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A picture of a train that looks like a bee, sort of

You may have noticed the shiny new design of Beeminder. For nerds who know about such things: we switched to Ruby on Rails. For non-nerds: we added buzzwords to our internets!

Either way, it was kind of a big deal, even though it doesn’t look like much just yet. Step one was to replicate everything that the old incarnation (called Kibotzer, for those just tuning in) could do, and most of that was behind the scenes.

A dog food commitment contract: User-visible improvements

But of course the action you care about is in front of the scenes. To that end, we’re hereby committing to staying on this Yellow Brick Road, under penalty of paying one of you $1000 [1]:

Beeminder guarantees one user-visible improvement per day

Beeminder will improve in some user-visible way every single day, on average.

In other words, Beeminder will improve in some user-visible way every single day, on average. The official determinant of User-Visible Improvements is the number of tweets at @beemuvi, which announces each improvement. We don’t necessarily recommend you follow that twitter account though. We’re purposefully allowing for even the most trivial improvements. [2] The idea is to guarantee that we’re always making forward progress, no matter how slowly. [3]

UPDATE: We’ve renewed this contract: blog.beeminder.com/blogdog


[1] Fine print: The first person to leave a comment here outing us as officially off the yellow brick road, gets the $1000. If there’s a red dot below the road that means we have until midnight eastern that night to reach the bottom edge or we lose (and you win). Informally, the road continues indefinitely. But this being a definite contract, we’re officially committing to at least 6 months (until 2011 October 28) before we allow for a change of objective.

[2] Examples of things that count: New blog posts, fixing typos, tweaking the layout or the logo or whatever, improvements to how the bot responds to emails, tweaks to the algorithm for generating the yellow brick road, tweets from our main twitter account (@bmndr), improvements to the log in procedure or payment processing, any new feature or tweak to any feature, new tips-of-the-day in the email responses from the bot. Basically, anything that makes Beeminder better, even in the most tiny, trivial way.

[3] We’re taking Paul Graham’s advice to heart: “Startups rarely die in mid keystroke. So keep typing!