It's a word that has made veteran science reporters roll their eyes for decades: "breakthrough."
And as the Wall Street Journal points out, the ultimate hype word pervades Silicon Valley today just as it has plagued medicine and other industries in years past. Columnist Lee Gomes cites IBM and Intel among the recent high-profile perpetrators, but "breakthroughs" can be found--or at least claimed--in all quarters of the industry.
So this holiday season, you might want to consider this stocking stuffer for your favorite PR agent: a thesaurus.
Blog community response:
"I'm always skeptical when it's used in a present tense. You can only really use the term in the past tense when something really did signal a breakthrough. Like the invention of solid state transistors. At the time, did they really realize how big it was? Maybe, but that's not always the case."
--eldavojohn, on Slashdot
"What executives around the world don't seem to understand is that consumers, whether retail or business, don't care what you're going to do for them in five or ten years. They care about what you're going to do for them today, and maybe tomorrow. So for all the talk of innovation, keep it to yourself. It does not impress anyone outside your company."
--Leadership and Business
"Most people who have received more than a couple of these press releases immediately learn to ignore such words. In some cases, it actually increases the skepticism towards those announcements."