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Review my site: AwesomenessReminders (awesomenessreminders.com)
102 points by zackattack on Aug 19, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 94 comments


I am a fan, but your recent rash of "sites" is worrisome. You launched: HipHopGoblin (<1 year, down), CustomerFind (1< year ago), NYC-Chicago-Bus (49 days ago), EndAnts (23 days ag), CompassionPit (5 days ago!) and now this, AwesomenessReminders.

When do you even have time to improve, even promote, projects if you're tossing them on a weekly basis? It takes time to make anything monetizable, at least you need to create it first.

I think you're just an small sample of a generation of people who are coming to see businesses as just "idea + landing page". Sell, then build. A/B test today and build when the money piles up. etc. etc.

Slow down, for your own sake. Maybe even work on something you actually care about.

HipHopGoblin had a lot of potential, I used to listen to it; so you're at least capable of discovering and executing good ideas. You just need patience, and maybe someone to ask you "how's it coming?". Perhaps .. ProgressReminder?

> Slow down, for your own sake

I wonder why this has gotten 28 points. WHY should he slow down? I have done many many things myself and some have become very profitable.

From my experience, the fastest route to success is to do what you like. If this guy likes to start a new startup every week then he should go for it. If someone likes to do one thing for 50 years he should go for that. Neither of them would be wrong.

Starting and testing new ideas on a regular basis is all well and good until the quality starts to suffer. CompassionPit looked much better and the concept sounded less like it was conceived by the Onion

CompassionPit has done $0 in revenue this has done $100. Karma value of CompassionPit likely higher.

I wonder how much in total did you make off of your experiments? The micro-idea/implementation model is very interesting by the way.

I know a few people who have made significant amounts of money online, and the "throw lots of things at the wall and see what sticks" definitely works.

Zack: keep at it!

This is what I'm planning to do, though maybe not so many at once, and I'll have one solid focus at a time with only a couple of side projects.

Like any idea or methodology, it can be good in moderation, and with adequate thought. Too much or too carelessly can lead to problems.

maybe he is creating a bunch of sites in the hope that one of them goes viral? such a strategy may have merit. it's very much hit or miss. but if he keeps trying he may have a hit eventually.

I might be missing the point here but paying someone to tell me I'm awesome would make me feel rather sad.

Of course, that may not extend to everyone. I imagine a reasonable portion of the self help community would embrace this sort of thing.

There's surely a market, that point I do get, (how big I guess we'll find out) but sometimes I don't get this kind of allocation of resources. Just because you can do something, it doesn't mean you should.

Anyway to the point: the site is awful. Bright yellow background? It's too simplistic (too 90s) and it just seems like a "scammy" site--which ironically (by some's standards, anyway) it might as well be.

You could pay someone to remind someone you care about. Like, if you were going on a long journey or travelling, or lived in a different time zone from someone special to you.

Or you could send an email. Wouldn't it be worth more if you reminded them rather than a hired stranger reminding them, even if you can't remind them every day or every month?

With the twilio API,and a small shell-script tucked into your /etc/cron.d, you can tell mom you love her several times a minute.

Nothing says 'I love you' like a Denial of Service attack.

I think you mean "nothing says 'you love me' like a Denial of Service attack." ;)

You are awesome philk!

I love this idea, I want to do it. However, the biggest thing missing that I see here is the ability to a) tell you what timezone I'm in and what (approximate) time(s) I'd prefer the call to be made at; and b) leave a short note with additional information that will help you make the call.

For example I would consider getting this for my business partner because I think it would make him laugh, but I would want to tell you to call around 9:30 am EST and explain that he's my business partner and that if he asks why the heck you're calling him, to just say that his employees think he's super.

There's now room in the sign up form to indicate these sorts of specifics. Thanks for the awesome feedback.

So, I'd be happy to buy this (for a family member), but I can't tell when you'll call, and I can't tell how I get it to stop once I do buy it. Every day for a month is gonna be a bit much; by the end of it, they might be willing to pay to stop it.

Also, some kind of sample recording would be great. Is it gonna be cheezy? Cheeky? I'd like to know.

