The Many Faces of R.O.I.

Sometimes, words and phrases are just fantastic. Like R.O.I. I love R.O.I.  I don’t know jack about finance, securities or any of that nonsense that would have made me rich before 2007. I avoided all mathematic classes that weren’t necessary to matriculating. I mean, it’s so boring right? But for all the supposed drudgery business and accounting and data analysis and even marketing involves, they all have all discovered the joys of one great acronym. R.O.I. It slips so easily into conversations. It sounds so smart, so mysterious.

Say each letter individually. AHRRR. OHHH. EIIIII. A crisp accent-less female voice over an unseen PA system, just repeating R.O.I.  R.O.I. AHRR OHHH EIIIIII. You’re in a pale blue bubble suit cheek against a sleek cold white surface and as you scramble to get up you know the world you’ve landed in is completely absurd but somehow better.

That AHRRR has a bit of pirate swagger, though. It has some vague awareness of the parameters it operates under, a notion of the heavy expectations from the O. and the I. to be a team player, but ARR is most clearly focused on the endgame. And as all pirates know when it comes to booty there are no rules, just guidelines.

The OHHH. Well. OHHH knows its way around the block. How to fill tight corners and stretch out crevices till every square inch has been exploited. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

And EEIIII? EEIIII is the Indian to ARRRR’s pirate. The carrier of tribal honor, embodying every cliche about the noble savage. Duty-bound to provide you with results but in no rush to conceal the blood lust in its eyes(iiiis). EIIIII never leaves the room without a war cry.

Or you can remove the acronymity and say it as one word. ROI. ROY. If I were French I would see it and think ‘King’ and indeed ROI radiates a supernatural glow. No conversation can occur without awareness of it’s royal presence. Being a prince of the modern age it stands erect, alert, smoking jacket on and cigarillo in hand. Demanding performance yet impossible to please all at once, for who but those instilled with Divine right can appease the Sun King? Feel free to insert any overbearing father figures into this particular cliche.

Now let’s try ‘Return on Investment‘. Congratulations, that smoking jacket made of finest Indian silks has been transformed into an olive-themed Cosby sweater with chino pants in a slightly different shade of olive from the sweater. You have frameless glasses, and to complete the ensemble a belt clip for your company-issued Blackberry, which is most certainly not the one Paris Hilton uses. And remember, nobody trusts a man who dresses in monochrome khaki.

Stick with R.O.I. and sip the nectar of the gods.


Coming soon: Other business terms you never bothered to think about.

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