My motto has always been, “if you can’t be informed at least sound informed.” Here are the buzzwords that I believe you can throw into your conversions this year to sound like you have your finger on the technology pulse.


Financial Technology and specifically bitcoin and the engine behind it, the blockchain, are still on the edges of the mainstream at the start of 2016. The blockchain is like a cool tool you see at Home Depot and want to buy but aren’t quite sure what you will use it for. But the core value, the ability to create secure transactions without a trusted third-party, will eventually be the key to a new class of startups in 2016.

Deep Learning

Data warehouse, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning—all out of vogue for 2016. Deep learning—the nexus of the aforementioned buzzwords—is getting more play to describe the process of intelligent, data-based decisions systems. Expect “Decisioning Engineer” to become a popular requiting plea in 2016.


Uber, Task Rabbit, Gigster and a bunch of other companies are enabling a new class of technology-enabled freelancing. The gigeconomy can be a game-changer in places, such as Pittsburgh, where traditional services focused only on a few markets. (Historically cabs in Pittsburgh were only interested in the airport-to-downtown hotel run.) I expect to see growing pains in the gigeconomy as some services crash as VC funds becoming tighter and as labor issues (like the class action suit against Uber in California) continue to shape the space.


The market seems to have gone right past the IoT and settle on wearable tech that focuses on health of the user. Bioinformatics has a sweet spot in that its value is backed by a number of scientific studies and, at least for now, it can exist without FDA approval.

Freemium 2.0

Have we forgotten our beloved Web 2.0? Well, you might be seeing the 2.0 moniker again in 2016. Freemium has been around since the dawn of BBSs but recent technology improvements and successes in the mobile space continue to push the freemium model to mainstream legitimacy. I expect to see some traditional businesses dip their toes into the freemium waters this year.

Is that all? What are the buzzwords that you expect to see more of in 2016?