The Entrepreneur's Dictionary of Humor
© Copyright Mark W. Lund 2008
A is for Alligator Farm. Why should Aunt Annie have all the fun? There are thousands of cowboys in Utah needing alligator boots, and no gatorculture in a 2000 mile radius. A great opportunity for someone who likes to work with state government. After all, if the state can stock Strawberry Reservoir with salmon, why can't you stock Utah Lake with lizards? And harvesting would be just about as easy as trolling with a poodle!
B is for banker. There is a pervasive myth that bankers can only say "no." In reality bankers are an important part of the entrepreneur's world and often say "yes." A simple experiment will prove the myth a lie. Just go in to your local loan officer and ask him if he thinks raising alligators in Utah Lake is loony. If he is too shy to say "yes" you will still be able to clearly read the "yes" behind his big friendly smile.
B is for Best Practices. In a business plan Best Practices means what you are doing now. Implementing Best Practices means you are going to write down what you are doing now and put it in a binder labeled Best Practices. Worst practices consist of taking another company's binder and applying it to your company.
B is for BS, short for business semantics.
C is for consultant. If you can use sizzle, buzz and paradigm in the same sentence you are probably a consultant. If you can fit them into an executive summary without blushing you have probably done this in a previous incarnation. It is so easy to make fun of consultants that even Dogbert became one, but consultants are as important as bankers in the entrepreneur's tool box. After all it was a consultant that introduced Eve to a new paradigm by encouraging her to think outside the box.
C is for Corporate Ladder. Why climb someone else's corporate ladder when as an entrepreneur you could start at the top? The reason that there is so much kicking, spitting, and gouging happening on the corporate ladder is that you can have all that fun without moving outside your comfort zone. And corporate infighting may be your most valuable talent.
D is for dot com. Thousands of dot com startups soon learned that bricks and mortars are dangerous weapons.
E is for e. As in e-commerce, e-banking, and e-coli. The e in e-commerce is supposed to stand for electronic, but really stands for empty-headed (try it, it works). At one point in time adding an e to any word was a sign of class like e-commerce and Towne Center. Now it just shows you don't know how to spell.
E is for execution. Venture capitalists insist that the plan be executed or the founder be executed, or preferably both.
F is for freedom. One of the great appeals to owning your own business is the freedom to work your own hours. This is in fact true. You can work any 100 hours a week as long as 40 of them are M-F 8-5.
F is for Full Disclosure. Politicians need to show that they are not unduly influenced by outside influences. This process involves filling out a form which lists any bimbos, diseases, hit contracts, or unregistered body parts that couldn't otherwise be covered up.
G is for garage, one of the best assets an entrepreneur can have. You can use it to start an electronics company, grow earthworms, or store 10,000 unsold pet rocks.
H is for H-Bomb, which is what the Federal Government invented to cause chaos and devastation. Soon afterwards they came up with the Environmental Protection Agency, which is so much more effective that they have given up on H-bombs.
H is also for half, which is an important part of the lingo of bankers and venture capitalists, as in half-baked, half-cocked, half-assed, half-truth, half wit, halfhearted, and halfway house. An important bill collection technique for entrepreneurs is the half-nelson.
I is for intrapreneurial. Corporations have long noticed how entrepreneurs are much better at getting things done, so they postulated that if they got the entrepreneurial spirit going in their corporations things would get done. So they took a prefix from the Latin meaning within, and added it to the Old French word for undertake and produced a word meaning "do-it-yourself undertaker." Intrapreneurs have the bureaucracy of the Roman Empire and the fire and drive of the French. Intrapreneurs learned that they got ahead quicker with intraoffice politics than they could by actually developing products. After all the reason that small companies work is empowerment and risk. The managers didn't want to empower anybody, and the workers weren't interested in risk.
I is for inhalation therapy. Useful for the entrepreneur afflicted with hyperbole-induced asthma and when hyperventilating at investors conferences.
I is for IP, or intellectual property. Intellectual property is the property that you think you have before the lawyers work you over. Often all the assets a company has is intellectual property, since it rents the building, furniture and computers. Since this asset can be rendered useless and unsalvageable if the company fails, IP is also for instant poverty.
