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quattroporte and hummingbird

2 min read

time is money

Fermi problem of the day, anyone?

Assume there is this large organization, say with over ten thousands employees. For some (legal) reason, each employee needs to write down what she has been doing for the week, usually by Friday afternoon. Some record everything in details (down to the hours), some prefer to just express “8 hours doing FooBar” for every working day.

Since this is 2010, usually the system is web-based. To prevent abuse, some login/credential check and anti-bot system are also in place. It is often unheard that people use their beloved smartphones to do the job.

Let us say it takes one minute to do this. With a really conservative $30/hour rate, this is worth 50 cents. Assume ten thousands do that, so it’s worth $5,000. This translates to $260,000 per year.

Of course this is just a gross approximation. It does not even include/exclude the extra time the managers spend to double-check their staff’s entries, typically (much) higher hourly rates, non-working (also known as vacation time), wasted effort to setup (and forget) the reminders, occasional weekend shock at times you forgot it, and other similar (intangible) overhead. Or if you just need 5 seconds to accomplish the task. But you get the idea.

Now, $260,000 is a lot of money. You can buy a decent house in San Diego. Or two shiny Maserati Quattroporte. Or several hundreds Hummingbird-powered phones. Or, in some parts of the world, access to fresh water for the entire city all year long.

Surely for a quarter million per year some smart people will figure something out?

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