At 2:35 PM PDT today, a tipping point was reached at the Exchange Board Meeting when the spokesperson for the Pacific Island Gay and Lesbian Coalition used the word “robust” while commenting on Covered California decisions regarding enrollment and education grants being “not robust enough”. At that point in the board meeting, 18 individuals - accounting for over 33% of the board members and stakeholders in attendance - had used “robust” at least once, pushing it officially into buzzword status if not throughout Sacramento at least within the Exchange’s circle of influence.
A Very Brief “Robust” History
People who study such things tell us that, “robust” first came into prominence soon after the millennium in the academic community. Within a few years, Washington was full of “robust” use. Nobody knows for sure, but some say that “robust” made it way to Sacramento on the backs of federal bureaucrats soon after the ACA became law.
Phase 1: Introduction
Others claim that Peter Lee brought “robust” with him from his days in DC. There can be no doubt that Peter introduced the Exchange community to the use of “robust” as the multi-purpose modifier de jour. He has been using “robust” 5 to 10 times per board meeting since he got the job.
Phase 2: Early Adopters
Dr. Robert Ross was the first board member to pick up “robust” and make it his own. The amiable Dr. Ross uses it almost as much as Lee does now, often woven into his avuncular compliments to anyone making the effort to show up for one of these things. As the Exchange added staff through the summer of 2012, “robust” use spread quickly as new Exchange employees emulated their boss.
Phase 3: Buzzword
It wasn’t until today that “robust” use reached the masses. It seemed as though nearly everyone who made it to the podium to deliver their 2-minutes of self-interest used “robust” in some way, though not always making any sense. While some of the union members in attendance were still struggling to work it into a sentence, most of the rank and file seem comfortable with “robust”.
The ROBUST Brand
Robust could make a very “robust” brand.