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BUSINESS FARMS?

7 February, 2012

I can’t think of anything substantial to justify this objection other than (a) me being a curmudgeon and (b) my knee-jerk disdain for the sheep factor in language.

I listen to a lot of podcasts and one phrase that rubs me wrong is “growing a business” (or some variant thereof).  It’s the seemingly way out-of-place and unnecessary agricultural reference that’s irksome.  Why not just say “expand … business?”  The image of someone planting business seeds, watering them, and standing back to wait for them to grow just doesn’t work.

It occurs to me as I write that the phrase might be redeemed if the allusion was taken all the way as a metaphor:   Toss in fertilizer in the form of new ideas, increase the number of field hands to take care of the crops, plow under old practices to enrich the soil for new growth without losing the old nutrients, obtain new acreage on which to grow things and other metaphorical references might help.  However, the single, out-of-place allusion just doesn’t work … and anyone subject to such a sheep factor is unlikely to score big through innovation.

Since there is such a powerful sheep factor, I doubt the phrase is going to go away, so I get to keep grumbling.  Life is good.

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