"seems like they get money because I didn't do something"

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com

“it just seems like they get money because I didn’t do something” ==>
Think of it rather as “it seems like I lose money because I didn’t do
something, therefore I will be more likely to do something”

“That’s awful eww” ==> “You are an entitled, short-sighted idiot” :slight_smile:

On 27 July 2014 15:38, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


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In person, I’ve gotten that reaction, though in a nicer way, but they’re
flabbergasted that that’s the business model and I always point out, along
with explaining what they’re really paying for, that we never charge anyone
unless they truly feel like they’ve gotten that much value out of tracking
and committing to their goal up to that point.

-Melanie

On Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 10:47 PM, Alys lady_alys@oldgods.net wrote:

“it just seems like they get money because I didn’t do something” ==>
Think of it rather as “it seems like I lose money because I didn’t do
something, therefore I will be more likely to do something”

“That’s awful eww” ==> “You are an entitled, short-sighted idiot” :slight_smile:

On 27 July 2014 15:38, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
Groups “Akratics Anonymous” group.
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an email to akratics+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
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Ideally that’s true and it’s amazing how close to universally true that is
in practice but we can’t say that as a guarantee without overfuzzifying
Beeminder’s credible threat. We said that better here:
http://blog.beeminder.com/legit/
On 27 Jul 2014 01:15, “Melanie Reeves Wicklow” melanie@beeminder.com
wrote:

In person, I’ve gotten that reaction, though in a nicer way, but they’re
flabbergasted that that’s the business model and I always point out, along
with explaining what they’re really paying for, that we never charge anyone
unless they truly feel like they’ve gotten that much value out of tracking
and committing to their goal up to that point.

-Melanie

On Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 10:47 PM, Alys lady_alys@oldgods.net wrote:

“it just seems like they get money because I didn’t do something” ==>
Think of it rather as “it seems like I lose money because I didn’t do
something, therefore I will be more likely to do something”

“That’s awful eww” ==> “You are an entitled, short-sighted idiot” :slight_smile:

On 27 July 2014 15:38, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
Groups “Akratics Anonymous” group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send
an email to akratics+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.


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Have you considered studying Costco’s successful business model for ideas
such as:

A basic membership fee (possibly two-tiered like theirs) and then when
someone derails they can specify that some or all of their pledge goes to
their favorite charity or such. Or some or all of their lost pledge can be
used to pay their next annual membership fee, etc. All kinds of ways to
go. This might temper the distaste that some feel about all of their money
going to Beeminder. The membership fee is just the cost of particpating in
all the awesomeness of Beeminder but then as they go along they have
choices about what happens with their pledge money.

Costco makes something like 60% percent of it’s total revenue from
membership fees.

Sorry if I’m chiming in on something I know too little about at this point.
:slight_smile:

On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 3:59 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

Ideally that’s true and it’s amazing how close to universally true that is
in practice but we can’t say that as a guarantee without overfuzzifying
Beeminder’s credible threat. We said that better here:
http://blog.beeminder.com/legit/
On 27 Jul 2014 01:15, “Melanie Reeves Wicklow” melanie@beeminder.com
wrote:

In person, I’ve gotten that reaction, though in a nicer way, but they’re
flabbergasted that that’s the business model and I always point out, along
with explaining what they’re really paying for, that we never charge anyone
unless they truly feel like they’ve gotten that much value out of tracking
and committing to their goal up to that point.

-Melanie

On Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 10:47 PM, Alys lady_alys@oldgods.net wrote:

“it just seems like they get money because I didn’t do something” ==>
Think of it rather as “it seems like I lose money because I didn’t do
something, therefore I will be more likely to do something”

“That’s awful eww” ==> “You are an entitled, short-sighted idiot” :slight_smile:

On 27 July 2014 15:38, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
Groups “Akratics Anonymous” group.
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an email to akratics+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
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I love it that the money goes to Beeminder.

The business model makes sense to me when I compare it to the alternative
of paying a monthly membership fee. In that model, Beeminder costs money
whether I screw up or not. So the better I get at planning ahead and
fighting Akrasia, the less value I get out of my membership. But there
should never be an incentive to do worse on my goals. That’s why I should
only pay when I fail, and I certainly don’t get to feel good about giving
the pledge to some charity.

