Data mining and saving money with Octopart’s historical pricing

[Greg Shikhman] is at Octopart this summer as a software development intern. In between the time he’s spending getting coffee for the other devs, he came up with historical pricing for thousands of components available at Octopart

There’s a lot of cool data out there, like this bit of pricing info for a 555 timer. We’re guessing a few people were out of stock of 555s around the end of May, explaining why they were selling (well, available for) $1.68 a piece. If you’re trying to source components, it might be worth your while to check out Octopart’s historical price index. Buying a PIC microcontroller last August was a roll of the dice; in one day the price changed from $5 to just over $2.

With all this data, it’s even possible to data mine for real life events unrelated to shipping and stocking issues. Japanese manufacturer Renesas was hit pretty hard by last year’s earthquake, and this shows up in the historical prices for one of their microcontrollers. Not bad for an intern’s project.

Comments

  1. charles says:

    I just have to throw this out there as my axe I’m grinding…

    “In between the time he’s spending getting coffee for the other devs”

    He better be getting paid then. Legally to have an unpaid internship in the United States there are six rules that need to be complied with. The fourth one is the most important:

    No Immediate Employer Benefit

    The intern MUST BE A BURDEN. That means they are taking away more from the company than they give. Fetching coffee is a job, a paying gig, just ask any assistant.

    It is just bothersome to see since the number of paid internships have been cut in half and the unpaid internships have quadrupled since 2008. No one has specific numbers, as there are no laws that require tracking, but some schools do it internally.

    This has led to many businesses just cycling unpaid interns for bottom line benefit.

    The good news is some universities are reporting up to 75% job placement for interns that do it as a degree requirement.

  2. okgo says:

    I think you are greatly simplifying data mining if you think this is data mining.

  3. hazmatcom says:

    Quite surprised at the fluctuation of the Microchip PIC price. Must be brokers prices or some other price gouging distributor- Microchip doesn’t change prices on anywhere near that time scale.

  4. Chris C. says:

    I think for the 555 and PIC at least, those odd peaks are probably due to some transient, computer related event like failure to query some of the vendors; rather than meaningful real-world price fluctuations.

    I’ve seen that kind of thing many times on findchips.com. Which appears to do fresh vendor queries each time you do a search; and sometimes not all vendors respond.

    Plus I had my last Newark order suddenly jump from $200 to $400 in the cart, then fluctuate around over the next half hour; until it finally settled to slightly less than before. Apparently I was ordering during update time.

  5. hack-a-trin says:

    don’t forget, some vendor sites charge more if you are using an apple product.

    ref:http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/mac-users-just-love-to-pay-more-says-orbitz/80880

    does that mean that they will charge less for linux users? lol!

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