I’m pretty averse to subscriptions. I just feel a bit trapped when I’m locked in to paying for things over and over for an indefinite period.
The most painful scenario would be paying for a Beeminder subscription and feeling like I wasn’t actually achieving anything with Beeminder. This is terrible value (and Beeminder would probably refund me because they’re super fair like that). Good value would be when I was achieving great things that I wouldn’t or couldn’t do without Beeminder.
Paying for Success
I think I might be happy to pay according to the awesome results I achieve. When I set a goal, it is for something that I want and am currently not getting. I’m in a pretty good position to determine the value of achieving the goal (or a milestone of an ongoing goal). Say, I want to meditate regularly. What is it worth to me to meditate for five minutes everyday for a year? Not that much but still more than nothing, so I might pledge $5 to be paid to Beeminder if and when I reach that milestone. I may also like to plan a holiday by the end of September. I deem this as more valuable because by being organised, I am much more likely to actually go on the holiday and can save money on flights and activities. Achieving this goal is worth $80 in expected flight savings and $500 in anti workaholic mental health benefits. I’m not going to pledge the full value to Beeminder because I love a good bargain, so I might put $200 on that. A fee I’m more than happy to pay for getting the outcome I wanted. Normal fines for falling off the road would continue to apply and provide the day to day kick in the pants and opportunity for reflection of whether the goal is worthwhile.
Milestones don’t have to arise directly from Beeminder data. Let’s say I want a new job so I’m Beeminding job applications. Appropriate milestones might include ‘First Interview’, ‘First Job Offer’, ‘New Job!’. I might attach Beeminder payments to these - First Interview ($5), First Job Offer ($5), New Job ($50).
Now, let me gloat about my achievements (if I want to). After I’ve paid my milestone fee, let me have a badge or title in the forum showing off my accomplishment. Add a fancy datapoint to my graph. Give me a trophy cabinet on my profile. Feature my accomplishment in the Beeminder hall of fame, which will be being updated every week with real accomplishments by fellow Beeminder users. Let everybody see what’s possible with Beeminder!
Interactions with Existing Payments
I see this interacting with subscription fees in the following fair manner. My paid milestones fees are applied as a direct discount to the next subscription bill. If I don’t have a subscription, make the discounted price obvious to me - it might be free!. Users will still be able to choose to forgo the whole milestone system, never add a milestone fee, and continue to use Beeminder as a normal subscriber or a free user (whatever that looks like in future).
Should derailments leading up to the milestone be taken off the milestone fee? My first thought is that they shouldn’t, just to make sure that the threat of derailment has its full potency. I’m not sure if there’s a point where I might have paid so much in derailments that I don’t want to continue on because of having to pay the milestone fee on top.
What do you think? Anyone else more open to paying for this than subscription fees? Anyone think this is really dumb?