Beeminder alternative?


#1

Kind of a dick move to ask for a product alternative in the product’s forum, but I figure my feedback might be of use.

I’ve been using beeminder on and off again. I started using it about 3 or 4 years ago. My first real goal was to practice a language in Duolingo. Beeminder carried the way, and I earned my course completion trophy on Duolingo.

I had hoped to continue the “5 duolingo points a day” goal, and use it to further practice the language and become an expert over time.

Unfortunately, this was when beeminder was approached by some designer to redo their site. In addition to the redesign which I still think is inferior and harder to use than the old one, they screwed something up and my goal was canceled automatically.

Basically, they had freed me from my imposed goal. You see, I had wanted to cancel that language goal many times, but I could never bring myself to do it because I wanted the end result more than I wanted to cancel. I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, that’s the whole point of Beeminder. You set a goal, and the long-term thinker you is supposed to fight short-term thinker you, so that you keep on track. Beeminder is your long-term thinker’s ally.

Well, when that glitch they introduced happened, they basically backstabbed my longterm thinker and I never went ahead and imposed that on myself again.

What prompted me to write this post now, is that I tried using beeminder again, and realized I put in fake data, which is antithetical to what beeminder is about. I guess I just feel they don’t deserve that money. It’s no longer that I just loose the money, but a little bit of it is that they gain it which I feel bad about.

I can forgive them for their mistakes, and their still unpolished ways. But what really irks me is how wonky their features-hidden-behind-premium is.

In my view, they have very basic, essential functions hidden behind their highly priced $32/m premium plan. Specifically, short-circuiting, and pledge less goals.

The core value of beeminder is motivation. Beeminder themselves acknowledge not all amounts are motivating enough “What does pledge short-circuiting mean?
If you know that $5 will not motivate you at all, you can jump straight up to an amount that you know you would be scared to lose (we call this your Motivation Point).” - From the FAQ

Yet, in order to wager with beeminder that you’re willing to risk $200 (e.g. my personal motivation point), you either have to pay them $32/m, which is a bit ridiculous (paying them money to pay them money), or you have to needlessly take hits until it reaches your motivation point. By limiting this feature to the highest tier, beeminder wants me to pay them $135 in stings before they are willing to provide their service of motivation.

As for pledgeless goals, what’s wrong with letting people use beeminder just as a data-tracker tool? Why do you have to be so greedy and hide that behind the most expensive plan?

These features should be on the infinibee plan (which I wouldn’t mind if they increased the cost, to like $8) or even free. I don’t know your membership distribution, but who even pays $32 a month for beeminder? I think you guys need to simplify things here. Less plans, less features thrown around as if you’re some massive enterprise SaaS. Let people use your platform as they wish to. Stop trying to control the model so much - give people the tools they need to design their own motivation system.

Anyway, my rant is over. I think the best beeminder alternative is a better beeminder. That might involve laying off the itty-bitty “1 user visible improvement a day” goal, and actually diving into the meat-and-potatoes of creating a better use experience.


#2

We definitely thrive on harsh feedback! And if you find one of our competitors works better for you we’ll concede defeat super graciously – just please tell us exactly what you like better!

That was @joshpitzalis and you’re going to make him sad! We stand by all the glowing things we said when we announced the new design but definitely want to hear more about things you liked better in the old design. Which, surprisingly, you can still actually use, at old.beeminder.com though more and more things are broken there and it’s definitely not supported anymore. But it could still be handy for comparing/contrasting and helping us improve things in the new design.

Eek, canceled in what sense? Was it possibly the bug where archiving a goal once meant that it would never automatically re-commit itself again?

(Btw, your next paragraph is a really eloquent argument for precommit-to-recommit! Absolutely right that that’s part of the whole point of Beeminder.)

I thought you were going to complain about things like weekends-off and the road editor (to be subsumed by the prototype at road.glitch.me that already anyone can use, premium or not) which I agree with. And auto-ratchet (capping your safety buffer) is starting to feel super backwards to me. Like auto-ratchet should be the default and the ability to accumulate unbounded safety buffer should be the premium feature. We’ll get there!

But pledgeless goals and short-circuiting the pledge schedule absolutely have to be in the expensive premium plan. I’ll defend those to the death. :slight_smile: Those are features (along with the charity option) that impact Beeminder revenue. Beeminder is (mostly) funded by pledges aka penalties and we think that works out brilliantly for all involved but if you want to set it up so you won’t pay pledges then we offer that as a premium service. Also who says $32/mo is expensive? You admitted that Beeminder got you through a whole language course on Duolingo…

But you just said $200 is your Motivation Point, meaning the amount that you’ll be certain to not pay us. So we think of it as paying us money to to ensure you won’t ever derail. Of course the threat is still there, so I get that it can feel perverse. And your arguments that it’s simply too much money (like paying $135 in pledges before finally hitting your Motivation Point of $200+) are reasonable.

It’s not like that, baby… But seriously, we’re still not truly profitable in the sense of paying ourselves market salaries and can’t afford to hire people we’d like to. We’re actually talking about increasing premium prices (again). It’s definitely a survival question: we have to make the business grow and accept that some people will be priced out. Do DM us about things like student discounts, or just discounts in exchange for highly constructive feedback (thank you again!).