ValleySpeak-front-middleBook Details

Valley Speak: Deciphering the Jargon of Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley has a lingo of its own — from unicorns to pivoting to growth hacking — that while colorful can also be rather opaque. This is the definitive guide to the unique words used in the Bay Area startup scene, helping everyone from people who want to do business here to those who just want to watch HBO’s Silicon Valley without being confused. It’s designed to be thorough and accurate while including a touch of humor (because face it, the way people talk in Silicon Valley can often be a bit ridiculous!)

If you’ve wanted a way to break into the exciting conversation that is happening in Silicon Valley, this book is for you. Or if you’re already in Silicon Valley, you may become frustrated when your colleagues in other places just don’t “get” how things are done here and wish you had a handy primer to give them. You may be familiar with some of the terms, but wish that you had a deeper understanding, so that you could use them with more confidence. Valley Speak features the top 100 Silicon Valley words and phrases and will help anyone navigate the Silicon Valley ecosystem like a pro.

  • Length: 250 pages
  • Language: English
  • Kindle: ISBN 978-0-9974364-2-6
  • CreateSpace Paperback: ISBN 978-1530376049
  • IngramSpark Paperback: ISBN 978-0-9974364-0-2
  • IngramSpark Hardback: ISBN 978-0-9974364-1-9
  • Publication Date: May 17, 2016

Interview Resources

Q&A with Rochelle Kopp & Steven Ganz
      • Why has Silicon Valley spawned a language all its own?

      Steven:  People create new words in Silicon Valley because there is a culture here that allows and even encourages people to try doing things differently, and you need to have words to describe what you are doing. People in Silicon Valley believe that they are creating a whole new way of doing business. So they create new terms

      • Who creates the new words in Silicon Valley?

      Rochelle: Sometimes new words are created on purpose, by consultants trying to be thought leaders, or companies that want to corner the market on the next big thing by naming it and grabbing the URL. Also there are a lot of smart, witty people here who say clever things that stick and that become part of the language.

      • How do the words used in Silicon Valley reflect the culture here?

      Steven: In Silicon Valley there’s a healthy dose of iconoclasm combined with idealism. That’s why people here want to “hack”, “disrupt”, and “break shit”. They want to surpass what’s been done before and create something far better. The casualness of the language also reflects the California environment, and the youth-centered culture here. The terms “fail fast” and “fail forward” reflect the risk-taking tendencies in Silicon Valley.

      • What terms do you think people need to learn first when they start doing business in Silicon Valley?

      Rochelle: If someone is trying to get a startup funded, they should definitely learn all the terms in our “Funding” section and know the difference between  a seed round and a down round. For the general person just moving here, as a start they need to know why a startup is not just another small business (that one tripped me up when I first got here).

      • Why do you think that so many people outside of Silicon Valley find the words used there so irritating?

      Steven: I don’t think anyone likes feeling left out, and a lot of Silicon Valley jargon feels like a kind of code or inside joke. It’s a feeling of, “What makes you so special that you can’t just talk like everyone else?” Also, the general irritation that many people have with the disruption and gentrification that result from the Valley’s innovation and the perceived arrogance of the Valley’s “tech bros” tends to spill over into their feelings about the way people talk here.

      • Why did you write this book in Japanese first?

      Rochelle: As part of my work as a consultant helping Japanese do business in the U.S., I write a lot of books in Japanese (28 so far). A friend in the Japanese publishing industry suggested that Japanese businesspeople coming to Silicon Valley could use a book that explained the unique vocabulary here.  I already gave a lot of those kinds of explanations as part of my consulting work. Then when we started doing the research for the book, we realized that no such book existed in English. So we thought, we need to publish this in English too!

About the Authors

Read more about Rochelle Kopp and Steven Ganz here.

Book Trailer

Praise for Valley Speak

“I wish I had written this book. With it you’ll be able to convince anyone that you’re a Silicon Valley insider.”

— Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist, Canva and former Chief Evangelist, Apple


“The speed with which technology created in Silicon Valley has changed the world is well known. The Valley’s unique and fast changing vocabulary should be equally well known and understood. This book makes it easy and fun for the reader to understand, catch up and hang on as Silicon Valley surges ahead.”

— William H. Draper III, General Partner, Draper Richards, and Author, The Startup Game


“If you’re new to Silicon Valley, get this book!”

— Jager McConnell, CEO, CrunchBase


“Kopp and Ganz have crafted a Rosetta Stone for all those entrepreneurs wanting to decipher the lexicon of Silicon Valley and increase their chances of getting their startup funded.”

— Jay Samit, serial entrepreneur and Author, Disrupt You!


“With Valley Speak, anybody can ‘fake it’ in Silicon Valley.”

— Dan “Fake Steve Jobs” Lyons


“As Silicon Valley has become, even more than in the past, the leading global center for technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, interest is exploding in how it works. Valley Speak provides a valuable and entertaining guide to the terminology, and ultimately to the thinking, that connects Silicon Valley’s players with each other, and increasingly with the world.”

— Sean Randolph, Senior Director, Bay Area Council Economic Institute


“Valley Speak finally brings some clarity (and a nice dose of humor!) to all the fancy jargon. Think of it as Webster’s dictionary for the Valley.”

— Jeremy Cotter, President,


“Valley Speak is a very timely book as I find myself explaining many of these terminologies to people that are not based in the valley. Rochelle and Steven not only provide a definition, but context, examples and quotes. A great read that can help you carry more meaningful conversations in Silicon Valley!”

— Anish Srivastava, Founder & CEO,


“Valley Speak is an invaluable read for all those new to the Silicon Valley world—I wish it had been around when I started MOVE Guides in London in 2011”

— Brynne Herbert, Founder & CEO, MOVE Guides

If you are interested in writing about Valley Speak: Deciphering the Jargon of Silicon Valley, please use this contact form to connect with our publicist, Meredith Stanton of Stanton Publicity. | 415-238-1010

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