The Glossary

Silicon Valley is a culture and language all of its own. That means you will hear plenty of industry lingo and terms you may not be familiar with. This glossary should help you get a better idea of what is going on.

Maker Space: An environment customized for creation with the necessary physical and conceptual tools available to design and build new products.

Incubators: Environments equipped with the necessary physical and conceptual tools to take early-stage creations and build them into large, thriving industrial competitors. These entities are for later-stage ventures than Maker Spaces.

Design Studio: A workplace for designers and entrepreneurs to collaborate in thinking up, developing, and growing new processes or products, typically marked by informality and encouragement of creative confidence.

Entrepreneurship: The process of starting a business or related organization, including concept development, business modeling, resource generation, and more.

Innovation: The creation of new methods, ideas, products, concepts, and more.

Design Thinking: A formal method for creative problem solving based around empathetic questioning to examine parameters, alternative solutions, and varied prototypes.

Ideation: In-depth brainstorming; idea generation and formation.

Innovation ecosystem: The large and diverse set of individuals, organizations, and resources that comprise and enable continued innovation.

Pitch: A concise, directed presentation of concept before potential collaborators or supporters.

Innovation Life Cycle: New products and services tend to follow similar trajectories, with a gradual early growth, followed by a more rapid acceleration as widespread adoption grows, and finally with a slowing as the product or service becomes antiquated. Entrepreneurs must continue to innovate past this final slowing to avoid obsolescence.

Creative Confidence: A certainty in capability that enables individuals to tap their inner imagination.

Business Execution: Completing necessary tasks and responsibilities to specific standards within certain timeframes.

Sand Hill Road: A road in Menlo Park, California known for its high concentration of venture capital companies. The road also forms the western boundary to the Stanford University campus.

Sharks: Silicon Valley professionals, such as venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, who will provide directed feedback on product development and the future viability of a business.

Workshop: An opportunity to engage in intense discussion and dynamic activities on subjects related to entrepreneurship.

Lean Startup Modeling: A business strategy that strives to eliminate waste in product and processes while discovering and addressing customer needs.

Napkin-to-Prototype: Moving from the idea stage to product development, beginning with the simplest sketches to illustrate essential elements of the concept.

Venture Capital: Financial resources invested in a project in which there is a substantial element of risk, often because the business receiving the resources is new or rapidly expanding.

The Idea: These individuals bring creative thoughts and big ideas to companies, providing an inciting moment for a startup or an opportunity for a change of direction for more established organizations.

The Doer: Starting a company requires immense effort; these individuals thrive in the execution of ideas and the development of a business.

Start-up Culture: A workplace environment that values creative problem solving, open communication, and a flat hierarchy.

Tech Giants: Large, established companies that dominate Silicon Valley (Google, Facebook, and Apple, just to name a few) began as startups and still claim a portion of the startup culture, but simultaneously maintain multi-billion-dollar profit margins that put them at odds with the gritty deterministic view of many other firms in the area. The Hasso Plattner School of Design is a hub for innovators at Stanford, drawing together students and faculty from across almost all academic disciplines to confront the world’s messiest problems through creativity, analysis, and collaboration.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP): At the core of any startup is a hypothesis about big problems that many people face and a means of solving that problem.  The MVP is the easiest way to test these hypotheses, as the simplest way to show your ideas to potential customers and learn as much as possible from them at that time.