Thought experiment of the day, job-creation edition

By Felix Salmon
September 15, 2011

Note to “job creators” out there: With $2 billion, you could employ 40,000 people for a full year at $50,000 each. #roguetradeless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

My colleague Pedro da Costa has this intriguing tweet this morning, and I thought I’d throw it out there for bloggers and commenters: let’s say I gave you 40,000 people earning $50,000 apiece, and asked you to put them to work for one full year. Could you create a business worth more than $2 billion? How would you do that? And how many people would that business employ going forwards?

(Small print: yes, you can spend $X over and above the cost of labor, but then the business has to be worth $X+$2 billion. And you can pay some people more than $50,000, so long as you still employ 40,000 people in all. And for the purpose of this thought experiment, let’s ignore things like payroll taxes and the like.)

I’m sure that Andrew Mason would have some ideas here: he’s one of the few entrepreneurs who isn’t shy about hiring a lot of people.

My idea: outsourced mortgage servicing. Create a mortgage servicer from scratch, where everybody who calls in is given a single point of contact — a unique individual who owns their problems and is charged with finding solutions to any problem, including refinancing and loan modification. There’s got to be a way of building up enough trust with both banks and homeowners, over the course of a year, to build a $2 billion business somehow.

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