Sunday, August 1, 2010

Business executives, politicians, journalists go ‘all in’ on new cliché


The poker term “going all in” is sweeping the worlds of business and politics.
Corporate and government leaders have adopted the phrase as a folksy way to express how totally committed they are to a project or strategy. In poker, when players go “all in” they are betting all the chips they have left on the table.
Microsoft executives used to say they were “betting the company” on a new initiatives like Windows, the Web or Internet services. But now they’re saying they’re “all in” on cloud computing. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer first used the “all in” phrase for the company’s cloud computing efforts in March and has repeated it since, including at an event last week.
“We’re all in,” Ballmer said March 4 in a speech about Microsoft’s commitment to cloud computing.
A search on Google shows that the expression “all in” has really caught on in the last year or so. (See above chart. Click on it for larger view.) You see the phrase online as “going all in,” “gone all in” and “goes all in.”
It seems to have started with business leaders and then caught on with the media and politicians.
Media reports have had EMC going all in with cloud computing, HP going all in with Palm’s WebOS for tablet computers, Motorola going all in with Google’s Android mobile operating system, and DreamWorks Animation going all in on 3-D movies.
Also, President Barrack Obama has gone all in with his budget, comic Seth Meyers went all in as host of the Espy Awards, Warren Buffett has gone all in on railroads, and various sports teams going all in with certain player trades.
In poker, going all in is a risky strategy. If business executives and others keep saying “all in,” they run the risk of sounding clichéd.


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