“Burn Rate”:  Financial Expression of the Day

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There’s only one burn rate that the i-banker cares about: his own.

Burn rate,noun phrase, the speed at which a company consumes cash.  Usage note:  Investment bankers, particularly those who advise money-losing internet companies, love this expression.  After having wrapped up a meeting with the “deal team” and instructed his minions to redo the entire 90-page pitchbook (with the client meeting slated for 9 AM the next morning), the i-banker might kick back in his corner office and enjoy a brief breeze-shooting session with the senior vice president on the project, who’s a great audience for the MD because the former will laugh at all the MD’s stupid jokes.  There the senior i-banker will sit, tasseled loafers up on the desk, quite possibly spinning his Mont Blanc pen around his thumb (many a banker prides himself on pen-spinning ability because he ludicrously thinks it adds some sort of jock street cred to his awkward and totally unathletic body language), while saying something like, “With a burn rate like that, they might not make it through the end of the year.  Have the analyst run the model again.”  There’s a good chance that the MD couldn’t run the model if his bonus depended on it, so he’ll keep his instructions very “big picture.Continue reading