Reframing our window

For a decade now and with a sur­pris­ing increase dur­ing the last years, I tend to encounter a lot of words used with­out any inter­est for their basic def­i­n­i­tion, think­ing only about cre­at­ing or increas­ing some “wow” fac­tor. Those words I keep see­ing? Exclusivity, Groundbreaking, Revolutionary, Unique, Innovation, … While at some point this ten­den­cy was lim­it­ed to mar­ket­ing (and which is part of well… their job), this spread to the gen­er­al pub­lic (and I fell for this sev­er­al time too).

Everytime it hap­pens, it’s usu­al­ly based on the fact that we don’t have a suf­fi­cient knowl­edge of the sub­jects, or didn’t do enough research, so we tend to use them because, from what we know they’re exact. This is a com­mon prob­lem in our times, where we’re all hav­ing trou­ble say­ing that we don’t know.

It then cre­ates a false nar­ra­tive and an unnec­es­sary fuss around things that are per­haps non ground-break­ing. But at least, this is caused by a sim­ple slip of the lan­guage based on not enough facts, and we all tend to fall for it. Be it when we advise this “rev­o­lu­tion­ary” app, or that we tend to pro­claim some­thing as “unique in the world” (some­thing that tends to hap­pen a lot in the French mar­ket, where we have a remark­able blind­ness to every­thing non-French-speak­ing that is hap­pen­ing in the world).

The prob­lem for me hap­pens when we tend to fall for the mar­ket­ing jar­gon and to defend say­ings that are not our own, through the only win­dow we were pro­vid­ed. Or worst, when we tend to reframe this win­dow to be small­er and small­er, just to jus­ti­fy the use of a word that we sim­ply shouldn’t use. Hence this app real­ly is exclu­sive* (in your lan­guage), rev­o­lu­tion­ary (in your coun­try, your neigh­bor have it since 10 years now), unique (*on your platform).

This is not “that bad”, but I tend to think that words have a mean­ing, and when we use those words in the wrong place we tend to reduce this mean­ing. And while the mot­to of the last years on every mouth has been “inno­va­tion” yelled clear and loud every­where, it’s rarely true (nor based on any­thing). In a world where every­one is becom­ing an entre­pre­neur (which is nei­ther good or bad), per­haps we should be a bit more hon­est, or picky in the choice of our words.

While not every idea is a rev­o­lu­tion, you have plen­ty of oth­er things you can pro­mote your idea on, plen­ty of pos­si­bil­i­ty that you offer that, while they’re not exclu­sive), pro­vide a different/better expe­ri­ence for your audi­ence. And this won’t require you to reframe any win­dow while it might make you appear less “bull­shit-prone” than any oth­er idea out there.

If you see fraud and do not say fraud, you are a fraud.”
 — Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile)

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Simon Vandereecken

Freelance UX Designer living in Brussels (Belgium), with a deep interest into philosophy, personal growth, self improvement, books, music, ... well in many things ! I use this website to write thoughts going through my head as well as ideas, observations and reading notes. Feel free to get in touch ;)