Saturday, October 01, 2016

Jargonwatch: Net New

Not sure if this one will blossom into full-blown office jargon, but I am occasionally hearing the term "net new". As in "we brought 3 net new sources into the data warehouse this quarter".

What I am unclear about is what "net" adds to the meaning of new. Urban Dictionary has a couple of  definitions:

1. What is new if you don't count what was already there or done before.
2. Very new, as if it just appeared on the Internet.

I think #1 points to the original usage. I believe it likely has its roots in sales commission accounting as these articles suggest. In that sense, it is probably a legitimate, domain-specialized usage. It seems to mean “after running the nominally new business through the rules that define new business for purposes of commission, what remains" (i.e., the "net"). In other words, “truly” new business, net of incremental extensions to existing business.

#2 explains how I am hearing it used. As is often the case with specialized qualifiers that roll off the tongue nicely (like "net new"--short, punchy, alliterative), all-too-quickly the specialized use morphs into a unthinking, generalized intensifier (see "literally" for the canonical example).

1 comment:

  1. My accountant wife hates "net net"

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