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Boss as a Service – Hire a boss, get stuff done (bossasaservice.life)
917 points by thisacctforreal on Nov 22, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 276 comments

This was on HN once before - when it was, I signed up, because I struggle with prioritizing things that I need to do in my personal life over my professional life. (Hair cut, clean car, dentist, what have you.) I figured I didn't have anything to lose, really.

Manasvini, who emails me regularly from the service, has been nothing but wonderful. Every email I've gotten has been encouraging and positive, and it honestly helps keep me accountable.

I really can't thank Manasvini enough for that. Never once has there been any scolding, nagging, or negativity - just gracious reminders and a good attitude.

(Manasvini, if you're reading this - thanks for putting up with me, and always being helpful getting me back on track, even when I manage to completely derail myself.)

So this service the same as life coaching, but remotely through emails?


Is your difficulty simply following through on tasks?

Do you also have difficulty finding enough time, and prioritizing your backlog of todo items? How does the service help in this case?

(I'm a customer of B.A.A.S.)

It helps with the follow through, because you'll let someone besides yourself down if you don't. Besides that, they help you plan and keep things sustainable. When you send goals that are poorly defined, they help you convert them into actionable ones.

Ultimately, you decide priority on these matters, but it helps to have that second mind that actively thinks with you.

> baas

Unironically, the origin of the word 'boss'.

Do you think you are acomplishing more because of this service?

I think they should start with a lower fee and charge x more every time the user fails to complete a task, on time. People need incentive to finish something. Not sure if someone emailing you is enough

Sounds like good motivation to do shit work just to get it done on time.

Inversely, offering rewards can be just as counterproductive.


If it helps you maintain intrinsic motivation then it may be of benefit. Maybe depending on the person a gentle reminder or a wakeup call works best, but the motivation shouldn't be focussed on getting a pat on the back or to avoid someone yelling at you.

> Sounds like good motivation to do shit work just to get it done on time.

You say this like it's obviously a bad idea. Why?

The more work you do, the better it will be, even if you're not trying for any particular quality level. Most people have much more of a problem with the amount of the work they do than with the quality.

I read of an experiment conducted on a college pottery class. Half of the class was told they would be graded on the quality of the pots they produced. The other half was told their grade would be determined by gathering all the pots they turned in, smashing them, and weighing the pile of shards. The heavier the pile, the better the grade.

The grade-by-weight group turned in higher-quality pots.

I remember hearing of this before - I think it tells us a huge amount about how best to achieve our goals, or to coach others in that regard.

For example: ask a team to build a software project with excellent design and best practices and they may hit "analysis paralysis".

Ask them to build perhaps 5 distinct - but cheap and disposable - implementations and you might find they get a much better idea of how to do things "right" very quickly.

Note to self: remember this for future use!

This appears to be an example of Facebook's "move fast, break things" axiom, or an example of "make it work, then make it good.

I'm not sure where the latter comes from, but I've read several startup case studies that began with founders who did everything by hand at the beginning (just to see if their process worked).

> excellent design and best practices

Sounds like a sure fire way to spend all the time on premature optimisation.

Scott Guthrie at Microsoft used to talk about rapid prototyping, and to always throw away the prototype code and redo from scratch. Never keep the prototype, and especially don't just push it straight into production.

Exactly my point! That's an excellent technique in fact, tell a team upfront this will not be allowed to evolve into production and, freed from unease about future plans, they'll explore and experiment much more openly.

> You say this like it's obviously a bad idea. Why? I think the article he cites answers this question.

As far as I can tell the article basically says: If you reward people for doing something, they will stop liking to do it and quality will suffer.

BAAS helps people to do something they set out to do, but can't get themselves to actually do it.

It seems to me it doesn't really matter if you start to like it less, since you already don't like it enough to get started. And the quality point is moot, since it's better to have something shitty (that you can then improve), than have nothing at all.

Don't forget that actually getting started is the most important part of doing something. An effective way to finally clean up the kitchen is not to plan 2 hours for it, but to just take 2 minutes to wipe the countertop. Before you know it, while wiping the countertop you move stuff back to their proper place and two hours later the kitchen is done. And if not, then at least the countertop is clean again, which was better than leaving it dirty.

This does disalign goals of the user (get stuff done) and service provider (more money if someone fails as long as he is successful enough not to churn) though

Unfortunately that also sounds like an even stronger incentive to cancel the service. But I guess everyone is motivated differently.

Do you feel that adding tasks and managing bossasaservice.life becomes more of a distraction and effort than not having it though?

Not really - keep in mind interacting with Boss as a Service is a normal human conversation. In that way, it's very fluid and natural. You tell them what you want to work on, they help keep you accountable via reaching out, you report back when you finish it. If you needed to re-prioritize anything, it'd be as simple as saying, 'Hey, I'd like to work on A instead of B' or 'I'm going on vacation for a week' or whatever else you might need to say.

This isn't really a web task/todo list service - think of it more like someone helping keep you accountable to tasks where you'd find it helpful for someone to do so, if that makes sense.

so you email manasvini every meanial task like hair cut, car wash, etc and he emails you a reminder if you miss the regular intervals? sounds much more work than a task list...

In their website's footer, there is a link to Manasvini Krishna's Twitter handle - https://twitter.com/Manasvinik who is a woman.

not really relevant. just said the name because the comment I was commenting on start with it. Still unsure how the commenter sees getting call about hair cut schedule help him with task overhead.

The comment make it look like that person is their mother, who knows everything about their life and can comment on. When in reality we know they only know what you email them about. And after a while emailing people is as much (if not more) of a chore than using a simple list.

I imagine they focus on the tasks that they typically procrastinate.

Never realised that my wife is also providing this service for me ...

Now that you’re aware of it, have you talked to her about that? That’s a very common form of “emotional labor” that women find themselves responsible for, and it can be exhausting.

Relevant comic: https://english.emmaclit.com/2017/05/20/you-shouldve-asked/

If you are basing this on the PSID report they are only counting household chores typically done by women, so their numbers can't be trusted [1] and are heavily politicised by people seeking to further a particular ideology through using statistics that intentionally misrepresent the world:

"Housework was defined as “core chores,” or routine housework that people generally do not enjoy doing such as washing dishes, laundry, vacuuming floors and dusting … Routine housework, like cooking dinner or making beds, was captured … . Other activities such as home repairs, mowing the lawn, and shoveling snow were not in the study. Items such as gardening are usually viewed as more enjoyable; the focus here is on core housework."

Also, in addition to the chores that are not counted men tend to sacrifice at a higher rate in other ways to provide for the family. They have longer commutes and more frequently work away from home [2], and on average work longer hours when working fulltime [3]. Women also more frequently work part-time with a man supporting the family doing the sacrifices mentioned here [4].

We are happy to do all of this, but the deal is that one partner don't get to discount what the other do and then talk bad about how we all contribute to the whole based upon this misrepresentation.

[1] https://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=111458 [2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/urban-survival/20150... [3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/karinagness/2016/06/30/new-repo... [4] http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/12/11/on-pay-gap-millenn...

Emotional labor is not referring to the completion of material tasks / chores, nor is it referring to the amount of hours completed at a workplace. So I'm not sure what it is that you're trying to communicate by responding to a comment that was specifically about emotional labor with this comment - emotional labor has nothing to do with "talking bad" about relative degrees of contribution in a relationship.

edit: now I see - it's related to the comic in the GP comment. That comment implies that the comic is explaining emotional labor, but it isn't (the comic pretty much states this in the final panel). So that GP comment confused the thread. I'll respond directly to that comment.

The concept of emotional labor is not much different. Emotional labor in itself is a description of a carefully selected subset of actions we do when we mutually care for people we are close with and that most people gain meaning through doing, and it is associating the word labor with these meaningful actions due to how labor to many has a negative connotation. People that further emotional labor as a grievance intentionally misrepresent the world in order to further a specific political ideology, and it is typically the same groups that create the misrepresentations in the PSID report. This is Grievance Studies 101.

