I imagine this has probably been covered before, but I couldn’t find it just now.
In my enthusiasm about beeminder and the ideas behind it, when I explain it to people I always notice that they nod along apparently with some level of interest (dependent on whether they have the same “akrasia” problems as you and me, perhaps, or how seriously they’ve learned to take their own limitations) – until it comes to the part about the money.
At that point, you can see all the other ideas drop straight out of their head right away at… the thrill and the cheek of the thing. It’s not that they’d necessarily disagree that it’s a good idea. It just seems to be the most salient thing for everybody.
I think this is a shame, because it makes it harder to get it to sink in what else it’s really about and why beeminder is different in important ways from similar apps/services I’ve seen (like using cumulative counts, the “akrasia horizon”, “precommit to recommit” etc.).
(of course the money thing is both a good idea in itself, and a necessary and good thing to support the company – but it’s the emotional response I’m talking about, not the logical one)
I’ve tried to explicitly head this off by warning people about their own likely response and pointing out that the money isn’t even the most interesting part (in my opinion) and certainly not the only part. I don’t think it worked.
I don’t have the solution, I just thought I’d bring it up and see if other people have something to say ¯\_(ツ)_/¯