Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, recently took a trip to Alaska as part of his personal challenge to have visited every state in the U.S. by the end of 2017. In a post, he shared his thoughts on Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend, which provides residents with a portion of the oil revenue the state makes. Each person receives $1,000 on average, which can turn into a nice chunk for larger families.
What’s great about this approach to basic income, he says, is that the money stems from natural resources rather than tax increases. It also harnesses the idea of smaller government and self-reliance versus larger safety nets facilitated by the government.
Zuckerberg ties this example to his experience at Facebook. He said that when companies are profitable, they think very differently than when they’re losing money. When you’re hurting, you’re in a different state of mind: You’re focused on how you’re going to get through the challenging time. When you’re doing well and you’re profitable, you begin to think about growth and look at opportunities to invest in your business.
While the Alaska model is up for debate (i.e., does handing out free money spur an individual’s desire to invest and grow?), Mark’s experience at Facebook is a lesson that all organizations can all learn from, regardless of industry. When times are good, take advantage of them and figure out how you’re going to win in the long haul. Will it be through new lines of business? New investments in technology, such as AI, cognitive computing, and machine learning? Or, maybe it will be looking at your processes to figure out how to become more efficient. Whatever the investment may be, it’s worth exploring your options when times are good. It’s good for business.