Tag Archive

Strategy Memo: Beeminder Is For Nerds

Saturday, November 7th, 2020
Strategy Memo: Beeminder Is For Nerds

This is crossposted at essay.dev which is clearly also for nerds! For years we’ve gotten advice to »

Choices are Bad: The Anti-Settings Principle

Thursday, July 30th, 2020
Choices are Bad: The Anti-Settings Principle

What’s the most absurdly provocative way I can put this? Never imagine what your users will want! Apps must only ever do one single thing! If-statements considered harmful! Yes, this is all pretty rich coming from the people who built a goal-tracking app with, if I’m doing this math right, multiplying out all the various settings… 73,728 types of... »

Announcement: The Yellow Brick Half-Plane Has Arrived

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020
Announcement: The Yellow Brick Half-Plane Has Arrived

Until today Beeminder had a fundamental design flaw that was baked in from literally day one. The first line of code for what would become Beeminder was to draw a line on a graph in Mathematica from a target weight to a goal... »

The Anti-Magic Principle

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020
The Anti-Magic Principle

Being a fan of overly provocative titles, I was tempted to title this “If-Statements Considered Harmful”. Meaning that it’s so tempting to add little bits of intelligence to your app to make it do the sensible thing in different circumstances. And that’s usually perfectly correct but the Anti-Magic Principle... »

The Startup Egg-Basket Principle

Friday, February 28th, 2020
The Startup Egg-Basket Principle

The startup egg-basket principle is: put all your eggs in one basket. Be laser-focused on the one thing you’re best at. If you’re scrambling for survival, focus only on the one most promising thing for making the startup sustainable. For example, most startups should focus exclusively on their premium plans and not have a free plan. So much... »

Social Reality And The Canard About Keeping Your Goals To Yourself

Thursday, November 21st, 2019
Social Reality And The Canard About Keeping Your Goals To Yourself

It’s now been ten years since the publication of Gollwitzer et al’s paper about, as the internet interpreted it, keeping your goals to yourself. I think I’ve heard variants of “did you hear that science shows that you’re... »

Redqueening, Inbox Zero, Backlogs, and Fluid Dynamics

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
Redqueening, Inbox Zero, Backlogs, and Fluid Dynamics

If you’re a fan of Mark Forster (as we certainly are) then this whole post amounts to giving a name — “redqueening” — to step 2 of his »

Dogfood Binge

Thursday, October 10th, 2019
Dogfood Binge

nomnomnom Imagine how good a manufacturer of dogfood would have to think their dogfood is to eat it themselves! When a company uses the thing they make, especially as part of running the company, it’s called dogfooding. We’ve been dogfooding Beeminder like maniacs for years, and paying users when we derail... »

The Pareto Dominance Principle for Apps and Websites

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019
The Pareto Dominance Principle for Apps and Websites

This is part 2 in a 3-part series. Part 1 defined Pareto dominance and Pareto-efficient software.   I have some advice that now feels (to me, subjectively) too... »

Quantified Self Talk: Tracking My Personal Reliability

Friday, April 12th, 2019
Quantified Self Talk: Tracking My Personal Reliability

On 2018-09-22 I gave a talk at the Quantified Self conference. This is that talk. You can also see an actual recording of it. I got a lot of encouragement afterwards... »