Microspeak: Net out

Raymond Chen

It started out in finance, but the term has crept into more mainstream usage (at least within Microsoft) and along the way picked up its own meaning:

Where did we net out on this?

Customers want you to net out the business value.

Note any significant changes to the forecast and explain the reasons why. Net out changes to start conversation.

Include the following points in your presentation:

  1. Net out action plan moving forward

The next citation is a bullet point from a PowerPoint slide:

Each district/vertical will answer/report back on:

  • Net out top 3 business asks

(I also have some finance citations, but they aren’t relevant to Microspeak, so I’ve left them out.) In finance, to net out is to cancel out positive and negative amounts. For example, you might net out an account by cancelling amounts owed against amounts due in order to eliminate offsetting transactions. When calculating tax liability, you net out your gains against your losses to determine your net change for the tax period. In Microspeak, well, I’m not sure what it means. In that first citation, it appears to be a synonym for come to a conclusion. The question appears to be a rephrasing of “What was our conclusion on this?” or “What did we finally decide on this?” In the second citation, it appears to be a synonym for summarize in terms of net benefit/loss. “Customers want you to show the net benefit of the product.” In the third citation, it appears to be used merely to mean summarize. And in the final two citations, it appears to be simply a verb meaning to produce.

Note that net out is unrelated to that other Microspeak phrase net net, discussed earlier.


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