Thursday, March 19, 2009


In business, buzzwords can arise from glib attempts to make the daily grind more exciting. Office workers who travel frequently for sales or consulting purposes are dubbed ‘road warriors.’ Corporate initiatives promise to ‘revolutionize’ the way a company operates. And new contacts are asked, “What are your coordinates?”

Coordinates are, of course, a mathematical concept—a set of magnitudes that indicate the specific position of a given point, line or plane. Yet these new business contacts are asking for nothing of the sort; they seek only e-mail addresses and phone numbers, neither of which are determined by coordinate-based systems.

Military organizations that operate in remote regions use coordinates to indicate positions; office workers in cities certainly do not need to, though perhaps they subconsciously aspire to such an exotic working life.

Nevertheless, the buzzword is ripe for unfortunate ambiguity. Private citizens are acquiring Global Positioning System (GPS) devices for use in their cars, while mobile phones and computing devices are being equipped with the same technology.

Soon, all of the glib office workers truly will have coordinates, indicating their precise location at all times. One can only hope, for their sake, they will not be so quick to share such information with every new acquaintance.

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