kottke.org posts about Kiva

A day in the life of a warehouse robotMar 28 2012

Amazon announced recently that they bought a company named Kiva for $775 million. In cash. Kiva makes robots for fulfillment warehouses, of which Amazon has many. When I heard this news, I was all, robots are cool, but $775 million? But this short video on how the Kiva robots work made me a believer:

Also, pro-tip, it's pronounced ro-butt. (via ★interesting)

Gambling your money away to a safe placeJul 22 2009

Eight Michigan credit unions are offering an unusual way to save: putting $25+ into a one-year CD comes with an entry to a raffle with a monthly prize of $400 and a yearly grand prize of $100,000.

This unusual CD is federally guaranteed by the National Credit Union Administration and pays between 1% and 1.5% annual interest, a bit lower than conventional rates. In 25 weeks, the program has attracted about $3.1 million in new deposits, often from people who have never been able to set money aside.

This reminds me of a recent observation by Sam Arbesman:

An intriguing coincidence: The repayment rate of individual loans in Kiva (a broker for individual loans around the world) is 98.50%, which is quite similar to the payback percentage of Las Vegas slot machines.

Why not put the lottery effect to work with Kiva? Instead of straight-up loans, enter lenders in a raffle and slightly decrease the return rate to account for the prize money. I bet (ha!) the lending rate would increase accordingly. (via waxy)

Update: Several people pointed out that British Premium Bonds have worked this way for decades. (thx, christopher)

"Kiva lets you loan as little as $25May 17 2006

"Kiva lets you loan as little as $25 to a qualified low income entrepreneur in the developing world." Basically no-interest loans to developing countries as charity, but you get the original donation amount back. Pretty cool idea. (thx, jonah)

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