Why Multiplication is Cooler than Addition

A few months ago I invited Dereck Coatney to write a guest post here on LifeReboot.  The reason for doing so was because Dereck had this interesting idea where he wanted to leave his office cubicle and ride his bike across the country.  In short, Dereck wanted to reinvent himself, and I wanted to support him in doing so.

Dereck created an inspiring video about his “Cubicle Unhappy to Biking Expedition” project (C.U.B.E.), got excited about the support he received around the blogosphere, and started training for his upcoming physical feat.

Unfortunately, as “the best made plans” sometimes go, it didn’t happen — or it fell through — or it failed to materialize.  However you want to say it, Dereck chooses to say it bluntly:  He says that he “failed.”

I respect him for admitting it so openly.  He wanted to do something, but when it came time to execute his plan, he fell short financially.  It’s a reasonable “excuse” for failing at something — and yet he’s refusing to let it stop him.  Instead, he recognized that he simply failed the first time, and needs to move on to the next step with a new strategy.

Dereck is asking people to help him achieve what he set out to do by donating to his cause.

Now, as someone who has experience with asking strangers for money over the Internet, I know that the process kind of sucks.  You can get rude comments on your blog from people who think you don’t deserve their charity.  You can go months without a single donation.  You can let these things affect you and discourage you.

The thing is, there will occasionally be one person who donates a couple hundred dollars out of nowhere, to which you can only respond “Thank you thank you THANK YOU!”

I wanted to help, so I visited Dereck’s site and donated $20.  Consequently, $20 was added to his running total towards his goal of $10,000.

What kills me is how ineffective adding can be.  I mean, whenever someone donates to LifeReboot, they tend to donate in the ten-to-twenty dollar range.  I think that’s the typical range because people are embarassed to donate any less.  Fact of the matter is, it would be so much more effective if lots of people donated smaller amounts.

Put another way, a donation link on a website is not intended to cause one incredibly rich and incredibly generous person to donate $10,000.  It’s intended to cause 10,000 normal people to donate $1.

If every LifeReboot subscriber donated $1 to Dereck’s cause, he’d be $1,500 closer to his goal.  If every LifeReboot subscriber donated $2 to Dereck’s cause, he’d be $3,000 closer to his goal, and so on.  That’s why multiplication is cooler than addition.

I would love to see Dereck achieve his goal and do what he set out to do.  That’s why I’ve donated $20, and that’s why I’m encouraging you to donate something too — even if it’s only a dollar.  There’s no need to feel embarassed, and trust me when I say that he will appreciate every contribution regardless of the amount.

Obligatory Link to More Information

Direct Link to Donate Page

Dereck’s Latest Video:

If you've found this website helpful, please click the PayPal button. You will be helping me pursue my dream career as a writer. Thanks for your support!

8 Responses to “Why Multiplication is Cooler than Addition”

#1 Rudolf Olah on 18, Sep, 2008 at 9:41 pm

You’re right about wanting more people to donate $1. There’s a website called TipJoy that lets people tip whatever amount they want, usually 10 cents. Like take a look at this: http://tipjoy.com/joy/57378/

Stormpulse.com earned $~4800 from ~2000 people. That’s quite a bit of cash. When it’s easy to donate $1, then you’ll be more likely to do it…online payment seems to be a hassle unless you’re donating $10 or more, then it’s worth the hassle.

#2 Jusuf K on 19, Sep, 2008 at 5:40 am

I think donating ist not the righgt way to helf this guy.

Trying to get out of his office box may be a noble act, but if you put all your hopes at some people’s generosity, than you are not getting out of your box, but your are getting kicked out of this box, by the people who donated you the money.

Second, ever thought about the possibility of not becoming the amount of money in the required time? What happens then? Will he then abandon his plan at all?

In our life when we want do something wich is bound to financial cost we always sit down and make some math. Somewhere we always find money wich we spend for things we do because of fun or hobby and when then we decide that this costs have to be cut for the time being till we get our money togather for our project. some people get a second job or sell something they don’t need. and by doing so you will always achiev your goal. in worse case a bit later than you had planed to.

By beging you don’t really make somthing out of your life.

my regards JK

#3 Björn on 19, Sep, 2008 at 6:17 am

So it sounds like it won’t be a huge money maker for charity, and he has settled for supporting himself and his family. Why not try to look for another project that brings in more money? I love riding my bicycle, but I fail to see why I should donate to support somebody else’s hobby. Sorry to put it so bluntly.

#4 Kate on 19, Sep, 2008 at 1:53 pm

I must say that I although I watched the video and visited his site, I’m not sure if this is a cause worthy of my money. I don’t really understand how his biking is supposed to inspire or help anyone who is a member of the working dead.

#5 A Recap of a Week of Chasing Dreams | I Will Not Die on 20, Sep, 2008 at 10:07 am

[…] at LifeReboot wrote to his readers explaining how a little help from a lot of people will make this a success. […]

#6 A Recap of a Week of Chasing Dreams | I Will Not Die on 20, Sep, 2008 at 10:07 am

[…] at LifeReboot wrote to his readers explaining how a little help from a lot of people will make this a success. […]

#7 Jinno on 14, Oct, 2008 at 7:56 pm

… Erm… Hi?

#8 When You Need Help to Perform a LifeReboot | I Will Not Die on 14, Nov, 2008 at 11:47 am

[…] Then people like Shaun come along to help. He was extremely kind to me and wrote about my efforts here. […]

Leave a Reply