Crimmins is President and CEO of ValuAdded, the nation's leading developer
of clichés for busy business people. Business Week recently interviewed
Crimmins by telephone in his spacious suburban Chicago office.
Is being a jargon expert a full-time job?
>JC: Bottom line is I have a full plate 24/7.
Is it hard to keep up with the seemingly endless supply of clichés
>required by the business sector?
>JC: It's a jungle out there. Some days, I just don't have the
bandwidth. It's like drinking from a fire hydrant.
So it's difficult?
>JC: Net net, it's harder than nailing Jell-O to the wall.
Where do most clichés come from?
>JC: Stakeholders push the envelope until it pushes outside the box.
How do you track them once they've been coined?
>JC: It's like herding cats.
Can you predict whether a phrase is going to become a cliché?
>JC: It's my job. I skate to where the puck's going to be. If you're
not the lead dog, you're not providing a customer-centric proactive
What are the new buzzwords CEOs need to be using?
>JC: "Transparency" and "Enronitis" could be
Do people understand your role as a cliché expert?
>JC: No, they can't get their arms around it. They aren't properly
How do you convince people you're a cliché expert?
>JC: I walk the walk and talk the talk.
Does incomprehensibility come naturally to you?
>JC: I wasn't wired that way, but it became mission-critical as I
strategically focused on my go-forward plan.
So what did you do to develop this talent?
>JC: When you drill down to the granular level, it's just basic
blocking and tackling. It's not rocket science or brain surgery. It's
about leveling the playing field.
How do you know if you're successful in your work?
>JC: At the end of the day, it's all about robust, world-class language
>solutions and a lot of soul searching.
How do you stay ahead of others in the buzzword industry?
>JC: Net-net, my value proposition is based on maximizing synergies
>being first to market with a leveraged, value-added deliverable.
That's the opportunity space I've got to work with.
Does everyone in business eventually descend into the sort of
mindless drivel you spout?
>JC: If you walk like a duck and talk like a duck, you're a duck,
>let's face it, in the end they all drink the Kool-Aid.
Tell me, do you read "Dilbert" in the newspaper?
>JC: My knowledge base is deselective of legacy fiber-based media.
Does that mean "no"?
>JC: The go-to-market model on that today is definitely a bench play.
DOES THAT MEAN "NO"?
>JC: Let's take your issues offline.
NO, WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE MY "ISSUES" OFFLINE.
>JC: You have a back-loaded, result-driven mind-set that is not a
strategic fit with my game plan.
How can you live with yourself?
>JC: I just eat my own dog food. My vision is to monetize scalable
Don't you ever quit?
>JC: At the end of the day we have to dialogue all the options to
if a green light exit strategy is available.
>BW: You know what - I WANT TO PUSH YOUR FACE IN!
>JC: Hey, take it and run with it. Your call is important to me.