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YHABFT: The Danger of Insider Euphemisms: “Shooting the Puppy” Edition

1 Aug 2015, 04:07 UTC
YHABFT: The Danger of Insider Euphemisms: “Shooting the Puppy” Edition
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

I’ve noticed that business people and engineers tend to use a lot of jargon and insider euphemisms in their conversations, sometimes with rather humorous results. I had a recent example occur that was to funny not to share (but too long for Twitter).
Back at the end of 2011, my startup hit a really bad dry spell with no contracts for about 6 months, and we were really close to running completely out of money. I went to ask a local space entrepreneur for some advice, and he he used the analogy of “shooting the puppy,” to metaphorically describe the painful decision of whether it would be more prudent to shut a company down intentionally and mercifully rather than letting it die slowly and painfully. Fortunately, we decided not to “shoot the puppy” in this case, and a few months later landed two contracts with the DARPA Phoenix program. Ever since then though, we started using the phrase “shoot the puppy” as a euphemism for making a tough business decision to end some project we were emotionally attached to.
Which brings me to the humorous situation. I was recently talking on the phone with a colleague who was flying back ...

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