Technobabble vs. The Box of Rocks Approach

Last week we were working with a prospective customer trying to help them understand what a SIP media server does, how it works and why it is such a differentiator for us competitively.  Being a team of engineers this is how the conversation ended up going internally…

Technobabble Mode:
The media server is a SIP RFC compliant media processing endpoint designed to provide dynamic DSP processing with configurable load balancing capabilities.  The MS is designed to provide low level audio processing without the burden of application layer configuration objects which are maintained in the IC application layers on the CIC server itself.  A bank of these NXM deployed audio hubs deployed across a customers WAN to provide fault tolerant RTP and SRTP processing provides a high level of resiliance.  Combined with a CaaS based architecture for DR the MTBF across the entire application suite can not be beaten.

Translated Mode:
The Media Server is a Toaster also known as a box of rocks that has great reliability and can be routed around during any type of maintenance or failure since they all do the same thing.

Did these statements say two different things?  Nope.  The only difference is that the latter statement says what you mean in English rather than in geek speak.  While it may seem ironic to a technical person the second point is actually far superior to the first.  As engineers we live and breath tech speak which when provided to the right audience can cut the time it takes to make a point by a significant amount.  However, with more and more business oriented users taking part in the decision making for advanced applications this model just doesn’t work. 

Unfortunately with so many new applications and appliances on the market the world of technobabble is only growing.  As these terms continue to expand it is becoming increasingly important for everyone in technology to take a step back, speak in clear terms and only revert to technical jargon if 1) you define the term while you say it or 2) you are 110% sure your entire audience understands what it means.  Without these rules constantly playing in your head you are setting yourself up for a situation where you may win over the engineers in the back of the room but completely alienate the business users who matter the most.  

Tom Fisher

I’m off to poke someone since they wrote on my wall after I commented on their tweet about the new iPhone 4’s lack of 4g mobile ultra broadband and multi-carrier transmission data transport rates.

Translation: I’m going to talk with someone about why the new iPhone isn’t as fast as some people want.