# Buzzword Bingo: An Order of magnitude

This is a phrase I hear far too often and I've decided to "out" it. People tend to use it without really understanding its true meaning and I'll confess to being slightly confused as to the precise meaning  myself in the past. There are a whole series of other management catchphrases like this that I sometimes slip in to using myself. It stops here people - if you catch me using them, call me on it. For now, here is the explanation of Order of Magnitude that I found via Wikipedia.

If two numbers differ by one order of magnitude, one is about ten times larger than the other. If they differ by two orders of magnitude, they differ by a factor of about 100

Thus when people say we need to move our sales figures by an order of magnitude, I'd speculate that they don't actually mean that and perhaps you should point it out to them 🙂

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1. Bruce Lynn says:

The very best tutorial of ‘orders of magnitude’ in its most literal sense is the classic short science documentary called "Powers of Ten" by Charles and Ray Eames (http://www.powersof10.com).  It not only dramatically illustrates a true mathematical understanding of this concept, but it also conveys a lasting appreciation for the magnitude of the universe we live in.

2. Rosyna says:

"Thus when people say we need to move our sales figures by an order of magnitude, I’d speculate that they don’t actually mean that and perhaps you should point it out to them"

Tis better than decimating your sales figures (reducing them by one tenth)… (I love Monk).

3. szurgot says:

It’s always nice to be able to say you’ve increased performance by an order of magnitude, or decreased storage by an order of magnitude…

4. Andrew Yeomans says:

It’s easier for <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparent_magnitude">astronomers </a> to have an order of magnitude increase. Just over double.

5. A while back I explained what Orders of Magnitude is all about as it’s one of those overused but poorly

6. A while back I explained what Orders of Magnitude is all about as it&#39;s one of those overused but