Mildly panicked


#1

The daily beemail wrote:

If we don’t find a more beemindery way to [track growth, then] we’re going to do it the old-fashioned way: publicly committing that either Beeminder grows in 2016 or we get day jobs.

I am trying to remain calm but this does panic me a bit! Some websites are relatively easy to replace, but if Beeminder closes shop I will need to drop whatever I am doing and either cobble together my own crappy version of it or completely reorganize my life.

I literally think it would be easier to dispense with Google than Beeminder. Most of what I search for on Google is on Wikipedia or Stack Exchange anyway and I can probably survive without finding the rest.

Beeminder is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I don’t know what more to say :cry:


Spoonfuls of sugar for the premium plan changes
Spoonfuls of sugar for the premium plan changes
Mega Feature List (and Premium Revamp Discussion)
#2

To quote Douglas Adams - don’t panic!

One immediate thing that comes to mind that should assuage you: getting day jobs != closing up shop. It would mean less full time focus on it but I don’t imagine that it would ever mean shutting down servers or things of that nature.


#3

What? No, panic is entirely the correct response. :slight_smile: I mean, we could be all “if you derail illegitimately you’re on your own” and stop doing support, or implement something to let you deputize a friend (kind of a cool idea regardless actually, if it weren’t abused) but, really, just keeping the servers running is a surprising amount of work. Maybe that will get better when @bee’s done with these desperately needed upgrades. But my impression from similar startups trying to keep operations going by putting in time on evenings and weekends is that it doesn’t work. Of course we wouldn’t take the code to our graves or anything.

Anyway, but the real point is we’re just not going to let that happen!

Vive la Beeminder!

PS: @drtall, melt! <3


Smiley emoticons are broken on old posts
#4

Okay so maybe I’ll rephrase - don’t panic in a nonconstructive way. Like I don’t think this should set off the “guess I better migrate my data” alert, as @andrewlu put it.

Panicking in a constructive way is good though! If the thought of Beeminder going away is panic-inducing to you, I’d suggest the following task to help make sure it doesn’t go anywhere: show Beeminder to someone who’s never seen it before and watch them try to figure it out. Tell us the major stumbling blocks and the things you’re kind of hard-pressed or embarrassed to explain to them, and tell us! Should probably start a separate forum thread for it.


#5

I agree that I would be put at ease by some clarification about what a lights-out Beeminder would look like!


#6

I’m also rather worried by the prospect. I will also find life worse without Beeminder to some fairly large degree. I’m sure I can figure out some sort of Beeminder methadone, but I don’t currently have any sort of good idea of what it would be.

That being said, if it’s not working out for you financially then you should obviously not feel obligated to make your lives worse on those grounds.

FWIW I don’t think you should be considering a future in which you’re running Beeminder in your spare time, at least to beyond a level where you’re just keeping up a relatively static service that lets people get their data out for some reasonable period of time. It’s sortof a worst of both worlds option which I don’t think will make anybody happy.

Fortunately it won’t be needed, because we’re all going to make sure Beeminder has a super growth year, right? :slight_smile:


#7

Affirmative! I think the perceived tone of this changed when it made the jump from daily beemail to public forum thread. The way startups communicate, people expect there to be a bunch between the lines.

There is nothing between the lines here!

We need to grow in 2016 and there’s a 90+% chance we will do so. Because we have to. We maybe don’t literally have to because we’re profitable so I, being me, set up a commitment device to make us really have-to have to. Namely, public commitment that we’re going to get day jobs at the end of 2016 if we haven’t grown.

Doing that remains unthinkable and we definitely haven’t devoted a single brain cycle to what we’d do in a post-Beeminder world because we’re committed to making that be moot.

Also a world without Beeminder would be downright apocalyptic, as several of you have so kindly said.

So, yeah, @drtall, a lights-out Beeminder just isn’t at all on our radar right now, so it shouldn’t be on yours either.


#8

Hmm I must have just misunderstood the daily beemail then. I took the beemail to mean that Beeminder might shut down at the end of 2016. That’s why I made this thread!

Hooray!


#9

Out of a mix of curiousity and enlightened self-interest, and in the spirit of Beeminder, do you have a specific lower bound in mind of what “grown” means? Presumably having one more user at the end of 2016 would not count and having 10x more users would. Where in the middle does the boundary lie?


#10

Yes I was wondering whether it would be enough for me to go out drinking. I’d have a fun night and Beeminder would get $90. Maybe I should derail on purpose to help keep the lights on? :smiley:


#11

Wait, Beeminder is already profitable but you’re publicly committing to finding day jobs if it doesn’t grow? Obviously most people on this forum are in favor of commitment devices, but isn’t it better to use ones without unnecessary collateral damage if they fail?

Not cool. The whole sticking your head in the sand about possible reasons beyond your control why that wouldn’t happen isn’t doing it for me either.


#12

(Obviously Beeminder is a business, and if it isn’t meeting your goals as a career then you should do something else. It’s the use of a commitment device specifically, rather than making up your minds based on what actually happens, that bothers me.)


#13

Er, well, a business that earns $2 per year on expenses of $1 is profitable right? That doesn’t mean you can live on it.


#14

I’m assuming they’re paying themselves a salary. If not, my analysis would be way off, true.


#15

Let’s say $22k/mo revenue is the threshold, which seems super conservative. We’ll revisit the exact criteria mid-year. For example, if we try some overly crazy things and revenue takes a dive but then is consistently growing beautifully in the last few months of 2016 we’ll probably want to say growth has been achieved even if it only has us back to $20k/month in December. We’re going to be pretty conservative and avoid any temporary drops though. The encouraging news amidst the panic is that revenue has been completely steady and dependable during this plateau.

As for what profitable means, we’re well beyond ramen profitable but not making enough to pay ourselves market salaries.

To re-reemphasize: the panic is real but the result of the panic is going to be to make Beeminder grow. I’m very confident of this and, as you can see, am betting heavily on it. :slight_smile: (Oh, hey, anyone want to set up a betting pool?)


#16

I think a number of people (myself included) would be interested in the other side of that bet. Not because we want or expect you to fail, but as an insurance policy. What kind of odds would you be willing to offer?


#17

Oh man, so many things that make this easier said than done! Asymmetric information, risk aversion, moral hazard, counterparty risk, … As for insurance, I have a lot of opinions on that.

Maybe none of those are serious concerns. But just picking odds is hard. I mean, at even odds I’d put in as much money as possible. But you shouldn’t accept even odds.

Mostly, I need to avoid the temptation to be distracted by this, much as I love this kind of thing. (Fun fact: I have a bet with Eliezer Yudkowsky about the outcome of next month’s Go competition between Google’s new AI player and the human world champion.) UPDATE: I won :slight_smile:

So, yeah, you all should totally have a betting pool, but I think I’ll sit out. I’m busy making sure the smart money wins. :slight_smile:


#19

Beeminder is for weirdos. You don’t need to enhance it (I’d wager there hasn’t been a revenue positive UVI in (however long Beeminder has existed - 6 months)). Get a stripped down consumer friendly Beeminder up, build out a suite of motivational / productivity tools, blogs (no mention of Akrasia), and find other junk you can sell : fitbits, live strong bracelets (those must be available cheap), water bottles, really good little count down timers, collect the legacy revenue and move on.