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By PASCAL FINETTE

The Heretic is a free bi-weekly dispatch delivering insights into leadership in exponential times. For entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers. Raw, unfiltered and opinionated.

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Apr 7th, 2015

Language Is Powerful (Or: There Are No Fucking Unicorns)

People love to talk about unicorns in startup land these days — what they refer to is the rare breed of startup which breaks through the $1BN valuation mark.

The last time I looked there are no fucking unicorns in the world.

It’s a mythical creature — not something rare (like a white tiger or the cassowary). Which makes the whole comparison moot — unless what you want to say is: Startups which break through the $1BN valuation mark are mythical, non-existing creatures (which for some VCs and their portfolios might actually be true).

Point in case (other than me ranting on too much caffeine this morning): Be careful with your language. It’s a powerful tool which can, when used wrongly, make you and your ideas seem stupid. When describing your startup, product, service, team — avoid hyperbole, wrong comparisons, imagery which is unrelated but focus on facts and precise, clean language. Your message will come across much better if you use short, distinct and precise sentences instead of waxing on and on about unicorns… :)

As oftentimes in life: Less is more.


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