Archive for September, 2008

Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend

Posted by Arlo on Sep 10, 2008 under Life of Arlo, Thought Objects

Alaska Dividend Graph, 1982-2008It’s been a miserable summer in Juneau. Rain, rain, and more rain. I wonder how many people have seriously considered moving because of it. And I wonder how many of those people decided to stay because of the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.

The Alaska Permanent Fund is Alaska’s way of giving back to the residents of the state. Profits from oil sales are put into a fund, only 1% of which is then invested. Every October, the average earnings over the last five years is split among us 600,000 (or so) residents. (It’s more complicated than that, but only slightly.) Our dividends dipped during the dot-com crash, but that five-year average insulted us from a huge cut. Conversely, it’ll take a few more years before we see how high these record oil prices push it back up.

Everyone’s waiting for the checks, which could arrive as soon as Friday. This year’s dividend is the biggest ever, at $2,069. Of course, our illustrious governor decided that her constituents were unfairly burdened by high oil prices this year, so she spearheaded an initiative to share a little more of the state’s wealth. Each resident will receive an extra $1,200 in “energy relief” this year. (No wonder she has such a high approval rating!) The energy relief packaged is issued by the same office, the Alaska Permanent Fund Division, so in essence we’re each receiving a $3,269 dividend this year. Think of it: A household of five will receive a bulk sum of $16,345! Sky’s the limit for Mormons and Catholics! Who wants to move now?

Read the rest of this entry »

True Fan Boost 2008

Posted by Arlo on Sep 1, 2008 under Here's an Idea

The Long TailWith only a week before Labor Day, it was a long shot that my little blog post would fire up the Internet with the True Fan Boost concept. I did send out an e-mail or two, on the off chance that someone with a larger readership would push the idea. I actually got a response back from Kevin Kelly, but after rereading it a few times, I realized that I may not have been clear enough in what I was trying to accomplish.

Kevin thought that I was out of synch with the 1000 True Fans concept by using Labor Day to support any and all artists (i.e., He thought I was encouraging people to go out and buy Aerosmith albums, Stephen King books, or any other products by established artists.) Not true. I want nothing more than to “boost” the sales of independent, internet-based artists with this idea. Aerosmith is out, Jonathan Coulton is in.

Kevin also seems to be focused only on the TRUE true fans – the ones that will drop $100 a year on their favorite artists. What I’m trying to do is mobilize the Lesser Fans (as he calls them), in addition to the True Fans, into an economic force. This may be beyond my means.

I really appreciated the comment left by Patricia on my last entry; she came at the idea from a marketing angle. She’s distilled my whole post down to one sentence:

True Fan Boost: Commemorate Labor Day by actually purchasing the creative work of that wonderful artist you told yourself you’d support “someday.”

If you change “that wonderful artist” to “those wonderful artists,” then that’s what I’m going to do right now:

Read the rest of this entry »