It’s also just unrealistic to expect Beeminder to be ad supported or
entirely free.

On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 7:34 AM, Laurie Reeves lauriekreeves@gmail.com
wrote:

Have you considered studying Costco’s successful business model for ideas
such as:

A basic membership fee (possibly two-tiered like theirs) and then when
someone derails they can specify that some or all of their pledge goes to
their favorite charity or such. Or some or all of their lost pledge can be
used to pay their next annual membership fee, etc. All kinds of ways to
go. This might temper the distaste that some feel about all of their money
going to Beeminder. The membership fee is just the cost of particpating in
all the awesomeness of Beeminder but then as they go along they have
choices about what happens with their pledge money.

Costco makes something like 60% percent of it’s total revenue from
membership fees.

Sorry if I’m chiming in on something I know too little about at this
point. :slight_smile:

On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 3:59 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

Ideally that’s true and it’s amazing how close to universally true that
is in practice but we can’t say that as a guarantee without overfuzzifying
Beeminder’s credible threat. We said that better here:
http://blog.beeminder.com/legit/
On 27 Jul 2014 01:15, “Melanie Reeves Wicklow” melanie@beeminder.com
wrote:

In person, I’ve gotten that reaction, though in a nicer way, but they’re
flabbergasted that that’s the business model and I always point out, along
with explaining what they’re really paying for, that we never charge anyone
unless they truly feel like they’ve gotten that much value out of tracking
and committing to their goal up to that point.

-Melanie

On Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 10:47 PM, Alys lady_alys@oldgods.net wrote:

“it just seems like they get money because I didn’t do something” ==>
Think of it rather as “it seems like I lose money because I didn’t do
something, therefore I will be more likely to do something”

“That’s awful eww” ==> “You are an entitled, short-sighted idiot” :slight_smile:

On 27 July 2014 15:38, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
Groups “Akratics Anonymous” group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it,
send an email to akratics+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.


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Oh and Duolingo specifically is an amusing place to see this conversation.
As I’m sure you know, Duolingo tracks your “hot streak” in days, so if you
have a 90 day hot streak and then goof up one day, poof goodbye
motivational tool. Last year I used Duolingo for about a month straight,
then I “derailed” and just gave up.

Now when I’m Beeminding my Duolingo, I have the rate set such that I
basically have to do it 6 days a week. And I actually get a bit of bonus
credit for finishing lessons with spare hearts. It’s not much, but it is
nice that actually doing well on the lessons eventually earns me a day off!
Much better than this all or nothing model Duolingo offers.

On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 7:47 AM, Sean Fellows oaks64@gmail.com wrote:

I love it that the money goes to Beeminder.

The business model makes sense to me when I compare it to the alternative
of paying a monthly membership fee. In that model, Beeminder costs money
whether I screw up or not. So the better I get at planning ahead and
fighting Akrasia, the less value I get out of my membership. But there
should never be an incentive to do worse on my goals. That’s why I should
only pay when I fail, and I certainly don’t get to feel good about giving
the pledge to some charity.

It’s also just unrealistic to expect Beeminder to be ad supported or
entirely free.

On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 7:34 AM, Laurie Reeves lauriekreeves@gmail.com
wrote:

Have you considered studying Costco’s successful business model for ideas
such as:

A basic membership fee (possibly two-tiered like theirs) and then when
someone derails they can specify that some or all of their pledge goes to
their favorite charity or such. Or some or all of their lost pledge can be
used to pay their next annual membership fee, etc. All kinds of ways to
go. This might temper the distaste that some feel about all of their money
going to Beeminder. The membership fee is just the cost of particpating in
all the awesomeness of Beeminder but then as they go along they have
choices about what happens with their pledge money.

Costco makes something like 60% percent of it’s total revenue from
membership fees.

Sorry if I’m chiming in on something I know too little about at this
point. :slight_smile:

On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 3:59 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

Ideally that’s true and it’s amazing how close to universally true that
is in practice but we can’t say that as a guarantee without overfuzzifying
Beeminder’s credible threat. We said that better here:
http://blog.beeminder.com/legit/
On 27 Jul 2014 01:15, “Melanie Reeves Wicklow” melanie@beeminder.com
wrote:

In person, I’ve gotten that reaction, though in a nicer way, but
they’re flabbergasted that that’s the business model and I always point
out, along with explaining what they’re really paying for, that we never
charge anyone unless they truly feel like they’ve gotten that much value
out of tracking and committing to their goal up to that point.

