who gets our $5k contract

From: Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
Date: Fri, Dec 3, 2010 at 21:05
Subject: who gets our $5k contract
To: akratics@beeminder.com

Bethany and I have $5000 at risk on these goals: bd – dashboard – beeminder
The Davids Yang and Reiley have bid up to $150 for it: http://doc.bmndr.co/bdminder

David and David, what if we award it to both of you? Each cough up
$75 and split the $5000 if you win (ie, if we lose).

Regardless, we’re paying the $5000 if either us go off any of the 10
bd – dashboard – beeminder yellow brick roads at any time.


http://dreev.es – search://“Daniel Reeves”
http://beeminder.com – What are you beeminding?


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

From: Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
Date: Sat, Dec 4, 2010 at 19:54
Subject: Re: who gets our $5k contract

Hmm, it’s terribly socially inefficient for you to both send money
(postage, paypal fees, hassle). What if we flip a coin and one of you
sends the full $150? (You still each own half the contract, just that
one of you gets lucky and gets their half paid for by the other.)

The Davids are an economist and a superhacker, respectively, so I know
they at least see the point of that idea. I suspect normal people
can’t fathom how anyone could ever agree to such a thing, unless they
had some kind of gambling addiction or something. True, normal
people?

PS to Jill and my mother and others I’ve chatted with about it: Eager
to have you chime in on the other thread about how you like being
forced to stay on your roads.

On Sat, Dec 4, 2010 at 12:37, David Yang wrote:

I’m ok with it as well - paypal?

On Dec 4, 2010, at 11:08 AM, David Reiley wrote:

That’s OK with me. Let me know where to send the check.

David

1 Like

From: Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
Date: Sun, Dec 5, 2010 at 20:12
Subject: Re: who gets our $5k contract

Ok, it’s official! Davids Yang and Reiley each own 50% of the
bd – dashboard – beeminder contract.

Next time we should use a mechanism that lets any number of people buy
shares. How about a chinese auction where you buy tickets for a
dollar apiece and the contract is then split in proportion to how many
tickets everyone has? (That’s a lot like how angel investing works,
come to think of it, with future investment rounds diluting the
previous investors.)

Would anyone have bought any tickets if we’d done it that way for my
and Bethany’s contract?

From: Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
Date: Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 23:41
Subject: Re: who gets our $5k contract

I think I have a great idea for a way to auction these contracts. A
kind of proxied, ascending chinese auction (but should be as simple to
understand and participate in as the standard “do I hear one
dolluhdolluh-gibbitybippity, two dolluhdolluh? … going once…”
thing, which is called english outcry, btw).

Anyone have a new commitment contract they want to start so we can try it out?

On Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 22:54, Melanie Reeves Wicklow wrote:

I may have bought tickets, few bucks worth.


Melanie Reeves Wicklow
http://MelzaFit.com

From: Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
Date: Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 02:34
Subject: Re: who gets our $5k contract

Mid-contract update on bd – dashboard – beeminder

We’re 100 days in, with 72 days to go. It’s safe to say that we’re
far, far happier with how the last 100 days have gone than we would’ve
been had we not been bound to these 10 yellow brick roads. (Not quite
so much happier that if we lose the $5k it will have been worth it
though!)

Specifically:

  1. inbox – d – beeminder – This one is pretty awesome. My inbox has to
    shrink by one message per day. I’m way more on top of things in
    general because of this. (Also the Boomerang plugin for gmail is
    helping a lot.)
  2. push – d – beeminder – Also just brilliant. The cost/benefit for doing
    a few minutes of pushups a day is such a no-brainer. I’ve done almost
    5000 pushups total so far – easily 10 times more than I’d ever do
    just trying to will myself to get into the habit of doing them.
  3. mm – d – beeminder – Turned out to be trivial. It should probably be a
    commitment to spend at most a few hours a week on Messy Matters.
  4. meta – d – beeminder – This one is hard. Sometimes it’s stressful and
    interferes with weekend activities and whatnot. But, well, I just
    really need this kind of kick in the butt to stay on task.
  5. ontask – d – beeminder – Speaking of staying on task, this one is not
    hard but it’s valuable. It should probably be a greater fraction of my
    working time. Every so often I near the edge of this road and it’s a
    great reminder to stop being scattered and bury myself in some code or
    other clearly describable task.

