The Laramee Filter: pseudorandom thoughts, subsequently put on the Internet.
Tom Laramee
Date Published:
May 8th, 2020
Word Count:
370 (3:00 read time)
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Post-humous/In-Memoriam Neil Peart-inspired Microsoft Interview Question

Estimate the total number of times Neil Peart struck a percussive instrument in his lifetime.

Your answer should be in the form of a single number. "Struck" means "hit" here, with a drumstick, brush, hand, and/or foot pedal. A percussive instrument is anything that made noise when struck.

It may be helpful to consider data points such as: total number of albums Rush produced, average number of tracks on each album, total number of Rush tours, the average duration of his live drum solo, the average duration of their live sets, time in rehearsal and practice (that'll be a wild-assed guess right there), as well as work prior to joining Rush.

Here are some helpful numbers:

Personally, I don't even have an order-of-magnitude guess. Was it O(millions), O(10s of Ms), O(100s of Ms), or O(billions)?

If you start to consider live shows only, it looks a little like so:

That's only counting one foot.

The challenge is quite clear. Just trying to estimate a single drum solo would be quite a trick. Neil Peart Drum Solo - Rush Live in Frankfurt

I can easily imagine, that, if the estimated 33M number is correct, that the total live show percussive hits, across his entire career, could [safely] be upwards of 250M-500M.


[1] don't count these if you're rolling up "live performances" and/or "studio work", as they'll be redundent.