-Melanie

On Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 10:47 PM, Alys lady_alys@oldgods.net wrote:

“it just seems like they get money because I didn’t do something” ==>
Think of it rather as “it seems like I lose money because I didn’t do
something, therefore I will be more likely to do something”

“That’s awful eww” ==> “You are an entitled, short-sighted idiot” :slight_smile:

On 27 July 2014 15:38, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better
ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going
to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
Groups “Akratics Anonymous” group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it,
send an email to akratics+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
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Why temper negative reactions?

You do not get bonus points for everyone on the Internet liking you.

You do get money when more proto-beeminders hear about you and try it out.

How can you make a larger percentage of the population into
proto-beeminders? Not by improving the fucking rhetoric. You do it by
making more successful Beeminders.

Here are two future headlines describing how you reached more of the
current group of proto-beeminders:

“Startup founders explain their business model on Reddit”

“They might be the most cynical people on the Internet. They light their
customers money on fire and put the videos up on YouTube. And they’re
making their customers smarter, hotter, and fluent in every language on
Earth.”

On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 10:34 AM, Laurie Reeves lauriekreeves@gmail.com
wrote:

Have you considered studying Costco’s successful business model for ideas
such as:

A basic membership fee (possibly two-tiered like theirs) and then when
someone derails they can specify that some or all of their pledge goes to
their favorite charity or such. Or some or all of their lost pledge can be
used to pay their next annual membership fee, etc. All kinds of ways to
go. This might temper the distaste that some feel about all of their money
going to Beeminder. The membership fee is just the cost of particpating in
all the awesomeness of Beeminder but then as they go along they have
choices about what happens with their pledge money.

Costco makes something like 60% percent of it’s total revenue from
membership fees.

Sorry if I’m chiming in on something I know too little about at this
point. :slight_smile:

On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 3:59 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

Ideally that’s true and it’s amazing how close to universally true that
is in practice but we can’t say that as a guarantee without overfuzzifying
Beeminder’s credible threat. We said that better here:
http://blog.beeminder.com/legit/
On 27 Jul 2014 01:15, “Melanie Reeves Wicklow” melanie@beeminder.com
wrote:

In person, I’ve gotten that reaction, though in a nicer way, but they’re
flabbergasted that that’s the business model and I always point out, along
with explaining what they’re really paying for, that we never charge anyone
unless they truly feel like they’ve gotten that much value out of tracking
and committing to their goal up to that point.

-Melanie

On Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 10:47 PM, Alys lady_alys@oldgods.net wrote:

“it just seems like they get money because I didn’t do something” ==>
Think of it rather as “it seems like I lose money because I didn’t do
something, therefore I will be more likely to do something”

“That’s awful eww” ==> “You are an entitled, short-sighted idiot” :slight_smile:

On 27 July 2014 15:38, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
Groups “Akratics Anonymous” group.
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send an email to akratics+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
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Haha that’s another approach! It should come with a youtube video of the
founders burning a month’s worth of pledges in cash just because they can.

The FAQ will read:

Q: You make money from people failing at their goals?
You can’t handle the truth.

On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 8:12 AM, Michael J.J. Tiffany <
michael.tiffany@gmail.com> wrote:

Why temper negative reactions?

You do not get bonus points for everyone on the Internet liking you.

You do get money when more proto-beeminders hear about you and try it out.

How can you make a larger percentage of the population into
proto-beeminders? Not by improving the fucking rhetoric. You do it by
making more successful Beeminders.

Here are two future headlines describing how you reached more of the
current group of proto-beeminders:

“Startup founders explain their business model on Reddit”

“They might be the most cynical people on the Internet. They light their
customers money on fire and put the videos up on YouTube. And they’re
making their customers smarter, hotter, and fluent in every language on
Earth.”