Emotional labor as a concept is manipulative, and it makes it harder for us all to appreciate the part each of us play in making a whole in exactly the same way as the PSID misrepresentations and make it harder for us to gain the meaning we normally do through mutually caring relationships.

The sad thing about both the PSID and the emotional labor concept is that it discourages the ones with few healthy relationships from mimicking the actions that will most likely help build them.

Thanks for explaining your viewpoint - sounds like we have incredibly different definitions of the concept of "emotional labor". I have never experienced it as being manipulative, nor in support of a specific political ideology, and based on my understanding of this concept, these traits are completely orthogonal to the core message.

While I'm highly skeptical of the notion that this concept is inherently manipulative, I certainly understand that select people will use whatever tools they have at their disposal to affect manipulation. I'm fascinated that you have had this experience and I'd like to hear more about what brought you here.

I would like to learn why we have such different viewpoints. Do you see emotional labor as a concept as something else than a grievance? What do you think is a good definition of the term? It is reasonable that we have different definitions since it seems to be used without a clear or consistent definition.

This is where I come from: The claims I can find about emotional labor mostly seem to refer to the PSID report, and it currently seems like there is an effort at claiming the conclusions of the PSID report support a similar claim about how the genders relate in the workplace. Emotional labor seem to be interchangeable be used for both contexts without a clear definition, and as a generalization of the PSID report. However, I can't find any data supporting that this is how the genders relate in the workplace and as I showed earlier the PSID report is also not a good representation of how people relate at home due to its misrepresentations.

That's an interesting comic. Though I think it's very one-sided especially in the last parts and written from the point of a women, who had bad luck with her partner. Staying with these stereotypes there are other mental tasks that a man would have on his mind like keeping the car running: changing tires, changing oil, etc.

Anecdotally: I did a big junk of the organizational stuff for my girlfriend during her five years of university (we basically met a month before she started) including pushing her through her bachelor and master thesis. Basically I kept a mental todo list for her and kept nagging her "like a boss". I also organized us moving different places, getting insurances, setting up contracts (like for tv and internet), shopping for tech, getting her car fixed and planning our holidays. I also organized and execute all the household related fixing. That's mostly stuff that happens on occasion and takes a lot of time and mental capacity then, but is not a daily load.

On the other hand she does a lot of the daily load stuff like washing, shopping and cleaning (basically because I'm fine cleaning once every 2 weeks when I can actually see the dust lying around, but she gets furious at this point). I probably do not appreciate this enough from a mental load / organizational point of view.

I'm sure though that I will be the one keeping track of doctor appointments and nannies, when we have kids, while she will keeping track of feeding, grocery shopping and changing diapers. I hopefully will remember this post and appreciate the small, but frequent and steady organizational load she takes and not only think about the rarer, bigger ones I take care off.

> That's an interesting comic. Though I think it's very one-sided

Of course. It provides a perspective, not all perspectives. But it's an important perspective. Not every household is this skewed in responsibilities, but many are. And just paying a bit of attention to what's going on and taking on some of these responsibilities, can alleviate a lot of stress.

It's certainly something I need to do more.

This comic addresses a very real issue, but I feel it is more universal than the feminist angle would imply. This same drama unfolds anytime you have people cohabitating who have different tolerances / thresholds / standards for how and how often they expect cleanliness and tidyness issues to be handled. If those thresholds don’t match, and especially if one person is more conflict-averse than the other, typically one person will volunteer to suffer in silence, take most of the burden for themselves, bottle up resentment, and then explode in a “I always / you never” fight. Every male I know who has male roommates during college has their own version of this story.

While it tangentially touches on it, this comic is not talking specifically about emotional labor - the final panel even says "In a future comic I'll talk about emotional work, which also gets heaped onto women."

For anyone interested, here are some resources on emotional labor:

- https://www.fastcompany.com/90268277/men-emotional-labor-is-...

- https://www.forbes.com/sites/melodywilding/2018/06/06/dont-b...

- https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/7-ways-men-must-l...

Not sure if supposed to feel bad about this or not, but ...

10 years ago, when my wife and I had been married less than a month, there was an occasion when the dishes piled up in the sink, and my wife got upset, and asked why had hadn't I noticed them, and why hadn't it bother me enough to clean them up without her having to ask me.

The reality was, I'm not sure I had noticed it, sometimes I get lost in my own world, I have a different perception of what parts of the world need my attention than my wife does, not that my perception is better (its often worse),

anyway, we had a discussion where I stated that if she would like my help with something, a polite "hey, would you mind [cleaning the dishes, some other X, etc]" will almost always elicit a "sure", then me doing it, unless there is an extremely specific reason I'm unable to help her at that exact moment, I'm not going to refuse a request for help

I'm happy we had that talk, I think it significantly improved the communication in our marriage

I don't want her strewing over me not doing something that I'm oblivious to, (and sometimes I am oblivious to stuff)

after a few requests for the same type of help, I do get in the habit of anticipating that a particular help is needed, and try to do it before that help is formally requested (the sink rarely fills up with dishes these days)

This is a fascinating comic, thank you for sharing.

The mental load sounds like it could be largely resolved by GTD, since eliminating mental load is the reason GTD was invented.

And if it's a shared system (eg whiteboard in kitchen) then the man/breadwinner can see at a glance what needs done and pick up tasks without having to ask.

Of course, there's a much more elegant solution, but I will leave it as an exercise for the reader :)

The comic is eye opening but kind of one sided. My partner never wondered how the car (that she rides in every day) gets cleaned or the oil gets changed, how the tires seamlessly switch between seasons, how the filter on the dishwasher or washing machine get cleaned, how ours is the only shower drain in the world that doesn't get clogged with long hairs, how every hernia inducing item just moves to the right spot by itself, how computers get updated, and dozens of minor annoyances get fixed around the house, etc.

The difference is I don't ask her to do it, and I don't broadcast what I'm doing to end up on a list. It needs to be done so I do it. If you keep tally you will not have a good time either way.

On the other hand stuff I don't need or want moved (my work stuff in my closed home office) always gets "ordered" according to her standards so I have my doubts about whether much of that behavior is society's fault or some people's innate wish to see some things done a certain way or in a certain order. It has to be done based on an internal list of needs or ideals, not because society says my stuff has to be ordered by her standards.

When you're substantially better at something just do it. Your partner will do the stuff they're better at. The rest gets split or shared with a simple prior arrangement. If the result is what matters don't get stuck on the how. And if something doesn't need to be done, don't do it. You'll expend mental and physical energy for no good reason.

I agree about it being one sided.

At one point an ex-partner of mine felt like she did way more than half the household workload. I felt under-appreciated because I was basically the only one to "fix" things if something needed to be done in the house.

We decided to set up a simple task manager for ad-hoc tasks, with some alternating recurring tasks like doing the washing. This worked quite well, as it gave some objective facts to balance our feelings and allowed us both to easily pick up our half of the work whenever we had some time.

Great, I came here to type out a similar response. You forgot big things like managing finances including investments, saving for kids, home refinancing, insurance payments, etc.

The difference in my household is that I, the husband, not only do all the things that you're talking about but also provide "Boss as a service" for my wife. It puts a ridiculous amount of load on me and burns me out. The difference as you correctly pointed out is men tend to "man up" and just do it.

This was a good reminder, habits are hard to break. As others have pointed out, the comic is a bit one sided, but it's trying to make a point, so whatever.

However, the comic does fail to recognize that the priorities of the woman (in this case) are also societal constructs. In the same way that women are taught to be the cleaners and boys are taught to go off to "save the world," women are also taught to value things like a tidy home. There's no inherent value in not keeping my jeans on the floor of the bedroom. That's something that women writ large have been taught to value.

If the men are being encouraged to think about what society has taught them to do, and change it based on this comic, I think it's only fair that the women also take a minute and consider the same.

Why is specific to women..?

It doesn’t have to be. It’s just something that most often falls to women due to our current culture.

The link explains in more detail.

The comic is basically "women have harder lives when they have low standards for the man they let knock them up."