J is for jalapeno. If you are looking for business ideas, what could be hotter than hot sauce? The problem with hot sauce is coming up with a good name. "Sudden Death" is already taken, so where could you go from there? Pets! It is known that birds are immune to peppers, but mammals aren't, so maybe a Tabasco-spiked bird feed to keep squirrels out of your bird feeder. Or pepper spray for tents to keep chipmunks from chewing a hole in your North Face. Have you heard about the man who bought a pit bull and in no time had him eating out of his leg? Maybe that will give you some ideas. . .
J is for just-in-time (JIT). During the high prime-rate days of the 1980s companies discovered this method to cut costs by not holding manufacturing inventory. Since interest rates have dropped it no longer makes sense, but like all management placebos it persists like mildew in the shower. Since the real cost of JIT is not being able to ship due to unpredictable problems in the supply chain it has been renamed to JITTGB, or "just in time to go broke."
K is for kissing booth. An oft-used source of high-risk capital.
L is for lateral thinking. Joe had great success with lateral thinking, but it had a painful side effect-- walking into door jams.
L is for limited partnership. Limited partnerships limit the risk of the partners. This is the form of partnership wherein partners are limited to settling their differences to with fists and teeth. This limits the risk of the partners to charges of assault and battery rather than attempted murder.
L is for Loop, if you are always well informed about matters necessary for the performance of your job you are "in the loop," otherwise you are a human being. Taxes have loopholes, so do nooses.
L is for Liquidity. You know you have achieved liquidity if all your assets can be poured down the toilet.
L is for Lost Opportunity Costs, another term for alimony.
M is for Mom. An entrepreneur can have no greater asset than an Angel mother.
M is for Makeover. Say you have a nice company, making steady money designing and producing widgets, and yet for some reason you are getting no respect from the stock market. Companies that have never made a cent are shooting to the stratosphere while your well-run company is left doing swirlies in the porcelain hydrosphere.
What you need is a makeover. Widgets were hot stuff in the 30's, but now they are boring. Hire yourself a new CEO with experience in makeovers. He will call a press conference announcing that the company is launching out into new fields, dropping a couple of buzz words like nanocommunications and biotribology.
Your stock value shoots up, and everybody is jazzed, except your management team who just saw the corporate ladder move to a new wall, the sales department who have built careers around selling widgets, your engineering department who perceive that their already meager R&D budgets are going to be cut completely, and your manufacturing line who get the message that their specialized skills no longer figure in the company's future.
So as your stock value soars as your morale, productivity and sales plummet. As soon as the stock value triggers the new CEO's bonus he heads for greener pastures, having another success on his resume. Did the remaining management team tank the company after he left? Well, he can hardly be blamed for that!
M is for Marketing. This is the section of the business plan where you show how to get the entire management team to Mazatlan without their spouses.
M is for Marketing research. This is what the dart board in the conference room is expensed as.
N is for Napkin--use it to write your business plan over breakfast. and hope it is big enough to clean up the orange juice spewed out by the venture capitalist sitting across the table from you. See "Spit-take."
N is for Negotiate. You can negotiate with a terrorist, you can negotiate with the bank, you can even negotiate with a judge, but you can't negotiate with a screaming two year old.
N is for Net, this is a prefix used with terms like net asset value, net book value, net cash balance, net worth, and net income. In the modern world this prefix has been replaced with the more useful prefix "not."
O is for organizational behavior. This is the class in business school where you learn why it is more fun to be a professor than a student.
O is for OWC, or "owner will carry." This indicates a last-ditch effort of an entrepreneur to sell his business. The normal response to this is to buy the company with nothing down, change its name, sell off the assets and then let him repossess. This is also known as a "turn around."
O is for Outsourcing. In order to avoid the pain of actually doing something you can pay someone else to do it for you. I am just about to close a deal to outsource accountability, responsibility, and blame.
O is for Over-the-Counter. This term applies to either drugs that are stocked at the market or stocks that are a drug on the market.
P is for Payroll. Most people look forward to payday, but if just the thought of payday sends you into a panic, you are probably an entrepreneur.
P is for Paper profits. These are profits that you can't spend, but you have to work like crazy if you want to avoid paying taxes on.
