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There’s a Silicon Valley Dictionary For Anyone Confused By the Language of Startup Bros

silicon valley

Silicon Valley, the Mecca of startups, might as well be a different country for how unique the culture is from the rest of America.

It’s almost too easy to generalize Silicon Valley-ers as quinoa-loving, eco-friendly snobs who drive Teslas or ride bikes from their early morning yoga sessions to work at the Googleplex or whatever spaceship-themed tech-company headquarters they belong to.

The area practically has its own language filled with peculiar idioms that only programmers, engineers and investors immersed in the startup world would know.

Fortunately for the rest of us, entrepreneurs and engineers Kilim Choi, Mathew Hui and Zeeshan Javed created the website Silicon Valley Dictionary — basically the Urban Dictionary of startup land. Unsurprisingly, their idea was concieved while watching the HBO television show “Silicon Valley.” Choi wrote on Product Hunt:

“The other day while watching the ‘Silicon Valley’ TV show, my friend Matt thought that it would be hilarious and educational to create a website like urban dictionary for all the lingos from the show. So we created one. Hope you enjoy it, feel free to add some words on the website and let us know what you think!”

Here are 10 of the hottest phrases on Silicon Valley Dictionary to give you an idea of what people in Silicon Valley are actually talking about.

1. Non-technical Cofounder

“A Wharton MBA who will overestimate the value of his idea and underestimate the value of the person who will implement it. Often wonders why his technical cofounders leave him and the apps they build look like shit and get hacked all the time.

Non-technical Cofounder: Why do all these technical cofounders leave me? Did they not see the MBA from Wharton in my email? I’m telling you right now, I know how to write a business plan. I even offered the last guy 10% of my company.”

2. Waterloo

“A mythical University in Canada where many good Engineers and Computer Scientists come from.

Sam: ‘Where are all these Canadians from?’

Matthew: ‘We hired 10 interns and 20 full-times from Waterloo. They get shit done because if we don’t hire them, they’ll have to work for Blackberry.’ “

3. Early Employee

“A founder who will take 1% of the company instead of 25%. This is a polite way of saying ‘sucker.’

CEO: ‘We couldn’t have done it without a few great early employees.’ “

4. Engineer Unicorn

“An engineer that is competent, good looking, dresses well and is not socially awkward.

John: ‘How come no other engineers are like David.’

Mary: ‘He’s an engineer unicorn. They are rare.’ “

5. Fuck You Money

“When you make enough money from a startup or job that you can basically do whatever you want. Usually from equity after a liquidity event.

Engineering manager: ‘Congrats on the IPO everybody. See you guys on Monday.’

Engineer: ‘I’m not sure about that.’

Manager: ‘You think you can do whatever you want now you have that fuck you money?’

Engineer: ‘Sorry sir. I just got a little excited.’ “

6. Janitor at startup

“The title an asshole CEO (generally a sole founder) puts on their Linkedin title to show they have the ability to fire anybody.

Random dude: ‘Where do you work?’

Albert: ‘I am at the greatest game company around called BigVikingGames .’

Random dude: ‘Cool, what do you do there?’

Albert: ‘I am the janitor, I just take out the trash!’ 


Random dude: ‘Cool story bro.’ “

7. The Steve Jobs Diet

“A dietary regimen containing mostly fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables and grains with a higher to average ratio of apples and carrots. Absolutely no animal products.

‘I decided to go on the Steve Jobs Diet because Steve is my icon. That’s why there are only apples and carrots in the house.’ “

8. Three Commas Club

“Three commas implies a billion dollars as $1,000,000,000 has 3 commas.

Richard’s literalness remains the one thing to rattle Russ. ‘You know what has three commas in it, Richard?’ ‘A sentence with two appositive phrases in it?’ “

9. Man Jose

“Man Jose refers to the city of San Jose, located within Silicon Valley, which contains a large number of male Software Engineers.

Sam: ‘Why can’t I find a nice girl to go out with?’

Mark: ‘What did you expect? You live in Man Jose.’ “

10. I Want Advice

“What startup founders will tell VCs when they really want funding but don’t want to ask directly because they think they will be shot down right away.

John: ‘Hey Marc Andreessen. We have this new app that’s like Vine except the videos are 10 seconds long because we think that’s more optimal. I would like some advice.’

Marc: ‘Do you really want advice or are you just here for funding? I prefer when people are direct.’

John: ‘Sorry we really just wanted funding.’

Marc: ‘No.’ “

h/t: Business Insider

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