Kool Aid


This is one I’ve heard a lot. Someone tells you the company line? They’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid. Someone off message? They’ve not been drinking enough.

The way it’s used, most folk seem to think that the Kool-Aid is some sort of psychedelic drug that makes you fall in line. The truth behind the metaphor is a lot, lot darker, and (I quote):

“Drinking the Kool-Aid” refers to the 1978 Jonestown Massacre; the phrase suggests that one has mindlessly adopted the dogma of a group or leader without fully understanding the ramifications or implications. At Jonestown, Jim Jones’ followers followed him to the end: after visiting Congressman Leo Ryan was shot at the airstrip, all the Peoples Temple members drank from a metal vat containing a mixture of “Kool Aid” (actually Flavor Aid), cyanide, and prescription drugs Valium, Phenergan, and chloral hydrate. 


So, no, I wasn’t drinking the Kool-Aid. And I wasn’t intending to. And there’s no way that someone could “keep” drinking it for any great length of time. Which all goes to show that Steve Jobs was right – not enough people in the tech industry have taken mind-altering drugs.

One thought on “Crap tech industry metaphors: 5 Drinking the Kool-Aid

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