Jargon Watch: Kickstarter

If you’re reading this blog, you will have heard of the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Kickstarter has become synonymous with crowdfunding and has become a verb.

I’ve personally subscribed to projects with very mixed results. My most recent experiences have been one of disappointment to the point that I no longer use it.

It was interesting to hear Kickstarter used in a different context, that reflects my experience with the platform.

I like the Techmoan YouTube channel as a good deal of its content introduces retro technology, many of which is is equipment or media formats that I hadn’t come across previously.

The channel host Mat used Kickstarter not as a brand, but as a verb to imply that a product was somehow inferior and lacking in quality. It has become synonymous with an amateurish effort. Just because technology and globalisation have democratised access to manufacturing; doesn’t necessarily mean better quality products. That can’t be good for the brand.

This is on top of crowdfunding’s high degree of funding failures, product failures and increasing numbers of alleged fraud.

Jargon watch: deep design

Blue deep sea squid

The key underlying belief to deep design is that modern life systems and processes aren’t designed for humans. From industrial design, to administrative processes and algorithms – all could be categorised as ‘inhumane’. If you’ve ever dealt with work visa forms in a foreign country you’ll know what I mean.

Human-centred design was supposed to address this. But it fails to scale or handle complexity. Deep design adds a layer of EQ to this.

More information
Deep design to the rescue: Solving wicked problems of the future | Campaign Asia

Jargon watch: Eroom’s Law

Eroom’s Law is a metaphor that compares other business processes to the virtuous circle of Moore’s Law. It is literally Moore’s Law in reverse. Industries have developed processes that are getting ever more expensive.  Once could consider that is inversely proportional to the way semiconductor manufacture  reduced the relative cost of computing power over time.

Some see this as a potential opportunity for the use of computing in a sector to reduce costs. As with most circumstances, what seems like a great idea inside an Excel spreadsheet doesn’t work out in the real world. But that doesn’t stop the management consultants, investment bankers or venture capitalists from trying.

Eroom’s Law and the pharmaceutical industry

The poster child for Eroom’s Law cited would be the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry developing new drugs.

Here’s how Nature Reviews Drug Discovery put it:

Eroom’s Law indicates that powerful forces have outweighed scientific, technical and managerial improvements over the past 60 years, and/or that some of the improvements have been less ‘improving’ than commonly thought. The more positive anyone is about the past several decades of progress, the more negative they should be about the strength of countervailing forces. If someone is optimistic about the prospects for R&D today, they presumably believe the countervailing forces — whatever they are — are starting to abate, or that there has been a sudden and unprecedented acceleration in scientific, technological or managerial progress that will soon become visible in new drug approvals.

You could argue that the defence industry would also fall into this, despite the benefits of technology. (The origins of the semiconductor industry lie in the development of missiles during the cold war. Integrated circuit technology is more robust and lighter than discrete transistors or vacuum tube based systems).

More information

Diagnosing the decline in pharmaceutical R&D efficiency | Nature Reviews Drug Discovery (paywall)
Eroom’s Law | In the Pipeline | Science magazine
EROOM’s Law of Pharma R & D | buildingpharmabrands
More posts on the pharmaceutical industry on this blog.

Jargon watch: zhuāng bì (装B)

Newspaper collage featuring Mao Zetong

装B comes from Chinese Netizens. China has developed a deep and constantly evolving language online. It is fascinating to study how Chinese netizens use emoticons in a distinctly different way to westerners and the language constantly morphs in a way that leaves Chinese expatriates baffled even after a short time outside the country.  zhuāng bì (pronounce the zh as a short j) is a case in point.  It means poser.

Christine Xu gives an in-depth explanation of how 装B came about, given that western characters aren’t generally used by Chinese.

Jargon watch: generation glass

I noticed this descriptor appear in an article about iPad obsessed children and how Mattel was looking to adjust to the market.

M, using iPad

The name relates to the ‘pictures under glass’ interface that these children have grown up with.

More information
How Toymaker Mattel Plans To Win Over iPad-Obsessed Kids | Time