Proto-Microspeak: Pre-envisioning

I have only one citation, so it may not become proper Microspeak. Too early to tell.

Further discussion will definitely generate a lot of good ideas and help drive them for pre-envisioning.

Established Microspeak or not, I still don't know what it means.

Comments (29)
  1. Rob H says:

    My best guess for the meaning of the whole sentence is "let’s brainstorm." But I have a hard time reading the phrase "pre-envisioning" without thinking of crystal balls or Nostradamus.

  2. Grant says:

    Yeah, another vote for brainstorm.

    [I’m not convinced. Brainstorming is the “generate a lot of good ideas” phase. Pre-envisioning comes next. -Raymond]
  3. Puckdropper says:

    As Rob H’s comment implies, Microsoft is obviously attempting to get around the problem of not having a time machine by learning about the future before it happens.

    Disclaimer:  I’m not claiming to claim knowledge of anything Microsoft may or may not have knowledge of including, but not limited to: their future direction, the lack of a time machine, where to get Plutonium, why you need 1.8 jigawatts of electricty and 88 miles per hour to travel through time, Warp 10, Chronotons, Klingon Birds of Prey, Solar Flares, the Aschen…

  4. Ben says:

    So…brainstorm sounds right, but what’s the difference between PRE-envisioning and just envisioning? Envisioning is somehow "seeing the future" by planning or other activity. So it’s planning to plan?

  5. CDarklock says:

    I’d expect that the "pre" in pre-envisioning is related to "prepare". We don’t have enough information now to envision. Let us therefore /prepare/ to envision, or "pre-envision".

    I think it essentially recognises that the results are potentially worse than a SWAG.

  6. Chris says:

    Maybe like having an idea about a plan?

  7. A_Me says:

    If envisioning is to predict the future via mystical methods, perhaps pre-envisioning is predicting the now via mystical methods?

  8. Kyralessa says:

    If this comes after brainstorming, then I read it this way:

    Brainstorming is throwing out a bunch of ideas, no matter how crazy.

    Envisioning is taking an apparently good idea and fleshing it out.

    So pre-envisioning, which comes in-between, is taking an idea that may or may not be good, and sorta kinda fleshing it out to determine whether it’s good or not.  In other words, trying to solve a "wicked problem" without having to actually solve it all the way.

    To me it sounds akin to the rough estimates that a place I worked for did, where the client didn’t want to pay for detailed (and more accurate) estimate work, so we’d go through quickly, spending no more than a minute on each item, and give a rough (and wide) estimate on each item, just so the client could decide which things were apparently worth it and which apparently weren’t.

    But I’m just guessing here.

  9. asdf says:

    To be a rainmaker, you have to proactively pre-envision those value add "must haves" that can be upsells for our best of breed enterprise suite.

  10. Eric Lippert says:

    I am reminded of one of my favourite lines from the L.A. Story screenplay:

    "Look, rather than do an interview with me, which would be fascinating, by the way, because of my interesting word usements I structure, what if I showed you around town a little?"

  11. Just two unrelated links today. First, Raymond’s post today reminded me of one of my favourite lines

  12. mini-msft fan says:

    I means nothing; just another empty, hollow word to distract from the emptiness of the speaker’s mind.

  13. Ron says:

    pre-envisioning: a state of confusion prior to the proverbial "seeing the light" or the "light bulb coming on".  

  14. Gabe says:

    Previsualization is a technique in photography (still and motion) where one determines what a scene will look like before capturing it. Perhaps this is something similar?

  15. Mikkin says:

    If envisioning asks "What would it look like?" and re-envisioning asks "What if it looked different?" then I imagine pre-envisioning is an attempted euphemism that asks "Is it worth looking at?"

  16. alex.r. says:

    Looking at the comment, I’m pre-envisioning some kind of quiz show, where the host would play excerpts from a manager and the participant would have to guess what he means.

    It could start easy, with a manager from a startup, and grow in difficulty as you go along by taking top-level manager from a bigger and bigger company. At the end for the final prize, you would have to interpret the words of a person sitting in congress.

  17. MS says:

    I think you should invent a nonsense word and use it in a strange context just to see if it catches on.

  18. John says:

    What about pre-pre-envisioning?  That is arguably one of the most important stages of product development.  If you don’t nail it in the pre-pre-envisioning stage, you are going to look like a bunch of idiots in the pre-envisioning stage.  And that’s assuming you get out of the post-pre-envisioning stage…

  19. ::Wendy:: says:

    pre-envisioning.  Before one or more visions.  Could it mean lacking-direction framed in positive-speak?

  20. Doc Brown says:

    Actually that’s one point twenty one jigawatts, not 1.8.

  21. Xepol says:

    It means that someone has been reading too much Dilbert.

  22. Rovert Prohaska says:

    If you think of all that goes into writing the so-called ‘Vision Statement’ (note that Vision.doc is a default document in TFS) then ‘pre-envisioning’ is the stuff you do before you prepare to write your vision statement.  It *is* a stage in the development lifecycle and I guess it should have a name.

  23. Mr Cranky says:

    I know exactly what it means.  Nothing.  This is the common kind of verbal diarrhea produced by someone trying to make his pathetic communication sound smart and sophisticated by using words and phrases that he thinks sound smart and sophisticated.  Rather than words that mean what he’s* trying to say.  

    * Please pardon the genderist** language.  I’m old.

    ** I just made that up.  Disgusting, isn’t it?

  24. Hmmmmm says:

    I assumed it was spoken by a middle manager. I read it to mean the following;

    That they would sit you in a chamber and interrogate you for your best ideas. (The "discussion")

    They would then remind you of their "drive", and your "lack" of it, to give you a sense of gentle inferiority and your duty to be patronised to the greater good.

    They would then take the ideas from you and give you the impression that you are involved in the process of developing them. (The "pre" part) In reality it’s a thinly veiled attempt to make the shafting feel slightly more comfortable.

    Finally the envisioning part is where the actual benefit to a wider society is removed, and the idea modified to make it a better opportunity to exploit the poor. That is the point where it the idea becomes the vision driven relentlessly into the minds of all and sundry.

    The profits of the vision are attributable to the visionary, and the the damage caused by the idea is attributable engineer who had the idea.

  25. Mangler says:

    Pre-envisioning: the act of taking the hallucinogen

  26. George Jansen says:

    It could come right out of Vachel Lindsay–

    Then I got religion,

    Then I pre-envisioned.

  27. Cooney says:

    I’m just guessing that the whole sticking ideas together to try and make something coherent out of them is what they’re getting at. It doesn’t feel microspeaky, though – no geek component.

  28. DysgraphicProgrammer says:


    As Rob H’s comment implies, Microsoft is obviously attempting to get around the problem of not having a time machine by learning about the future before it happens.

    I am sure Raymond could borrow Guido van Rossum’s  time machine if he asked nicely.  

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