Today's LinkedIn Nugget

Millions and billions and trillions

millionmonksMillions, billions, trillions: the numbers are too large to conceive.

Years ago, McDonalds started substituting new numbers on its signs in front of how many “millions served” until it was too hard to keep up. After a while it was no longer millions. The signs began to read billions, (that’s a 1000 million.), and then they stopped counting and showing how many billions on their signs altogether.

Recently we hear daily about trillions, in this case dollars. That’s an immense number: a million million.

To understand a trillion better, I googled the term and found out that a trillion seconds is 31,546 years. That’s a long time, if anything that’s an undertatement. That’s a number that impresses but is so out of mental context that it seems impossible to understand.

So speaking of numbers on your LinkedIn profile, if you mention you saved your company a million dollars in 1981, that seems impressive until we think about it further and correlate the savings to the size of that megacorporation you worked in and it somehow seems less impressive. A million dollars in 1999 was worth a lot more than in 2020. Further, you might have been famous for a few minutes as a result. I know, that happened to me in my corporate existence.

Or, conversely if you saved a million dollars for a 5 million-dollar company, no matter what year, you should be elevated to shaman, king, or higher.

But just merely mentioning the number amount of the savings on LinkedIn is out of context and thus less meaningful, bordering on meaningless, unless you mention how that saving was accomplished (spare us all too much “what” details); explain why you were able to, not what you did!

Give us context or else our minds spin and we fail to appreciate the meaning, the value, the contribution, the glory.

Tell us why you found the angle or the arbitrage opportunity to accomplish your feat and why it was appreciated. Why: that’s part of your skillset.

Told well, you will have made your point. Then we will recall the story and be able to refer you for it, as one reason to share your acquaintance.

Quality rules richly.

Dropping a quantity factoid is cheap.


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