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Go Fucking Do It (levels.io)
35 points by pieterhg 345 days ago | 60 comments



It's unclear whether, on gofuckingdoit.com, the penalty fine gets paid to the friend acting as a referee, or the owners of the site.

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People keep bringing up that they'd like the service more if it gave the funds to a friend or a charity. Reminder: The mission of the site is to make you want to do the thing rather than pay money. Giving to a good cause would be a disincentive, or reason not to "just fucking do it".

Heck, if the site really wants to maximize it's value to users for the stated goal, it should probably donate the majority (or a token amount) to the Church of Scientology.

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It seems like it goes to the owners of the site... which gives me an idea for a business. I will be the 'friend' for anyone who signs up for this service, and when they fail, I'll charge them $5 to lie to GFDI. It's bulletproof.

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I actually like the payment system. Built-in monetization and no worries about how the project could be sustained.

If it went to the friend, it'd create a perverse incentive for your friend to not actively encourage/support you. Sure, most friends won't consciously respond to this incentive, but I think subconsciously they'll care less.

If it went to a charity, I wouldn't really feel bad about losing it. It'd significantly decrease the threshold of pain and thus decrease the incentive.

Since it goes to the "greedy" owner, I feel all the more pressure to get it done.

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Agreed. I would sign up if the money went to my friend (with a reasonable cut to the owner), but not if the money goes to the owners.

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I hope the developer lets us know how this goes.

I'm kinda dying to know if people actually sign up to send some random website money. As it is, I'm almost wondering if its satire.

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In the back of my head was letting the user pick a charity and/or indeed letting the user specify a third friend to send it to (and maybe take a cut from there).

I'll keep reading what everyone here thinks and implement that once there's some consensus.

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Having it go to the first friend encourages an obvious bias, although that just depends on how much you trust that friend. Having it all go to you, the site owner, seems a bit unfair (a massive reward/effort ratio!) and nominating a charity would be an excellent way of mitigating that. I've heard of a similar incentive-based scheme in which you pay money to an entity you dislike (e.g. democrat donating to republican party) if you fail.

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I think that would be brilliant. It would provide a strong incentive to Go Fucking Do It.

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for pure motivation, having the money go to a nemesis would be hard to beat.

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I can think of 2 options.

1. Benevolent option: the money goes to the website but it goes back to the user after a year, less a fee (the website will also earn interest for that year so you'd get fee + interest income). Not only do you help people stop procrastinating but you also help them with a saving program.

2. Devious option (and probably more commercially viable). the website takes the money but the website also runs a weekly lottery that pays out some fraction of the revenue collected.

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I think https://www.beeminder.com/ have been doing that for years, although with a cut going to charity.

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Well, if you don't want the money to go to the owner, that's all the more incentive to Go Fucking Do It ;)

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Awesome! I just added some short-term 100-dollar TODOs.

(1) The product needs a basic F.A.Q. (What, exactly, happens to my card information? You don't put a hold on the funds, right? Do you know your shit with respect to securing your servers?)

(2) Take my email. Send me a confirmation. Remind me the day before. And then email me the conclusion.

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What I don't quite understand is: what kind of person would rather pay 25USD to some -- for all intents and purposes -- unknown organization over a good friend whom they know will hold them accountable. Plus it'll be a whole lot harder to lie to a friend; with this, it's as simple as clicking the other button.

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If the money went to the friend, it would be easier to recruit them. Although in that case, they will have a perverse incentive to hinder your progress. Perhaps it's better to have the money go to a non-profit org of your choice.

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Ha. In that case I guess it'd be up to the user to choose their friend wisely.

An option to choose where the money goes definitely seems in order.

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So a few buttons and a credit card field is all it takes to be a "startup"? I think I'll write myself a startup tomorrow.

Edit: Or today even, you know, in the true nature of the post.

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What do you think a startup requires?

The idea scales, it is not spec work. According to YCom criteria it is a startup. shrug

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The big problem I see is how do you pick the accountability partner?

It needs to be someone who you would trust with an arbitrary amount of money because as soon as there's an ounce of distrust then the entire idea falls apart.

I'm not going to put up $250 if I think there's even a 0.0000001% chance the accountability partner will improperly log that I didn't do it.

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The money doesn't go to the accountability partner. So if they place any value at all on your friendship, why would they do that? There's nothing to gain.

Also:

>I'm not going to put up $250 if I think there's even a 0.0000001% chance the accountability partner will improperly log that I didn't do it.

Really? An expected loss of $0.00000025 bothers you?

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It doesn't matter where the money goes to in the end, the only thing that matters is the risk taker loses the money.

There's a very big difference between "internet friend I've known for 4 years and I would consider him a decently close friend" and "I'm willing to hold this guy accountable for $1,000".

I think you guys under estimate at how hard it will be to find an accountability partner who is actually worthy. Your family members will have a bias to not let you lose the money. Really close friends (the people you can trust) might too but the questionably close friends aren't quite trustworthy enough to let them decide on your $500, etc..

