About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
Not Voodoo

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
Realizations in Biostatistics
ChemSpider Blog
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa

Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net

Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine

Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem

Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus

Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« The Cream Rises to the Top, But So Does the Pond Scum | Main | Dead Reagents, Dead Reactions »

June 20, 2012

BS Your Way Partway to The Top

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

If you're looking for the master list of business-speak cliches, look no further. That article has 89 of them, and if you can get to the end without shedding neurons from your frontal lobes, you're tougher than I am. (Note that the author of the piece recognizes this danger himself). It's a value-added, win-win paradigm shift, net-net, at the end of the day, sure to move the needle going forward. Dang. There go some of those neurons right now.

Comments (20) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. Will on June 20, 2012 9:56 AM writes...

speaking of, very recently a hedge-fund managing alum orchestrated the ouster of the president of U Virginia, citing the need for "strategic dynamicism" three times in an email that was inadervently sent to the wrong people

Permalink to Comment

2. Hap on June 20, 2012 10:03 AM writes...

I think someone's buzzword bingo generator has a lot of new phrases to choose from. Meetings should be much more fun now.

1: Apparently, his definition of "strategic dynamicism" was "having the students, faculty, and administration riot while the rest of the board tries to avoid getting burned at the stake". I hope that works out as well for him at his real job. Maybe Cuccinelli has friends elsewhere?

Permalink to Comment

3. Student on June 20, 2012 10:04 AM writes...

Reminds me of:

Apologies for the profanity, but this is an actual website.

Permalink to Comment

4. anon on June 20, 2012 10:48 AM writes...

This is one of our VP of research's favorites, among many. We're not allowed to say the word "hope".

46. Hope is not a strategy = I don’t have a strategy, but this makes it sound like I’m above people who also don’t have a strategy

Permalink to Comment

5. drug_hunter on June 20, 2012 11:36 AM writes...

This list is hysterical. The problem is that some of these are legitimate under the right circumstances, but we are all so used to idiots using them for bogus reasons that we have an allergic reaction.

"We need to do more due diligence" is a reasonable thing to say if your company is about to do something stupid and you think that you can prevent it by digging deeper.

Permalink to Comment

6. anon on June 20, 2012 11:38 AM writes...

i like the hope one, thats good. now ill stop using it :). i like the idiots that use 'data-driven' for everything. as if the rest of us would rather just guess at things blindly.

Permalink to Comment

7. Anonymous on June 20, 2012 11:44 AM writes...

@5 - This is why scientists seldom get promoted to high-level management positions anymore - I admit I also roll my eyes whenever I hear any of this stuff, which probably doesn't ingratiate me to MBA-types!

Permalink to Comment

8. MolecularGeek on June 20, 2012 12:07 PM writes...

as an aside, when I went to to find this, I also saw an opinion piece on whether pharma can fix its research labs. More grist for the mill on that ongoing conversation. Personally, I think that as long as the leadership in the labs doesn't know any of the 89 phrases given, then there may be the basis for guarded optimism.


Permalink to Comment

9. anon on June 20, 2012 12:11 PM writes...

No 6:

Another good one is "hypothesis driven", often used by our come-from-Pfizer director, as if the rest of us are just making random compounds.

Permalink to Comment

10. brian on June 20, 2012 12:13 PM writes...

I would include: "Let's talk about that offline" = that is a dumb question that you shouldn't have wasted everyone's time with in this meeting so let's not talk about it.

Permalink to Comment

11. Curious Wavefunction on June 20, 2012 12:38 PM writes...

It's weird how very general and otherwise common phrases like "keep your eyes on the ball" have been hijacked by management and turned into grotesque instruments of authority.

Permalink to Comment

12. SteveM on June 20, 2012 2:40 PM writes...

That list reminds me of the Bullshit Generators popular during the dot-com era:

Permalink to Comment

13. heretic on June 20, 2012 2:41 PM writes...

power points and buzz phrases
it doesnt get any better that that

Permalink to Comment

14. Anonymous on June 20, 2012 5:57 PM writes...

"Hope is not a planning tool."

This was my (excellent) manager's saying. It means that I better have plans for what happens if the reaction/tool/batch/etc doesn't go the way I think it should. Frankly there is nothing wrong with having back up plans. And Luck is not a planning tool either.

Permalink to Comment

15. Wil on June 20, 2012 6:56 PM writes...

My favorite, not on the list, was the one used by a former supervisor that went something like: You have to anticipate all the unexpected outcomes.

Permalink to Comment

16. Anonymous on June 20, 2012 7:43 PM writes...

One of my favorites for those "Sr management" sitting in the project meetings: " this is just my suggestion to the team. It is up to team's decision" = you better follow my instructions.... If it works, it is my idea. If it doesn't work, it is your fault...

Permalink to Comment

17. Anonymous on June 20, 2012 11:04 PM writes...

76. It’s a [Insert Company Name] killer = Did I get your attention yet with the Freddy Kreuger imagery associated with the company who’s currently eating our lunch?

90.Eating our lunch = ......

Permalink to Comment

18. Paperbagface on June 21, 2012 11:29 PM writes...

Strangely this is the exact language I heard from a lot of upper management all the time where I worked last. For some reason everyone thought these were the extra smart guys and kept promoting them

Permalink to Comment

19. Cellbio on June 22, 2012 8:58 AM writes...


That phrase, 'let's talk about that offline', also means, 'don't bother me with technical detail that undermines my ability to do a deal', or some such thing that enables business leaders to shut down a scientists who speaks honestly about 'deal killers'.

Permalink to Comment

20. twocents on June 25, 2012 5:11 AM writes...

My #1 favorite is, "FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION."

Permalink to Comment


Remember Me?


Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

The Last Post
The GSK Layoffs Continue, By Proxy
The Move is Nigh
Another Alzheimer's IPO
Cutbacks at C&E News
Sanofi Pays to Get Back Into Oncology
An Irresponsible Statement About Curing Cancer
Oliver Sacks on Turning Back to Chemistry