MTBU
abbr. Maximum time to belly-up; the maximum number of days, weeks, or months that a company is expected to survive.

Example Citation:
"Investors keep track of how much money their portfolio companies have on hand, and how long they can survive without an additional infusion. This is the MTBU — 'maximum time to belly-up.'"
—Scott Kirsner, "Downturn Dictionary," The Boston Globe, November 12, 2001

Earliest Citation:
Firms in the business talk about the 'maximum time to belly-up,' or MTBU - the amount of time a company could function if its computer records were destroyed. The concept played a key role in a 1979 study by the University of Minnesota of the MTBU of various industries. Among its conclusions: Banks would be forced out of business within two days, while distribution, manufacturing, and insurance companies would be able to hold out for 3.3, 4.8 and 5.6 days, respectively.
—David Tuller, "Yet another way to profit from the computer age," The New York Times, August 24, 1986

Notes:
Today's term has a whiff of the "stunt word" taint to it, and I normally avoid such terms. (A stunt word is word coined just to show off or attract attention.) However, it also kept whispering "Post me! Post me!", so I offer it to you today so I can get some peace and quiet.

I originally thought that MTBU was used only in the context of companies that were running out of money but, as the earliest citation shows, it also works in other situations.

Related Words:

Categories: