Business English News 54 – Tech Takeovers

Business English News 54 - Tech Takeovers

In this Business English News lesson we look at business English vocabulary related to tech takeovers or mergers and acquisitions.

Takeovers are a huge part of the tech business, and they’re not always hostile. In fact, many young entrepreneurs build niche companies hoping to be acquired. And for the giants of tech, mergers and acquisitions are a critical growth strategy. With the personalities and egos involved, takeovers keep the news cycle buzzing, as the drama at Twitter has shown. According to the Guardian:

Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in 2022 promised the biggest shake-up since the company was founded. The former world’s richest man was keen to take on the project after becoming disillusioned by the site’s perceived biases and content moderation policy. But Twitter’s revolution became a bloodbath in the process, cutting staff by 80% to hone in on the new direction. Then they lost users and advertisers as a lean team struggled to manage disinformation, trolling and impersonation online.

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Business English News 53 – TikTok

Business English News 53 - TikTok

In this Business English News lesson we look at business English vocabulary related to technology and TikTok.

It seems like every week there’s news of another attempt to ban TikTok. Indeed, the federal government and half the states in the U.S. have outlawed use of the app on government-owned devices. Never before has there been such a reaction to an app’s sudden popularity. So just how did the app reach one billion downloads and 150 million active users in the U.S.? According to the Guardian:

TikTok owes its phenomenal success to a host of canny choices. They feature easy-to-use video, with creation tools that blur the line between creator and consumer. Their vast library of licensed music allows teens to soundtrack their clips without fear of copyright strikes. And a billion-dollar advertising campaign on Facebook brought in new users as quickly as Zuckerberg’s company could send them over.

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Business English News 52 – ChatGPT

Business English News 52 - ChatGPT

In this Business English News lesson we look at business English vocabulary related to artificial intelligence and ChatGPT.

For a while, it seemed like the hype around artificial intelligence had died down. But a recent development in AI has taken the world by storm. It’s called ChatGPT, and unless you live in a cave, you’ve surely heard about it. But what exactly is it? As the Guardian explains:

Trained by AI and machine learning, ChatGPT is designed to provide information and answer questions through a conversational interface. OpenAI said the new AI was created with a focus on ease of use. “The dialog format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.”

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BEP 392 – Project Management English: Scoping a Project (2)

BEP 392 - Project Management English: Scoping a Project 2

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on pricing strategy. This is the second of a pair of lessons on project management English and scoping new work for a client.

Every project is its own animal. Sure, you might run different projects with similar tools and approaches, or apply standard processes. But with different clients, at different times, and with even small differences in inputs, each project is different. And that means pricing is different.

Once you’ve talked with a client to clarify and nail down the project scope, what happens next? Well, the client will want something on paper – whether that’s a full-blown proposal and bid or a simple quotation. And one of the most important things they’ll be looking at is price. So as a team, you need to figure out a strategy to bid on each project.

Your pricing strategy is going to depend on a few things. First off, it’s going to depend on your capacity and the client’s perception of value. Then you’ll have to figure out your bid strategy, which may work upward from a minimum viable product. Or you may take a different approach like hourly pricing. And there are always intangibles you need to take into account when deciding how to price your bid.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Jill and Martin, who work for a software development company. They are working out a pricing strategy for a project that Jill has already scoped. They’re trying to figure out the right approach for the two options they’re proposing to the client.

Listening Questions

1. What is the first concern Jill expresses during the conversation?
2. How will they direct the client toward their alternative approach?
3. How will the client’s timeline affect their pricing strategy?

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BEP 391 – Project Management English: Scoping a Project (1)

BEP 391 - Project Management English: Scoping a Project 1

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on how to scope a project. This is the first of a pair of lessons on project management English and scoping new work for a client.

So what does it mean to “scope” a project? We use this word “scope” to describe what’s included and what’s not included in a project or agreement. So when we “scope” something, we’re asking questions and trying to understand what’s involved in a project.

There are many obvious questions you might ask when scoping new work. But you’ll likely find yourself having to educate the client about technical issues and costs. You may have to dig deep into assumptions and address client concerns. And you may have to present different solutions for the client to consider. In this way, scoping isn’t just about asking for simple project details. It’s both factual and relational.

In today’s dialog, we’ll listen to Jill, a software developer, talk with Ivan. Ivan works for a large retailer that wants to make significant changes to their HR software. Jill is asking questions to try to understand the company’s wants and needs so she can scope the project and put together a proposal.

Listening Questions

1. What does Jill believe Ivan is suggesting about their current approach?
2. What does Jill say about the cost of what Ivan is asking for?
3. At the end of the conversation, what does Ivan ask Jill to include in her proposal?

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