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How to: Explaining 8 stupid IT buzzwords

Know your Cloud from your Paradigm shift

The computer industry is fond of little more than making up baffling technology buzzwords. So you can tell your paradigm shift from your cloud, and succinctly define Web 3.0, we explain eight of the best/worst.

Buzzword #1: Disruptive

What's strange about the word "disruptive" is that it normally has a rather negative connotation.

For example: "When my drunken Uncle Jimmy passed out on my coffee table, it was disruptive to my Sunday afternoon."

In the topsy-turvy world of the tech industry, however, it means that a technology is so innovative that it disrupts the current market and forces companies to change their business models to stay competitive.

The phrase was initially coined by a 1995 Harvard Business School article coauthored by Joseph Bower and Clayton Christensen called "Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave". Gulp.

Buzzword #2: Paradigm shift

This is what happens when a disruptive technology hits the market. Basically, it means that people and businesses are doing stuff differently than they did before.

The internet, for example, created a paradigm shift in the way people purchased music, because they're more likely to download songs directly on to their computers than to purchase CDs.

Marketers, of course, are eager to describe product releases as creating a "paradigm shift" that will change the way the world works forever. A quick glance through PR News wire reveals that the following products have been described as marking paradigm shifts at one point or another: a cylinder gas delivery system, a piece of fraud-prevention software, a prenatal genetic testing program, a peer-to-peer music sharing service and a marketing venture founded by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons.

You'll notice that paradigm shifts are often offered by companies that describe themselves as "the leading providers" in their field, which is actually how every single company in every single industry describes itself.

NEXT PAGE: your starter for 10 - define Cloud computing and Web 3.0...

  1. Know your Cloud from your Paradigm shift
  2. Are you being disruptive? That may cause a paradigm shift...
  3. Your starter for 10 - define Cloud computing and Web 3.0...
  4. That threat, will it blend? Ask a prosumer
  5. Finding a seamless solution

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