Tag Archives: opportunity-cost

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Automated online backup with Mozy – the key word is automated

Mozy LogoMozy is a backup-service that will automatically back up your files on their server on a day-to-day basis when your computer is idle. I just signed up for it about a week ago.

This post is not really a product review. I haven’t used Mozy enough to fully recommend it yet and there are other similar services like Carbonite that I have no experience with. The important concept here is the automation, specifically the automation of tasks that I don’t really enjoy and normally take up big chunks of time.

Over the past year or so I have been trying to keep in mind the concept of opportunity cost–specifically, the cost of my time when I choose to spend it doing one thing and not another. So, in the past I would manually make backups every few months on DVDs. This takes time, requires me to remember all the drives and folders where I put things that are worth backing up, etc.

So now I think to myself, “what is the cost of using those hours to do backups instead of doing something else?” I could probably do some consulting work, and let’s say I would gain $50 an hour on average, taking into account time it takes to find people who need some work done, etc. Or I could work on refinishing my kitchen, work I don’t get paid for but that does prevent me from having to pay someone else. Or I could spend time with my wife, which I put a large value on.

So by installing Mozy, I have the piece of mind and mitigation of risk I had before (actually more, since these are finer-grained, off-site backups), and the $5.00 per month cost is more than made up by not wasting hundred of dollars in time over the course of the year.

Thanks to ITPro in the UK for reminding me the name of the service.

The information economics of price aggregation web sites


Just as the Internet has had an impact on the market for information goods and services, it has also had an impact on the information necessary for markets to function. Perfectly competitive markets, upon which models of economics are based, require four key characteristics:

  • Many sellers.
  • Nearly identical products.
  • Easy market entry (and exit).
  • Buyers and sellers have perfect information.

The last point is possibly the most difficult. Good information is hard to come by, let alone perfect information, for both buyers and sellers. Buyers are perhaps at a disadvantage, but the rise of the online marketplace and specifically price aggregating web sites has created an interesting change.

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