I can't imagine walking into a kitchen then blaming my wife because of a pot of spaghetti overflowed, especially when she was busy dealing with two kids AND had her friends over. Or expect her to make dinner for me, the kids, and her friends all by herself.

I also can't imagine any of the men I know would do that...which the comic describes as a 'common scenario for many parents'.

That sounds like a low quality partner issue, not a gender role issue.

What strikes me about the comic is that the guest is talking to the husband, while she's there for the wife. It would make a lot more sense in this situation if the husband took care of the kids while the wife took care of her guest.

In hindsight its amazing how stupid and unaware people are as young new parents (myself included). Now, at my riper age, that sort of help is like an automatic reflex.

Yep. We all want them doing this service. They are truly obligated both on a local, personal level, and then in a wider sense by society.

Everyone is happy that they are providing this, and we all agree that they are definitely experiencing this real need, and not projecting something into the world that's actually just going on in their heads.

My girlfriend says she feels like my mother, careful with that

"We're a generation of men raised by women. I'm wondering if another woman is really the answer we need." - Tyler Durden

At the risk of sounding a bit picky, I've got to say that's a weird quote, though. Which generation of men has not been raised by women?

The book (and film) is specifically talking about absent fathers. The next line is "Our fathers were our models for God. If our fathers bailed, what does that tell you about God?"

It's pretty much the theme of the film: Masculinity as a desperate absence and conversely a desperate danger, in all it's facets from the comedic ("In death a member of Project Mayhem has a name") to the bathetic ("remaining men together") to the deeply sinister and violent. In a time when it is culturally deracinated and absent from so many men's childhoods.

My father was raised by his dad and mom. I was raised by my dad and mom. My grandfather's were raised by their fathers and mothers. So that's three generations of men not raised only by their mothers.

Civilization is built upon the inclusion of men in childrearing, so ultimately all civilizations include men raised by both men and women (at least the successful ones).

The ones with fathers.

I'm totally doing that for my girlfriend for years. Never thought about it this neutral though.

So it sounds like I can use this as mom-as-a-service, yes?

I have an Idea. Maas (Mom as a service)

I don't think it's legal in most places for me to rent your mom.

What about MomAI?

So like daycare ? :D

Just use a project management software! Like Redmine, it has tickets, Gantt charts and even a calendar feed I think. Works like a charm for exactly that stuff. I mean managing this is so trivial with that kind of software.

Keeping track of and prioritizing the things you need to do is a very different challenge from motivating yourself to actually get off your ass and do them.

Ain't that the truth! I've got an easy list of all the projects and stuff I want/need to do, and can easily prioritize and reprioritize that (and often procrastinate by doing just that). But when it comes to actually sitting down and doing it...well, that's where I struggle.

Personally I think Redmine is a bit too much for managing personal life. For capturing and managing tasks I use OmniFocus. But I think the problem is not the capturing but the doing. With BaaS a real person helps you to achieve your tasks.

I mean just from a standpoint of free will and society, not so much from technological: seriously, this is the opposite of what a person should want. When you look at the historical development people got increasingly self-determined over the centuries. This completely makes no sense at all, this is reverse and you even pay for this.

I mean this BaaS probably "manages" 100s of people and is doing nothing else than clicking through a similar software for you.

We send ourselves an email with a todo list, when an action is added, it's "reply all" and add it to the bottom. When one is done it's removed.

It is so silly that this might actually be a good idea? I do want a good reminder and todo/red-flags don't do it for me. I can seriously see why speaking to a human and being accountable to someone can boost productivity. Consequences of not doing a task on time would be embarrassment and shame from someone you're paying. Or its just silly.

Customer defining the goals is akin to setting the difficulty on "easy" and beating the game. What would be good is if BaaS would interview the customer, set realistic but challenging goals for the customer based on the project needs and then push them. Similar to a gym coach.

I know a domme in the Connecticut area who says that lately this kind of work has become most of her business. She takes money to nag men to "do their chores" and occasionally sends them a lewd or two.

All via twitter.

To quote Microft: "recreational scolding".

Sounds like some people need to take a look at the TRT thread.

What's the TRT thread?

Probably something to do with testosterone replacement therapy.

Well, if you want them to have teeth there could be a contract where you either pay them X amount on success or Y if you fail to achieve a pre-negotiated goal. With Y > X of course.

To avoid setting bad incentives, i.e. that your boss still wants you to succeed, he personally should get a bonus out of the X even though the company earns less.

Paying money if you fail is counterproductive for actually getting things done. You're now allowed to fail, it just costs money. There's a case study I remember of a daycare that tried to get parents to show up on time by fining those who picked their kid up late; late pick-ups actually increased afterwards.

Beeminder has written a lot about this. The daycare fine needed to be higher. Beeminder starts at a $5 fine and roughly triples with each consequent failure. Everyone is willing to fail until the consequence hits their limit, and then the behavior changes. I don’t know about Stikk, but Beeminder has a premium feature that lets you skip the cheaper fines and go straight to the big ones so you can start changing your behavior sooner. I’m guessing the daycare’s fine was timid and had no mechanism to ratchet up to each parent’s pain point.

The problem with the daycare was that parents began seeing it as "I can leave my child later, it just costs more" and they were just paying an additional fee to keep their child longer at a service they were already paying for. The daycare ended up removing the fee and the late pick ups stayed.

Yes, that makes sense. The fine changes the consequence to something that can be rationally weighed. Too low and people willingly pay it, so it needs to be higher. Automatic fine increases allow the fine to be customized to each parent so all of them eventually stop being late.

It doesn’t really matter if the parents see the fine as “a fine” or an unaffordable, automatically billed service if it’s priced right.

I think this is a horribly bad idea. Daycare caretakers are the most loving and caring people I know. Putting them in a position where they have to argue with 3x richer people about hundreds of dollars is going to stress them out and needlessly strain the parent-caretaker relationship. I also can't imagine that's good for the child.

That may be. In this case, the daycare is just an example of how inflexible financial consequences could work better or worse depending on the implementation.

That said, if lateness is a problem, it’s impeding on the workers’ personal lives, which can’t be good for anybody, so I don’t mind exploring how those workers could be helped. I assume more upfrontness from the business office, and parent education, would go a long way, similar to other institutions.

This problem can be solved by hiring a professional who doesn't interact with the children to do the arguing, assuming there is enough money on the table to make that worthwhile.

(I mean, I agree it's a big problem. I also dislike haggling, and I think I would have done much better had i outsourced that function when I ran a business, even if I paid a lot to that person)

All that said, a sufficient guilt trip might be more effective than a fine in any case, and is something that a caretaker could probably provide.

Instead of thinking in a punitive manner (fines, shaming, etc) they could, for example, hire babysitters, charge the parents a good bunch and even thank them.

This reminds me of my local library. For every book one day late, you pay the equivalent of $0.05.

If I am late to give back a book that I am still reading, I do not mind giving it back one or two weeks late after I am done with it.

The fine is actually considerably cheaper if you compare with the upfront cost to be able to use the library.

Worse, some libraries cap the fine. So the fine per day decreases the longer you keep the book. This is mitigated by collections reporting to credit, but the threat of collections is the kind of vague consequence that people disregard or misvalue.

but that's a different problem. parents are already accountable to the daycare to pick up their kids, and the payment enabled them more flexibility and actually reduce the accountability. we are paying an after-school service for exactly that purpose.

bossasaservice is about voluntary accountability where there previously was none. and it's fully in my control on how i use it.

part of the point of being a freelancer (or entrepreneur) is that i get to decide what i am accountable for and what not.

> parents are already accountable to the daycare to pick up their kids

In the absence of consequences, they are obligated but not accountable to the daycare.

> and the payment enabled them more flexibility and actually reduce the accountability.

No, it replaced ethical obligation (which, insofar as it is accountability, is accountability to self) to defined-consequence accountability to the daycare, which in practice negates ethical obligation in favor of transactional accountability.

How that works out in price depends on the weight of the ethical rule involved for the individual vs the weight of the assigned consequence; it is counterproductive where you replace a strong ethical obligation with a weak consequence.

