A calculation near and dear to any engineer is b/c.

b/c is not short for because to an engineer. It represents the ultimate in engineering decision-making. The “b” represents the benefit an item or service has to the person buying it, and the “c” represents the cost. b/c is the benefit compared to the cost or, as engineers like to say, the benefit-cost ratio. The word “ratio” just adds an engineer-ish feel to it.

Engineers use the b/c ratio to determine if it makes sense to build a large factory, or set up a distribution center, or construct a highway, or dam up a river.

An engineer will also use the b/c ratio in his own life, to determine if it is wise to buy a certain car, or house, or make any other large purchase.

But, what an engineer will do even beyond this is to calculate b/c ratios for pretty much any area of life. Should one buy this pen? Calculate the b/c ratio. Should one get the air conditioner fixed in the car? Calculate the b/c ratio. Should one get married. Sure, why not calculate the b/c ratio.

b/c ratios are powerful tools and in the right hands, the hands of an engineer, they become the essence to an efficient existence.