The No-Bullshit Startup Dictionary: A

I have an admission for you. I’m addicted to startup buzzwords.

Seriously addicted. Somebody once told me that I sounded like a corporate lorem ipsum generator. I wasn’t even surprised.

I don’t mean to do it—it’s just that startup buzzwords are so comfortable. Their familiar confines help mark me as being part of a very exclusive set of knowledge holders. They elevate me and put others down. They include those I want to talk with, and exclude those I don’t. A small part of me hates what I just said. A large part of me does it anyways.

To atone for my sins, I’ve decided to create a startup dictionary. No bullshit: a simple definition of the term, and an example. Next time you have to listen to me or anybody else who talks in buzzwords, you’ll at least be able to understand what we are talking about: and you should be part of the conversation.

If there’s anything I’m missing, please comment below.

Download / By James Tarbotton

Startup Dictionary with code(love)

Let’s start from the beginning:

The No-Bullshit Startup Dictionary: A

Tweet: The No-Bullshit Startup Dictionary by @Rogerh1991 #startups #tech

A/B Split Test: A random experiment where you test two variants of something against each other and see the results. Most often used to test variant A of a webpage and variant B to see which performs best, and gets more views and clicks. Example: See this case study by Optimizely.

Acquihire: When a larger company buys a smaller company just to acquire the people behind the smaller company. Example: Facebook’s acquisition of essentially failed New York startups, Hot Potato and for their employees.

Agile: Agile refers to agile software development. This means that instead of spending many years developing a web platform, many startups now release web platforms in a short time, then use live customer feedback to develop successive improvements on the first version.  Example: See this test first, develop later mentality in action.

AirBnB: A web platform that allows you to rent out somebody’s guest room for a night or two, and to loan out your spare space as well. Typically seen in explanations like “My company is the AirBnB for 3D Printing”. Example: Check out their website.

Alibaba: A web platform that is used as a trading platform for wholesalers around the world. Most often brought up because they are about to go public and raise lots of money. Example: Check out their website.

Ajax: Ajax is a set of techniques that allow a webpage to reload data from the server without you having to reload the page itself. Example: Gmail was one of the pioneers of this.

Angel: An angel investor is often one of the very first people to provide funding for a startup in return for shares in your startup. Example: Paul Buchheit is the creator of Gmail, and has active angel investments in about 40 startups.

AngelList: A web platform where angel investors connect with startup founders. Example: Check it out here.

Annual Recurring Revenue: Typically applied because a lot of startups work on a monthly subscription basis, annual recurring revenue is a prediction of how much revenue is locked in with subscribers that will pay every year. Example: How Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, views Annual Recurring Revenue for his subscription based business.

API: An application programming interface is a set of standards for how software should communicate with one another. Web APIs allow for the easy transfer of data from one platform to another. Example: Twitter’s API allows you to search through tweets.

Asynchronous I/O: A form of input/output in technology that allows for many processes to happen at the same time, rather than going through one process at a time. Can often allow webpages to load faster. Example: The modern web software platform Node.JS built on Javascript is based on this technology and concept, allowing for real-time applications to get new data without reloading.

AWS: Amazon Web Services is a popular hosting solution for many startups. They host their websites on servers owned by AWS, which charges a fee for the service. Example: Check out their website.

Watch out for the rest of the series covering the rest of the alphabet—join our mailing list!

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The author

Roger has worked in user acquisition and marketing roles at startups that have raised 200m+ in funding. He self-taught himself machine learning and data science in Python, and has an active interest in all sorts of technical fields. He's currently working on boosting personal cybersecurity (