Entrepreneur Blackjack: 21 Startup Buzzwords Defined

At code(love), we’ve written an e-book that covers twenty-one startup buzzwords we really believe need to be defined for success not only for startup entrepreneurs looking to build their ventures, but anybody who wants to be connected to our new digital age. This is what we have included in our list of defined startup buzzwords:

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The Fundamentals


A minimum viable product is the beginning of your dream, the bare-bones vehicle you need to test it. Using examples from how Internet giants like Netflix began, the e-book delivers a good look at how exactly you can start your billion-dollar venture on the right path.

Pain Point

A company exists to solve pain. Solutions don’t exist in isolation of problems. This section explains how the largest corporations in the world solve problems, and how they have succeeded at growing into behemoths.


A startup is all about experimentation. Sometimes, you have to change fundamental assumptions: whether it’s your business model, or your way of looking at your problem, successful startups like Instagram have changed to and fro until they got it just right. And after this section, you will too.


What is agile? Agile is a methodology of software development that has helped change how software products are developed. This section explores how the agile methods of the present contrast with those of the past, and what that means for present and future startups.


The easiest way to think of lean is of a philosophy that eliminates all waste. Yet the word lean goes beyond that, to the lean startup methodology and lean analytics that define modern startups.


Numbers are so crucial to a healthy startup. LTV stands for the lifetime value of your users—how much money they pull in for you. CAC stands for the cost of acquiring a user. The balence between these ratios and others are perhaps some of the most important factors in determining a startup’s success.

The Tactics

Growth Hacking

Growth hacking is a process. It’s data-driven experimentation. It isn’t just a startup buzzword: it’s a way of spreading ideas that has been proven to work, time and again, from Twitter to Facebook.

Data-Driven Mentality

The infamous A/B split test is the tip of the iceberg of the data-focused mentality that dominates startups. Learn what data startups look for, and how they use that data to make the decisions that will catapult them to success.

Technology Stack

Behind every great startup is great technology. Learn how to build a startup even if you don’t have a technical background. Explore the basics behind the technology and that enables and empowers startups everywhere.


The application programming interface is a way for software applications to communicate with one another. Learn about the philosophy behind them, and how they can help you use the data in Google Maps and others to create incredible technology.

Early Adopters (thanks Rapheal from Hashtag Consulting)

Early adopters are a startup’s bread and butter. They’re a special type of risk-taker that needs to be catered to, but they can’t form the basis of mainstream adoption. Any startup has to cross the chasm between their early and later supporters to get traction.


Traction is a magical word: when a startup gets it, doors open seamlessly. Traction is solid evidence that you’ve achieved product-market fit: that your solution is solving real problems and pain points. It is the growth that powers billion-dollar startups. What you do with that traction will determine the path of your startup.

Venture Financing

You might need help along the way to manage your traction and growth. this section details how venture capital and other sources of funding can be used to fuel the growth you need to push your startup along.

The Opportunities

Internet of Things

Software is eating the world—literally. The Internet of Things is an exciting new development in how the physical world will interact with the virtual one, a revolution that will shape much of the early 21st century.

Big Data

We are producing more data than ever. Big data deals with that very expansive problem, using new methods to shape how we view and manage data.

Open Source

Collaboration instead of competition. Open source software rules the world: and it will save you precious time and money, if you contribute back to it.

Cloud computing

A revolution has come into how software is delivered, not via CDs, but via web-based portals. This has created a whole set of opportunities to benefit from and create specialized software.


It has never been easier to source ideas or funding from the crowd. With platforms ready to coordinate large groups of individuals into an idea-generating and supporting crowd, the world has never been kinder to creators.

Sharing Economy

“What’s mine is yours.”. The sharing economy opens up what were once illiquid and unused assets, and allows people to connect with one another to deliver incredible value to each other by minimizing what is now unnecessary waste. From sharing extra spare rooms, to sharing food, the sharing economy is a startup buzzword that is growing in import with each passing day.

Design Thinking

Design thinking will save the world. It’s not pretty graphics that will do that: it’ll be the way designers think about making it easier for users relentlessly that will make the difference for a host of problems.


A new and open system of value that supersedes trust issues without the use of intermediaries such as banks. Long dreamed of as an ideal for utopian thinkers, it has now become a reality thanks to brilliant technological advances.

Here’s an excerpt from the book: 

Weren’t Microsoft and Facebook born out of college dorms?

We saw this, and we, as students ourselves, set out to change the world by building a platform that connected our fellow students with real companies and organizations, and real problems—setting their creativity loose to answer questions that were in dire need of solutions.

We wanted to give them a platform where they could differentiate themselves as real problem-solvers, free from the requirements bestowed upon them by education en masse. We wanted to let them know that their answers had value, and could make a difference. We were incredibly idealistic about it all—and though ultimately, we failed—I still believe it is an idea worth pursuing.

I failed this endeavor. But I learned a lot along the way, things I wish I had known about from the beginning.

An idea never truly dies. When a startup dies it’s because the founders think there are better uses of their time, or because they do not have the heart to continue. As long as an idea has one practitioner, and there is one person driving that startup forward—it can be said to be alive so long as that one person keeps on pushing it forward. All it takes is one person with a belief.

Our team ended up seeing a competitor that did it better than us, and realized that our experiment wasn’t getting the results we wanted. We figured out that if somebody was doing it better than we were, there wasn’t a point of continuing on this idea. We no longer had that fire of belief within any of us.

Were we right or wrong? I suppose we’ll never know. But what I do now know is that, had I known more about what I was doing, I would have had a higher rate of success, or been more willing to move onto a different angle rather than giving up altogether.

I entered the startup life with zero knowledge of what it would take to succeed. I was seized with delusions that passed as strategies.

If I had known the terms I’m about to relate to you, and what they truly meant, I would have been a stronger entrepreneur. I would have been a stronger builder. My enterprise would have grown better. I would have known what heading a startup really meant, rather than nodding off at the first mention of an oft-repeated buzzword.

Even if I didn’t want to build ventures, I would have been a stronger digital citizen, able to relate better to how the world is evolving before me. I would have been able to fully participate in the intersection between technology and society. I would have known the truths of our new digital age.

Buzzwords hold a deceptive power—they are there because they hide profound truths in a way only the initiated can truly understand. They’re an annoyance because they are the easy way out, a mind-numbing and exclusive set of words that mean so much to so few, and so little to so many.

Inside them however, lie grains of truth I wish I had access to. They are the same grains I want to illuminate for you so that you can build the ventures of the future, and thrive in the new collaborative, digital economy.

In other words, learn from my mistakes. Learn the startup buzzwords: they matter.

I’ve spent the last year or so writing about startups, and their truths, at my personal publication code(love), on TechCrunch, The Next Web, and Techvibes, and VentureBeat. I’ve been doing it because I truly believe the buzzwords I missed can make a difference in the ventures of the future.

Here’s to hoping that you use them to build something beautiful that will last, and create impact. Here’s to hoping you can be the change you want to see in this world.

I’ll be building with you.

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