Tag Archive

Exquisitely Fair Pre-Pay Discounts

Monday, May 13th, 2013
Exquisitely Fair Pre-Pay Discounts

You know how a lot of services offer things like one month free if you pay yearly? We were nerding out over the math of that and thought, why not generalize to compute the perfectly fair discount for paying at any frequency you like, including every infinity years, i.e., paying once for a lifetime subscription? Just pick... »

Auto-Canceling Subscriptions

Friday, May 3rd, 2013
Auto-Canceling Subscriptions

“Well I’ve already paid for Netflix this month, so I might as well watch another episode of ‘Say Yes To The Dress’. I’ll get around to canceling later. You know, when I’m less busy.” — A slightly caricatured version of me. When you sign up for some subscription services they make... »

Socially Efficient Commitment Devices

Monday, March 4th, 2013
Socially Efficient Commitment Devices

StickK popularized the idea of the anti-charity as a commitment device. Another Beeminder competitor, Aherk, offers to publish embarrassing photos of you on Facebook to ensure you don’t fall prey to akrasia. Another clever idea — proposed by Jennifer Hamon on Akratics Anonymous — is to set up a... »

Beeminder is S.M.A.R.T., Overcomes Bias

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012
Beeminder is S.M.A.R.T., Overcomes Bias

Katja Grace, long praised by economists and now collaborating with one since joining Robin Hanson’s OvercomingBias blog, just wrote a pretty amazing article about how much Beeminder improves her life. She made several important points, one of which is particularly reblogworthy, especially if we take the liberty of rephrasing it like... »

GymPact vs Beeminder

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
GymPact vs Beeminder

If we were nervous about our competitors — and we’re not — we might be most nervous about GymPact. GymPact is currently an iPhone app (UPDATE: Android as well now) that pays you money for going to the gym, funded by the slackers who failed to get... »

Flexible Self-Control

Sunday, March 25th, 2012
Flexible Self-Control

The problem of self-control may be a ridiculous first world problem but it's the granddaddy of first world problems and I want to solve it. We live amidst a deluge of opportunities for instant gratification, especially in the form of food and entertainment, and most of us don't handle it well. The general problem, known as akrasia, is this: you understand your own best interests when you consider them dispassionately, but in the moment your decision-making is distorted. The best time for, say, a workout is always "tomorrow".... »

Force Majeure, Or Beeminder’s SOS Clause

Friday, July 1st, 2011
Force Majeure, Or Beeminder’s SOS Clause

Economists have been wondering for at least half a century why we don’t see more use of commitment devices in the real world. In 1955, one economist speculated that the reason is risk and uncertainty, “both as to future tastes and future opportunities.” We’ve been thinking hard about how to... »

Unintended Consequences

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
Unintended Consequences

David Reiley is an economist and a Beeminder beta user, albeit one who has yet to partake of a commitment contract. He asks the following: For those of you who have given yourselves big incentives to do something, do you ever find that you are shortchanging other important areas of your life as a... »