Back in the 90s, before everyone was blogging, when I wanted to explain what we were doing, I would say this line and watch people's faces.
"I named my company UserLand."
It's actually a very powerful statement. It makes people think.
I mention it today, because at lunch yesterday at Startup School, for a while I was talking with a small group of UX engineers, one of whom had read my piece about users, and wanted to know if it was really okay if he kept using the U-word, because after all it's the first letter of his job description. These people love users and love what they do, and they don't want to stop.
Being the graybeard avuncular type, and being a UX guy myself, I gave them permission to continue to use the word as long as they kept loving the users. As soon as they didn't love them, they'd either have to quit and do something else, or stop using the term. If you use the word without love, it's a very harsh word, and unfair. But if you use it with love there's no higher honor than being called a user.