From another perspective
I visited my favorite yarn shop last week, and met there a heartwarming father of a 7-year old girl. During his lunch hour he had rushed to yarn shop and wanted to buy “some sticks that have hooks in the ends”, and also some “girly looking yarn material with changing colours”. He didn’t know what exactly he is buying, what they are called, or how many he will need.
It was easy for me to empathize with the man. The knitting terms I know, but working with unknown terms and concepts is everyday job for me. I have marketing background, I am creative and visual humanist. I have no technical nor it-related education, none. And I work in an IT-company, which is specialized in 3D visualization, gesture recognition and API management.
Why do I work in IT-company, one might ask? Imagine that 75 -year old auntie that you have, the one who don’t use computer at all and makes the best buns and Karelian stews. Try to explain these things to her. Too difficult. But it’s not only the grannies, but the majority of people. My nerdish colleagues seem to think they are normal people with their coffee table discussions about DevOps, OAuth, OpenID, UMA, MFA, IoT etc. I don’t see it that way, because most of us have no clue about these terms and where they are needed. Still in many cases we are the end users of the services or products which increasing digitalization will bring. In many companies or municipalities there are “normal” non-tech people on the buying side, the Head of Finance is ordering new Project Management Platform using API’s. He don’t know all the IT-terms, so you should not speak with only those terms. Don’t scare your possible customers with mouthful of scary abbreviations. You just make them feel stupid. Instead, explain in plain language.
3D visualization I explain by comparing it to normal movies versus 3D movies, works well. Gesture recognition is the things that Tom Cruise does in the Minority Report. Explaining API management is tougher, took me a long awhile to understand API’s. But usually my explanation includes developer, who is writing an app where he gets bus timetables from municipality. You know, right?