Beeminder Forum

How to be charged for every datapoint?

Does anyone know if I could set up this type of workflow in Beeminder?

Often, I will set a due date on a Trello card. When the card is due, Trello sends me an email as a reminder to act on that card. I will often ignore these reminders and eventually my Trello board is littered with overdue items.

What I’d like to do is set up a Trello automation that will email Beeminder when the card is 2 days overdue. If Beeminder gets this email from Trello, I will be charged money.

The idea would be that I would get the Trello notification the day the card is due, then I will have 1 additional day to act on it, or get charged.

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I think you can get pretty close to this if you use the “inbox zero” facility, which sets up a goal of zero emails with a particular label in a gmail inbox.

In a bit more detail:

  • set up a goal linked to emails with a particular label (the one you associate with Trello - gmail can automatically label emails from Trello for you, I think)
  • make the target that Beeminder will count “any emails”
  • set zero as the goal for this type in the inbox.

Then at the end of each day, any emails with the label you set up for emails from Trello will trigger a beeminder action - you’ll cross the red line and get charged.

This isn’t perfect, as (1) you’ll only get one charge/day, regardless of how badly you fail (how many emails you get), and (2) you’ll have to go delete the old emails once they’ve triggered beeminder. But it might get you started. Gives me some good ideas for what I might get to zero in my inbox, too!

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Thank you for the suggestion!

I think I could make that work. One question, does it have to wait until the end of the day to cross the red line? I could potentially see myself seeing a triggering email come in and unlabel it or something before the end of the day.

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I think (but am not certain) that beeminder is only going to check the inbox at the end of the day. The main usecase is “make sure I get to inbox zero (for this label) at the end of each day”, and it would be counterproductive to derail you as soon as you had any emails with that label.

EDIT: Further investigation suggests the idea below using IFTTT doesn’t seem to work now, as gmail has pulled mail trigger support from them for GDPR related reasons. I leave it in just in case you come up with something like it that works!
If you are worried you might try and cheat the system by unlabelling them, you could maybe figure out something using IFTTT to check your inbox more often, and have that update a beeminder goal? That sounds like it ought to work, but I haven’t tried it myself!

If you weren’t sure how to automatically apply labels, the instructions are here Automatically label and sort messages - Google Workspace Learning Center Looks like you could even have them automatically archived when they arrive and are labelled, so you wouldn’t even see them and that might remove your temptation to unlabel them.

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Thank you again for such a detailed response!

I think doing the auto archive so it skips my inbox would do the trick. I’ll definitely be setting this up later today. Thank you again!

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So I’ve got it all set up and I created a test condition to put a data point on my graph. However, it doesn’t seem to be working. GmailZero seems to see the 1 email that matches my label, but for some reason, it is putting the value of the datapoint to 0. Any idea why that might happen?

By default, the data point will be the minimum of any value from that day. If you want it to instead be the most recent value, it should be possible to change that by converting to a custom goal, bit you might need to contact support (please do, they are very responsive and helpful!)

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Thank you! Knowing that info helps!

There’s also things like max and min, which may help you be exactly as aggressive as you want to be.

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Thank you for the info. Would these types of parameters require a premium plan?

Premium plans come with the ability to make custom goals and set the “aggday” self-service. I know that it’s been mentioned on the forums that if you email support, they might be able to set the aggday for you. I don’t remember all the details… It might have been a “collect feedback about different use cases” or something, and I’m not sure if it’s still in effect.

If this comment is more confusing/incorrect than helpful, I am definitely OK with a mod adjusting this post to be accurate and helpful :slight_smile:

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They’ve definitely become more strict on that front (sensibly? counter-intuitively, taking into account the recent death to premium sentiment?). A couple of years back that would’ve been no problem. Recently I contacted support with a similar question (which I only asked because I thought it would be no biggie). The current line seems to be that it would be unfair to those that pay for the plans, which is a reasonable argument.

For sure, that makes sense. I’m not trying to get features for free that they would normally charge for.

What exactly do you mean by “the recent death to premium sentiment?”

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I see that that was a full year ago now so we’re not exactly make fast progress on shifting away from premium plans! I guess it mostly means that we’re not going to be paywalling things that are currently free nor introducing new premium-only features.

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Reading the footnotes of the Strategy Memo, it does note that it makes some sense to reserve certain features for “premium only” - including custom goals. If this were my decision, that’d be because they are trickier to write and would incur support costs to unravel if they went wrong, but it’s not my decision :slight_smile:

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I read that on there too about custom goals. Thanks for chiming in. I really appreciate all the help everyone has given on my post!

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I think I figured out a good solution!

I set Trello to send me an email with #BM01 in the subject when a card is 2 days overdue.

IFTTT allows you to connect your Beeminder account. There are two options when connecting: 1) Add a datapoint on a goal or 2) Charge me.

I set an IFTTT trigger with the “Charge me” option, and set it to trigger when IFTTT receives an email (to trigger@applet.ifttt.com). Unfortunately, IFTTT will only accept email triggers like this from the account that you signed up with. My email is gmail, and gmail will not let you auto forward emails without first verifying that destination email address.

So, I created a free outlook.com address and signed up for a second IFTTT account using that address. When Trello sends the #BM01 email to that outlook.com address, Outlook forwards it to IFTTT. IFTTT triggers my beeminder account to charge me immediately.

The only drawback that I can see is that it’s not really set up as a goal in Beeminder, so I won’t be able to see much (if any) data around my progress, etc.

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Neat bit of duct-tape programming there, @alongcor ! I didn’t know there was a “charge me immediately” option on the IFTTT connection: I shall file that one away for future use…

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