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>It doesn't matter where the money goes to in the end, the only thing that matters is the risk taker loses the money.

Sure it does. It's the difference between expecting people to behave morally and expecting them to behave in their own rational self-interest. The latter isn't completely reliable, but it's a much, much safer bet than the former.

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Safe isn't immune, also people are really strange around money.

What if I set a goal for 2 years from now. Suddenly I'm forced into maintaining a friendship with my accountability partner because if I don't then I run the risk of being blackmailed.

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Love it. The idea has been tried before, but I've never seen an incarnation this simple. I like that there's no requirement to create an account (for either me or my friend) and the UI feels perfectly sized for the complexity of the task.

Plus, it works. I'd been meaning to clean my desk for weeks, but after assigning $50 to getting it done today I finally did it.

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You could hire someone to clean an entire apartment for $50.

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> You could hire someone to clean an entire apartment for $50.

Obviously the point is to not lose my $50.

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I get the point. I'm saying that if you're willing to potentially lose $50 over 5 minutes worth of self-discipline you might as well spend it on a cleaning service and get a few hours worth of self-discipline instead.

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12 startups in 12 months? That's just strange.

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I think he's trying to take the same approach that mobile game developers do - generate lots of smaller titles instead of one big one so you have more chances of hitting it big.

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I think that game a month challenge was primary meant to be for fun, learning and to motivate rapid prototyping. It has nothing to do with generating big hits.

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More like "12 (weekend/hobby) projects in 12 months".

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I am planning to run a similar challenge, and I have been struggling with correctly naming it, since I won't actually be creating startups (no actual business plan, no nothing).

I think 12 sideprojects in 12 months would be more appropriate, at least to the approach I'm planning to take.

Regarding this project, I follow the creator on Twitter and he announced it yesterday I believe, and today I was thinking about it and ran into the same question "does the money go to the website or to the friend?".

Logistically, I don't think paying the friend would be something easy to do (does Stripe even allow for something like that?). Going 100% to a non-profit would leave no room for profit, so I would personally go with 80/90% to a non-profit of choice and keep the remainder as a fee.

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Or one startup that pivots 12 times a year.

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That's actually utterly idiotic; as in “12 songs in 12 months” or “52 paintings in 52 weeks”. One does not routinely come up with good ideas or get inspired.

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This is so wrong I don't know where to begin. Your comment is also blatantly ignorant of the high output of artistic work that was produced "on spec" during the renaissance and other artistic periods.

52 paintings in a year was not uncommon for painters that are now revered as old masters.

Good ideas and inspiration are, despite your opinion, largely a product of routine.

The routine of capturing thoughts and directions followed by the routine of planning, implementation and possibly review.

The idea of a tortured artist throwing a smattering of paint at a canvas in frustration because his "spark" is gone is largely a figment of the modern imagination.

Art has been made to order on demand for most of history.

EDIT TO ADD: Downvoting without a response? Thanks for proving my point.

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As you can prove to yourself by rereading the parent comment of mine, I have stated not that “good ideas and inspiration are not a product of routine”, but that “good ideas and inspiration do not come up routinely”. To further explain my thoughts, let me add that one need not be inspired or have a good idea to train themselves (training is what the kind of routine we're talking about ultimately is), but need be wishing to train and have some idea, which need not be good.

It is a fine method of developing one's art/science/etc... skills to regularly practise, but not a fine method when it comes to startups and founding companies, think I; for such things happen to have consumers, people who may be favouring the product and incorporating it to their daily lives, which will be disrupted when the founder loses their interest in that product and proceeds to the next month's startup.

They may have had a goal of building 12 web sites in 12 months, or 12 blog posts in 12 days, but this person chose to launch 12 startups each month, and launch those to press. Launching companies regularly is dissimilar to painting regularly. (TBH, I did not double check if this serial founder is referring to some ordinary web application as startup)

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Good ideas do come up routinely.

Well, according to http://www.paulgraham.com/startupideas.html you can literally go and find good ideas right now and every day thereafter.

It is also the basis of the Lean Startup Machine weekend (phenomenally popular).

You can train yourself to have ideas. Good is just an evaluation system.

People may indeed be incorporating a new product into their lives and the Founder will need to manage customer expectations and fallout. A high likelihood of discontinuance does not disqualify his attempts from being a startup.

The truth is, from a validation perspective the OP may have stumbled onto a supremely successful model of idea validation. Build it, tweak it, pump it for 11 months. The next project has 10 months. The next 9. Etc. Compare the metrics after one year and choose the most successful.

However, the statement that good ideas do not come up routinely and is false. They may just not be routine for you

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come up: (Of an issue, situation, or problem) occur or present itself, especially unexpectedly [1]

inspiration: A sudden brilliant or timely idea [2]

If an entrepreneur trains via founding companies, then, should an architect train via filling the city up with half-arsed buildings? Nowhere in the pg article does occur something like “build random ideas into companies routinely”. Also, in that write-up is writ:

> If you're not at the leading edge of some rapidly changing field, you can get to one. For example, anyone reasonably smart can probably get to an edge of programming (e.g. building mobile apps) in a year. Since a successful startup will consume at least 3-5 years of your life, a year's preparation would be a reasonable investment. Especially if you're also looking for a cofounder.