People often overlook that other people have ethics; that's actually useful self-protection in many situations, but it backfires when you undermine common ethics in an effort to create incentives and manage to replace it with weaker incentives than the target audience had from ethics in the status quo ante.

i think we actually agree, but use different terms or definitions to mean roughly the same thing. i am accountable to someone to fulfill an obligation. otherwise it would not be an obligation.

i don't believe in an absence of consequences. there are always consequences, even if they are not spelled out. sometimes we just don't know what the consequences might be. so at least i need to assume there are consequences unless it is explicitly said that there are none, at which point the obligation disappears.

however this is getting philosophical now, and strays from the topic.

> In the absence of consequences, they are obligated but not accountable to the daycare.

I think it's beautifully HN-libertarian of you to consider "no financial consequences" equal to "no consequences".

Our daycare solves this with peer pressure and stern looks and it's super effective.

i had just that in mind when thinking about unspoken consequences.

Maybe instead of paying the boss more if you fail, donate to charity or some other financial loss. A charity you don't like for a negative penalty if needed.

If you fail, you pay the charity an amount Y. If you succeed, you could do nothing, or give the Boss a bonus of .5Y for being a good boss

The boss management company is then incentivized to hire incompetent bosses. Their entire business model is profitable in proportion to how often it fails.

The perverse incentive has to land somewhere; not sure there's a way to neutralize this one. But it's an interesting idea.

Maybe if you transparently advertise the success rate it would neutralise since hiring incompetent bosses would result in less sign-ups. That said, not sure you could accurately verify that number.

This is beeminder.com

Was 100% certain this was me until I realized it wasn't about beer.

i seem to remember a service where you'd pay in on a regular basis, and only if you achieved your goals you'd get a payout that you'd then be able to spend on holidays, or a party or whatever.

Could you explain why Y > X and not the other way round?

X is their base fee. The difference is your precommitted punishment. Want to keep the money? Finish your project.

For me personally, I believe it would be most effective if I payed more (or only) when I completed tasks.

At the end of the day, that's what's happening anyway. As in, why continue the service if it's not working.

The incentives are already set so I am willing to pay (more) for successful management, and they will get paid (more) for successful management.

You get what you pay for. Why pay for failure?

Read the Beeminder blog if you want to understand why pay more for failure... let me find one[1][2] (link below)

You should want to avoid the payment! Is the short version. If you _only_ paid when you failed, you might go out of your way to not fail, if it meant you could avoid the payment.

Especially as a conditioned response -- eg. planning to fail sometimes. You won't mind losing $5 once in a while, if most of the time you aren't failing as a result. It's no fun if you're paying the $5 every time. But it's no fun if you're failing at your goals every time, either.

Failed once, failed twice, still paying $5? Why not up the commitment? How much will it take to get you to not fail next time, $20? $400? Or give up on that goal, once and for all. It's quite a weird system, but there is a lot of behavioral science behind it, and you will benefit by becoming better at predicting your capacity for important things, and planning. (Sure, you don't need Beeminder to do that, but it's a system for it...)

There are a lot of ideas around the psychology of getting things done from Beeminder and friends. Like the legend of Murder Gandhi, you have to read this one for yourself: https://blog.beeminder.com/schelling/

[1]: https://blog.beeminder.com/psych/ [2]: https://blog.beeminder.com/punishment/

Interesting, but doesn't this incentivise the boss to not do their job quite so well?

Edit: read the second part of your original comment which clarified this. Perhaps the charity idea circumvents the wrong way risk altogether.

What if the money was donated regardless. But if you fail it goes to an organization you don’t like.

For instance say I don’t like Donald trump. If I fail my money goes to trumps reelection fund. But if it succeeds it goes to a charity that buys malaria nets for poor communities around the planet.

> interview the customer, set realistic but challenging goals for the customer based on the project needs and then push them.

Sounds like a normal project manager.

You must have some exceptional project managers.

I immediately thought of the most annoying (best?) project managers Ive worked with.

They call them business coaches and they plague business meetups and chambers of commerce.

For the most part they are sales people who are good at telling others what to do, but you always feel possibly not that good or they would be running some business themselves.

There are even business coach franchises.

> For the most part they are sales people who are good at telling others what to do, but you always feel possibly not that good or they would be running some business themselves.

Often, they are running a business (specifically, a business-coaching business) themselves.

Newspapers hire editors even though they aren't the best writers.

See also all the professional sports coaches who aren’t good enough to play on the teams they coach. Knowing what to do, knowing how to explain it, and being able to do it are all different skills.

There's a difference in that you get too old to play, and many coaches did and at the highest level: Phil Jackson and Steve Kerr come to mind.

A business coach should be capable of stepping into a business and running it.

Just to be facetious: "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach".

You and your parent comment are both right. They certainly are different skills, and yes, some people possess both sets of skills.

You're just restating the same thing again.

Why is a business coach different than other kinds of teachers?

Going further, why should you learn anything from any kind of professional teacher? By your logic, doesn't the fact that they're teaching it imply that they can't do it?

A professional teacher is different, particularly at the primary/elementary level. Of the teachers I know and have worked with (I also have a few in my family), they do it because they enjoy teaching and would not choose to do anything else.

Business coaching is something you do after running a business.

Teaching at a secondary you will often find people who previously worked in industry. My high school chemistry teacher for example previously worked as an industrial chemist which put his level of expertise way above what was required.

And at the tertiary you will get a mix of academics and tutors, who are either actively researching or working in their field.

Which is why mentoring groups with other business owners can be a lot more beneficial than a coach.

Some coaches aged out of it, but many didn't. And yes, I do know that the idea is so widely held that there's a silly simplistic quote for it.

Fermienrico, are we alone in the universe?

red flags?

So I've recently been throwing around the idea that I might have some form of ADHD after really not wanting to accept it for a while. I also happen to have the least structured job of all time - work from home freelance web developer and writer.

After having a structure my whole life in school which I did fairly well under, suddenly I found myself with literally no structure, deadlines that are always far in the future, and the ability to literally watch Youtube all day long without any _immediate_ penalty.

I love seeing things like this. I've had to build all sorts of structure into my life, but the hardest part is always getting myself to do it, because, you know, I could just _not do it._

As someone who has recently started figuring out this whole ADHD thing, definitely seek out help for it. There are a ton of really powerful tools and support systems that make a tremendous difference. Especially organizational systems designed for people with executive function deficits (whether that's ADHD or not, doesn't really matter!)

Caddra has an interesting chart here for suggestions: https://caddra.ca/pdfs/Psychosocial_October2016.pdf

I also like Russell Barkley's lectures and books: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzhbAK1pdPM&list=PLzBixSjmbc...


http://www.russellbarkley.org/books.html (especially Taking Charge of Adult ADHD)

And additionally, if you find that these things speak to you, medication makes a tremendous difference. I really can't overstate the degree to which it can change your life.

I previously thought I may have ADHD, but after seeing a GP-refered psychiatrist who said “no you have anxiety instead”, I assumed him to be correct and dropped the idea.

Now, despite having largely learnt to manage said anxiety, I still have a massive problem with “avoidance”; do you think it is perhaps worth revisiting the potential ADHD?

I do find that Ritalin helps tremendously, but obviously I do not have a prescription, it’s something I only take when in supply and I have a pressing deadline.

You probably still have ADHD, or at least enough trouble with the things ADHD folks have trouble with to get an official diagnosis and prescription.

Like, the first psych wasn't wrong about anxiety being a thing. It often is very often co-morbid with ADHD. This is because ADHD interferes with keeping up with work and life commitments and deadlines, makes you tend to work closer to deadlines (and more vigorously), and causes other life issues. If your work performance is unsatisfactory, of course you are anxious.

Ritalin helps, still have a problem after resolving anxiety, big problems, you do the math. I'm not an expert but it sounds like it might be relevant.

