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The Three D’s

April 14, 2011

There has been a lot of talk lately on the Interwebs about hustlers. It has been written that all startups need a designer, developer and a hustler. In some cases, one person can fill all three roles. But the name hustler bothers me. It sometimes has a negative connotation that I cannot shake. Hustler is also overused, like ninja and guru. I looked up hustler at and  Here’s what I found.

Main Entry: hustler
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: con artist; prostitute
Synonyms: call girl, cheater, fast talker, floozy, grifter, hooker, rip-off artist, scam artist, streetwalker, swindler, whore


1. an enterprising person determined to succeed; go-getter.
2. Slang . a person who employs fraudulent or unscrupulous methods to obtain money; swindler.
3. Informal . an expert gambler or game player who seeks out challengers, especially unsuspecting amateur ones, in order to win money from them: He earned his living as a pool hustler.
4. Slang . a prostitute.

5. a person who hustles.

I propose that we use the term “driver” instead of hustler. It’s a more positive term and it is symmetric with the Three D’s: Designer, Developer and Driver. As I define the term, driver is the person who is skilled in marketing, promotions, product and leadership. This person is the energy and ambition – the fuel that “drives” the project and team forward.

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