If this takes off, how long before the "you suck" phone call service is launched?

I'd pay for that just to see how creative they can get.

No, seriously, I would pay for that!

This may be a bigger market but it's not something that I want to get involved with right now. You should check out http://prankdial.com/

Much bigger potential, since the awesome site has basically at most 7Bn users which would use once it for themselves.

The "You suck" version on the other hand has 7Bn potential users, each of which would probably be able to use the service for n other people (n > 1)

I built something similar to this awhile back: http://www.awesomeupdater.com/

I think telling people they are awesome is a great idea. I agree that the website needs work. I like the charging for real people to do it.

That is the most awesome twitter account!

I'm not sure that I get it. Isn't this a bit shallow? Surely it takes some of the joy out of being told that you're awesome if you have to pay people to tell you that you're awesome? A bit like paying people to be your friend?

I want to do it for a family member.

Why not just call them up yourself?

Because none of your business.

No need to be rude.

Eh, no offense intended -- I was being short and direct, not getting personal.

But, this is one of those quirks of "geekish" conversation that can really, really irritate non-geeks (or, geeks like me that aren't in geek-mode): someone mentions a personal issue, and the geek -- who has probably at some point tried every non-obvious solution to some problem only to discover that it was the obvious solution that worked -- asks the person if they've considered the obvious.

The problem is that this often doesn't translate well to non-technical matters. By asking why I don't just call them and say the same thing myself, you're implying that it's the obvious solution that I haven't considered, or that you have some unique insight into a personal situation, even though you have zero information about it.

That didn't offend me, but it is something that can bother people sometimes. This time I just chose the most direct method of letting you know that you didn't know enough to even ask such a question. I didn't have the time nor inclination yesterday to write anything longer, but I didn't want to leave your question unanswered since so many people seemed to think it was legitimate.

Thanks for your geeky response - upvoted with a smile.

>you're implying that it's the obvious solution that I haven't considered

I didn't mean to imply this. I was (and remain) genuinely curious as to why you think hiring someone to tell a family member they're awesome would be more effective than simply calling them up and telling them yourself.

I took your reply as rude because you had introduced a personal issue on a public forum but didn't define your boundaries of what aspects you were willing to discuss publicly; and when I inadvertently crossed one such boundary you cut the line of questioning off abruptly rather than offering an explanation.

Again, thanks for clarifying where you were coming from.

Someone in "non-geek mode" would just explain the situation, rather than go to all the trouble of typing in an elaborate explanation of geek vs. non-geek culture (and still not explain anything).

Thanks for making me sorry I bothered.

Why do we buy cards? To say all the things we can't say ourselves.

Hmmm. The best citation you can come up with for your claim on your about page that "Getting positive social feedback, via a daily reminder call, is instrumental to progress." is a book on personal development by Steve Pavlina?

My understanding is unwarranted ego-boosting can actually be harmful. But that does not mean people won't use the service.

Positive social feedback is super useful in achieving goals.

Also, I totally agree that it's key to have a balanced and accurate sense of self. But the vast majority of people are affected by social feedback. c.f. this study at Wake forest University http://psp.sagepub.com/content/29/5/623.abstract.

Positive social feedback is useful, but I think that I would take issue with the definition of social here. Social means genuinely social, not a paid reproduction of social. I would think that people who would genuinely enjoy this service may have some self-image and narcissism issues which would be better served by spending the money addressing those.

This is the same kind of awesome as claiming to be an amazing Casanova due to having slept with many prostitutes. It's not always about the action, but the intention.

I think this is more interesting as a one time thing. Sort of like a slightly more modern singing telegram. I just can't imagine enjoying getting that call every day.

"You're good enough, you're smart enough, and, gosh darn it, people like you."

I actually like the overall idea but the general site layout needs a lot of work. Here's a few quick things that came to mind for me -

1) I would not trust your site with my phone number in its current state. Consider emphasizing the fact that phone numbers will only be used for the sake of these calls and not resold (way too many of those ringtone sites resell phone numbers and consumers are now wary of any similar looking services).