In would not underestimate the potential harm of pharmaceuticals, let alone psychotropics. Just because it's stamped by the FDA does not necessarily mean something is absolutely and inherently safe - it means that there is insufficient evidence to say that it is not. This poses a problem because research on various drugs (and many other commercial compounds) is generally carried out, or at the minimum funded, by the organizations hoping to monetize them. Show they're safe and beneficial and you earn immense amounts of money, show they're unsafe or unbeneficial and lose immense amounts of money.

We still have little to no understanding of how, why, and in some cases even if psychotropics actually work. And there are correlations to all sorts of nasty things with indications causality between things such as ritalin/methylphenidate and depression. Other studies on ritalin have shown neuronal/brain changes comparable to cocaine. [1] The only reason I mention this is because I think we're currently in the era of having a chicken and egg scenario between all sorts of mental/psychological disorders and a skyrocketing rate of psychotropic consumption.

Basically, turn to medication as a last resort and think about the differences in how you feel medicated and how you feel unmedicated. Now imagine the gross (as in total, not as in eww) effect of your brain over what may be potentially decades of usage of such drugs since the drugs won't cure you - they will just end up working as a crutch for an indefinite period of time. For some this may be the right decision, but it's not a decision that should be made with no analysis beyond 'Wow, I feel much better after taking this!'

[1] - https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nida-study-sho...

I vehemently disagree with you here. Stimulant therapy for ADHD is literally the most effective psychiatric intervention we know of. Everything else wishes it has the effectiveness that stimulants have for people with ADHD. If you think you have ADHD and you fit the stereotype (smart kid that'd only do well if they applied themselves), you absolutely should try it.

Yes, it has risks and is not 100% safe. No, that doesn't mean that the risk/reward ratio is anywhere near "think carefully before trying it." People with ADHD have enough trouble scheduling stuff and getting through the bureaucracy standing between them and a diagnosis already, it's downright irresponsible IMO to suggest that they go down a rabbit hole of research and doubt.

ADHD here, diagnosed 30 days ago. I tried for years to fix it by myself. Reached a point that I had to either swallow my pride and seek help or become homeless. Even then, it only happened because my mother semi-forced me to see a psychiatrist. It's really hard to seek help when seeing a doctor is just another task in the pile on Trello.

I take 30mg Vyvanse daily but deliberately skip Sundays & Saturdays in an attempt to delay organism adaptation. It's similar to Ritalin but more gradual and longer effect. I see the drug as a temporary tool to help me get moving again. Hope to one day replace it with well ingrained habits plus dopamine from exercises.

"... the drugs won't cure you - they will just end up working as a crutch for an indefinite period of time"

True. These drugs aren't a cure. They are a tool. For many, more like an aspiring writer's desk than a cripple's crutch. ADD drugs are like coffee, but without the culture. Use wisely: they can help to improve motivation, which can then be applied towards or away from self-control. Don't expect a cure or for the drug to do your own hard work. Like any tool, there is a learning curve and skill set associated with expert use.

Most people I know with ADHD essentially face the choice between medication and homelessness/joblessness, myself included.

Which do you think is worse for long term health?

Seriously. I've been on stimulants for ADHD for almost 25 years. The price I've paid is a few root canals due to dry mouth and I'm on beta blockers for a mild, benign arrhythmia I developed this spring.

Beats the living hell out of my alternative: on the streets, in jail, or 6 feet under because ADHD is hell. It's a price I'd pay every time without hesitation. It's a price I think EVERYBODY would prefer I pay cuz like yo, I ain't safe to drive unmedicated, this a public safety thing.

I'm curious about your take on something. ADHD was not recognized as a disorder until 1968. And the popularity of pharmaceuticals for ADD/ADHD didn't really take off until the 90s when a pharmaceutical industry astroturfing group called CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit) started marketing ritalin hard. Since then the use of using various pharmaceutical stimulants has become extremely widespread - jumping up by multiple orders of magnitude.

Okay, so:

- people claim that not being medicated for ADHD would result in homelessness and other such things

- medication only started to really take off in the 90s, and has since exponentially increased

So why is that when we go a bit further back in time, before the 90s, that we don't see some massively exponential increase in homelessness and other such things? I mean if that's the alternative to not taking the drugs, wouldn't this be precisely what we'd expect to see?

We do see many, many strangely unemployable types who from a modern perspective seem to clearly have all the signs of ADHD or other mental issues that have only been recognised comparatively recently. Especially when there is that little bit more history thanks to their being of a famous or diligent journal keeping family. In their time were institutionalised or kept at home as the black sheep of the family, or drifted from inconsequential job to job or were the petty indolent criminal, or even imprisoned for years.

Care was a little different as was the tendency for families to stick together. Perhaps the institutions, prisons and family spare rooms were used in place of modern homelessness? We can't know it wasn't responsible for significant homelessness. Figures were impossible to compare as the record would just show petty thief or lack of work ethic, or poor money management. If that.

I think you're looking a bit further back than necessary. FiveThirtyEight oddly enough did a bit on ADHD pharmaceuticals here [1] that gives some numbers. So for instance just between 2008 and 2013 adult usage of ADHD medication doubled. It was currently at 2.8% and has undoubtedly continued to skyrocket since then. And that number is dwarfed by how quickly we're putting young children and especially boys on it. In 2013 we already had 9.8% of boys 12-18 years old on ADHD drugs - and those numbers again were, and presumably still are, rapidly increasing. And once again the numbers as recently as 1990 were very near 0.

At least from your post it seems to me like you're talking about something like the 50s. You need only go back a decade or two to see tremendous differences in rates of psychotropic prescription and usage. And the sheer numbers here mean that if these drugs are as having as large a positive effect as many users do believe them to be, then we should be able to see tremendous macro level positive indicators. But I'm not sure we really do. By contrast I could certainly point to sharp increases in a variety of physiological and psychological disorders which are considered side effects of these treatments.

[1] - https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/dear-mona-how-many-adul...

Yeah I'm thinking of descriptions of people from the first half of the 20th century. I've no idea what the actual rate of ADHD is in the population, but the chances are it's been roughly that rate forever and long before there was any recognition or treatment of the condition. It certainly seems like we've reached a level of diagnosis that seems wildly excessive.

I've read enough histories and biographies to have thought "ADHD" quite a few times when reading of a life of missed opportunity, or the insufferable politician or military leader who seems to have all the symptoms but succeeded despite it. Maybe sometimes because of it.

The difficulty is appropriate medication can be the difference between achieving a regular career as lawyer or programmer and struggling through a transient series of failed unskilled jobs or ongoing unemployment. I'm not sure we have enough precision in the data to recognise that. I've seen wholly positive effects in those few diagnosed and on medication around me, but that's a useless anecdote. I'm in a country with a far lower rate of diagnosis. :)

I also have "some form of ADHD". Turns out stimulants work pretty well. I was terrified of them for most of my life, and it doesn't help that a lot of doctors are also scared of them, but they work, and getting treated with them is one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Adderall works absurdly well for me, it's actually depressing to see how it can make being productive virtually effortless. For me it's the difference between an hour of real work per day and 15+ hours. I'm just afraid that taking it often will lead to some kind of brain damage decades down the line. Otherwise I would be taking it every day.

Just FYI, "normal" people aren't highly productive for 15+ hours a day. So I want to emphasize that's a drug-enhanced state, not bringing you in line with where everyone else already is.

Also, forget about direct side effects of the drug, going nonstop all day long every day is unsustainable, the body will crash eventually.

It freaked me out how much of a difference Adderall made when I started taking it. My productivity and general feeling of self worth have definitely improved since I started taking it seven or eight years ago. I also worry about the long-term effects, but probably not as much as my concern for how I would function if it were ever taken off of the market.

It's a hell of a drug. The long term effects are why I discontinued, but it made the decade at Amazon not just bearable, but fun. That and half the other SDEs there were taking it too.

What are the longterm effects? And how long is longterm? You didn't have them after a decade? It is a helluva drug though.

Cognitive decline is the main one that concerned me. You don't run an organ hot for years without doing some damage, and anyone who says otherwise is selling a dream.

