In the interest of not offending people with a severe maths deficiency, I have decided I’m going to use a story most of you should be familiar with. The characters are from Despicable Me, and the Minions movies.

Here are the assumptions: Let’s assume Gru, and his 99 minions crash-landed on some remote inaccessible island when Grumobile ran out of fuel. No one is coming to get them. They all have R1000 on each of their persons. R100k in total pool money.

The Gru has a great idea, he starts a gifting scheme. Each of them will contribute their R1000 to this scheme, and will, in turn, get R5000, as long as they keep recruiting. We will assume recruit is easy, and all 99 minions will buy into this. They are minions after all.

Someone advised me to use beyond Matric level maths, so I only used the sum function in Excel. So Grade1 maths should also suffice.

To illustrate further, I will refer to my very simple Excel spreadsheet. Column A I have names of minions and their leader Gru. Column B I have money each of them has. Column C I have the money each one will get when they invest. And finally, Column D shows you the pool money decreasing as the gifting progresses. Column A and B have no formulas. Column C is simply SUM(Bn:Bn+6). This is little bit complicated, and I had to put it manually in each cell. eg. Gru’s formula is =SUM(B1:B6). Minion#1’s formula is =SUM(B7:B11) Minion#2’s formula is =SUM(B11:B15) Minion#19’s formula is =SUM(B96:B100)

Column D is just a running total of the pool money.

To cut the story short, Gru gets R6000 because he’s the boss of the minions, and this is his genius idea. Minion#1 to Minion#18 all get their magic R5000 when they put in R1000. Minion#19 gets R4000, this is because Mr Gru got the other extra R1000. At this point, the pool money is finished. Gru Gifting scheme collapses, with a total of 80 disgruntled minions who have just lost all their money. And 19 happy minions, and their boss Gru.