2) consider adding some sample calls for people to listen to, I think this may boost your conversion rate.

3) Can I request to be called at a certain time or timeframe? I wouldn't want to be woken up

4) I could see a lot of people opting for a one time payment to get a single phone call to test the service out, you may want to consider adding that as an option.

This seems great - the only thing stopping me from buying is knowing how annoyed my room mate would get after the first week or two.

Is there any plan to make "Monday / Friday" plans or something less frequent?

Why not buy your room mate their own reminders as a gift?

>Is there any plan to make "Monday / Friday" plans or something less frequent?

We can call whenever you want - just indicate the days you want us to call (or not call) on the new form.

Definitely a novel idea. From the feedback, your idea seems to have passed the test. There are some people interested in it, but they seem to be put off by the "creepy" design and lack of information.

The uniqueness of your site will be your strongest selling point... at least it's very possible it will grab you a ton of traffic. However, as it stands right now, that's more of a risk. Forgive me for being blunt: the site looks crappy.

I highly suggest taking it offline and cleaning it up a bit. List your features, the benefits, the options you have -- do any of these things -- before releasing it into the wild. You want to make the first wave of virality as advantageous as possible.

As far as the idea -- it's quick, easy, and instantly profitable. It's recurring. It (tries to) make people feel good. The idea "feels" right for this moment of time in the internet -- it's something I feel would be blogged about and gazed at because it's both absurd and potentially useful. All-in-all, really a stellar project to make some quick money.

Please, clean the site up before going any further. Since it's just 1 page, why not pay a designer? You can definitely find one that would be excited to work on this. Just do something to improve the appearance. I want to see this succeed.

Edit: And, personally, I think that stock photo kicks ass. It's the right tone - absurd, yet promising to be fun and exciting.

Love the idea. The website needs work though - it has a creepy 'designed in 1996' vibe.

I signed up, why not?

That lady on the front page scares me :)

Is she wearing... a Snuggie?

So my friend described it as an "almost ironic Saturday Night Live" type look. I'm inclined to agree, especially coupled with what has been described as the "1996" style design. But you know what? I have no idea whether that matters or not. Once I start throwing traffic at the site (tomorrow, maybe?) I'll be able to A/B test: what's better - overpriced stock photo, or picture of actual awesomenessreminder greeters?

This is a really really weird idea and I can't take it seriously at all. But, I just thought you might want to add a "Call Me Now" button so that people can test it out immediately and see what this is all about.

Create a community - I'm sure if you created a separate section for people who would love to call your customers (and maybe even make a couple bucks), it would be therapeutic for them as well:)


anyone interested in working as a caller should call me at 650 906 6389 and tell me i'm awesome. or send an email.

(hello @ awesomeness reminders . com)

How many people do you have on the phones? How long do they work?

I'd like to see a smaller plan size, something I could do on a one-off basis to someone on twitter.

I wonder how this would scale...using Mechanical Turk?

Outsourcing to a country like India could work.

"You're awesome, and you could be even more awesome if you switch your long-distance carrier to ..."

I would pay not to get on that list.

Would also be a good idea - maybe just for the fun of it - to have a stepped pricing plan.

So for $2 a month, someone will call you once a week and tell you that "You're adequate". :)

Seriously though, a cheap pricing plan (something less than a beer) for someone to do something similar via Social Media (Twitter, Facebook) might work too.

For twitter there's already awesomeupdater that will do it for free: http://www.awesomeupdater.com/content/index

That was a fun hack. When i originally launched it - it proxied all the updates through the users accounts. ;) needless the users were like "wtf." heh. I removed that feature

Could be a great test for the freemium model - giving away "You suck" for free, "You're adequate" for 2$ and ""You're awesome" for 10$ a month :)

Did you do any testing on this - as in, having a person use the service for 2-3 months? My feeling is that it might take off as a novelty, only to wear off quickly.

Please tell me this is not real and website feels like spammy ebook sale websites, especially the colour scheme, use a theme from or CSS template to fix it quickly.

