Back in 1999-2000, I was working on a project for an entertainment retailer. We were developing a multi-channel solution for them which included a new website, MSN tabs (seemed like a big deal at the time), and in-store kiosks and listening/viewing stations. It was pretty cool work, at the time…
If the previous paragraph sounds a little like bitching, that’s because it is (a bit) – although not at Mr. Garrett. It’s just that we recognized the power of developing this way in order to segment the application architecture in exciting new ways, as well as provide an optimal user experience. Clients, however, couldn’t see it.
The problem was that every time we’d introduce the concept, we’d have to start at the beginning and it all sounded kind of complicated to them. Worse yet, it sounded new. Today, even though companies are slow to adopt Ajax, at least they understand it. By giving it a name, Garrett gave a cultural shorthand to refer to a beneficial way of doing things and made it sound like other people were doing it. People involved with developing more social applications of web technology roll their eyes at the “Web 2.0” label, but the double-edged sword of O’Reilly’s label cuts in their favor, as well. It wasn’t until he coined the term that companies started saying, “I gotta get me some o’ that…”
Look at what you’re doing and decide if there’s anything unique and valuable there. If there is, find a way to express it so that a C-Level executive can understand it. Once you have that figured out, see if you can’t think of a term that encapsulates the key concepts. Even if it doesn’t take the world by storm, at least it will provide you vocabulary to discuss it within your firm.