Frank Lingua, president and CEO of Dissembling Associates, is the nation's
leading purveyor of buzzwords, catch phrases and clichés for people too busy to
speak in plain English. Business Finance contributing editor Dan Danbom
interviewed Lingua in his NYC office.
Danbom: Is being a clichée expert a full-time job?
Lingua: Bottom line is I have a full plate 24/7.
Danbom: Is it hard to keep up with the seemingly endless supply of clichés that
spew from business?
Lingua: Some days, I don't have the bandwidth. It's like drinking from a fire
Danbom: So it's difficult?
Lingua: Harder than nailing Jell-O to the wall.
Danbom: Where do most clichés come from?
Lingua: Stakeholders push the envelope until it's outside the box.
Danbom: How do you track them once they've been coined?
Lingua: It's like herding cats.
Danbom: Can you predict whether a phrase is going to become a cliché?
Lingua: Yes. I skate to where the puck's going to be. Because if you aren't the
lead dog, you're not providing a customer-centric proactive solution.
Danbom: Give us a new buzzword that we'll be hearing ad nauseam.
Lingua: "Enronitis" could be a next-generation player.
Danbom: Do people understand your role as a cliché expert?
Lingua: No, they can't get their arms around that. But they aren't
Danbom: How do people know you're a cliché expert?
Lingua: I walk the walk and talk the talk.
Danbom: Did incomprehensibility come naturally to you?
Lingua: I wasn't wired that way, but it became mission-critical as I
strategically focused on my go-forward plan.
Danbom: What did you do to develop this talent?
Lingua: It's not rocket science. It's not brain surgery. When you drill down to
the granular level, it's just basic blocking and tackling.
Danbom: How do you know if you're successful in your work?
Lingua: At the end of the day, it's all about robust, world-class language
Danbom: How do you stay ahead of others in the buzzword industry?
Lingua: Net-net, my value proposition is based on maximizing synergies and
being first to market with a leveraged, value-added deliverable. That's the
opportunity space on a level playing field.
Danbom: Does everyone in business eventually devolve into the sort of
mindless drivel you spout?
Lingua: If you walk like a duck and talk like a duck, you're a duck. They all
drink the Kool-Aid.
Danbom: Do you read "Dilbert" in the newspaper?
Lingua: My knowledge base is deselective of fiber media.
Danbom: Does that mean "no"?
Danbom: DOES THAT MEAN "NO"?
Lingua: Let's take your issues offline.
Danbom: NO, WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE MY "ISSUES" OFFLINE.
Lingua: You have a result-driven mind-set that isn't a strategic fit with my
Danbom: I am not getting the answers that I need from you.
Lingua: Your call is very important to me.
Danbom: How can you live with yourself?
Lingua: I eat my own dog food. My vision is to monetize scalable supply chains.
Danbom: When are you going to quit this?
Lingua: I may eventually exit the business to pursue other career
Danbom: What is your advice to the up and coming generation.
Lingua: Take it and run with it.