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Valley Speak

By Rochelle Kopp and Steven Ganz

*A Book Review*

by Michael C. Gray

© 2016 by Michael C. Gray

Part of communicating with a marketplace or community is understanding the local jargon or language.

Rochelle Kopp and Steven Ganz originally developed a "lexicon" of the language of Silicon Valley for Japanese investors, and then published it for the general public. In the process, they have also illustrated the culture and history of the technology and venture capital industries in Silicon Valley.

My only objection to this book is the title. When I hear "Valley Speak," it brings to mind the language used by "Valley Girls" in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. ("Like, you know…" "Then I went (said) …") I wish the publisher used "Silicon Valley" in the title. I'm proud to live in Silicon Valley and don't think of myself as a "Valley person." This is an interesting faux pas for a book like this one.

The book is divided into sections, including "The Players," "Innovation," "Product Development," "Funding," "Technology Trends," "Marketing," "HR and Work Culture," and "Lifestyle."

The Silicon Valley tech scene is always evolving, so the authors should keep busy issuing updates of this book.

For example, how many of us heard of a "unicorn" until quite recently? (A unicorn is a startup whose valuation exceeds $1 billion. Now there are even "decacorns" worth more than $10 billion!)

Another example, "cloud computing" is the latest trend most of us are familiar with, where external servers allow users to upload data and export processing.

The text includes some history of how the terms developed and example sentences and quotes to see how they are used. Here's an example sentence from the book, "Cloud computing allows our employees around the world to share information reliably and in real time."

This is a practical guide, because we see these terms used in news stories all of the time. When you are puzzled about what people are talking about, it's great to have a reference to go to (besides Google).

I think Valley Speak should be required reading in Silicon Valley English classes.

Anyone writing business correspondence to Silicon Valley businesses would find Valley Speak to be a valuable desk reference.

Buy it on Amazon: Valley Speak: Deciphering the Jargon of Silicon Valley.

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Rochelle Kopp and Steven Ganz originally developed a lexicon of the language of Silicon Valley for Japanese investors, and then published it for the general public. This is that book.


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Michael Gray, CPA
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