Legacy, Skin,and Other terms…


Legacy, Skin,and Other terms…

Have you ever experienced the phenomena of hearing a word or term in a certain context for seemingly the first time, and then running into it almost constantly for the next few days. I experienced this twice in one meeting I attended a couple of weeks ago.

The first term is "legacy" as in "legacy systems."  The idea is that companies that have been supplying systems in a market for a number of years have a lot of systems on line and running. These are "legacy systems."  A good thing you might say.

Well, maybe. However if someone comes in today and says that to sell in a market place your systems must meet a certain standard, does this mean you have to go back and "fix" all the "legacy systems" in your customer base. An example of this might be the Y2K debacle. Hardware and software companies were put in a position where they had to "fix" all the systems they had every shipped, or perhaps they would stop working on January 1, 2000. The problems with having a large legacy base."

New companies that don’t have a legacy base find themselves in an inviable position of supply systems that meet current "standards" without worrying about hundreds or perhaps thousands of systems already on line and running.

But I digress. My topic was words, phrases, or concepts that "appear" in your consciousness.

The second phrase that comes to mind is "Skin in the Game." I heard it first at the same meeting and then again and again over the next few days. According to "Answers.com" it was coined by Warren Buffet and it refers

to a
situation in which high-ranking insiders use their own money to buy
stock in the company they are running. Investopedia Says: The idea behind creating this situation is
to ensure that corporations are managed by like-minded individuals who
share a stake in the company.

The context where I first heard it was similar. If a company actually have its own funds involved in a project or situation, it has its "Skin in the game."

This idea of never hearing a term or phrase and then suddenly hearing it everywhere is strange but probably reasonable. If you hear an unfamiliar term and probably focus on it for the first time, you then pick it out of conversations you hear subsequently. For all you know, you had heard the term before but it never registered. In both the cases above, the terms noted were critical to my understanding of the discussion taking place. If I had heard the term before, I most likely had no bearing on the topic at hand so I just skipped over it. Who knows.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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