Your stuff will break !

This isn’t really a prediction so much as a general point, both to consumers and to companies.

Ever since the end of life of windows XP we get a lot of people coming into the store to either replace their computer or upgrade to a new operating system. We currently charge 105€ for the license and 79€ for the Install. There actually are people thinking about doing it. Laptops with Windows XP preinstalled are usually over 5 years old. Windows 7 came out in 2009 and replaced windows XP fairly quickly on new computers.

Now here’s the point I’m trying to make: After 5 years you should consider your computer to be dead. You should not spend money on anything that you can’t move to a new computer. The license you can obviously use for all other computers you’ll ever buy (one at a time :p), but 79€ for installation (about $100) of an operating system for a computer that may very well break the very next day ? That seems like a fairly bad deal.

People keep thinking that the stuff they buy will just stick around forever. People think you buy a computer and that’s it. You now have a computer. When in reality it’s more of a continuing cost that they now have to pay. You buy a computer you really need to budget a new computer every 5 years, because that’s about how long you can count on it lasting on average. It’s even worse for a company. You get a new employee you need a new computer. When in reality you should be looking at it like a continuing cost. You need a computer every 3 years (sooner if you need it for programming, CAD, etc), you need a new monitor (or 2) every 5 years, hell you should probably replace the chairs at least every 10 years. Now with some numbers (computer $1k, monitors $500, chair $1k) you get a yearly cost of $500 for the computer, $100 for the monitor(s) and $100 for the chair. Or in a month you can budget $45, $10 and $10. Which means it’s less than $100 per month on all that stuff. Not really a big overhead at all. Even the up front cost of hiring someone isn’t actually that significant. A new employee probably costs you around $3k at least, you pay the same amount again and don’t have to worry about anything for 2 years.

Luckily computers these days aren’t really big ticket items anymore (unless you’re a serious gamer and want to have amazing graphics that you can ignore while actually playing (in most games you don’t have time to appreciate the graphics while playing)). It’s worse with other, more expensive items. People buy a car and don’t save up for a new one until it’s so worn down that you know it’s going to break soon. People don’t actually budget money for maintenance and repairs half the time. Some people don’t even budget stuff like gas, oil and insurance. So obviously your car breaks down at the worst possible time, you just bought a new TV, moved to a new apartment. Now you have to spend money to repair the car you really should have planned on getting replaced next year.

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