If you dose stimulants properly, and you actually have ADD, you're not running anything hot. Stimulants should be used to bring a low resting dopamine rate to normal and healthy levels.

Sure. That sounds great. Where’s the evidence?

Hijacking the conversation to learn from your experience.

What would you tell to someone like me, who started taking 30mg Vyvanse for ADHD just a month ago?

I'm skipping weekends to delay organism adaptation and put less strain on the body. The drug doesn't let you feel that strain but I'm sure it's there since it works like a processor overclock. Before I functioned at 60% and now I function at 120% for most of the day.

30mg seems high to me for an initial dose. "Dosing things right" for stimulant therapy for ADHD is something like "little enough that you don't feel much of an effect subjectively, but not so little that it fails to help control symptoms".

Like, I got started out at 10mg Adderall XR, and even that has a little bit more oomph than I think is ideal. I might be more sensitive to stimulants than you, but even then you want to take as little as is necessary to control your symptoms.

I'd suggest talking to your psychiatrist about lowering your dosage. If you're taking three 10mg pills, try taking just one of them. If you're taking just one 30mg pill, then complain about side effects (feeling wired, upset stomach) and ask for a lower dose.

Thank you for your input.

Unfortunately 30mg is the lowest dosage available in my country. It's available in 30mg, 50mg and 70mg here. Despite both both being amphetamine based stimulants, one could say 30mg of Vyvanse is equivalent to 20mg of Aderall but the formulas differ and it depends on the organism. Vyvanse is also more gentle and of a more gradual release than Adderall.

My question was more about tips and hints on long term usage of these stimulants.

Don't be afraid to take less than you're prescribed. I'm unfamiliar with Vyvanse, but with other stimulants you can cut the pill down to take less. You can talk with your doctor about this, in the US at least they can prescribe fractional pill doses. You really want to titrate down to the lowest possible dose that gives you a therapeutic effect. Also ask about drug holidays.

My biggest concern would be hypertension and damage to my heart.


Reading this makes me wish Adderall was legal in my country.

There are other ADHD medications based on amphetamine. Be careful though, they can easily disrupt your sleep cycle and the psychological addiction to the productivity is real.

Ask your doctor about Vyvanse.

Every other psychiatric intervention wishes it was effective as stimulants are for treating ADHD. It's been seriously life-changing for me.

I've been self medicating with modafinil for a while now and it does wonders. I don't use it daily and usually only take half a dose for a day and it has truly made a night and day change in my productivity. Even when I don't use it as I now know the "mindset" I need to be in to get things done, or at least I try.

Used to work for me. Now, it mostly just makes me procrastinate with better focus.

I think it may be due to sleep disruption, but I don’t know.

Yep. For people who struggle with procrastination or discipline, here's a reddit thread with more info on adult ADHD: https://www.reddit.com/r/slatestarcodex/comments/9wg9p0/a_no...

I am my own life-coach. What a terrible idea that is, let me tell you.

You have to constantly be two people, wear two hats. And then, at some point every day you also get to wear the tally hat, to see how you did.

A bit more about being two people - it's like when you do awareness meditation, you have to watch yourself go, but you also have to be there and do the work.

I am getting good results in my last three years (tally hat on) but that's after six years of miserably failing to get any control whatsoever over my life. Lots of pain there, heaps of depression.

No individual trick has done it for me, nothing stuck or moved the needle any. What I ended up doing is: new place/town, new job, new acquaintances. Some distance from older acquaintances. Did that twice, and both times got fantastic results, got progress. So, reset lead to progress.

I fucked up the distancing the first time, didn't move far enough away, didn't change my cellphone habits. You really are the sum average of the people around you, that is true if you want it or not. You need to shut up and cut the noise to have a chance to hear yourself weep when you're miserable doing what you do, to feel yourself content and joyful when you do something that is you.

Tally hat is not optional. Measuring progress, noting it down as you go, reflecting on what did and didn't work makes all the difference. Do, note, reflect, adjust, do again.

Awareness is not optional. Sitting down to watch Youtube? Think about what it is you're going to do after that, before sitting down. Set a timer, so you won't find yourself with the sun down and nothing accomplished that day.

Before you go to sleep, half an hour before, shut down everything, your phone, your computer; take a shower and think - if there is one thing I am to do tomorrow, what would that be? What would make the most difference? Write it down on a sticky note and put it on your monitor's top bezel. This is what you'll do in the morning, first thing. Then you get to do anything you want (set a timer), and proceed to tally-hat, then turn your phone on. This is when you'd get back to everybody and do household chores or what have you.

Do four good days like that, in a week. You don't have to be good all week. Just most of the week. There are 52 of those in a year, set your phone and desktop dash to show you what week number you're at, and use that when putting on your tally hat. Where are you coming from, what are you to do right now, what's the immediate next thing? No point planning way ahead or keeping a todo list (do keep a backlog and review it weekly, do mark things on a calendar so as not to miss them). Don't make yourself do a list of things, you're not a machine, yet. Make yourself do 23 minutes of "I'll just start doing that, even though I don't feel like it, and then take a break". You will feel like it after 15 minutes, but never before you actually start.

Or hire a boss/secretary and they will do your tallying for you (moderately well), and your awareness (works better if not remote).


Thanks so much for writing this out, and to everyone else who responded to this thread!

Seems like whether we call it ADHD or not, productivity and focus is a real problem.

And you mention "being your own life coach" - especially for people who work from home, I think that's almost a necessity. But, you can also hire other people to be your life coach too!

I have a personal trainer who makes sure I go to the gym. I have a therapist I see regularly who helps me a lot lot. I am about to get a psychiatrist to talk about medicine but I imagine he'll have more ideas too. I hired a business coach for 8 months and though expensive it was the best investment I've ever made for my career. I'm currently playing around with Boss as a Service. It did in fact help me get started today! I'm a part of 3 different mastermind groups. We meet for an hour every other week and talk about business and also life.

Being an introvert I had a tendency to isolate myself but my quality of life and business success has improved immensely by expanding my network.

This _combined_ with lots of little tricks and environmental changes have helped too. Things like having a physical checklist for my morning routine gets me out of bed. Having only a few staple foods helps me eat healthier. Going to coffee shops helps me work more. Etc etc etc.

It's a continual process that can always be optimized but as far as I can tell, the key is to keep trying things until you find things that work for you.

If anyone in here wants to talk more about ADHD and focus and productivity, happy to chat over email: david@lessboring.com. Cheers!

No, it's not wearing two hats, it's simply being adult.

Accepting responsibility, time planning, prioritizing, all that is - or should be - learned during "growing up", and strenghtened during early adulthood.

Agreed. But some of us are a bit broken. We do have an adult mindset and good education. But mental problems, in my case ADHD, will still make it very hard to function as a normal adult without aid from drugs.

Think like a beautiful airplane toy with a broken wing. It just needs some glue to fly again.

I think you're overly generous with your definition of adulthood. I mean, over 90% of adults are probably not on the same page with you. Just look at their finances. Or the amount of free time they get.

The "should be learned" I agree with, but that's just not the world that we ended up with, is it?

Thanks for this! Can you be more specific with how the tally hat works? I admire the idea I just have a hard time implementing the reflecting part.

Sure mate. It is contextual though.

You can look at what recurs and could be optimized, or optimized away, maybe delegated or nixed. You could take a measure of how you did whatever it is you did today, better or worse than expected? Were you unprepared? What could be improved?

My work week should flutter around four days, so I keep an eye on that, see that I did enough work and didn't over-work myself. There are fixed costs to living, but then there are frivolous or unexpected expenses – there's a budget for that. I write invoices or tally up working days/hours what have you – to bill my clients or my employer, if I was contracting.

There are people which should be contacted periodically, some more often, some less often – I make sure not to miss out on this. Forgetting to go over that list leads to not enough work, or not enough social interaction.

I make sure I take care of my tools, housework, stock up on food and such. Take care of my body and mental state by stretching and breathing (that's Upa-yoga and Wim Hoff style pranayama). I cook my own food, which I sometimes need to do in advance.

