Commerce Language Learning Newsletter Value Work


Earthday, NYC, April 22nd 1970
Commerce Language Learning Newsletter Value Work

On The Frontline.

The Frontline Might Be Different.
But It Is Still A Frontline.

Garbage Language

We need to stop it.

“We’re waiting on specs for the San Francisco installation. Can you parallel-path two versions?”

Good grief … I think Molly Young is channelling me.

… at the very bottom, customer service. Which, by the way, has been rechristened “customer support” or “customer experience” at most companies — as though the word service might remind the college graduates recruited for these roles that they will in fact spend their days pacifying irritable consumers over phone, chat, text, and email. 

As you know – Language is one of the People First pillars.

I have no reason to write more on this article – it only becomes a block to you reading it yourself.

Language People First

What Is A Gig?

As I was publishing this post from John Maloney, I thought I would look up the word gig … it makes for an interesting read.

Language Work

The Gig Is Up

Counting both noun and verb forms, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) lists and defines thirteen separate ‘gigs’. 

‘A flighty, giddy girl’ was where it all started and then ‘spin’, ‘whirl’, ‘whirligig’, ‘fool’, giggle and ‘joke’ are all in one way or associated with the word. Even when you get up to the 18th century where it meant ‘light one-horse carriage’, its origin might be ..

perhaps based on the ‘bouncing, whirling’ sense of the earlier ‘gig’.

Language Newsletter

Rewriting History

Guernica – Picasso – 1937

Did John Lyndon Hate The Floyd?

Is Pink Floyd a punk band?

Are people really surprised when Roger Waters delivers protest?

Why is the film not Called ‘Us and Them’?

All this and more in this week’s newsletter.

Read More

Friends Don’t Let Friends Write Content

I have had versions of this article on a number of different blogs and publications for years. The time has come to formalize it, since content, its ownership and how we think about it, is central to the principles of People First.

“Why is it so difficult to find a freelance writing gig?

A recent question from someone in one of my many groups …

My reply …

Because the people who pay for writing have no clue of the value, which is why they call it ‘content’ which we know has no value and is homogenous ‘filler’ that can be swapped out at a moments notice.

My Content Rule …

Don’t Call It Content

…. book, novel, short story, article, white paper, promotional piece, advert, painting, sculpture, song, opera, photograph, image, graphic art, poster, fine art … anything … anything but ‘content’.

If you want a general catchall phrase, how about material? It’s the words that creative used to use – it meant something. Stood for something. It had value.

Our work, soul, passion and beliefs need to be respected and treated with dignity. Calling it content does nothing like that.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


Because as long as ‘we the creators’ fall into the trap of using low cost, homogenous, non-descript words like ‘content’ to describe our work, our soul, our passion, our beliefs then our work will continue to be viewed as ’free – to – cheap – to – low – cost’, as ‘homogenized, non differentiated, interchangeable fodder’. Moreover, we then only have ourselves to blame and the resultant payment for your art, your thinking, your ideas, will continue to race to the bottom.

It is not in the interests of any creator to allow that, so why allow their interests to define how we think?

Content is a horrible, generic, cheap, ‘anything will do’ kind of word. Which is why ‘content’ has no value. It is also important to know that it is in the best interests of the buyers of our sweat, labour, thought and time to keep their price down. But our costs are not kept down. So our net earnings suffer. And they are suffering badly.

And it has to start with you – the creator, because it isn’t in the interests of buyers to change their behaviour and vocabulary – ‘they’ want great work at no cost.

From a while back now – but well worth repeating ….

It’s the amateurs who make it tough for the professionals

Harlan Ellison

I wonder if that is how this kind of thinking comes about? As I wrote when I first saw this …

For all those of us attempting to get paid for value by people who wouldn’t get value if it smacked them between the eyes.

John Philpin

Content is a horrible, generic, cheap, ‘anything will do’ kind of word. Which is why ’content’ has no value.

“I draw and paint on paper using pen, ink, and watercolor. I then scan and publish my work on this web site. People then visit and read this graphic novel, or if you prefer, webcomic. Occasionally, I write a blog post like this one. There is art and there is commentary, but there is no content and there are certainly no consumers.”

Don Macdonald – August 24th, 2011

All Creators Should

STOP using THEIR words
to describe
OUR work. OUR soul. OUR passion. OUR beliefs.


START using OUR words
to describe
OUR work. OUR soul. OUR passion. OUR beliefs.

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… a building block of Language, one of the Tenets of People First. We are developing and sharing a new vocabulary that continues to evolve in the course of conversation between People First, its customers, partners and members..

We use this vocabulary to shift the topics and change the conversation about how we put People First in the work we do and the way we live.

The Future of Work The Present Of Work
Work Life Balance Pay Purpose Play
Gig Economy Portfolio Lifestyle
Customer Experience Employee Experience
Talent Acquisition Working with People
B2B Me2B
Competition Cooperation
Me Us
Exclusive Inclusive
Hierarchical Networked
Tightly Managed Loosely Coupled
Winner Takes All Winner Contributes
Tomorrow Today
Continual Change Continuous Change
Corporations People

Language Newsletter

Corporate Speak

Those same organizations that use phrases like; ‘Share of Wallet’, ‘Attacking and Targeting a Market’ (that’s you and me folks) and breaking down those ‘Adoption Barriers’ are exactly the same organizations that say things like ‘Your Passion Is Our Satisfaction‘, ‘Pleasing People Is Our Motto‘ and ‘A Customer Is Always Right‘.

Which language do you believe reflects the true nature of the corporation?

Me? I think what is said behind closed doors more often reflects the truth. What is broadcast in public is what they think we want to hear. It’s politics, not business, but isn’t that what happened to Mitt Romney?

This weeks newsletter explores corporate language and asks why have people just blindly adopted it without question? It doesn’t serve us – only the coorporation.

Read the whole thing here.