All organizations and cultures develop their own idiosyncratic acronyms, abbreviations, lingo and metaphors. (Yes, there are probably a few similes and alliterations as well.) One need look no further than the social networks and Twitter to find a veriable cornucopia of such phrases and acronyms (e.g., LOL or OMG). The hacker community (the original one) also gifted us with the gems RTFM and UTSL.
I was once offered my first full time job in the software industry because I knew what JCL was needed to apply a PTF to BTAM. That's IBM speak for applying a software patch to telecommunications software. In this sense, Microsoft is not unique, for its worldwide employees have developed their own lexicon of metaphors and abbreviations, as well as appropriating others were useful. As a relative newcomer to the corporate world after twenty-five years in academia, several of these abbreviations, words and phrases immediately caught my ear.
Licking the Cookies
Not to be confused with the joy of double stuff Oreos or even licking the spoon, licking the cookies refers to claiming action or skill in an area but in a way that prevents anything from happening. It is intended to conjure an image of a cookie plate, where one licks the cookies then returns them to the plate, rendering them inedible by all. As the phrase suggests, you have not eaten the cookie (i.e., taken action) but you have prevented others from doing so either.
Cookie licking is endemic to any large organization or culture where multiple teams compete for credit and accomplishment. We have all seen this behavior in our organizations and occasionally been guilty of it ourselves. This is one of the more pernicious forms of non-collaborative, non-team play.
After understanding the phrase, I realized that subtle and not so subtle forms of cookie licking occur in academia as well. I have seen it in debates over academic directions, discussions of research priorities and in paper and grant proposal reviewing. Of course, academia has its own set of arcane phrases.
Eating Your Own Dog Food (aka Dogfooding)
Dogfooding is a hoary classic, well used and abused across the computing milieu. It refers to using early (alpha or beta) versions of a system you and others have developed before it is released, often as an informal tester. It's not haute cuisine or even nouveau cuisine; it's dog food, edible and nutritious, but neither elegant nor tasty.
Finally, there are learnings, as in "Our learnings on this suggest optimization is our first priority." The first time I heard this linguistic oddity, I was nonplussed and puzzled, confused and uncertain, perhaps even mortified, but I was not chagrined. After hearing it several times, I finally asked if the speaker really meant insights, understanding, observation, or even experience. The answer, of course, was yes. Nobody I have yet asked, however, knows the origin of the usage, though I am sure the exegesis would be fascinating.
BFN, I am OOF.