27 Cliches, Geek Terms Banned From CompTIA AMM Stage: The Banned List 2.0

Vince Tinnirello

Chris Phillips

Before you take the stage at your next IT conference, consider this advice: Say less — especially if a few less words allow you to avoid some of the most annoying cliches and jargon in the IT market.

Not sure where to start — or stop? Consider this expanded list of banned cliches and geek terms, care of Anchor Network Solutions CEO Vince Tinnirello and CompTIA’s Chris Phillips. The original 1.0 list emerged at CompTIA Annual Member Meeting 2016. But some fresh (actually, stale) additions surfaced last week at CompTIA AMM 2017.

And just to clarify: CompTIA itself doesn’t develop or endorse the list. Instead, it remains a member-driven revolution. Here’s the upgrade lineup of banned terms so far — call it The Banned List 2.0:

  1. At the End of the Day
  2. Bandwidth — new for 2017
  3. Big Data
  4. Born in the Cloud
  5. Circle back — new for 2017
  6. Echo That
  7. Ecosystem
  8. Engage
  9. Holistic
  10. Game Changer — new for 2017
  11. Grass Roots
  12. Go-to-Market Strategy
  13. Low-hanging fruit — new for 2017
  14. Nail in the Coffin — new for 2017
  15. Paradigm Shift
  16. Pick Up Where You Left Off
  17. Piggy Back
  18. Ping Me — new for 2017
  19. Reach Out
  20. Single Pane of Glass — new for 2017
  21. Skin in the Game
  22. Sooner rather than later
  23. Strategic
  24. Traction
  25. Trusted Advisor
  26. Value Proposition
  27. Vis-a-vis

On the Waiting List for 2018:

  • Digital Business Transformation

The Original Manuscript, Circa 2016-2017

Here’s a look at the official scribe. Black ink reflects 2016 entries. Carefully inserted blue items represent 2017 entries. Handwriting analysis suggests Phillips’s fingerprints are all over the updates.


So what’s next? I don’t know if the list keepers plan a 2.5 rev for CompTIA ChannelCon 2017 in July-August, or if the next revision is scheduled for a 3.0 rev at CompTIA AMM 2018…




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    Erin Albertson:

    Not sure how you can speak to the future of technology without the mentions of big data or digital transformation. This is a silly exercise.

    AJ Singh:

    As much as people have been barred from using this term, i strongly believe that Single-pane-of-glass is indeed a highly sought after thing as companies integrate and partner and create unified solutions where customers can login and use SSO to see data from multiple platforms. In fact, Single-pane-of-glass is the reason why companies like Zapier are so successful. Talking from our product perspective, people LOVE seeing a single-portal that has their Antivirus, backup, remote control, windows events, Patching all under the same console. Full disclosure – we use this term all the time! 🙂

    Joe Panettieri:

    Hey Erin, AJ: I appreciate your thoughts. I wouldn’t take the list so literally. I think the bigger goal is to make sure speakers really organize their thoughts before they take the stage and repeat a term we’ve all heard ad nauseam. Gonna mention Single Pane of Glass? AJ’s approach — describing each component in the console — is a true fit rather than just a cliche thought. The point is: Back up your terminology with actual examples.

      AJ Singh:

      > Back up your terminology with actual examples


    Steve Alexander:

    Having been targeted many times by the Tinnirello list in peer groups as well as on stage I fully understand his frustration. We all frequently find ourselves at conference sessions where the “experts” are talking to us instead of with us. Don’t worry so much about the list and focus more on the message. The penalty for this fun list as that Vince does push ups. It’s fun and his message is that we need to communicate better. Personally, I’m in agreement.

      Joe Panettieri:

      Memo to self: Do not challenge Vince to a pushup contest.

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