I bought a giant button, like those of the quizzes, to be played for any unnecessary anglicism. Funny for those who started a company called “TSW – The Sixth W” … or maybe not?
A few days ago, during a meeting with a client, I was caught red-handed.
I was talking about how we are trying, internally, to simplify a language often abused by those who work in the digital world and who borrow words from English, distorting them in form and changing their meaning. Paradoxical if we think that the Italian equivalent often has the power to convey very precious concepts much better.
Let me give you an example: how many times in presentations have you heard of “target”? Is this what you think your customers are, a target to shoot at? Why not talk about “persons of interest” or better still “potentially interested persons”? They are not targets but human beings and they interest us because we really want to understand who they are and take care of the experiences they could have with us, through products and services that we can better re-design, together.
Potentially interested people. Isn’t that a whole other thing? And there are so many examples I could give. A colleague repeated like a mantra “fewer post-its, more places. Less personas, more people ” and never before seems to me a prayer to be invoked together with a loud voice. Amen!
Post-its are not needed if there are no places to welcome companies and people and put them back in direct communication, listening to each other; we don’t need personas, not very credible and completely fake prototypes, because we can involve real people.
Let’s drop the masks, let’s simplify, let’s go back to the essence. “If you can’t explain it in a simple way, you don’t understand it well enough”, said Albert Einstein. So let’s make an effort to understand better, to get the point and transfer it as it is, without frills.
So where was my mistake, during that meeting? At the base probably: TSW – The Sixth W.
An acronym, three English words. Think for a while, the pot calling the kettle black. But I want to explain it to anyone who will be here reading these lines and to anyone who will catch me red-handed again (because it will happen again, it is inevitable): yes, I am eradicating useless Englishisms and yes, the name of the company I founded 25 years ago is a acronym that over time has found its true meaning and that today stands for three English words that are actually one, the sixth W, our “WITH”. A new W that we have taken the license to add to the well-known concept of the five Ws of journalism.
We chose this name because we believe in the value of doing things “together”, sitting around the table with companies and their customers to try to mediate a reconnection. We chose it in English – but without crippling or changing its meaning – because we believe so much in this project that we want to bring it into the world, making it known in its essence using a language that as many people as possible can understand.
Therefore, if you hear me banish Englishisms (I even bought a giant button, like those in quizzes, to be played in the office for every word that could have transferred greater value in Italian) and if you think – rightly, I add – that I am the first to I took the bite of the apple, well you will be right. But now you know why.