On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 10:34 AM, Laurie Reeves lauriekreeves@gmail.com
wrote:

Have you considered studying Costco’s successful business model for ideas
such as:

A basic membership fee (possibly two-tiered like theirs) and then when
someone derails they can specify that some or all of their pledge goes to
their favorite charity or such. Or some or all of their lost pledge can be
used to pay their next annual membership fee, etc. All kinds of ways to
go. This might temper the distaste that some feel about all of their money
going to Beeminder. The membership fee is just the cost of particpating in
all the awesomeness of Beeminder but then as they go along they have
choices about what happens with their pledge money.

Costco makes something like 60% percent of it’s total revenue from
membership fees.

Sorry if I’m chiming in on something I know too little about at this
point. :slight_smile:

On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 3:59 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

Ideally that’s true and it’s amazing how close to universally true that
is in practice but we can’t say that as a guarantee without overfuzzifying
Beeminder’s credible threat. We said that better here:
http://blog.beeminder.com/legit/
On 27 Jul 2014 01:15, “Melanie Reeves Wicklow” melanie@beeminder.com
wrote:

In person, I’ve gotten that reaction, though in a nicer way, but
they’re flabbergasted that that’s the business model and I always point
out, along with explaining what they’re really paying for, that we never
charge anyone unless they truly feel like they’ve gotten that much value
out of tracking and committing to their goal up to that point.

-Melanie

On Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 10:47 PM, Alys lady_alys@oldgods.net wrote:

“it just seems like they get money because I didn’t do something” ==>
Think of it rather as “it seems like I lose money because I didn’t do
something, therefore I will be more likely to do something”

“That’s awful eww” ==> “You are an entitled, short-sighted idiot” :slight_smile:

On 27 July 2014 15:38, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better
ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going
to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


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The vast majority of people I tell about Beeminder have this negative
reaction. I tell them having money on the line is great because it makes
you think rationally. It’s like how, if you want to see how likely
something is to happen, you think about how much you would bet on it, and
if you want to see how much you value something, you think about how much
you would pay to buy it or not lose it. So often, people think they want to
do something that they don’t want to do. They just want to magically
already have done it. It’s not actually worth the time to them. Making them
put a price tag on it helps make that obvious. So I actually view the
pledge as a filter on what I’ll set as a goal more than as a threat. And
once a goal has passed my filter, I’ve decided it’s worth the pledge and
derailing, seen as a potential part of the process of me reaching my goal,
is worth the money.

There’s a funny Demotivational poster in my office that says “Keep Working.
You’re Not Being Paid To Believe In The Power Of Your Dreams.” But it’s
true! Dreams are great, they point you in a direction, but they don’t do
the work for you. Pledges ask you, do you want to believe in the power of
your dreams, or do you want to get this done?

On Sunday, July 27, 2014 1:38:47 AM UTC-4, Daniel Reeves wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Akratics Anonymous” group.
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The subject line is missing (at least) half the truth. “seems like they get
money because I didn’t do something that I promised to do”.

Success in life seems to be correlated with keeping (or renegotiating) your
commitments, while consciously refining what you’re willing to commit to.
Beeminder helps on both counts.

If you don’t care about your duolingo goal, don’t beemind it. Simple.

If a goal is genuinely important, find a way of beeminding it. Harder, but
worth it.

If it doesn’t seem worth it, maybe you’ve misunderstood the value of your
goal. Adjust accordingly.

It’d be interesting to find out whether duolingo-ers who beemind their
goals have longer streaks, more words, or whatever other metric. If
duolingo publish any stats, we could check.

Philip

beeminder.com — for your important goals

On 27 July 2014 17:19, Presley Pizzo presleyanne@gmail.com wrote:

The vast majority of people I tell about Beeminder have this negative
reaction. I tell them having money on the line is great because it makes
you think rationally. It’s like how, if you want to see how likely
something is to happen, you think about how much you would bet on it, and
if you want to see how much you value something, you think about how much
you would pay to buy it or not lose it. So often, people think they want to
do something that they don’t want to do. They just want to magically
already have done it. It’s not actually worth the time to them. Making them
put a price tag on it helps make that obvious. So I actually view the
pledge as a filter on what I’ll set as a goal more than as a threat. And
once a goal has passed my filter, I’ve decided it’s worth the pledge and
derailing, seen as a potential part of the process of me reaching my goal,
is worth the money.

There’s a funny Demotivational poster in my office that says “Keep
Working. You’re Not Being Paid To Believe In The Power Of Your Dreams.” But
it’s true! Dreams are great, they point you in a direction, but they don’t
do the work for you. Pledges ask you, do you want to believe in the power
of your dreams, or do you want to get this done?

