Amazoned, Bangalored and Uberized: How cool things become verbs

Updated on Jul 30, 2015 01:42 PM IST
The controversial taxi service, Uber, has been in the news for safety-related issues, but there is no doubt that it has revolutionised the business by bringing in "ride sharing" - the business of linking unused taxi capacity with passengers through a mobile app that becomes an online marketplace.
A-zoomed-image-of-a-computer-screen-showing-the-Amazon-logo-is-seen-in-Vienna-Photo-Reuters
A-zoomed-image-of-a-computer-screen-showing-the-Amazon-logo-is-seen-in-Vienna-Photo-Reuters
Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

With the coming of the Internet, the word "Amazoned" became popular during the "dotcom boom" of the late 1990s when a company facing threats because of the arrival of e-commerce was thought to be "Amazoned" such as large bookstore chains that lost their market or marketshare or both. The word went a bit out of vogue after the Internet meltdown of 2000 and 2001, but Amazon is going strong, and reported a surprise profit last week, sending its shares zooming.

The boring English equivalent of "Amazoned" is "disintermediated."

Now, our own Bengaluru may have lost its old name, "Bangalore", to ethnic assertion in Karnataka, but when the city became a global IT hub and many jobs from the West were moved to India, someone coined the term "Bangalored.” If you lost your job because your company moved operations overseas, you were throught to be Bangalored.

The controversial taxi service, Uber, has been in the news for safety-related issues, but there is no doubt that it has revolutionised the business by bringing in "ride sharing" - the business of linking unused taxi capacity with passengers through a mobile app that becomes an online marketplace.

The Uber model is catching on. We now have Airbnb.com (Air Bread and Breakfast) where you can book yourself rooms with families or homes where they have a spare bedroom.

Last week, I stumbled on BreathingRoom.co that offers office spaces at short notice near wherever you are through a mobile app. There are already companies like Regus that offer shared working spaces for knowledge workers on the go with laptops. But BreathingRoom links unutilised or underutilized commercial spaces such as offices and conference rooms with clients looking for working space with wi-fi or whiteboards, as the case may be.

I would simply say that office spaces have now been Uberized. Some people have used “Uberized” just like “Amazoned” to describe the elimination of the middleman. But Urbandictionary.com says it means “to destroy or defeat in a quick and effortless manner”.

Whatever the nuance, the verb is a good one to describe how a software-based network can quickly revolutionise a business by creating an efficient marketplace.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    While India saw heated protests and a debate last week over Net Neutrality -- the call to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for strictly separating content (apps) and carriage (data plans), the European Union’s Competition Commissioner took a step forward in another side of the business by charging Google with defying what is called “search neutrality”.

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