Up next: We decided to risk $1000 on uvi – meta – beeminder and are still
thinking about blog – meta – beeminder

Footnote:

Btw, the really hard part about our time-based goals is that we track
our time stochastically. See
TagTime: Stochastic Time Tracking for Space Cadets | Messy Matters if you don’t know what
I’m talking about. For example, if I’m a half hour below my yellow
brick road for the day and wait till 11:30pm to get started, the
stochastic self-sampler could fail to sample me – we call it getting
pinged – during that half hour and I’d be out of luck. With $5k at
risk we’ve worked out the probabilities carefully and start to get
nervous when there’s something like a .01% risk of not getting the
requisite pings by midnight (the risk such that the overall risk for
all 172 days of the contract is 1%). When there’s a 1% risk just for
today, we consider that panic time. (That’s happened a couple times so
the Davids certainly didn’t overbid for this contract!) Fear works: no
matter how unmotivated we were before crunch time, if we’re 3 pings
below our road and there’s less than 8 hours till midnight, we find a
way to stay focused till those pings have pung. Of course ideally we
get into the top lane of the yellow brick road before we go to sleep
each night. Then there’s essentially no risk. Right now I’m 1 ping
short [PS: I got it while writing this; phew] but will probably go to
bed. There’s a 99% chance of getting it within the first 3.5 hours of
work tomorrow…

From: Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
Date: Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 14:35
Subject: Re: who gets our $5k contract

It’s amazing how much less nerve-racking this is now that we simply
color-coded the graphs in the gallery: bd – dashboard – beeminder

(See the red graphs? Bethany has to do pushups by midnight and I have
to get my inbox down to ~50 emails, which is why I’m replying to this
now!)

On Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 11:10, Bethany M. Soule wrote:

Updates from bee:

  1. workout – b – beeminder – this one has been nipping at my heels for
    the past several months (since it got too cold for cycling) and it’s
    awesome because it’s keeping me active through the gray cold months
    and keeping me on that slow inexorable weight road, and that
    definitely would not be happening otherwise.

  2. weight – b – beeminder – I was totally coasting for the first half,
    (notice that my dots are basically flat from December through
    January). But then the end of January got a bit risky as the road
    finally caught up with me and if it weren’t for the bet I most
    definitely would have just sailed right on through the top edge of the
    road at a steady 62(ish)kg. I’ve done it plenty of times before.**

  3. push – b – beeminder – This one has been for the most part a total
    no-brainer, as I’m frequently doing pushups as part of my workouts
    anyway. Occasionally I slip down into the danger zone, and then it’s
    generally no biggie to rack up a quick 50 and be clear for a few days.
    Sometimes it seems a bear if I’m maxed out on non-pushup upper body
    stuff. But I guess it’s still a small price.

  4. job – b – beeminder – is hard. I’m glad for the vacation days,
    which after 4 (unanticipated) days of sick kids and slightly buggy
    self this last week are suddenly starting to feel pretty scarce.
    Still, my idealist taskmaster self thinks it’s a good thing to be
    doing.

  5. craft – b – beeminder – so far it’s been really easy to stay on
    track. It has gotten me to pick up and finish several projects that
    had been sitting around waiting for buttons to be sewn on for >6
    months, and it’s also kept me from starting new projects when there
    are unfinished ones lying about, which was exactly the intention, as
    well as occasionally justifying some time taken out of my day to sit
    down with a knitting project or whatnot, which I occasionally feel
    guilty about otherwise. Total win.

B

** Especially since 62kg vs 61kg is pretty arbitrary and both are well
within my ‘ideal range’… 61 is arbitrary, but it’s my pre-pregnancy
weight, which seems like a reasonable number to fixate on.

From: Bethany M. Soule
Date: Sun, May 29, 2011 at 11:02
Subject: Re: who gets our $5k contract

Workouts: was stupidly hard. Doesn’t seem like it ought to be, but I
only barely eked out victory on that one – burpees and running laps
in DTW’s terminal tunnel in a pencil skirt… um, yeah.