I note the things that I ended up doing but didn't plan to, and how they went and made me feel. I get follow up with whomever tried to reach me and didn't get to talk to me, and email (that's the very last thing).

I note whether I got to do the things that I enjoy, and how that went and made me feel. If not – then why not? That is very much not OK and should immediately be taken care of, for fear of loss of will to live so to say.

In general terms, "where am I coming from? Where am I going? Am I there yet, should I adjust direction/effort/approach?"

Hope that gives you something to think about.

I've previously dreamed of a community version of this, and I'm certain others have as well. There's a chance the concept might be flawed, but it's worth considering. Members would be encouraged to act as "productivity coach" for one or more other members, and in exchange could receive the same service. I like it because it could be cheap and/or free, and having members experience both sides of the equation could improve the overall experience. There are some challenges that might render this impossible, though:

- Is there a target audience, ie. procrastinators capable of being productivity coaches? (I, for one, believe I fit the profile)

- How can the coaching be incentivized? Points system, matchmaking?

- Should it be monetized? If yes, how?

- How much community moderation would be required, and how could it be implemented?

Let's talk! This is what we're trying to do with the Your Boss app.

We facilitate peer-to-peer "boss" support through phone calls. There's question prompts at the beginning of the call to guide the conversation (ie. "Is there anyone you're forgetting to email?")

The phone always says "Your boss is calling." so you know the app is calling you.

I've been self-employed (without a boss) for 10 years and have thought about this a lot. (Check out Your Boss in the app store! We launched 12 weeks ago. Would love to know what you think.)

This does sound like a good idea. It is indeed easier at times to give advice to someone else than it is to yourself.

This. I find that the advice I easily dole out to other people is the same advice I struggle with following. It just seems so easy to do when you're telling someone else how to do it.

Totally. When I'm a "boss", I often give someone advice that I haven't done yet. Then after I say it, I actually (finally) go do the thing I said. It's like, I just needed to say it out loud to someone else in order to go do it.

n-reduce online incubator did that. they tried to monetize it and failed. (or they couldn't figure out how to monetize it)

the incentive was that everyone was coaching everyone else (in their small group), so you support others, and get support yourself.

i believe there are several organizations that provide this kind of support. mastermind groups do that too i think.

Note that the acronym is Baas... which is Dutch for boss (and incidentally the source of the English word too) :)

Hey, that was more interesting than I expected. It looks like "boss" is in fact a loan from Dutch rather than a cognate:

> Middle Dutch baes, of obscure origin. If original sense was "uncle," perhaps it is related to Old High German basa "aunt," but some sources discount this theory.

> The Dutch form baas is attested in English from 1620s as the standard title of a Dutch ship's captain. The word's popularity in U.S. may reflect egalitarian avoidance of master (n.) as well as the need to distinguish slave from free labor.


I can feel it, there is an amazing startup name waiting to be discovered there. Huur een BaaS or something of that sort.

Baas as a Service. Truly FOSS-style acronym (one could say it's Unix-like (not to be confused with Unox-like (Unox is the worst)).

I love RARA's.

We're doing a similar thing with our app, Your Boss — except, it's peer-to-peer phone network and more of a community. I've found that if I need a boss, talking to someone who also needs a boss is super helpful! https://thisisyourboss.com

I'm impressed this might change my life for real.. do you connect to random or same people

Both. Right now it's random. It's great having a diversity of perspectives. But we're adding a feature where you can reconnect with bosses you've liked.

Ah nice, kinda reminds me of Talk O'Clock, the P2P alarm clock network where people all over the world could call each other to wake each other up.

If they turned this into an umbrella company service with equipment hire and lawyers and accountants on call, they'd really be onto something. I don't just hire bosses to shout at me, I expect them to also make sure the things I need for my job are there, that I'm legally covered and that the invoices are being chased.

Yeah, but then they would need to up the price 500x.

Or take a percentage and scale the perks.

i generally find that working in a team makes me more productive. pair-programming especially, makes it much easier to focus, and not be tempted to do something else every time i get stuck. (pair-programming also helps to avoid getting stuck in the first place)

but the key point is accountability to another person.

that person doesn't have to be a boss. it can be an intern. just the fact that i have someone watching me work, because they want to learn about my job, is helpful. and i want to show them how to do the work too.

several years ago, i joined an online incubator called n-reduce. each team, or individual that joined the service was grouped with a few others, and we reported weekly to each other what we were doing via private videos posted on youtube. the goal and effect was the same. i had to set my own goals, and work at my own pace, but i was accountable to someone.

or, you know how you make an extra effort to clean your home when you expect guests? -> accountability.

bossasaservice looks like it could be very helpful. however i would like to structure it a bit different:

more like scrum, with daily standups and maybe sprints. so that once in a while i list all my tasks and goals that i want to accomplish over the next period, and quick daily reports on how i am doing, with the service helping me note if i am on track or fall behind. they could join the sprint-planning giving suggestions on priorities. or, someone else could help with that.

a scrum-master for hire, so to speak.

greetings, eMBee.

Anyone that has never been freelancing for a good amount of time will think this is a joke, but it's probably not.

Even if you love your job, you're working on your own personal projects, and you know how to manage yourself and get away from distractions, you wouldn't believe how hard it is to motivate yourself some days...

Etymology note: the abbreviation B.A.A.S. corresponds to the Dutch word "baas", from which "boss" was loaned with the same meaning. Baas is, according to etymologist Nicoline van der Sijs, the most successful Dutch export word[0] (mostly via English). See http://www.oapen.org/search?identifier=341464 .

[0] Possibly excepting "apartheid".

I think "boss" is a little more common than "apartheid."

Depends on your metric. I don't have the numbers at hand, but apartheid may have been borrowed into more languages.

Interesting idea... Kind of reminds me of (part of) the role artist managers have. Many (but certainly not all) artists find time management near impossible and need someone checking in constantly. Many (again definitely not all) also are technaphobes who do whatever they can do get away from digital tools. A human todo list might well appeal to them.

I think there could be a niche version or this service for that industry - esp if the "bosses" in this service were vetted in a way an artist could know they understand the industry. I could see some mid-high level artists paying for this (esp if social/marketing were slapped on top). Might need to be localised somewhat though...

As a complete aside if anyone running the business is reading this I found the centered text for everything inc body copy pretty hard to read. Solid website overall though.

If you are interest in a more premium offering, I work with a “Fairy God Mother” who offers project management, accountability, productivity coaching, etc.

She’s good, but much more than $25/mo.


> VIP status > Private sessions: Weekly x 55-minute one-on-one sessions. > Skin in the Game: $997 month.

Oh wow. This must be one of those service that make sense only if you life in a "high salary/high cost of life" area. I could buy a few good quality used cars a year at that pricing.

This would make a good basis for a Black Mirror episode. Ask the question, "How far will they go to hold you to task if you don't complete your goals, or what happens if you lie?"

Name the episode "Safeword."

They do use the phrase "deadly serious" a curious number of times...

Another word for what this service is offering would be "coach," in which case it sounds a lot less ridiculous. Plenty of people hire personal trainers, why not a productivity trainer?

Yeah when you say "life coach", people get what it is, but it's boring. But there's a certain weirdness to the term "boss as a service" that make it seem interesting and people want to find out what it is, I think.

As a side-note: Baas means "Boss" in Dutch. Which happens to be the abbreviated "Boss as a service" :)

It's quite a funny idea, I wonder if that'd be sustainable though!

I remember an article which was saying that a lot of startups are just solving problems for the 'millenials' that their moms used to solve. Laundry, making food, making appointments, cleaning, etc. Now there is a startup that will sign your grade sheet and tell you to do homework.

Hmm, I know some bosses who really enjoyed making people “accountable” but didn’t seem to enjoy knowing what they were doing, articulating a realistic vision, or making coherent decisions. Why do poor bosses only seem to like that part of the job?

# Is this a real thing?

Existential question: are we really real if we don't exist on the blockchain?

Immediately bought a subscription.

