About this project
Update (3/4/2016) - Our Kickstarter has come to an end, and we want to send a huge THANK YOU to all of the supporters of Valley Speak!
Valley Speak: Deciphering the Jargon of Silicon Valley is available for pre-order now at this link, and will be published in May 2016.
Please check this Kickstarter page, as well as our website, for further updates about the project!
We’re self-publishing a book called Valley Speak: Deciphering the Jargon of Silicon Valley.
Silicon Valley has a lingo of its own -- from unicorns to pivoting to growth hacking -- that while colorful can also be rather opaque. Our goal is to produce the definitive guide to the unique words used in the Bay Area startup scene, helping everyone from people who want to do business here to those who just want to watch HBO's Silicon Valley without being confused. The book will offer the most comprehensive collection of Silicon Valley vocabulary and their definitions ever created -- designed to be thorough and accurate while including a touch of humor (because face it, the way people talk in Silicon Valley can often be a bit ridiculous!)
Here's some of the things that people have to say about how people talk in Silicon Valley...
We can't make Silicon Valley's way of talking any less annoying, but our book will make it easier to understand!
When we first moved to Silicon Valley, the local vocabulary stumped us. Rochelle is fluent in Japanese, but found many of the phrases overheard in Silicon Valley to be more confusing than learning Japanese! Learning "The Language of Geeks" is not only fascinating, but also important for anyone who wants to become part of the start-up culture.
On a wider scale, people around the world are interested in Silicon Valley more than they ever have been. Valley Speak was written for people who'd like to integrate themselves into the world of Silicon Valley, better understand startup culture, or are interested in how some of business' most notorious jargon came to be.
If you’ve wanted a way to break into the exciting conversation that is happening here in Silicon Valley, this book is for you. Or if you’re already in Silicon Valley, you may become frustrated when your colleagues in other places just don’t “get” how things are done here and wish you had a handy primer to give them. You may be familiar with some of the terms, but wish that you had a deeper understanding, so that you could use them with more confidence. Valley Speak features the top 100 Silicon Valley words and phrases and will help anyone navigate the Silicon Valley ecosystem like a pro. You can see a complete list of all the words that are covered in the book here.
In choosing the words for Valley Speak, we tried to strike a balance among the basic vocabulary fundamental to the startup scene, words related to the arcane details of venture capital financing, terms related to the emerging hot technologies coming out of the Valley, words that describe the new ways of doing business that are emerging from the Valley, and the trendy and sometimes funny lingo that people here constantly seem to be coming up with.
The words in the book fall into these categories:
- The Players
- How Funding Happens
- HR and Work Culture
We’ve included words that you’ll need to know if you’re a founder looking to get funded, a programmer wanting to better understand your Silicon Valley peers, a marketer who wants to use the latest trendy turn of phrase, a job seeker who wants to be seen as in-the-know, or anyone who doesn’t want to feel left out of the scene.
For example, one chapter sure to be of interest to would-be founders describes the intricate ins- and-outs of equity vesting, including what a vesting cliff is and the difference between single trigger acceleration and double trigger acceleration.
Other chapters aim to clearly define words that are used constantly in Silicon Valley, and people might not understand as well as they think they do, such as platform, thought leader, vertical and growth hacking.
More technical chapters discuss the science behind new frontiers in technology like IoT, semantic search, The Singularity, brain-computer interfaces and synthetic biology.
We also cover terms so overused in Silicon Valley that they have become clichés, like unicorn, disrupt, pivot, and fail fast. And just for fun we included words that capture the cultural zeitgeist here, like brogrammer, rockstar, and Bulletproof Coffee.
This book isn’t just a list of terms – we provide in-depth definitions building on our technical, business, and linguistic perspectives. We've also pulled quotes from hundreds of notable sources to give credibility and context to our definitions---everyone from Elon Musk to Tim Cook.
We're excited to say that we already have a working draft of Valley Speak: Deciphering the Jargon of Silicon Valley. After many months of brainstorming, research, writing, and editing, we're currently finalizing the text and design of the book.
We anticipate that copies will be available to order (and sent as Kickstarter rewards) by April 2016.
We've decided to self-publish this project because we want to be in control of the process of producing and marketing the book. The self-publishing landscape allows creators to make their own decisions regarding their work, which is something we feel strongly about. We're also excited to connect with people who are interested in this subject matter through this project, and crowdfunding allows us to connect with our would-be audience on a more personal level.
Valley Speak: Deciphering the Jargon of Silicon Valley is being written by a married couple, Rochelle Kopp and Steven Ganz. Rochelle comes from a language, culture and business background, and Steven from a technical and business one--the perfect combination of experiences to write this book!
- Management consultant with an MBA from U. Chicago and BA from Yale
- Word geek (she’s fluent in Japanese and a mean Scrabble player)
- Wrote a book to help Japanese do business in Silicon Valley
- Realized that Americans also need help with the vocabulary here!
- Linkedin Profile
- Startup founder
- PhD in Computer Science (programming languages) from Indiana U.
- Business and engineering degrees from Wharton and U. Penn Engineering
- Broad knowledge of tech and the startup scene–and very picky about words!
- Linkedin Profile
Money raised on Kickstarter will be used to cover the book's final design costs, marketing campaign, and to print copies of the book. Our fundraising goal is $4,000, which will to help cover those costs.
We plan to use Amazon's CreateSpace service for the initial creation of Valley Speak, because of their strong reputation. Before we begin printing copies of the book, we'll need to complete the following pieces of our self-publishing puzzle:
- Professional Editing
- Book Illustration/Final Cover Design
- Marketing (including additional Kickstarter reward costs)
We need your help to get this project off the ground! There are lots of ways you can help make Valley Speak happen, here are a few:
- Spread the word! Please follow our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages and share them (and the link to this Kickstarter) with your friends!
- Donate! We've created some really fun rewards for supporters of this Kickstarter campaign. You can order your own copy of the book, along with other fun prizes like t-shirts, party tickets, and a downloadable Valley Speak Bingo game! We're even offering discounted versions of the book to "early adopters!"
Take a look at our list of rewards to the right, and thank you for your support of our project!
Just for fun! We created two quizzes (a beginner's version and an advanced version) to test your Silicon Valley Speak IQ. Head over to our website to take the quiz, and share your results with friends!
Risks and challenges
As with any self-publishing project, there may be delays in completing the final draft of the book. We will be working with a team of designers, and may have to make concessions for their schedules in illustration creation and formatting of the book.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
- (45 days)