You know I would love a recommendation of a good theme. Once I get the site ready to start throwing traffic at with AdWords, I'll A/B test and post results on HN.

Amazed at e no of replies received. Guess simplicity rules! Can't wait for the results. It would be great to see some number on signs/subscription/cancellation, etc.

"If for some reason someone else picks up your phone and is abusive to us, we reserve the right to terminate your service and issue you a refund." :-)

If the people close enough to you to answer your phone are not awesome, then we will be forced to conclude that neither are you.

I think this should be a "Review My Idea" given how the site looks quick and dirty.

I like the idea, but I'm not sure I'd actually want someone calling me with regular reminders. Personally, I'd probably get pissed off and stop picking up the number. like the idea mentioned by pwim; make it a one time thing. I'd pay for that. You could always have the option of a subscription based or single use.

Put a form in your page for people to contact you. No email. Don't make me open my e-mail client just to get in touch with you, make it easy.

excellent suggestion, easily implemented with our very own mark bao's supportbreeze

This would be a lot better if it was some sort of gift app. You pay someone to call your friend and the caller tells your friend that <name of the person who paid for this> thinks you're a really great friend and an awesome person.

This has its downsides as well but, in my opinion, it's a lot better than some kind of self help service which might make people feel even worse.

I'm dying to know if anyone has actually signed up for this service. Are you seeing any revenue? How many people?!

yes, about 18 paying subscribers so far, => $169/month revenue after paypal fees. zero paid traffic sent so far. when i did a dry-run with adwords, a diff domain & unbounce, the economics looked favorable too so hopefully paid traffic is like gasoline on the flames.

I'd be curious what, if any, subscribers you see from the Time coverage.

The next step is to personalize this (e.g., using Facebook, a blog, etc.).

I would rather have someone tell me why I am awesome... search the internet, find famous relatives that I didn't know I had, ... but this might be borderline creepy, since someone is stalking you.

How did this get upvoted?

I think it's a tad disconcerting that there is an empty blog... This seems like an easy blog topic to have some posts already made and, if a feature doesn't "work", why link to it?

Ah, and all action links go to your Twitter profile. Well, I guess that makes it clear to be an HTML mock-up. God help you if your "idea" goes viral right away ;)

bug fixed, thanks

I like the functionality of it, this can also be used like an on-demand personal assistant with a few tweaks... I do not like the UI, but as long as it works is all good.

Personally, I think it's brilliant. Even love the hokiness (assuming that's on purpose). It'll get passed around for fun, and a certain amount of people will try it.

Reminds me a lot of http://twitter.com/awesomeupdater.

Have you compared the cost/effect of using Twilio vs a real person?

there's something special about having a real person talking to you instead of a voice. also, the uncanny valley scares me

This reminds me of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGYYRr6DOSo , but with real people!

Why have two large images on your landing page if you scale them down anyway?

Save the visitor a little loading time and bandwidth and scale the images down yourself =)

It sucks.

Don't do it as a service. Instead have it as a onetime thing. If I get the same call everyday the effect will ware off.

you know, that's actually an interesting quirk in human psychology, and one that i'm going to have to figure out how to confront in my marketing messages. the truth of the matter is that you wouldn't get tired of it. it's just that in your mind, you imagine the succession of day1,day2,day3 consecutively, but in reality, a lot of your exposure burnout "resets" in a 24 hour period.

harvard psychologist daniel gilbert goes into detail about some studies that describe this in his book stumbling upon happiness, which i reviewed here. http://www.zacharyburt.com/2010/06/stumbling-on-happiness-pr...

if you end up getting the book, you may be particularly interested in the salty chip study.

This is absurd.

I don't understand this at all. This seems kind of messed up in the same way that paying someone to be your friend violates the tenets of friendship.

However, the fact that this idea is being so well received makes me feel really awesome about my ideas. So thanks -- I guess your site is working.

Guess how many misspellings average Joe would made on this domain name, even if he managed somehow to remember it for more than a 30 seconds? ^_^

I'm totally in if the person on the other end is a female and I have the option to date her depending on where our conversation goes...

Those sorts of phone services are already available...

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