On Sunday, July 27, 2014 1:38:47 AM UTC-4, Daniel Reeves wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Akratics Anonymous" group.
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Perhaps Beeminder could be improved as a commitment device. Using
David Friedman’s terminology[1] of thinking about an individual as two
selves, a short term pleasure maximizer me (STM) and a long term utility
maximizer me (LTM), Beeminder is a tool which uses incentives to get
STM to accomplish LTM’s goals.

  1. http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/2008/01/new-thoughts-on-gift-giving-puzzle.html

Beeminder currently does this punishing STM when it starts to fail in
meeting LTM’s goals. It does this rather bluntly by imposing a fee.
Unless you’re an ascetic, one of LTM’s goals is also wealth
accumulation so the cost is borne by both STM and LTM.

To get the incentives right, you really only want to punish STM, not
LTM too, when it fails. Things that STM cares about that LTM doesn’t
include good food, non-reproductive sex, and non-educational
entertainment. I can’t think of a good way that Beeminder would
impose these types of costs on STM. Perhaps Beeminder could issue a
credit card that declines charges for dining and entertainment when
STM gets off the Yellow Brick Road.

But I think there’s a better solution. Rather than punishing STM when
it fails, Beeminder could reward STM when it succeeds. As a Beeminder
customer, I could decide how I want to reward STM when it successfully
meets milestones towards meeting LTM’s goals. I could have Beeminder
send me tickets to the cinema or a gift card to a restaurant I like.
When setting a goal, I send Beeminder some amount of money that will
be used to buy these rewards.

LTM is paying STM to accomplish its goals. Beeminder makes money off
the float and the discount on gift cards purchased in bulk.
(Beeminder could also send physical rewards, either purchased when
earned or pre-purchased and warehoused, but that would make the
logistics more complicated.)

Christian

On Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 10:38:46PM -0700, Daniel Reeves wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Akratics Anonymous” group.
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For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.


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That’s an interesting outlook, and I agree that punishing the LTM would be
avoided ideally.

In the particular example you give, however, I’m just going to buy more
tickets or go out to dinner and forfeit the gift card. So the "reward"
tickets or gifts will be forfeited, which is essentially the same as
forfeiting money except that Beeminder ends up in possession of the
illiquid reward and the restaurant/venue/whatever ends up with the cash
instead of Beeminder.

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 8:40 AM, Christian G. Warden cwarden@xerus.org
wrote:

Perhaps Beeminder could be improved as a commitment device. Using
David Friedman’s terminology[1] of thinking about an individual as two
selves, a short term pleasure maximizer me (STM) and a long term utility
maximizer me (LTM), Beeminder is a tool which uses incentives to get
STM to accomplish LTM’s goals.

http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/2008/01/new-thoughts-on-gift-giving-puzzle.html

Beeminder currently does this punishing STM when it starts to fail in
meeting LTM’s goals. It does this rather bluntly by imposing a fee.
Unless you’re an ascetic, one of LTM’s goals is also wealth
accumulation so the cost is borne by both STM and LTM.

To get the incentives right, you really only want to punish STM, not
LTM too, when it fails. Things that STM cares about that LTM doesn’t
include good food, non-reproductive sex, and non-educational
entertainment. I can’t think of a good way that Beeminder would
impose these types of costs on STM. Perhaps Beeminder could issue a
credit card that declines charges for dining and entertainment when
STM gets off the Yellow Brick Road.

But I think there’s a better solution. Rather than punishing STM when
it fails, Beeminder could reward STM when it succeeds. As a Beeminder
customer, I could decide how I want to reward STM when it successfully
meets milestones towards meeting LTM’s goals. I could have Beeminder
send me tickets to the cinema or a gift card to a restaurant I like.
When setting a goal, I send Beeminder some amount of money that will
be used to buy these rewards.

LTM is paying STM to accomplish its goals. Beeminder makes money off
the float and the discount on gift cards purchased in bulk.
(Beeminder could also send physical rewards, either purchased when
earned or pre-purchased and warehoused, but that would make the
logistics more complicated.)

