Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 12 16:12:33 UTC 2010

A simpler theory is that Fiorina uses "net-net" as an alternative to "bottom
line" as an intensifier when describing the 'purity' of a number.

Here is a definition from a 1997 book, "Word smart for business: cultivating
a six-figure vocabulary":

The absolute bottom line, or end result. It's even more bottom line than
just net.


On Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 11:47 AM, Baker, John <JMB at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>
> Subject:      Re: net-net
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>        "Net net" actually does have a meaning.  It is a valuation
> technique in which current assets are netted to reflect uncertainties in
> collection (e.g., inventories are valued at liquidation values), and
> then liabilities are netted against assets.
>        As described, however, HP's job creation number was merely a
> "net" number, because there was only one netting process.  There are at
> least two possible explanations for Fiorina's use:
>                1.      She is using a phrase that sounds impressive but
> is meaningless in context (or, perhaps, sounds more impressive than is
> really the case), for obfuscatory purposes.  This, I take it, is Jon's
> theory.
>                2.      There actually was a calculation that reflected
> two netting processes, but she does not remember what the other netting
> process was or feels that she would be unable to describe it concisely.
> Based on my experience with CEO spokespersons, this would be my guess.
>        There is also something called a "net net net" (or "triple net")
> lease, in which the lessee has to pay the net amounts of three types of
> costs.  I'm not aware of any quadruple nets, however.
> John Baker
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
> Of Jonathan Lighter
> Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 9:42 AM
> Subject: net-net
> CNN yesterday:
> "FIORINA: I managed Hewlett-Packard through the technology recession,
> the
> worst in 25 years, the dot-com bust. But, net-net, we created jobs.
> . . .
> "BLITZER: So, the 30,000 figures who were laid off during -- I guess the
> dot-com bust, if you will, I guess that's true, even though you say you
> created more jobs than you than you had -- were forced to lay off? Is
> that
> what you're saying?
> "FIORINA: Yes. Net-net, we created jobs.
> "BLITZER: What does that mean, net-net?
> "FIORINA: Well, it means there were more employees working for
> Hewlett-Packard the day I left than the day I arrived."
> So it means "comparing the later net figure to the earlier."  In other
> words, "overall."
> A vital element overlooked in the transcript is the impatience in
> Carly's
> voice when she had to explain the meaning of "net-net" to a veteran
> journalist.  You mean it isn't obvious??
> Anyway, if you say "net-net," other *supposedly* intelligent people will
> have to ask you what it means, and that puts you in the vital ascendant.
> Gooooaaaaal!!!
> JL
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list