The rest of the page until that point had been making me smile more and more. That line took me over the edge to full-fledged laughter for ten or more seconds, and a few hours later it’s still making me chuckle.

This could be an alternative to personal trainers, if all you need is the motivation and you already know how to bench press or whatever (or happy to follow youtube for that).

I'm a personal trainer and I'm building data analysis tools that I believe will allow me to effectively scale an online training service using common fitness apps of your choosing.

If I can look at your Apple Health export and Strong/Fitbod/Fitnotes weightlifting data there is a tremendous amount of things I can tell you about how to optimize your training and lifestyle to get you closer to your goals.

Is this something you'd be interested in?

I am not the person you're originally replying to but I am interested in hearing more about your efforts. How can I contact you?

You mean like how I envy my seniors, who managed to get a "Personal Assistant" or PA, who basically does this? because in the end, if you hire them, you can't get the same kind of tractive force them hiring you has.

On the other hand, you can get them to do things in calendar, project and time management, which you really should be able to do, but for whatever reason cannot. Yes, even project management. A lot of P.M. is timeline enforcement. amazing what a 2IC can do in these situations.

My seniors who have PA, basically rely on them to coordinate the awesome. The PA has no functional authority, except the silent kind a camerlengo has...

I thought PAs just helped you forget about menial, boring tasks like setting meetings, making initial calls, etc. so that you can continue working on the real problem. I didn't know they got to bust your balls if you slacked off.

You have to pay em a lot more, but for the right pa and the right boss..

In this vein, has anyone had organizational success hiring a high level PA? Not talking about the cheap offshore PA's from upwork, but a native English speaker with training and a higher rate.

I find I have more projects than I can track. A good PA/project manager might help with that, but it's hard to know in advance or how to hire one.

I run an online business, and have contractors for specific tasks, but I'm really the only one with a bird's eye view. And frankly, project management is my weak point.

I work with a woman who is a “fairy god mother” who does Project management, light ideation and strategy, accountability and some PR consulting.

How is it?

I did a test run for a couples months and enjoyed it. Will start back up in new year.

Not a Stephen King fan, but I really enjoyed reading "Quitters, Inc." years ago. I certainly hope this service doesn't branch out in that direction :-)

Brilliant. You can even fire your boss, how cool is that?

I guess it's not unlike how people who hire personal trainers to push them to work out. Some people just need a little encouragement.

Is there something similar but for positive reinforcement? Negative reinforcement (tough love) tends to make me want to crawl into my bed, cry and give up. (I know I should fix this, get tougher skin or whatever, but assume I've tried already. Just like this site works with chronic procrastination, rather than telling you to "just fix it".)

The top comment doesn't make it sound like negative reinforcement. Might depend on the human they assign you though.

Holy shit, I never realized how badly I need this.

I have to say I have had thoughts about something similar. It came to me because I worked for a number of managers who weren't very technical yet got paid more then me to basically just make sure I turned up to work and competed projects. I started to think surely their job can/will be automated. Maybe this is just the first step or 0.1 beta

Very interesting. I'm not sure if I will sign up, but I can see "me when I was a student" signing up for this.

Indeed, and I can see my parents paying for it

Why can’t your parents boss you around for free? :)

By outsourcing this, they can focus on the more enjoyable parts of parenting :)

Maybe then the parents would need a boss to help with time management?

I think I'm gonna give it a spin, it doesn't sound bad at all.

Coincidentally the abbreviation BAAS is also Boss in Dutch!

Doing a similar things using email tasks with followupthen.com.

I am just emailing me tasks one by one as they come, and I am receiving following up emails every morning until they are marked as completed. It's working well for me. It's an excellent service and it's free.

I’m actually considering doing this as part of a side business,but more personal. I’m pretty good at managing people, but why work for a company? I’d rather help people push themselves to achieve their goals, while giving a bit of advice on how to accomplish something

Hey I use this! It’s a solid service and Manasvini is great to work with. I’m a big fan.

I'm working on https://kanrails.com. Eventually I hope to achieve a similar thing, except that Kanrails (the bot) will be the one nagging you incessantly.

Anyways, brilliant idea.

This is definitely an interesting development - but in the spirit of trying to work out 'what can go wrong' with new technologies and services (something that the tech industry hasn't been doing a great job at), one idea I'd throw out there is that while good managers help and support their reports, bad managers may effectively end up controlling or telling their reports what to do, and having undue leverage over them.

It's hard to say whether that will happen in many cases here, but this does have the potential to set up lots of direct relationships with unusual power dynamics over time.

This is awesome. I was literally just trying to figure out how to solve this problem without paying a fortune. I wanted a personal trainer like you get for the gym to keep me accountable in other areas of life.

Working on this. What sort of life stuff would you want a personal trainer for?

When people talk about the robots taking over, sometihng like this is what i m afraid of. An AI personal assistant will soon become my boss, or rather, my master. I just hope it's not evil.

This is the plot of Marshall Brain's Manna.


It's like personal trainers. You made an obligation to someone else to show up at 7am at the gym 3 times a week, and that alone is enough to make you go to the gym consistently.

Good analogy!

btw. I asked the question a year ago whether this whole "boss as a service" was viable and I think it is one of those things that you can't really imagine until you tried it out. I am glad there is now the opportunity to do so ;)

s. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13498466

It sounds like we’re at or past the “peak job”, now that there are services telling us what we kind of need to work on... bc we really don’t have to work on any of that BS.

This is truly novel and fascinating. Great work. As an aside to the brilliant thinkers out there who aren't especially interested in or concerned with design, as a general rule it's not good or necessary to center-align paragraphs of text. I always see this on really cool projects like this and I know it's somewhat trivial but part of me hurts on the inside and I just needed to let it out.

I would consider hiring one if he would tell me exactly what to do to reach my goals, not just stimulate me to. He needs to be really competent.

LoL, PainInTheAss-as-Service.

Do they accept experience and exposure as payment?

Very nice concept! We use something similar for daily follow-ups, it's a bot that integrates with Slack and pings us on a daily basis to check what we did yesterday, what we are up to today and if we are having any problems. Pretty simple yet powerful: https://dailybot.co/

Perhaps it would work better if you paid them your salary, and you'd only get it back after you've completed your tasks.

The big thing that is missing in this service is a community of like minded people. The service itself could be completely automated since the person is still just generic.

To get stuff done you need both community and organization. Organization can be automated but community can not. If the community is fundamentally different than you, it will not work.

Interesting to see all the traction this is getting, I think that it certainly addresses a need! I stumbled upon this a few months ago when I saw this website which was made by the same folks: https://whydoiprocrastinate.com/

Who are the bosses? How do they get chosen? Browsed around and read some comments but didn't see it.

I want mine to start every sentence with "I'm going to need you to go ahead and um...."

Fun fact: Boss as a service = BaaS, which is the same as the Afrikaans translation of Boss :)

howzit bru

You need to be able to choose boss type. Perhaps according to Theories X, Y, and Z. ? :P


Assuming this is a real company and not a joke, consider taking the money you would spend with them and paying people to do work for you, like cleaning, cooking, bill paying, investing, testing, marketing, etc. Be your own boss!

OK, I've considered it. I immediately concluded that $25 / month will not pay for even one of the many functions you just listed.

Being a boss is not the same as being your own boss.

This is a great idea. But boss has a negative connotation. Figure out the right name, minimize costs and figure out how to penalize or reward the user so it's effective and it's a winning business.

Good Job!

I already have a personal boss, like many other married guys. ducks

Joking aside, wouldn't you just get a friend/family member/spouse to do this with you if you really wanted some accountability?

If they could extend this to someone who would actively manage you, instead of just be a human to-do list with procrastination checks, this might be worth something. The idea at its core is great.

This is cool. When I’ve had a big project up against a deadline, I’ve thought of like hiring someone from TaskRabbit or Craigslist to simply watch me and make sure I’m being productive, on-track.

Ive had this idea years ago.. so glad to see someone finally launched it. Accountability is HUGE for Single Founders and Consultants.

V2 should have Expert Bosses for specific Verticals ( premium plans! )

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