[1] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/come-up...

[2] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/inspira...

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yawn

Enough with the "shock" titles. You're not impressing anyone. Grow up.

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Awesome app and beautiful interface! I think I'll sign up for it tomorrow...

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I have seen this a number of times but the money goes to a charitable cause instead.

Oprah Winfrey also pioneered it via television.

Not totally sure why a random stranger would forward you money for procrastinating but that does not mean they won't.

In Europe anyone accepting transactions online is bound by Distance Selling Regulations which means they can demand their money back within 7 days, no questions.

I would factor that little admin nightmare into your business/legal plan.

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The 'Distance Selling Regulations' does not apply for "contracts for services where you agreed to the service starting before the seven working days has expired"[1]

[1] http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/distance-s...

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If I had the points, I would downvote this. Titles like this are rude and meaningless. Will not bother reading.

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The startup is just a simple webpage that takes your money if you don't make a deadline you set; And the author is a self-procclaimed "entrepretraveler".

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Quotation marks for startup as if you are trying to express disdain? You might want to actually structure a coherent, credible response otherwise you are simply lowering the quality of posts of HN.

Regardless of your opinion of the idea/execution it qualifies as a startup.

The same "startup" tags could be applied to Quora (I write content for free, you make people log in to view it to profit) or any other number of enterprises.

EDIT TO ADD: Poster has removed the tags around startup without adding in his edit history to show it.

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How in the hell is this a start-up? It's a website.

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It fits the criteria of being a startup. It scales and it is not spec work.

Why do you think it is not a startup?

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Does every project someone spits out on a domain name automatically constitute it as a start-up? Is he intentionally building a solid business around this and actively trying to scale it? Is there anything to this other than a preposterous personal goal and obtaining that sweet HN cred?

This is a personal project with no intended future other than the experience. Calling it a start-up is going overboard.

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Do you think you are the person that gets to be the final arbiter on whether the OP is or is not forming a startup? Do you think HN front page is a good start to scaling...?

Why do you think you are qualified to pass judgement or even question whether his intention is to build a solid business? Can you even define a 'solid business'?

Are startups solid in any definition? Surely once a business idea has scaled/matured into something solid is no longer a startup?

Are personal projects and startups now mutually exclusive? That must be news to Martha Stewart, the boys at innocent Smoothies (sold to Coca Cola) and the entire forum of Mumsnet.

Not to mention these guys - http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/224357

You might not like his proposal but you don't get to label it a non-startup when it actually fits every technical definition of the criteria.

Oh, and by the looks of this thread his potential customer base might be polarised but the idea is pretty validated. People are putting down money and defending the brand.

Sounds like he has a business to me...

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No I am not, nor did I assume that grand position. Good for scaling? Possibly. Good in general? It does not mean anything especially if you compare to the garbage that winds up within the top 20 links each day.

I defend my position as a sentient being that can offer sane judgement. He's doing 12 'start-ups' in 12 months. I should not have to say anything else to justify why this is such an absurd idea. His reasoning is that he can do this because someone else completed 180 projects in 180 days. The analogy alone should tell you that he is not taking this as seriously as he should for each to be considered a start-up (realistically). Practice is excellent but he's doing this for the number not for the raw value of any particular experience.

Start-ups are solid in the definition that they should have a reasonable business plan to expect anything of value (experience, cold hard cash, what have you). There are objective manners in which to approach whether something has merit as opposed to viewing business plans in a nebulous fashion believing that 'everything is possible!'

Personal projects and start-ups are not mutually exclusive, nor did I state this. I said that a project should not automatically become a start-up.

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I see that you like to post and then once questioned you like to edit the post to address the concerns as if you had written that way all along.

This is HN, not Reddit. When you criticise something you are expected to give a credible reason for that criticism.

You failed in that respect and retrospective attempts are simply not going to cut it.

His business seems to be generating cold hard cash right now. In what world can you say that is not a startup?

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When did I edit my post? Further justifying my belief you don't comprehend what's in front of your face.

I'm really starting to believe this is no different than Reddit.

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What?

>> Justifying your belief that I don't comprehend what is in front of my face.

Seriously, what?

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This is becoming farcical. Good bye.

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It's the project name, but you're right some may be offended by it.

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It's actually a great idea. May need some refinement, but it has potential for all the self-employed people out there who struggle with meeting deadlines and achieving goals...

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What exactly do you mean by 'refine'?

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edit: sorry. Nevermind. In a bad mood. I get a little tired of some of the naming these days. Its like, what are you going to do, Go home and say to your kid, Hey try that just f do it library

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There's a karma threshold for downvoting comments, but stories can't ever be downvoted (though they can be flagged, again subject to a karma threshold, so perhaps that's what you meant).

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