What’s in a name?

that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

Naming things is hard. The English language is imprecise and often hazy. People can interpret things differently, meanings can change and confusion can reign.

I quite like this.

There is a growing backlash(?) against the words that pretty much define my career these days. I’m not sure what ‘digital’ and ‘transformation’ did to upset so many people but I imagine they are scared of stepping outside for fear of another lecture about why they just aren’t the right words.


I’ve been through this before. The words written about the meaning of open could fill the British Library. I understand it — it is important. It just isn’t that important. Not really.

See I know what I mean when I say it. If you are reading this you probably have an idea as well. They probably aren’t the same but I imagine there is some convergence.

I tend to use Tom’s definition of digital;

and I like how Jen Pahlka describes what Code for America do;

“..the user-centered, iterative, data-driven gospel.”

I think / look at those through the prism of the Product Management venn — users, business, technology. The needs and expectations of users, the ambitions and objectives of the business and the opportunities and challenges of technology.


All that rattles around my head when someone says ‘digital transformation’ but god knows I haven’t got time to spew all of that off each and every time the topic comes up. It is a shortcut — it is a lazy time saver but that is the world we live in. It is also a Shibboleth — its use in the right (or wrong) context lets you know who you are dealing with.

This is about how we talk with each other. It is the growing pains of a bunch of young professions trying to define a movement. Outside of our little world does anyone care?

People care that we should improve services to the level they expect — they don’t care how — as long as it doesn’t waste public money.

Hell most of my friends and family still think I fix PCs for a living.

So I’ll keep making Transformers/Decepticons jokes and continue to happily relate to being a ‘digital resident’.

Your mileage may vary.