Learn Different Languages

The Different Kinds of Language

I want to start with clarifying that when I say “language” I don’t mean Spanish, French, or languages like that. When I say languages, I mean the dictionary definition of language:

lan·guage - the method of human communication consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way

Every industry has a language. As you learn more and more about a field you start to pick up new vocabulary. You start to put new words to novel ideas, and these words become a part of vernacular. You longer have to think about what they mean.

Programming is a concrete example to wrap your head around. Java, Python, and C are all different kinds of programming languages. And as you start to learn about programming you start to use terms like “variable, scope, memory, pointers.” Slowly, these words turn from abstract language to concrete ideas you use in your day-to-day work.

Every industry is like this.

The language of entrepreneurship involves terms like “minimal viable product, bootstrapping, lean.” The world of video games use “noob, gank, ladder.” The world of literature talks about “characterization, plot, style, tone.” I think you’re starting to get the point.

Learning about other industries and (more importantly) learning their language expands our perspective. Recognize this: the language we use is tied so closely to how we see the world. And so when we learn how to speak like a salesperson, or an investor, or a educator, or a researcher – we get to glimpse the world through their lens.

This empowers us as collaborators and allies when we pick up new work. We start to spend less time fumbling around, trying to figure out what other parties are saying, and more time working on the solutions we need to deliver.