Talking “TED Talks” and speaking “Geek Speaks”

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I am an avid fan of TED talks. I love them! Watching at least one TED talk has almost been a nightly ritual for me for quite some time. And, still I am on the proponent’s side of the recent debate that accuses TED talks for oversimplification. Most of the TED talks are the summaries of lifetime works. However, TED require the presenters to present those works in such a way (e.g use of layman terms) so that their works/achievements can be interpreted to a greater range of audience. There is no doubt about the good intention of TED, however more often than not many of the TED presenters’ talks consciously or unconsciously hide the true story of raw hardcore labor they put into their work. They mostly talk about what inspired them to start their journey (which typically starts by “when I was a child….”) and what keeps them motivated to pursue the journey amidst all sorts of difficulties and agonies.

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Then at the other extreme of this importance of motivation spectrum, some people say “Losers wait for motivation. Winners just get shit done.” Well, I don’t quite agree with this notion either for the obvious reasons. However, most of the TED speakers oversimplify their work using the words motivation and inspiration. Like, if only you are motivated enough you can get there. I don’t think so. What about facing this truth? I (or anyone for that matter) might not be just good enough! Talented enough! With all the good intention in the world, those TED presenters want to convince us “you can do it”! Thanks for your nice sacred intention of motivating me, but that’s a half-lie. Please don’t oversimplify! Certain goals might be attained just by sheer hard work but not always. Let’s accept it.

Now, let’s speak about “Geek Speaks”. People usually use the phrases Geek Speak or Jargon in a negative sense. However, often I see someone is being accused of using jargon when actually s/he is just using the right terminologies which may not be familiar to a mass audience but just an everyday-word for the people involved in that field! So the person who is giving the talk, just unconsciously use those words. Well, there are certain complicated phrases/terms that should be explained in layman terms (when addressing a non-expert mass audience) and recognizing those terms actually distinguish a good speaker from the average ones. But, at times some people (audience) don’t even try to exercise their brain to understand a complex issue and instead they put blame on the speaker/presenter saying s/he is using too many jargons. That’s unfair.

Admit it or not, jargon (or whatever you may call them) actually helps. Often people ask me for their daily-life IT related problems and in most of the cases I don’t really know any solution for them. But I just Googled those problems and in 90%+ cases the solutions appear on the first page of search result. So, why don’t those people just Google their own tech problems? Because they don’t know the right keywords!

By no means, I am against the concept of simplification. But I am just not sure if oversimplification always helps. I am not also saying that using technical terms with the sheer purpose of displaying your wisdom is something good. All I am saying is that, we should think twice and use our brain (or internet) before labeling something as jargon or geek speak.

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