Weight: had a few dangerous days, but I ultimately even dipped below
the original goal on the cruise (apparently due to chasing a certain
2yo instead of dining). But now I clearly need an incentive not to let
it shoot right back up. (Can anyone say sedentary lifestyle?)

Push: nothing much to say. I did them. I probably got stronger.

Job: it would be ridiculously extravagant not to keep up this road or
its equivalent. It actually got easy at the tail end because we had
the additional constraint of finishing certain Beeminder tasks before
we left on vacation, and that required excellent concentration and a
lot of extra hours.

Craft: I might like to make this one slightly more constraining – I
probably spent less time on craft projects than I might have liked to.
Still, it was really good to have the incentive to finish old
projects, and actually, if I had wanted to be more constrained by the
graph, I could have started new projects until I was once again
bumping up against the graph. So maybe it was about perfect?

B

From: Daniel Reeves dreeves@beeminder.com
Date: Sun, May 29, 2011 at 11:28
Subject: Re: who gets our $5k contract

This is the final report on my and Bethany’s 6-month-long $5k
contract. We managed to hold on by the skin of our teeth.
Actually, it got a bit easier towards the end because we had an
unrelated constraint of finishing the Kibotzer->Beeminder migration
before our vacation (see Beeminder on Rails | Beeminder Blog ).
You can see how we got way above our roads before leaving on vacation:
http://beeminder.com/hist/bjob2011.png
http://beeminder.com/hist/dmeta2011.png
You can also see how badly we need to start another contract!

As for my other goals:

Inbox: I clawed my way down to 26 messages in my inbox just in time,
often by forwarding things to myself in the future. Now my inbox has
shot up to 200+ again and I desperately need to re-commit to an inbox
goal.

Pushups: Easy and very worthwhile, as evidenced by the fact that I
haven’t done a single pushup since the contract ended.

Messy Matters: Turned out to be a no-brainer. I probably don’t need a
contract on this.

Ontask: This one was sometimes a little hard, but had a lot less value
than I thought. As long as I’m working 40 hours/week I’m not sure I
care what fraction of that is on premeditated tasks. Maybe some
variant would be valuable though.

See Bethany’s email just now for her retrospectives.

From: Bethany M. Soule
Date: Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 11:10
Subject: Re: who gets our $5k contract

Updates from bee:

  1. workout – b – beeminder – this one has been nipping at my heels for
    the past several months (since it got too cold for cycling) and it’s
    awesome because it’s keeping me active through the gray cold months
    and keeping me on that slow inexorable weight road, and that
    definitely would not be happening otherwise.

  2. weight – b – beeminder – I was totally coasting for the first half,
    (notice that my dots are basically flat from December through
    January). But then the end of January got a bit risky as the road
    finally caught up with me and if it weren’t for the bet I most
    definitely would have just sailed right on through the top edge of the
    road at a steady 62(ish)kg. I’ve done it plenty of times before.**

  3. push – b – beeminder – This one has been for the most part a total
    no-brainer, as I’m frequently doing pushups as part of my workouts
    anyway. Occasionally I slip down into the danger zone, and then it’s
    generally no biggie to rack up a quick 50 and be clear for a few days.
    Sometimes it seems a bear if I’m maxed out on non-pushup upper body
    stuff. But I guess it’s still a small price.

  4. job – b – beeminder – is hard. I’m glad for the vacation days,
    which after 4 (unanticipated) days of sick kids and slightly buggy
    self this last week are suddenly starting to feel pretty scarce.
    Still, my idealist taskmaster self thinks it’s a good thing to be
    doing.

  5. craft – b – beeminder – so far it’s been really easy to stay on
    track. It has gotten me to pick up and finish several projects that
    had been sitting around waiting for buttons to be sewn on for >6
    months, and it’s also kept me from starting new projects when there
    are unfinished ones lying about, which was exactly the intention, as
    well as occasionally justifying some time taken out of my day to sit
    down with a knitting project or whatnot, which I occasionally feel
    guilty about otherwise. Total win.

B

** Especially since 62kg vs 61kg is pretty arbitrary and both are well
within my ‘ideal range’… 61 is arbitrary, but it’s my pre-pregnancy
weight, which seems like a reasonable number to fixate on.