull.

    I imagine it is only a matter of time for marketing to use AI to improve such efforts as:

    http://www.cipsum.com/

    http://www.atrixnet.com/bs-generator.html

    http://projects.wsj.com/buzzwords2014

  • willliebago

    It’s crazy the TechnoMarketingBabble has become similar to clickbait – sometimes clever, often misleading, always distracting, and by definition over promises and under delivers!

    How 2 Boston Graduates Are Disrupting a $19 Billion Industry
    Cloud Providers Don’t Want You To Know THIS About Your Application.
    Company XYZ Implemented Bi-Directional Replication. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!
    The ONE thing you need to know about keeping data secure.
    Exclusive: See what happened only a week after Azure went live.
    37 Things You’ll Only Understand If You Programmed Pascal In The 90s.
    OMG! This employee is just 16 and has done things Microsoft haven’t even thought about!

  • Alan Silverblatt

    It’s worth remembering that TechnoMarketingBabble needn’t involve lots of words. Perhaps the most egregious example in recent years is but a single adjective: “Fluent”, the word chosen by Microsoft to describe that interface atrocity more commonly known as the ribbon. As used in that context, the word isn’t merely babble, but a wholesale, bald-faced, pre-meditated lie intended to disguise how utterly inscrutable the re-designed Office products had become.

  • VB3, VB4, VB6, C#, VB.Net, VBA, XAML, WCF, ASP, WWF, Razor, XML, Silverlight, WPF, Entity Framework, LINQ, MDAC, OLE, ADO, COM, Jet, DTS, SSIS, MVC. I could probably come up with about a dozen more acronyms. I remember the look on a fellow developer’s face once when I said, “You have to remember that Microsoft is a business first with shareholders they need to please so take ‘new technologies’ with a grain of salt.”. Most of the time anymore, I am a little cynical. Most new ‘technologies’ are a new spin on an old methodology. They seem to be about 80% TechnoMarketingBabble and 20% useful and geared toward new programmers so as to keep churning the waters and the industry. Good article!

  • The latest big new thing that is shouting for attention is “Blockchain”. I’m getting emails encouraging me to join BECON or an update stating that “The Biggest Blockchain Platform is written in Kotlin”. Concerning BECON, why do they go through all that effort? I don’t understand why I should immediately immerse myself the internals of a new technology. I’m sure there will be plenty of libraries out there soon and I’d rather wait until the dust has settled. Maybe, if I ever need the technology, I’ll check what libs are the most popular at that moment, and then dig into the internals.

    I must admit that some possible usages can spark some enthusiasm. Will it render expensive governing institutes like ICANN useless, or would that dream turn out to be a wild west nightmare? Others may be al little fearsome. Will paying for a trusted certificate be replaced by adding an identity to a block-chain and gradually building a trustworthy reputation on it? (and what if the key gets stolen, lost or hacked…) It all sounds a bit vague and misty, but we’ll see…

    Is it actually really a new technology at all? I think our genes have similar characteristics since they can reveal ancestors and descents quite reliably.

    Any way, for now I’m happy just to understand the concept and in what scenario’s it can be applied. I have no urgent need of a “distributed log of truth” in any of my current projects so far. Please correct me if I’m missing something.