I had another one of those conversations today. It’s a normal, everyday conversation with someone who knows me and who has known me for at least a couple of years. More than just a casual acquaintance but someone who is in my home for a meal. A real world friend.
We’re talking. And talking. And talking. And suddenly, I am in over my head in a technical conversation. Full stop! Um, remember here, I’m just buzzword compliant.
Buzzword compliant is my code to my technical friends — of whom I have plenty. It is usually accompanied by a semi-frenzied wave of my hand over my head. Help! I suddenly have no idea what you are talking about — please explain.
I spent more than 20 years working in High Tech Public Relations and marketing. I’ve worked with some of the geekiest stuff there is. I’ve spent years of my life turning tech talk into every day conversation. I can often hold my own with CTOs and VPs of technology — for a limited period of time. Then the talk turns to something where I would need actual true knowledge and, I’m gone.
I used to say/think that my buzzword-compliant status was a bit of an embarrassment. I compared my status to that of a parrot, simply repeated what I had heard or I may have hesitated in making my status clear. (Apologies right now to anyone I fooled, however unintentionally.) Then I went through a period where I didn’t give myself enough credit for the knowledge I had accumulated over the years. I know people who went to school who probably hadn’t spent as much time learning about the technology as I had — albeit in a more formal setting.
Right now, I feel like I strike a good balance — admitting that I am “just” in marketing but able to hold up my end of a conversation, especially when it happens to touch upon an area I’ve worked in or “studied.” Fortunately, I’ve had such a wide range of employers and clients — everything from application development tools to enterprise applications to networking tools to social media — that I feel very much at home with the technology that is all around us today.