What I would do if I had 100K per year.

Earlier today, there was a post on HN asking people what they would do with their life if they had solved the "money problem". Say you had $100,000 per year, adjusted for inflation and all that - what would you do with it?

I know what I would do with it. I would make a huge attempt to get the average person concerned more with the quality of life of humanity as a whole than with the quality of their own life. We've got a metric shitton of problems we're facing right now, and $100K per year - while not a gigantic sum of money - is more than enough to put some stuff to action.

What I'd probably want to do first is buy a large building of some sort - a wharehouse, or an old apartment complex. Something that would be maintainable and have a whole lot of space.

I'd revamp this place to have:

  • Learning space: Ample library of educational material, rooms for lectures / group study.
  • Rooms for fiddling around with electronics /metal working / audio recording / painting / sculpting / woodworking / etc.
  • Living space for around 50 people.
  • Coffeeshop / open library area, with ample supply of good literature
  • A robust network, and applicable software (there's all kinds of stuff that could be done on an intranet in a place like this)
  • Space for holding larger meetings of people (plays, bands, and so on).
  • Space for indoor food growing - delicious vegetables.
  • Gym / recreational area.
I already know a few people I would want to be living there, but I (we) would be open to anyone passionate about learning, and / or passionate about using technology to improve the living conditions of humans, with a focus on technologies that don't entirely rape the earth.

Ideally, I'd want the spot to be as self-sufficient as possible. Most of the $100K/yr should cover that, and there's a bunch of ways to reduce costs, mainly through having people who are into autodidaticism around. DIY folk. Autodidacts and DIYers are not the same, but there is a pretty significant overlap. We could run generators through excersize equipment, solar stuff, etc to reduce power costs.

I would want the projects started at the place to have a focus on the community that it's located in. Get involved with everyone we can find in the area who would be interested in improving the quality of life for everyone around them, and work with them.

Once this place was established and running well, I would want to then start opening up more spots like it in different areas, and keep them in communication with each other. Share resources, hold mutual conferences. Maybe start sending a bus around looking for people who would want to join up with this mode of living, and start expanding.

If everything went smoothly (which it probably wouldn't), there could be a new societal structure emerging that was overall better for making happy humans than the one we currently have in 20-30 years. At least that would be my hope.


  1. The density of geeks in most places is low, especially if you only count the sociable ones.

    Squatterx/anarchists are already doing this kind of thing, but they probably don't overlap much.

    -sam kayley

  2. Fantastic idea, although I personaly think I'd need more then a 100k / year to make this happen. Maybe if I had an additional 100k / year on top of my current wages, and all my current liabilities were paid off. Between home ownership, family, student loans, etc... 100k / year can go fast. Renovations alone are expensive.

    It's a great thought, and life would be much easier with a guaranteed 100k/y in your pocket.