the type of person who uses beeminder

Here’s my list of personality traits required for beeminding:

  1. Akratic (obviously)
  2. Ambitious/motivated (ironically)
  3. Self-aware (knowing the limits of one’s motivation)
  4. High-integrity (to not spoil the whole point by cheating/weaseling)
  5. And probably lifehacking data nerdery

What fraction of the population does that leave? Most people are
akratic about at least some things. It’s practically part of the human
condition. I don’t know where the ambitiousness threshold is but it’s
a sizable minority if not a majority. There’s some empirical evidence
to suggest 1/3 is the fraction of people with enough self-awareness to
appreciate the value of a commitment device. Integrity is another one
I don’t know how to estimate, but hopefully it’s at least 50%. And
we’re gradually lowering the bar on lifehacking data nerdery (and the
more competitors we have – blog.beeminder.com/competitors – the more
receptive the general population is to this kind of craziness!) but
we’re still clearly targeting the nerd elite.

Multiplying it out: 95% * 50% * 33% * 50% * 10% = nearly 1% of the population.

We are the 1%!


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

On Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 8:21 AM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

There’s some empirical evidence
to suggest 1/3 is the fraction of people with enough self-awareness to
appreciate the value of a commitment device.

What’s this empirical evidence? It sounds really interesting.


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There’s some empirical evidence
to suggest 1/3 is the fraction of people with enough self-awareness to
appreciate the value of a commitment device.

What’s this empirical evidence? It sounds really interesting.

There’s not a ton but I know of one study [1] involving a datacenter
in India where people had the choice to set up commitment contracts to
voluntarily incur real losses as a way to force themselves to maintain
higher output (and thus get paid more, if the commitment device
worked). Something like a third of participants chose to do it. And,
bizarrely, Ainslie saw a similar result with pigeons: 95% akratic with
30% using a commitment device when available.

[1] Kaur, Supreet, Michael Kremer, and Sendhil Mullainathan. 2010.
“Self-Control and the Development of Work Arrangements.” American
Economic Review, 100(2): 624.

[2] http://www.picoeconomics.org/Articles/ImpulseCtrlPigeons74.pdf


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

Danny,

In recent years I’ve heard about companies that are charging employees more
for their share of health care premiums on their group health care plans if
the employee does not use the company gym and submit to other health tests,
etc. Wouldn’t this fall into that same category and, if so, I wonder how
many employees submit to this commitment in order to lower their paycheck
deductions for health care?

I think this idea has been legally challenged but I don’t know how that’s
proceeding.

On Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 12:10 PM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

There’s some empirical evidence
to suggest 1/3 is the fraction of people with enough self-awareness to
appreciate the value of a commitment device.

What’s this empirical evidence? It sounds really interesting.

There’s not a ton but I know of one study [1] involving a datacenter
in India where people had the choice to set up commitment contracts to
voluntarily incur real losses as a way to force themselves to maintain
higher output (and thus get paid more, if the commitment device
worked). Something like a third of participants chose to do it. And,
bizarrely, Ainslie saw a similar result with pigeons: 95% akratic with
30% using a commitment device when available.

[1] Kaur, Supreet, Michael Kremer, and Sendhil Mullainathan. 2010.
“Self-Control and the Development of Work Arrangements.” American
Economic Review, 100(2): 624.

[2] http://www.picoeconomics.org/Articles/ImpulseCtrlPigeons74.pdf


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


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That sounds like a straightforward monetary incentive, not precommitment.
The employees don’t seem to have a choice in the matter of whether to
participate.

On Sat, Jun 14, 2014 at 3:06 PM, Laurie Reeves lauriekreeves@gmail.com
wrote:

Danny,

In recent years I’ve heard about companies that are charging employees
more for their share of health care premiums on their group health care
plans if the employee does not use the company gym and submit to other
health tests, etc. Wouldn’t this fall into that same category and, if so,
I wonder how many employees submit to this commitment in order to lower
their paycheck deductions for health care?

I think this idea has been legally challenged but I don’t know how that’s
proceeding.

On Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 12:10 PM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

There’s some empirical evidence
to suggest 1/3 is the fraction of people with enough self-awareness to
appreciate the value of a commitment device.

What’s this empirical evidence? It sounds really interesting.

There’s not a ton but I know of one study [1] involving a datacenter
in India where people had the choice to set up commitment contracts to
voluntarily incur real losses as a way to force themselves to maintain
higher output (and thus get paid more, if the commitment device
worked). Something like a third of participants chose to do it. And,
bizarrely, Ainslie saw a similar result with pigeons: 95% akratic with
30% using a commitment device when available.

[1] Kaur, Supreet, Michael Kremer, and Sendhil Mullainathan. 2010.
“Self-Control and the Development of Work Arrangements.” American
Economic Review, 100(2): 624.

[2] http://www.picoeconomics.org/Articles/ImpulseCtrlPigeons74.pdf


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


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This thread is now a major motion blog post: blog.beeminder.com/typebee

As I just said in the weekly beemail, this blog post has everything:
made-up statistics, handwavy claims about psychology, shameless
appeals to social proof, and academic-style footnotes! It’s like the
"Snakes on a Plane" of Beeminder blog posts. I know you can’t resist
seeing just how bad it really is…

On Sat, Jun 14, 2014 at 6:20 AM, Adam Mesha araizen@gmail.com wrote:

That sounds like a straightforward monetary incentive, not precommitment.
The employees don’t seem to have a choice in the matter of whether to
participate.

On Sat, Jun 14, 2014 at 3:06 PM, Laurie Reeves lauriekreeves@gmail.com
wrote:

Danny,

In recent years I’ve heard about companies that are charging employees
more for their share of health care premiums on their group health care
plans if the employee does not use the company gym and submit to other
health tests, etc. Wouldn’t this fall into that same category and, if so, I
wonder how many employees submit to this commitment in order to lower their
paycheck deductions for health care?

I think this idea has been legally challenged but I don’t know how that’s
proceeding.

On Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 12:10 PM, Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
wrote:

There’s some empirical evidence
to suggest 1/3 is the fraction of people with enough self-awareness to
appreciate the value of a commitment device.

What’s this empirical evidence? It sounds really interesting.

There’s not a ton but I know of one study [1] involving a datacenter
in India where people had the choice to set up commitment contracts to
voluntarily incur real losses as a way to force themselves to maintain
higher output (and thus get paid more, if the commitment device
worked). Something like a third of participants chose to do it. And,
bizarrely, Ainslie saw a similar result with pigeons: 95% akratic with
30% using a commitment device when available.

[1] Kaur, Supreet, Michael Kremer, and Sendhil Mullainathan. 2010.
“Self-Control and the Development of Work Arrangements.” American
Economic Review, 100(2): 624.

[2] http://www.picoeconomics.org/Articles/ImpulseCtrlPigeons74.pdf


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


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