Tag Archive

Bayesian Willpower

Thursday, April 8th, 2021
Bayesian Willpower

A couple weeks ago, Scott Alexander wrote “Toward a Bayesian Theory of Willpower”. This is my recap of the theory, my tentative verdict, and what I think it means for Beeminder and motivation hacking more generally. Let’s start with defining terms! Akrasia means failing to do something you rationally want to... »

Contra Positive Reinforcement: Why Beeminder Is A Glutton For Punishment

Friday, March 26th, 2021
Contra Positive Reinforcement: Why Beeminder Is A Glutton For Punishment

Previously on the Beeminder blog: debating negative vs positive reinforcement and, in case you care about using these psychology terms correctly, clarifying that »

Beemind What You Buy

Friday, March 12th, 2021
Beemind What You Buy

“It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time to read them; but one usually confuses the purchase of books with the acquisition of their contents.” — Arthur Schopenhauer, before Beeminder existed Are you about to buy something that requires ongoing time or energy? Some things don’t.... »

What Not To Beemind

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021
What Not To Beemind

What appalling apostasy is this? It’s not like that! Beeminder just isn’t quite perfect for absolutely everything. It’s *practically* perfect for absolutely everything. Practically perfect for a surprising breadth of things? This post just happens to be about the exceptions. It’s a sequel to both the previous post, about how “never do this thing ever” goals... »

Do-Zero Goals Considered Harmful

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021
Do-Zero Goals Considered Harmful

Look what we found in the attic! Our original Support Czar, Chelsea — known for such classics as “Beemind Easy Things” and “Weasel Heart-To-Heart” — wrote this screed in 2017. It was... »

The Burgle Bug Fairness Principle

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021
The Burgle Bug Fairness Principle

Beeminder’s bug classification system is like so: Bitty Bugs are barely bothersome. Baneful Bugs make Beeminder blatantly wrong, but not in any breach-of-contract way, unlike… Bum-steer Bugs which may make you derail by leading you astray about the state of your graph, or, worse: Bamboozle Bugs making our marketing mendacious... »

Strategy Memo: Beeminder Is Pledge-Focused

Friday, January 22nd, 2021
Strategy Memo: Beeminder Is Pledge-Focused

Since we like letting you all peek behind the curtain of Beeminder, let’s dive in with this internal strategy memo that our beeloved Queen Bee sent to the team last month, reproduced here verbatim: Howdy my sweet bee people, We’ve subjected you to a lot of polarized ideas about Beeminder pricing over the last month. Whee! I’m... »

How To Beemind Nebulous Goals

Tuesday, December 29th, 2020
How To Beemind Nebulous Goals

Beeminder works brilliantly for quantifiable, graphable goals. What about nebulous projects like remodeling your kitchen or finding a therapist? It doesn’t really work for those things. Unless! Unless you find a clever metric to mind. Like the word count in a log of your progress. Here’s what I recommend: Create a... »

Beeminder’s Achilles Heel

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020
Beeminder’s Achilles Heel

Beeminder’s Achilles heel is that you need a meta-Beeminder to get yourself to create a Beeminder goal in the first place. (We sometimes call it Beeminder’s bootstrap problem.) Here’s a trick to mitigate that problem: Create a goal as soon as you think of it, but with an initial flat spot of a week or a month or... »

Ice Cream Truck Loopholes

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
Ice Cream Truck Loopholes

Sometimes Beeminder goals have loopholes, like you could dehydrate yourself to get your datapoint below the bright line on your weight-loss graph (please don’t!). There are plenty of things like that and I probably shouldn’t think too hard about more examples. Sometimes loopholes like that can ruin a goal. But other times, ironically, such loopholes... »