Christian

On Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 10:38:46PM -0700, Daniel Reeves wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
Groups “Akratics Anonymous” group.
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In a way, I use a combination of both by tying my Beeminder and my
spending budgets together. (I have some other things set up as well,
but I’ll keep this simple to keep it short.) I keep a wishlist of
things I want and buy things at the end of the month after seeing if
I’ve let Beeminder chip away at my spending money and, if so, by how
much. That way I have the reward of the things I want in mind to push
towards and the punishment of the bee’s sting to push away from. There
are times when that bites me in the rear cause I just think, "Screw
it; I just won’t buy X until next month; I’m choosing to derail this!"
But it usually keeps LTM unaffected, since that would be spent money
anyway (vs. in savings or something), and it keeps STM engaged because
I want the wishlist items and I want them soon!

On 29 July 2014 11:40, Christian G. Warden cwarden@xerus.org wrote:

Perhaps Beeminder could be improved as a commitment device. Using
David Friedman’s terminology[1] of thinking about an individual as two
selves, a short term pleasure maximizer me (STM) and a long term utility
maximizer me (LTM), Beeminder is a tool which uses incentives to get
STM to accomplish LTM’s goals.

  1. http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/2008/01/new-thoughts-on-gift-giving-puzzle.html

Beeminder currently does this punishing STM when it starts to fail in
meeting LTM’s goals. It does this rather bluntly by imposing a fee.
Unless you’re an ascetic, one of LTM’s goals is also wealth
accumulation so the cost is borne by both STM and LTM.

To get the incentives right, you really only want to punish STM, not
LTM too, when it fails. Things that STM cares about that LTM doesn’t
include good food, non-reproductive sex, and non-educational
entertainment. I can’t think of a good way that Beeminder would
impose these types of costs on STM. Perhaps Beeminder could issue a
credit card that declines charges for dining and entertainment when
STM gets off the Yellow Brick Road.

But I think there’s a better solution. Rather than punishing STM when
it fails, Beeminder could reward STM when it succeeds. As a Beeminder
customer, I could decide how I want to reward STM when it successfully
meets milestones towards meeting LTM’s goals. I could have Beeminder
send me tickets to the cinema or a gift card to a restaurant I like.
When setting a goal, I send Beeminder some amount of money that will
be used to buy these rewards.

LTM is paying STM to accomplish its goals. Beeminder makes money off
the float and the discount on gift cards purchased in bulk.
(Beeminder could also send physical rewards, either purchased when
earned or pre-purchased and warehoused, but that would make the
logistics more complicated.)

Christian

On Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 10:38:46PM -0700, Daniel Reeves wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Akratics Anonymous” group.
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The idea is to reward STM by buying it things you wouldn’t otherwise
buy yourself. For example, I have a long wishlist on Amazon of things
I can afford, but haven’t bought. These would make good rewards.
Or maybe I would have Beeminder send our babysitter money for my
reward so I could take my wife out to dinner.

If I’m going to buy myself nice dinners and entertainment anyway,
those wouldn’t be good rewards for LTM to choose for STM.

Christian

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 08:50:22AM -0700, Sean Fellows wrote:

That’s an interesting outlook, and I agree that punishing the LTM would be
avoided ideally.

In the particular example you give, however, I’m just going to buy more
tickets or go out to dinner and forfeit the gift card. So the "reward"
tickets or gifts will be forfeited, which is essentially the same as
forfeiting money except that Beeminder ends up in possession of the
illiquid reward and the restaurant/venue/whatever ends up with the cash
instead of Beeminder.

On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 8:40 AM, Christian G. Warden cwarden@xerus.org
wrote:

Perhaps Beeminder could be improved as a commitment device. Using
David Friedman’s terminology[1] of thinking about an individual as two
selves, a short term pleasure maximizer me (STM) and a long term utility
maximizer me (LTM), Beeminder is a tool which uses incentives to get
STM to accomplish LTM’s goals.

http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/2008/01/new-thoughts-on-gift-giving-puzzle.html

Beeminder currently does this punishing STM when it starts to fail in
meeting LTM’s goals. It does this rather bluntly by imposing a fee.
Unless you’re an ascetic, one of LTM’s goals is also wealth
accumulation so the cost is borne by both STM and LTM.

