Silicon Valley, located in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, has earned a global reputation as the epicenter of technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and startup culture. Beyond its physical boundaries, Silicon Valley has become synonymous with a unique language and set of phrases that encapsulate the spirit and mindset of its inhabitants. Let’s delve deeper into each phrase commonly used there.

Disruptive technology

This phrase refers to groundbreaking innovations that shake up traditional industries by introducing new ways of doing things. Disruptive technologies often challenge established norms and create significant shifts in markets and consumer behavior.

Netflix is a classic example of disruptive innovation that used a new business model and technology to disrupt an existing market. 


In the startup world, a unicorn is a company that reaches a valuation of $1 billion or more. These companies are often seen as rare and exceptional due to their rapid growth and potential for high returns. Some popular unicorns include SpaceX, Robinhood, and Instacart.

Founder 1: I’m now the proud CEO of a Unicorn after our latest Series D

Founder 2: Ugh, Unicorns are so 2012. It’s all about the Decacorns now.

Agile methodology

Agile methodology is an iterative approach to project management and software development. It emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and adaptive planning, allowing teams to respond to changes and deliver products in incremental stages.

Undoubtedly, Agile project management is a highly popular software building methodology, with at least 71% of U.S. companies using it today. 


Startups often need to adapt and change their direction based on market feedback or shifts in the industry. A pivot refers to a strategic change in a startup’s business model, product, or target market to better align with customer needs and market opportunities. It allows the company to improve its chances of success or find a more viable path forward.

We started out by building a SoLoMo network for hermits. We’ve now pivoted to becoming the Uber of door-to-door encyclopedia sales.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

The minimum viable product is the most basic version of a product that can be released to the market while still providing value to early users. It contains only the core features necessary to test the product’s viability and gather user feedback. The goal of an MVP is to validate assumptions, learn from real-world usage, and iterate based on user insights.

Founder: “We’re going to validate the market with our MVP.”

Engineer: “Sweet!” 


Scaling refers to the process of rapidly expanding a business, typically driven by increasing user adoption, revenue, and market presence. Scaling often involves optimizing operations, infrastructure, and resources to accommodate growth.

Silicon Valley might have set the standard for scaling to success, but that doesn’t mean its model is limited to companies in the tech industry.

Elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is a concise and compelling summary of a business idea or product that can be delivered in the time it takes to ride an elevator. It aims to captivate and engage the listener, often used in networking or investor pitch scenarios.

Ron spent 10 months preparing his 10 second elevator pitch. He did everything he could to get it right.


An unconference is a participant-driven event where the agenda and topics are determined by the attendees. It fosters open discussions, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing among like-minded individuals without the formal structure of a traditional conference.

Typically at an unconference, the agenda is created by the attendees at the beginning of the meeting. Anyone who wants to initiate a discussion on a topic can claim a time and a space. 


Bootstrapping refers to the practice of starting and growing a business with minimal external funding or resources. Entrepreneurs who bootstrap their ventures rely on personal savings, revenue generated from early sales, or other creative means to fund their operations and avoid excessive debt or dilution of ownership.

I don’t need VC money, I have decided to bootstrap it myself. Yeah!

Serial entrepreneur

A serial entrepreneur is an individual who starts and runs multiple businesses, typically in succession. They have a track record of launching and scaling ventures, often leveraging their experience, skills, and network. Serial entrepreneurs are known for their ability to identify opportunities, execute ideas, and navigate the challenges of building new businesses.

One of the most famous serial entrepreneurs is Elon Musk, an early investor in PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, and the Boring Company.

Find more of such jargon in Silicon Valley Dictionary

These phrases reflect the unique language and culture of Silicon Valley, which is known for its entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, and disruptive technologies that shape industries worldwide.