When I handled PR for a law firm in Philadelphia, one of the lawyers on the marketing committee could be counted on to say the following buzzwords at every single meeting.

“low-hanging fruit.”


“we don’t know what we don’t know”

and my favorite:


Everything with this guy boiled down to freakin’ metrics.  By which, I finally figured out, he meant “things we can count.”  Mr. IT wanted to know how many newspaper articles the firm had been in.  How many radio interviews had occured in a certain period of time.  How many phone inquiries about the firm had come in during the past month.  How many web hits we had. 

All of that is good to know, but sometimes, if you focus so much on these details, you can’t see the forest for the trees.

And that kind of summed Tim up.  I enjoyed him, but he wasn’t a big-picture guy.

I’ve thought of Tim a lot in recent months, though, as I have been infected by a bean-counting mania of my own.  I too have gone kookoo for metrics.  And it’s all because there is money involved.

Our health insurance company offers a deal with our YMCA.  If you do 120 visits in a 12 month period, you get a refund equalling one month’s gym fee.   For once, the good guys get the kick-back.  For kick-boxing.  It makes me feel like a fit fat cat.  Chris grumbles that the refund is a bit of a joke, since it amounts to a mere $120, but in this case, it’s not about the money, it’s about the metrics….because every time I go to the gym and swipe my card, and then sign in on the special little Man from Uncle Phone and type in my codes, I hear “This is your one hundred-and-eleventh visit.”  It’s addicting.  It’s like a game…of beat the clock.

Then, if I get on one of the machines, there is more feedback.  Calories burned.  Time elapsed.  Heart rate.  Stride length.  Tim the Lawyer must be in heaven when he goes to the gym.  It’s nothing BUT metrics.  How did people exercise when the only options were hoeing the fields and felling the forests, and nobody told them how they were doing?

But my point is this.  My personal calendar year ends on February 18.  Yesterday was my 115th visit.  Last Sunday, the gym was closed due to snow.  Today the gym is closed due to snow.   Unlike Chris, who got his check a mere season into his personal year, I am down to the wire. 

Will I make it?  Will my personal metrics mania pay off?  Will the check arrive from Keystone Health Plan East?  Stay tuned.

What buzzwords drive you up a wall?  What jargon do you despise?  Alternative question:  does your gym offer any incentives? 

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