On a recent episode of the Critical Path, Horace asserted his belief that the first year of business school is to teach students the language of business. If you don’t speak the language of the business world then you will have a much more difficult time getting your point across to other people and will quickly get lost in a roomful of business folk.

I used to think the idea of knowing the language was useless. That may be because I am good at understanding things from context clues or just because I hate giving into “common wisdom.” But looking back on some of the things I’ve taught myself, the first thing I had to learn was that common language.

Let’s take learning development for the iPhone. I had to learn what all the different controls – the icons, text, buttons, tables, etc – were called before I could use them. I had no idea what the difference was between a UINavigationController and a UITabBarController. Not knowing that is extremely limiting, especially in a time where the answers to most of your frustrations are just a Google search away.

I think I have to concede to common wisdom. Learning the language has to be the first step in learning something new.