Word of the day: unicorn

This week, I chaired part of a seminar discussing the impact of Brexit on the UK tech sector. A speaker referred to unicorns and I could not see any and did not know what he was talking about. As always, Google came to the rescue.

It seems that he term unicorn has different meanings in the business world:

In the venture capital industry, a unicorn refers to any tech startup company that reaches a $1 billion dollar market value as determined by private or public investment. The term was originally coined by Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures. It is an odd term in this context because unicorns are supposed to be non-existent, not exceptional or special. Clearly it was this use of the term that I encountered at my seminar.

In the human resources world, unicorn refers to a phenomenon that occurs  when those who are responsible for hiring candidates have impossible expectations. This stems from a mismatch between the expectations of the employers and who is available for hire. In other words, human resources is looking for a mythical candidate (i.e. a unicorn), rather than facing reality.


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