To get the incentives right, you really only want to punish STM, not
LTM too, when it fails. Things that STM cares about that LTM doesn’t
include good food, non-reproductive sex, and non-educational
entertainment. I can’t think of a good way that Beeminder would
impose these types of costs on STM. Perhaps Beeminder could issue a
credit card that declines charges for dining and entertainment when
STM gets off the Yellow Brick Road.

But I think there’s a better solution. Rather than punishing STM when
it fails, Beeminder could reward STM when it succeeds. As a Beeminder
customer, I could decide how I want to reward STM when it successfully
meets milestones towards meeting LTM’s goals. I could have Beeminder
send me tickets to the cinema or a gift card to a restaurant I like.
When setting a goal, I send Beeminder some amount of money that will
be used to buy these rewards.

LTM is paying STM to accomplish its goals. Beeminder makes money off
the float and the discount on gift cards purchased in bulk.
(Beeminder could also send physical rewards, either purchased when
earned or pre-purchased and warehoused, but that would make the
logistics more complicated.)

Christian

On Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 10:38:46PM -0700, Daniel Reeves wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://"Daniel Reeves"
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
Groups “Akratics Anonymous” group.
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This is something that Beeminder has really done well with. I’ve had one or
two goals (restarted weight tracking) where I failed almost immediately.
The Bee-team has been quite reasonable with me in these cases and haven’t
charged me – since I didn’t feel that I’ve gotten the $90 value out of the
failure.

80% of people that I mention Beeminder to have a somewhat negative reaction
to it – “What do you mean they just get the money?” The other 20% see how
well it can work. The fact that they keep the money is the whole point :slight_smile:

John
On Jul 27, 2014 4:59 AM, “Daniel Reeves” dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

Ideally that’s true and it’s amazing how close to universally true that is
in practice but we can’t say that as a guarantee without overfuzzifying
Beeminder’s credible threat. We said that better here:
http://blog.beeminder.com/legit/
On 27 Jul 2014 01:15, “Melanie Reeves Wicklow” melanie@beeminder.com
wrote:

In person, I’ve gotten that reaction, though in a nicer way, but they’re
flabbergasted that that’s the business model and I always point out, along
with explaining what they’re really paying for, that we never charge anyone
unless they truly feel like they’ve gotten that much value out of tracking
and committing to their goal up to that point.

-Melanie

On Sat, Jul 26, 2014 at 10:47 PM, Alys lady_alys@oldgods.net wrote:

“it just seems like they get money because I didn’t do something” ==>
Think of it rather as “it seems like I lose money because I didn’t do
something, therefore I will be more likely to do something”

“That’s awful eww” ==> “You are an entitled, short-sighted idiot” :slight_smile:

On 27 July 2014 15:38, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com wrote:

We have so many responses to that objection by now that I don’t even
know where to begin, so I thought I’d see if you all had better ideas.
This comes up today because someone brought up Beeminder on a forum
about Duolingo and the reactions are sorta negative:

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/2bsww0/beeminder_anyone/

I imagine that’s down to the simple fact that for most people who
don’t self-identify as lifehackers, quantified-selfers, motivation
hackers, etc, the whole concept of commitment devices is just going to
seem stupid. (As I’ve said before, “most” might mean something like
2/3.) But we could also probably be doing a better job of disarming
the cynical reaction to Beeminder’s business model!


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
Goal tracking + Commitment contracts == http://beeminder.com


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On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 5:40 PM, Christian G. Warden cwarden@xerus.org
wrote:

But I think there’s a better solution. Rather than punishing STM when
it fails, Beeminder could reward STM when it succeeds. As a Beeminder
customer, I could decide how I want to reward STM when it successfully
meets milestones towards meeting LTM’s goals. I could have Beeminder
send me tickets to the cinema or a gift card to a restaurant I like.
When setting a goal, I send Beeminder some amount of money that will
be used to buy these rewards.

I completely agree with your points about LTM vs. STM rewarding.
Beeminder can already do what you proposes, in a way. If you set aside the
money you would pay for a derail then, upon reaching your goal, you can use
it for something that rewards the STM.
Instead of sending Beeminder $10 to buy you a ticket to the cinema, you
could have a goal with $10 on stake and set those aside beforehand. If you
fail the goal those money go to Beeminder, if you reach it you can go to
the cinema.


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