Microspeak: Leverage

Raymond Chen

At Microsoft, leverage is not a term of physics whereby a force can be magnified by the application of mechanical advantage. It is also not a term of finance whereby the power of a small amount of money can be magnified by the assumption of debt. In fact, at Microsoft, the word leverage isn’t even a noun. It is a verb: to leverage, leverages, leveraging, leveraged, has leveraged. Oh, and it has nothing to do with magnification. Here are some citations:

How do I leverage a SiteMap?

Allow advertising partners to leverage this resource for providing targeted advertising links.

Leverage existing design to power other designs

Do we have documents on how Windows 95 can leverage Windows 2000 Active Directory?

At Microsoft, to leverage means to take advantage of, or in many cases, simply to use. Verbal use of the word leverage appears to be popular outside of Microsoft as well, such as this headline from eWeek: How to Leverage IT to Speed RandD Innovation.

But can you do this: At Microsoft you can leverage people.

Alice, does Bob perform any component-Foo testing? Charles can be leveraged to actually execute tests if Donald can drive him with these asks. Let me know.

That snippet was a whirlwind of Microspeak, with the passive form of the verb to leverage, plus to drive and the plural noun asks.


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