Launch Anniversary! How Crazy Are We Now?

Friday, October 12, 2012
By dreeves

happy first bee-day

Answer: Still super crazy!

Before we give a little one-year retrospective, allow us to demonstrate just how crazy we are.

One of our long-time Beeminder users — and not someone we know in real life — just paid an $810 contract. That’s a new record and tops even me and Bethany. It sounds so ridiculous, I know, but the other way to think of it is that “Mortimer”, as we’ll call him [1], has spent hundreds of hours on his yellow brick road that just wouldn’t have happened without Beeminder. If the goal is important enough (and you have more money than you know what to do with, which it turns out many people do) then $810 isn’t necessarily outrageous. We have a friend who has spent much more than 6 hours with his $150/hour lifecoach.

I’ve also heard of people paying someone to literally stand over their shoulder to make them write. Beeminder was cheaper than that for Mortimer and if the $2,430 he now has pledged keeps him on track for another 335 hours of work then it’ll be cheaper even if he eventually loses this $2,430 as well!

I should emphasize that we’re not making this up. A real user, who we didn’t previously know, coughed up $810 for derailing on a Beeminder goal and his reaction was, “I guess $810 was insufficiently motivating; let’s try $2,430!”

I told Mortimer we’re more determined than ever to make sure Beeminder always provides more value than pledges it collects so in his case that means we’re enrolling him for free in Beeminder’s nascent lifecoaching program. I.e., Melanie, Beeminder’s resident fitness expert, will ride his butt and make sure he doesn’t derail with $2,430 pledged.

The Beekeeper Program

The Beekeeper program was born just last week when a user said they wanted to pay us $200 a month to be like their Beekeeper. [2] Their point is that Beeminder mostly subsumes everything a life coach offers, but not quite, so they want to pay for that extra piece:

  • Entering the data for you
  • Being more persistent about reminders than the bot can be (if the bot tries to be more persistent it backfires since you tune it out)
  • Actually paying attention to the graphs and calling you to discuss how steep to dial the roads
  • Figuring out what metrics to use and how to avoid weaseling (send a picture from the gym?)
  • Whatever other ways you want your Beekeeper keeping you in line (perhaps drawing the line here)

If it sounds appealing to anyone else, we’d love to hear.

Happy Birthday To Beeminder!

Remember a year ago today when we officially unmasked Beeminder?

Beeminder Open to the Public!

Most likely you don’t because, compared to today, no one had heard of Beeminder back then! We weren’t sure anyone but our mothers would pay up for a Beeminder goal. A year later we’ve got people (well, Mortimer) paying $810 on a single goal. In total so far, people have started 10,000 goals with Beeminder, plotted 400,000 data points, and pledged $50,000. We’ve also been veritable press darlings with more mentions and links coming almost by the day, if you count people doing awesome things with our API. Speaking of which, releasing our API has been mind-blowing. We’re on the brink of officially integrating with several more devices and apps (like Fitbit and RescueTime; UPDATE: done and done) thanks to our API users.

Our iPhone and Android apps have gone from pure vaporware to living, breathing, bug-producing applications, and they’ll both be announced in the very near future. So bee on the lookout in your favorite app store.

Thanks to Andy Brett (team iOS) and Uluç Saranlı (team Android) who are racing to outdo each other and show that their respective platform is superior. The real winner, dear reader, is you.

The biggest news for us personally in the last year was moving to cloudy Portland and graduating from the Portland Seed Fund. We’ve also been delighted to become a part of the local Quantified Self community. Other highlights include winning an Innocentive contest with an essay about how Beeminder is going to revolutionize healthcare and a string of brilliant guest posts here on the blog. We especially recommend Gandalf Saxe on beeminding studying, Jake Jenkins on beeminding your neglected hobbies, Philip Hellyer on the single biggest problem with Beeminder as it exists today, Paul J. Fenwick on habit formation, and Alice Harris on a brilliant Beeminder-based lifehack.

Mostly, of course, we’ve been hacking away, making Beeminder gradually more and more awesome. In fact, we’ve made 365 User-Visible Improvements to Beeminder in the last year (and another 239 improvements from before our public launch). Some of those are huge new features, like GmailZero, but most are small tweaks and bugfixes. But boy do they add up, as the tiny fraction of you who have been here since the beginning can attest! (It hasn’t quite been all roses and ponies, like the time we nearly destroyed everything [3], but our users seem to be unreasonably patient with us.) In fact, when we look back 365 UVIs ago and imagine another 365 UVIs into the future, it’s hard to contain our excitement. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and involvement in making this possible!


[1] “Mortimer” gave his blessing for us to blog about this but I’m not sure if he’s ok with being outed outright.

[2] I may have lobbied for calling this the Beeminder Beeotch program. I may have lost. [4]

[3] You can see a more comprehensive log of our stupidity at this special twitter feed that we use to explain what the heck has happened when we bring the whole site down:

[4] I may have lobbied for keeping this footnote. I may have lost.


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  • Zachary Paul

    Happy birthday, Beeminder. Thanks for helping me lose weight, practice guitar, and get off the couch. Thanks also for responding to emails so quickly! You guys rock!

  • Paul

    Happy birthday Beeminder! Thanks for making me follow the yellow brick road, even if I really didn’t want to at the time…

  • Daniel Reeves

    The bee is a harsh mistress! :)

    Hmm, is that already one of our taglines? Ah, yes it is:

  • Alan Casey

    You guys, and Beeminder, ROCK! Keep up the great work. I can’t wait to see what Beeminder has become (and done for me) by your second anniversary!

  • Rachel Benoit

    I’m glad my pledge payment was not the highest ever! Whew. :)

  • Robert Felty

    Congratulations on a great first year (and I know how much time went into beeminder before the beta launch a year ago). I don’t think I would have lost 30 pounds in 6 months without beeminder. Here’s to more successful years!

  • JacobTref

    Keep rocking, bee-people.

  • Justyn

    The beekeeper program sounds very interesting to me, are you going to make it official? I would pay for it, although for that amount of money it would have to be pretty amazing. $100/month might be a bit more affordable (okay, for that amount it would still have to be amazing).

  • Daniel Reeves

    Thanks Justyn! We’ll email everyone who expressed interest after we’ve had a little more time with the crazy guinea pig who’s paying us (ie, Melanie) $200/month for this. Also have to see how many people Melanie can handle, of course!

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