RE: Business case for dual monitors

Subject: RE: Business case for dual monitors
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "Gregory P Sweet" <gps03 -at- health -dot- state -dot- ny -dot- us>, "Gail Ludvigson" <gcludvigson -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 1 May 2008 13:20:33 -0400

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
techwr-l-bounces+kevin -dot- mclauchlan=safenet-inc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+kevin -dot- mclauchlan=safenet-inc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-
>] On Behalf Of Gregory P Sweet
> Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 15:39
> To: Gail Ludvigson
> Cc: techwr-l-bounces+gps03=health -dot- state -dot- ny -dot- us -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com;
> l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: Business case for dual monitors
> Gail,
> Ths blog references several studies and attempts to be a clearing
> for
> this type of data.
> Are being asked to justify the continued existence of a second monitor
> are you trying to get that second monitor?

Jeff, the blogger at that URL you provided, quoted Patrick who said:

" I think it's clear that most programmers are not going to be 50% more
productive over the course of a day just by getting a second monitor."

That might have been a reasonable thought in some context that we didn't
see, but it is TOTALLY unreasonable in the context of one good and
valuable employee (as I'm sure the original poster in this thread must
be) justifying the purchase of a second monitor - and maybe even an
upgraded video card to drive two monitors properly.

Think about it realistically, and it becomes obvious how stupid it is to
even briefly entertain the thought of 50% improvement in productivity as
some kind of decision criterium. The employee is not asking for 50% more
money. The employee is asking for a few hundred bucks... one time.

Think. The employee works upwards of 230 days per year and is currently
considered to be a worthwhile return on an investment of ... what $80K
plus overhead... at least $120,000 per year (what it costs the employer
to have them come in every day and use the company-provided space,
furniture, electricity, network, and other amenities). So, any
additional cost that resulted in a 50% improvement in that employee's
_already-satisfactory_ productivity would be easily justifiable as long
as that 50% improvement added less than $60K to the current employee
cost, yes?

If that's too complicated to grasp, let's break it down.
An experienced, $80K-salary employee costs the salary plus overhead, to
a total of about $120K per year (and that's slim overhead).

You (employer) already consider that to be a worthwhile exchange for
what the employee gives you.

So, let's say you began paying an additional $60K per year combined
higher salary and overhead (for a total outlay of $180K), and the
employee, because of that 50% increased outlay became 50% more
productive. What just happened? Nothing. It's a wash. You spent more and
got more, in direct proportion. Break-even. You got another half of a
cat but without any additional cat to herd.

Now, how about if you only paid an additional $50K, so that your total
expense for that employee went from $120K to $170K, but you still got
your 50% increase in productivity? You effectively got ten thousand
bucks worth of new productivity for free. That's your marginal ROI.
Sounds like good business. For productivity that you already nominally
value at $60K, you spent only $50K.... woohoo!

Read that number again... Fifty Thousand Dollars is a

Looked at another way, you can happily justify an increased cost per
employee as $500 (five hundred dollars) for each percent increase in
productivity... as a bargain (because you can justify nearly $600 for
each percent-increase as break-even). And that increased cost starts
now and goes on indefinitely, because the employee costs another
$170,000 next year (and will be worth it) and another $170,000 the year
after (and will be worth it)...

Got that?

Now, somebody who makes (say) $80K per year and costs you (say) $120K
per year has just asked you to spend $250.00 for a new monitor (or maybe
the request was extreme and they needed a hundred-dollar video card as
well, for a total request of $350.00.

Do the arithmetic. $350 is less than 1 percent of the $50,000 that you
recognized as a bargain just 15 seconds ago. Let's round it up to a
cost of $500.00 because there'll be shipping costs and the cost of
approving the paperwork.

Therefore, any increase in that employee's productivity that's greater
than one percent (1%) is paid for in the first year.

But wait, it gets better. The hardware gets written off after just a
couple of years, but the employee keeps using it for at least five
years, for that single initial outlay of less than 500 bucks.

If the employee can't promise better than one percent (1%) increase,
then the employee is not trying.

If they employer can't grasp the advantage of a one-percent-plus (1%+)
increase in productivity, year after year, for a one-time outlay of $500
(maximum) then the employer is not trying.

Everybody go prepare your purchase orders.

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