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September 12th, 2013, 07:30 AM  #1 
Newbie Joined: Jan 2013 Posts: 5 Thanks: 0  This is kind of silly, apologies.
Hi all, I apologize if this is the wrong place to post, I couldn't find a forum for 'Dumb questions from people who don't fully understand math' so I thought I'd try here. So here's what's going on: Recently Kickstarter has allowed Canadians to kickstart their projects on the service. In a thread regarding that I pondered if I would be allowed to Kickstart a project wherein people paid my mortgage off for me and in return I would hand write them a 'Thank You' letter. Obviously this is not a thing I'm going to do, I was just making a joke. But then I got curious. How much would that cost? The equation I'm working with would go like this: I need 200k to pay off my mortgage. Ignoring early payment fees and so on. Kickstarter takes a cut of 10% of each project. So whatever I earn through Kickstarter, I have to kick 10% of that to them. There are other fees as well but to keep it simple I just left it at that 10%. Domestic postage in Canada is 63 cents. (Ignoring paper, envelopes and bulk purchasing, pens and so on) Each person contributing could only contribute 1$. If it took me 2mins to write out each 'Thank you' letter, how much time would it take to write out the total amount of letters. So those are the 'rules'. How much would need to be contributed in total so that 1) I get the 200k 2) Kickstarter gets their 10% 3) The stamp cost is included in the total and 4) for fun, how long, at 2 mins per letter would it take me to write out all of the 'Thank You' letters. Now, I made an attempt to figure this out and came with the number 'around $750000' and posted as much in the thread. Then someone, quite flippantly actually, told me that my numbers were 'way off'... and now I'm here to verify, because, well, I'm curious to know if and where I screwed up. Here's how my math went: For every dollar I get I spend 63 cents on stamps. That's easy, I only get 37% of each pledge. Kickstarter takes 10 percent of the total. So if I receive a dollar, I get 90 cents, minus 63 cents equals 27 cents. So, I need 200000, how many times does 0.27 go into 200000.00 To which my calculator replies 740,740.74. In terms of hundreds of thousands.. 'Around 750000' doesn't seem 'way off' to me. So that's how much I'd need donated in order to pay 200k and mail all the letters. Then there's the time to write letters: I have 740,741 to write at 2 mins a pop. 740,741 x 2 = 1,481,482 mins / 60 mins in an hour = 24691 hours / 24 hours in a day = 1028 days / 365 days in a year = 2.81 years x 12 months in a year = 33.72 months Does all of this seem (mostly) correct to you guys? For further fun I took my hourly wage at work and got it down to what I earn in a minute, multiplied that by 750000 and discovered that If I worked every minute of those 2.85 years I'd make far and above what it would cost me to have everyone donate the money to me. So I've got that going for me. Thanks very much to any replies. I know this is pretty silly.. but I really enjoy these kinds of things and just want to double check that I'm going about it in the right way. 
September 12th, 2013, 08:14 AM  #2 
Math Team Joined: Oct 2011 From: Ottawa Ontario, Canada Posts: 14,597 Thanks: 1038  Re: This is kind of silly, apologies.
There are 86,400 seconds in 1 day. Get on the TransCanada, say in the London area, choose an appropriate spot, put up a flashing sign: "temporary toll: please throw a loonie through car window in the large fishing net; failure to do so will mean you'll be prosecuted". Assuming that traffic will conveniently slow down to one car per second, you will have collected your $200,000 in roughly 2.3 days; albeit you'll be tired...but happy. Plus Greg will, I'm sure, throw in a Toonie. 
September 12th, 2013, 08:34 AM  #3 
Newbie Joined: Jan 2013 Posts: 5 Thanks: 0  Re: This is kind of silly, apologies.
Haha.. That's an excellent idea. On a side note, I use the 86400 seconds in a day on a somewhat frequent basis when someone mentions a billion dollars as if it's not a large amount of money. Saying with a billion dollars one could spend a dollar a second for around 33 years.. or 86400k per day. I digress... as is not uncommon. 

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