In a recent note Bill writes: I love your blog, but if you’re going to use TLAs (three letter acronyms), you need to spell out the first reference so the uneducated (like myself) know what you’re talking about. When you write about NOLs, us neophytes from Colorado think you’re talking about spending three days alone in the wilderness. 😉 He’s right. I sometimes forget how insular venture/finance/technology can be. In one of my very first ever business experiences – a training session at Morgan Stanley – I spent an hour listening to a Morgan associate (who happened to be the assignments associate from the group I was about to start working with) talk about the “Morgan way of doing DCF analysis” all the while thinking “I’m totally screwed. There are 100 people in this room and I’m the only one who has absolutely no clue what DCF stands for, let alone whatever subtlety he’s talking about that is the ‘Morgan way’.” (Turns out DCF stands for discounted cash flow analysis – something I have gotten intimately familiar with over the years).

Thanks for the reminder, Bill. If people don’t understand what we’re talking about we’re not really very effective. Good to keep in mind.

  • Back when I used to help engineering companies adopt technology (you wouldn’t think there was much call for that but there was…) we talked about adoption phases as TMA or Toy/Mirror/Art. It worked well as an acronym till someone pointed out that it also stood for Too Many Acronyms…

  • I highly recommend linking to Stands4 ( for TLA definitions. You can link directly to the specific definition you prefer (for example – DCF has 11 different definitions…)