Three Sentences and the TI-84 Plus Calculator

This is a great article. It struck me for a few reasons. First, with three teenagers in the house we have three of these calculators. We didn’t buy any of them new, got each when the need arose used on ebay and Amazon.

And this single three-sentence paragraph may be the best thing printed in the Washington Post in a while. I wonder if they realize how many other things this fact applies to? [hint, see: If You’re Paying, I’ll Have Top Sirloin by Russell Roberts]

“But graphing calculators are a market where price isn’t especially important. Parents — not teachers — end up paying for whatever graphing calculator is required. If you’re asking someone else to buy something, you may not be overly focused on whether they’re getting a great deal.”

It’s also worth noting how valuable it can be to get your product to become a de facto or even de jure mandatory item.

The unstoppable TI-84 Plus: How an outdated calculator still holds a monopoly on classrooms – The Washington Post: “In the ruthlessly competitive world of technology, where companies rush the latest gadget to market and slash prices to stay competitive, the TI-84 Plus is an anomaly.

Texas Instruments released the graphing calculator in 2004, and continues to sell it today. The base model still has 480 kilobytes of ROM and 24 kilobytes of RAM. Its black-and-white screen remains 96×64 pixels. For 10 years its MSRP has been $150, but depending on the retailer, today it generally sells for between $90 and $120. The only changes have come in software updates.”