Early Tumblr Employee Explains The Inconvenience Of Being Fabulously Rich

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Marco Arment

Marco Arment

Tumblr's first employee, Marco Arment, just came into a lot of money.

Or, he will soon. Yahoo's money hasn't hit his bank account yet. But when it does, Arment doesn't think his life will change drastically.

In a podcast with Casey Liss and John Siracusa, Arment explains he'll be a "terrible" rich person because he doesn't want to buy a lot of stuff.

Importantly, Arment (like his former colleague, David Karp) is a minimalist. An example: he had two cars and couldn't stand it, so he got rid of one. "I hate all that crap," he says of lavish things most people dream of buying.

Minimalist mentality aside, there's a problem with being rich.

According to Arment, when you buy a lot of things, you then have to take care of it all, which becomes an unanticipated hindrance.

Even if you hire people to take care of your things, then you have to manage those people and you become an employer. Then you have to hire more people to manage those people so you don't have to work with them. Arment refers to this as the "rich-person management gap."

"I guess the super-rich then have tiers of people that are maintaining [other people they hire to manage their things] but A. That's really expensive so you have to be substantially rich to manage that and B. Even if I got that kind of money, I don't know that I'd feel good about spending it like that," he tells Liss and Siracusa.

Arment's thinking stems from an article written in October 2000 by Dave Winer called "Transcendental Money."

Winer explains:

Dream of having your perfect amount of money. Now, in theory, you feel secure. How would you spend the money?

...buying second houses, third cars, vacation homes, big things, that I wonder if most people would be comfortable actually maintaining. Three cars have to be registered three times a year. Your second home needs to be furnished and maintained, even when you're not there.

You say you can hire people to do these things for you? Ahhh, then you spend a lot of your life dealing with employees. Is this happiness? It might not be as happy as you think.

For many people though, the appeal of coming into wealth isn't necessarily to buy multiple homes or fancy cars. It's the idea of being able to do what you want every day, support your family, not go to work, and the ability to take endless vacations, none of which you'd need to hire a management team for.

Here's are other rich peoples' perspectives:



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