P is for Paradigm. You take the first dollar your company earned and mount it on the wall. When you have to take it down to pay a postage-due of eighty cents, what you have left is a paradigms.
Q is for Quarterly Report. This makes sure your venture investors have a stick to beat you up with every three months.
Q is for Quick Ratio. This ratio is calculated by dividing the amount of stock options a manager has vested by time it takes him to flee.
R is for RSP, or reverse stock split. A stock split happens when the per-share price is so high no one can afford it. A reverse stock split happens when the stock exchange picks up a sword and offers to apply the wisdom of Solomon unless you do something about your low stock price.
R is for Rocket Science. Everybody knows that rocket science is hard. What they don't know is that as hard as it is to build a successful rocket, it is much harder to raise the money to build the rocket. So rocket scientists do always make the best entrepreneurs.
R is for Roll Up. When you spend so much time at your desk trying to grow your business that your fat moves to the middle, you have a roll up.
R is for ROI or Return on Investment. When you get a letter back marked "undeliverable," and it contains an invoice, and the postoffice didn't charge you for sending it back, that is called a return on investment.
S is for silicon. And also for silicone. Silicon is the stuff computer chips are made of. Silicone is the stuff breast implants are made of. The news media have never been able to keep this straight. This means that thousands of female journalists are still looking on the map for Silicone Valley, when it could have been right under their noses the whole time.
S is for Sole Proprietorship. A partnership where you have to fight with yourself.
S is for Supply Chain. Everybody uses suppliers. And those suppliers use suppliers, just like the poem "bigger fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite'em. And little fleas have lesser fleas and so ad infinitum." The wonder of the modern world is how anyone gets paid. Each supplier in the supply chain gets paid in 30 days if every other supplier in the chain gets paid in 30 days, which is why there are such horrible curses called down on anyone who would break the chain.
S is for Solutions. This is a word that used to have a meaning. If a company calls itself a solutions company what does this mean? Chemical companies make solutions, but they call their solutions by a real name like "window washing fluid" which lets the customer know exactly what it does.
The other kind of solution is the answer to a problem. But that doesn't usually fit either. For example, I get calls offering me "enterprise solutions."
I run an enterprise, and I have problems, a lot of problems. So I say "Great, I need enterprise solutions. My secretary is out sick, can you come and answer the phone?"
"No, you misunderstand we are in information technology."
"OK, I have a big problem with my engineering team who spend so much time staring at the screen they don't have time to do any research and development."
"No you misunderstand , we sell sales solutions."
"OK, now we are talking. My sales manager is sobbing in the toilet and won't come out."
"On the other hand, maybe we don't have any solutions for you--click."
The moral to the story is to tell people what you do, after all, every company ever founded from the beginning of the world until now could describe itself as a solutions company, but they usually came up with something more descriptive.
T is for TLA. This is a three letter acronym meaning "three letter acronym." There are 17,576 possible three letter acronyms in English (46,656 if you include numbers), every one of which has an already registered domain name, so I am sorry, but from now on you will have to be more creative when you name your company!
T is for tough. An entrepreneur needs to be tough, but tough cuts both ways. Remember when "Chainsaw" Al Dunlop took over Sunbeam? Wow, was he tough! When the smoke cleared Chainsaw Al had to pay a $500,000 fine and promise that he would never again work for a public company. That's tough!
U is for Utah Angels. A thirteen year old girl is a wonderful human being. A gaggle of ten thirteen year old girls is a powerful destructive force, sparing nothing in its path. The Utah Angels have taken this principle and applied it to angel capital.
V is for view. As in the Escalante National Monument, which brings up the question, how many million dollar views will you give in exchange for $300,000,000,000 worth of coal?
W is for WWW, a term invented by Al Gore during the Clinton administration. Short for Who's With Willie?
X is for Xtreme Sports Camp. Like a basketball camp but with real blood, usually sponsored by emergency rooms and health clinics during the slow season.
Y is for Yam Shakes. This is a medical condition first observed the first time Zuka Juice executives entered a Jamba Juice shop.
Z is for Zero. This is a nice round number which characterizes a lot of entrepreneurial concepts, for example spare cash, free time, and patience with deadbeat customers. I tell my kids "I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left."