Beeminder's SOS Clause (force majeure)

From: Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu
Date: Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 16:23
Subject: Re: Beeminder’s SOS Clause (force majeure)

The conclusion from the straw poll was that no one cares too much
about the SOS clause.
I guess that makes sense. You don’t expect to use it; just nice to
know it’s there just in case.

I went ahead and published a blog post about it though, just to get it
out there:
http://blog.beeminder.com/sos

The first couple paragraphs are interesting regardless, about the
general problem of balancing commitment and flexibility.
“You want something solid enough that you’ve truly committed yourself
to your goal and can’t weasel out whenever a friend bakes some
brownies (or whatever). But you also want to retain as much
flexibility as possible.”

On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 17:24, Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu wrote:

Let me actually make it a straw poll. If you had to choose would you
want that clause to be more generous or less generous in your own
contracts?

http://yootles.com/expost/sos

On Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 00:07, Daniel Reeves dreeves@umich.edu wrote:

Hi Akratics,
Could you all help me vet this upcoming blog post:
http://yootles.com/expost/sos

Condensed version here:

Economists have been wondering for decades why we don’t see more use
of commitment devices in the real world. In 1955, one economist [1]
speculated that the reason is risk and uncertainty, “both as to future
tastes and future opportunities.” [2] We’ve been thinking hard about
how to solve that problem — how to use commitment devices with minimal
risk that you’ll regret it — and we have a multi-pronged approach
worked out.

We’re now going to lay out one of those prongs: a generous clause in
the standard Beeminder commitment contract that lets you immediately
flatten your yellow brick road if something truly unexpected happens.
It’s a tricky balancing act though. You want something solid enough
that you’ve truly committed yourself to your goal and can’t weasel out
whenever a friend bakes some brownies (or whatever). But you also want
to retain as much flexibility as possible.

To that end, here’s the current version of Beeminder’s force majeure clause:

[all the fine print about what are legit reasons to pause your yellow
brick road and how you do so]

We’ve revised that many times, usually to make it more generous as
we’ve found that no one seems to have much inclination to abuse it.
That may be because we have a somewhat tight-knit group of beta users
trying this stuff out. But even as we scale up I’m inclined to err on
the side of being too generous with the SOS clause. After all, if
someone wants to be a lame-o weasel about it they can just have their
money back. Beeminder is just not for them and good riddance.


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Follow the Yellow Brick Road – http://beeminder.com