Achievement Oriented: A Running Story

As we launch, WeAchieve is sharing stories of goals both made and missed. If you have a story to share, let us know and we’ll be glad to share your story!

Running as a hobby is something that people either “get,” or they don’t. For the first 22-odd years of my life, I didn’t get it. As we went through college, I had good friends who would head out for runs, and the best I could manage was a “what are you going on a run for? You are going to end up right back here in an hour, except all tired and sweaty!”

Of course, this isn’t a story of not running. My running story begins when I was going on a trip with two friends. Prior to that, the two of them discussed my odds of taking up running, and I was given a 5% chance by one, and a 0% chance by the other. This was fair: I hadn’t run more than a couple miles in at least three years, and often balked at having to walk to the other side of campus. But social validation is a powerful motivator, and thus a running story was born.

It was the winter of 2009, and Pennsylvania was COLD. Perhaps the first step is the hardest — I geared up and stepped out the door, wondering what I was doing. “Trying to run” was an apt description, as I ran for a bit then was forced to walk time and again. Records indicate that I ran 2.5 miles in 24:29, but that definitely included many pauses to catch my breath. But I went out six of the next seven days, determined to give this a shot and prove my friends wrong.

My running log in the early days, almost 9 years ago!

Continue reading “Achievement Oriented: A Running Story”

WeAchieve Open Beta Begins!

Great news everyone: WeAchieve is officially beginning our open beta phase on both our web platform and on our iOS app. That means you, yes you, can now use WeAchieve!!

To start, we’re offering a unified productivity platform: view all your data on the web or in the app, track all your goals, all your to-dos, compete in challenges with friends and family, all in a single place! We’re incredibly excited to start to get our platform out there and continue to build toward a platform that will make the whole world happier and more productive.

As you may expect, both platforms will still be changing pretty regularly as we respond to all initial feedback and continue to build toward our vision. So please be patient with us as we iron out some of the kinks. But anyone joining WeAchieve now will have access to the core platform for free for as long as they are on the site. Continue reading “WeAchieve Open Beta Begins!”

10 Ways to Set Better Goals

Setting goals has gotten a bad rap in recent years. Much of this is due to evolutions in corporate culture. In our workplaces, many companies have abused the concept of goal setting and KPIs by making them too narrow and too rigid. As a result, employees are forced to optimize to a single number often at the expense of better answers for the employee and the company.

That’s unfortunate, because goal planning can be really fun and empowering when it comes to your own life. Such goals come without all the baggage of a corporate environment, and many studies have confirmed what we should all intuit: setting goals is the best way to get things done and improve your long-term happiness. Continue reading “10 Ways to Set Better Goals”

Unlocking Achievement in 2018

In my initial post describing WeAchieve, I wrote a bit about what we’re building, and as part of that outlined three reasons why we’re going after personal productivity market. The gist of it is this: we see the start of a trend pushing back against distraction technologies and moving toward real-world experiences and outcomes. As we do that, the technologies that exist to help people with have been under-invested in, and are under-developed as a result.

The Psychological State

A couple weeks ago, we covered a bit about why productivity is broken, and how the ad-driven economy has created an unsustainable spiral of click-bait and sensationalism in the news, addiction-creating algorithms on social media, and games specifically-engineered to keep you playing.

Entertainment is good in the right quantity, but we are starting to see deep dissatisfaction spread at both personal and societal levels. On a personal level, depression and suicide rates are increasing. Societally, we’re seeing more and more unrest and anger as youth unemployment rises across the globe and more and more people don’t feel that the jobs that they do have provide them with meaning.

Teens especially struggle with our digital age, but suicide rates across the US have hit a 30-year high (Source) and general mental health trends also show increasing unhappiness.

While many causes contributed to these, our contention for a major one is this: a world increasingly driven by addicting entertainment ultimately robs people of the time needed to build real-world lives, real-world relationships, and real-world accomplishments. We believe this dynamic is responsible for a lot of the deep-seated unhappiness and frustration that we’re seeing in the world.

Our Mission

Solving this challenge — or more realistically to make a dent in it — is the mission of WeAchieve, and our product is designed to do this person by person or small group by small group.

We do this by providing a framework, curated content, and a tracking system for our users that helps them decide what matters to them, set goals, and hold themselves accountable.

Of course, this concept isn’t exactly new: setting goals, writing them down, and tracking your progress has been a known tactic and experimentally-proven to be effective. And naturally, many software platforms have been created to try to help this process happen. And yet, nothing has really caught hold. In doing our market research, we’ve uncovered several problems with the status quo that cause them to be ineffective, which has guided the vision for what WeAchieve is and what it will become.

The Three Opportunities: Flexibility, Universality, and Actionability

The existing market for goal planning tools — and many other related products — fall short on three key dimensions. Today we’ll cover what they are, and next week we’ll cover what WeAchieve is doing to address these challenges.

Flexibility— existing software to help you set goals are focused on specific types of goals for specific types of things. Many of them focus on forming habits, and revolve around creating “daily streaks.” This works well in some cases and for some people, sure. But it fails if you want to track how much of something you do and things that don’t need to follow a set period — e.g. daily, weekly, or monthly. For the modern human, this most things that you do.

Universality — Perhaps more importantly, personal productivity platforms are all quite siloed. Do you need a note-taking app? Use EverNote. Do you need a to do list? Use ToDoist. Do you need a Habit Tracker? Coach.me. Do you want to set fitness goals? Use a fitness app. Do you want to do a friendly competition? Use a different fitness app. As each company has tried to do one thing really well, they’ve missed the mark on a holistic view of consumers’ real need. People don’t just need a to do list, they need a system to organize their life. A to do list is necessary but not sufficient in order to reach this, and the same can be said for each of the other categories mentioned.

With every niche app, your life gets more complicated.

Actionability — The last dimension in which the current market struggles is how to convert data into motivation for the consumer. In part because existing tools are relatively inflexible, the visualizations and ways in which they motivate people are also very simplistic and largely ineffective as a result. For example, apps that try to help you to walk more commonly rely upon giving you a 10,000 step-per-day goal. As with streaks, this is maybe motivating in some cases. But there are many other ways to translate even a simple metric like step count into motivators for the user, and these opportunities scale exponentially when looking at activities with many metrics such as running. But even with running, most apps rely on a basic: run more than X miles per timeframe Y. Without breaking into next week’s subject, let’s just say that there’s so much more that can be done there.

WeAchieve makes it simple to list all your goals in a single place, and then quickly see where you are on track vs. where you need to make progress. These six goals I’m struggling with at the moment.

Continue reading “Unlocking Achievement in 2018”

Productivity is Broken

Over the past ten years or so, economists have been pondering a question: if the internet is so transformative to how we live and how we work, then why aren’t we becoming more productive and growing the economy more quickly than we have been?

This has been the subject of recent economic research. For full context, here’s the trend that we’ve seen since 1950, courtesy of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

source: tradingeconomics.com

Continue reading “Productivity is Broken”