Obviously, the app reflects a lot of our own tastes about how we think social software should be done (start simple) and what we think is fun (positive, simple). But we also run a lot of Lean Startup techniques, which means we are testing, measuring, surveying, interviewing, etc like crazy just to validate our ideas and create a constant feedback loop for what our intuition is telling us (constantly informed intuition).
The first time I read The Lean Startup book I thought the metrics could really drive a lot of your decisions. They don't usually. They mostly reflect a lot of noise. But every now and then they highlight some signal that you're missing.
The big surprise signal for us is that we hadn't realized how prominent and effective casual self-tracking is across all levels of society. This isn't just something new invented by quantified self. Consider the cultural impact of fifty years of Weight Watchers. So we ended up seeing crazy high retention and qualitative feedback way before we expected (like at the point where you could track but not see your history).
And we spent a couple of months validating that with different cohorts. For example we were suspicious that our friends & family were skewing the results high so we went looking for more mainstream people. Turns out our friends are total slackers and were the worst performing cohort we looked at.
We had been thinking that we would have to pull off some real magic (like making willpower obsolete) in order for this to work. But now we're finding a lot of people who are psyched for a simple utility that also happens to have a bit of built in support and works for practically any goal you could ever think of. It's been amazing to walk into work every day and get new success stories. Really fun.
There's still a ton of challenges ahead and things we need to prove are possible. But everyone on the current hiring roadmap is about either proving something new or moving faster toward things we're already trying to prove.
FWIW, I don't think anyone in the company is acqui-hire inclined. We've been mostly backed by Obvious, which is three ex-Twitter founders/execs. It would be hard to get them excited about that sort of payday. My last company was a great lifestyle business (profitable, supported a bicoastal life, only required 1/day of work/week), so I know what leisure is and I know it was boring. My co-founder is the same way. We just want to work on something meaningful--which is exactly what we feel like we're doing right now.
It has helped me exercise more, do pushups, tidy the house and many other things because I intrinsically wanted to achieve those goals.
On a side note, I just did BJ Fogg's one week free habit forming course http://tinyhabits.com. It goes hand in hand with what Lift is trying to accomplish.
As far as the app goes, I really enjoy the design. I also really like the concept and hope it works successfully for me
Edit: You really need to be more detailed about how the friends process works. I assume it only works with Twitter at this point because the app wanted to access my account. However, there is nothing on the website (that I could find) about how this worked. I would highly recommend creating a less awkward friending mechanism. As of now, the community aspect is useless to me because I don't want to spam my email list with invites.
Though it's also cool to see what your friends are doing and working on - the community (right now) is very supportive.
Basically - friends not required.
1. It's binary - in that you workout or you don't, you sleep 8 hours or you don't. My needs are a bit different - I want to be able to log how much I do of something. For e.g. drinking water - I want to track that I drink enough water. The only solution I had was to use a habit titled "Drink 8 glasses of water" - For me, that doesn't work (I have to keep count of how many glasses of water I drank in the day). I want to "check in" every time I do something - if it's a workout, then a check-in a day suffices - if I want to sleep 8 hours but only manage 7, well, there's no way to manage that.
2. Export functionality - I want to export my data out of Lift.
The only app I have come across that let's me do this right is Dayta (free for iOS) - Unfortunately it has not seen any movement lately but it's very close to what I need. What Dayta does not get right is
1. No defaults. If I don't make an entry for a day, it does not assume 0
2. Only numeric data - For e.g Workout (in my case) is either a 1 or a 0 - It would be nice to have a Boolean switch
3. Dayta exports nicely - to CSV via email. I export on a month to month basis which means I usually go back in and have to delete the entries for the past month. Dayta gives you no way to "bulk delete" - You have to swipe each entry and delete.
4. Lift.do gets this right - Notes on a check-in. After a workout I want to know how I felt. Perhaps I did not hit the 6 mile marker - Was I sick? Or injured? Or just being lazy?
Along with all this it would be nice to
1. Plot a habit that has a scheduled interval. For e.g workout every other day (Perhaps a reminder or a gentle nudge)
2. Identify habits you aren't doing so well at.
I am currently using a mix of apps to track my progress - Momento (Journal app), Dayta, and Fitocracy (to log workouts in detail).
FWIW, Lift.do is a gorgeous app. I really like the way it looks, feels and works. The social element is a nice touch too.
Good luck guys. I am keeping an eye on you - Perhaps soon I will change my mind.
[Updated to add a 4th point and for some clarification]
On a completely unrelated note I am really liking your blog :) Keep up the good work.
Danny of Beeminder
PS: We blogged about Lift recently: http://blog.beeminder.com/lift
I've been using http://dontbreakthechain.com/ so I added 6 of the habits I've got on there.
Now lift is only displaying 2 of my habits on the home screen. If I click on my name at the bottom it shows the stat graphs for all 6.
Ah, ok, I quit the app and killed it, restarted it and now they're back.
Could this be timestamp-related? It's 7.58 AM local time and I'm in GMT +5.30.
Do you delete checkin data for users who specifically remove certain habits?
Edit: I understand that all checkins are public.
I'll send you a mail with both of these posts.
The social aspect might be the big differentiator for Lift, checking it out!
Shame. Conceptually your app is exactly what i'm looking for. It's the community support that is the missing ingredient in all other attempts in solving this problem.
Does the link to the App Store on http://lift.do work for you?
Funny that Ev ended up as a top review. He's not really just a well-known investor for us, he's basically a co-founder. We work in his office and he's been a huge supporter. I think he's being honest in that review and I've heard him say the same thing for a long time. Two apps changed his life: Lift and Uber. I guess he left Uber out of his review. But still, he does genuinely like Lift or he would have lost interest in working with us.
FWIW, I'm glad Ev reviewed it and I'm glad he left the disclaimer.