Lackluster Billionaires

Wilson Tai
Oct 13, 2018 · 3 min read
Image for post
Image for post

These lackluster billionaire’s and their headline news of philanthropy, pfft!

Weaksauce is the word. Let’s break down the most recent headline news with Marc Benioff of Salesforce — SF’s largest employer and the name on the $1.1B Salesforce Tower, the second tallest building west of the Mississippi. As of 2018, Benioff’s net worth is reported at $6.2B USD. It’s so many zero’s that you have to look up how many zero’s that is — there’s nine. Benioff is donating $1M to homelessness in San Francisco. For sure, a million is a benchmark figure even with inflation it’s still a large sum.

But a million is simply, not that much… here’s some context, a fixer upper single family home in cities you never of in the SF Bay Area sell for over $1M — easy. And how much is $1M in the context of public services? Pennies. The city of SF already spends $241M (in 2016) annually to combat the problem of homelessness — $241 with six zero’s after it, EVERY YEAR, in just the city, on just homelessness! It’s efficacy is another story.

Then in the small print of the $1M Salesforce donation, actually half is coming from Salesforce and the other half is Marc’s own. Pfft, so now we are taking credit for other people’s money — shareholder money! Bottom line, how much out of pocket is Marc Benioff and how much hardship is he reallyfeeling when he donates $500,000? Stunt or sincere?

Let’s find out: we calculate, $500,000 is what percentage of $6,200,000,000, and the answer is 0.008% … Less than 1 percent. Puts things into perspective, right?

Here’s something fun or depressing, take your net worth — or cash in the bank — multiple that figure by 0.008%. If you were to donate that, would you be hurting financially? For example, with $100,000 net worth, effective donation is $800. That’s almost $300 short of buying an iPhone X. Anecdotally, with the $1,000 I donate in 2018 to my favorite non-profit, Oakland Digital, I’m legit embracing the title of non-billionaire philanthropist =) Headline news, y’all, pfft.

Takeaway: Benioff is giving less than 1 percent of his net worth and feeling entitled to gain tax breaks and push policies in the city. Not the first, nor the last. Another example of lackluster billionaire moves, Michael Jordan donated $2M, a little over 1 percent of his net worth, to #blacklivesmatter, and Jordan brand sold more Jordan’s. So you should feel super-fantastic-stupendous when you donate even trivial amounts to your favorite charity or cause, because you deserve adoration and gratitude for your modesty and generosity. So do Marc and Michael, but with an alternative viewpoint on the “richest 1 percent”.

Lackluster Billionaire’s by Wilson Tai, Oct. 12, 2018

Source: Oakland Digital creates digital literacy and bridges the digital divide (related: ask yourself what connection between class divide and people stealing notebooks from Apple store’s) http://oaklanddigital.org/donate

Source: Of the 2,208 billionaires in the world, 585 are American https://www.forbes.com/billionaires/

Source: Michael Jordan donates $2M to Black Lives Matter and address Chicago Police Shootings of Blacks and then sells more Jordan shoes: https://www.sbnation.com/2016/7/25/12273632/michael-jordan-police-shootings-donation-2-million

Source: A measure that would make the city’s largest businesses, many that are technology based, pay the bill for homelessness services https://www.businessinsider.com/marc-benioff-and-jack-dorsey-clash-over-san-francisco-homeless-measure-prop-c-2018-10

Source: Life on the Dirtiest Block in San Francisco https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/08/us/san-francisco-dirtiest-street-london-breed.html

Source: Why half of Americans can’t come up with $400 in an emergency: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2017/10/06/why-half-of-americans-cant-come-up-with-400-in-an-emergency/106216294

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store