Cost per use

Some takeaways from the article "Buy wisely" by Steph Ango, founder of Obsidian

  • cost per use as a heuristic to make decisions about non-perishable purchases, such as clothing, devices, and even subscriptions
  • The basic question is "How much will it cost me if I divide the price by the expected number of uses?"
    • cost per use = total price / number of uses
  • a poor quality could be 5,butifyoucanonlyuseit10times,its5, but if you can only use it 10 times, it's 0.50 per use, the best quality, 20couldmaybelast200usesinstead,soits20 could maybe last 200 uses instead, so it's 0.10 per use
  • The best things asymptote (trends) to zero dollars per use over their lifetime
  • other approaches
    • cost per smile: how much joy can you get out of each dollar?
    • cost per thrill: some experiences have high intensity per dollar
    • cost per externality: Incorporate cost of externalities (values of organic produce, green products, etc.) into the cost you're paying
    • cost per lesson: cost of experience and learning could be monetary, time, pain or all three.

Questions to assess durability

  • Will it be as useful to me in the future as it is now?
  • Is it made of durable and maintainable materials?
  • Does it have a timeless style and aesthetic?
  • Does it age well, wear well, build a wabi-sabi patina?
  • Does it retain its resale value? Would someone else want to own it?
  • Can it be disassembled and repaired?
  • Does it have replaceable, non-proprietary parts that are easy to acquire?
  • Can it be powered with a standard plug or replaceable batteries?
  • Can it be modified and upgraded?
  • Has the maker existed for at least as long as I hope to keep the product?
  • Can it perform many jobs, or only one?
  • Does it have a guarantee?
  • Does it rely on other products or technologies that aren’t durable?¸