Help me share my awesome idea!
May 6, 2011 9:23 AM   Subscribe

How do I get a good idea in front of more people?

So, I've got this great system for building new habits that I'm super proud of, and I want to share it with as much of the world as possible. How do I get it in front of more eyeballs?

So far it has been posted to projects, the blue, and the Guardian, but it seems like it hasn't really picked up any momentum. Everyone who gives it a try becomes a fan, but I'm not sure how to get and keep the ball rolling. Any thoughts or suggestions?
posted by leotrotsky to Society & Culture (25 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, I've also set up a facebook group and a google group for feedback and comments.

Note: I have no interest in necessarily making any money on this, or turning it into a business, I just want to build a bigger community of users and experimenters.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:25 AM on May 6, 2011

A number of things about the website that would be easy to fix:

1) First thing I noticed: wall of text.
2) The text itself is hard to read due to small font size, and dark-gray on light-gray color.
3) Links aren't easy to make out as such.
4) Text isn't exactly n00b-friendly. You and I might understand "Get a RANDBETWEEN(1,10) points", but most probably won't.

There also seems to be some text encoding issue. FFox 4.x, OSX, second para in the "Could you explain" section: "every 10-12 days, you ‘level up.’ "
posted by slater at 9:30 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also, Copyright 2007 by :-/
posted by slater at 9:30 AM on May 6, 2011

Two critically important questions:

1. Are you actively averse to making money on this?

2. Are you actively averse to spending money on this?
posted by felix at 9:38 AM on May 6, 2011

Have you thought of trying to book lectures and speaking tours? You've got an obvious hook -- "As featured in ______ and _______," with quotes and testimonials.
posted by hermitosis at 9:40 AM on May 6, 2011

I just read the front page of your website. I do not understand what this system is, how it works, or what I'm supposed to do if I want to implement it. I suggest that you get a copywriter to rewrite all of the text for you.
posted by decathecting at 9:42 AM on May 6, 2011 [6 favorites]

I don't think this answers your question about promotion directly, but here is maybe a reason it hasn't taken off like it might otherwise:

I recognize that this is a great system, and I would definitely benefit from it, but I (personally) won't use it or tell others about it because its just too much effort. Now if this were an iphone app or website I'd be all over it like something on something else and if it worked I'd tell a ton of people about it. But it's hard to generate excitement about anything that begins with "well see first you carry around a little notebook..."
posted by lilnublet at 9:44 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Without question, it's your website. You've got judo in the title, and with all the awesome opportunities that affords, no pictures? No picture of you in gear, leaping? No hybridized picture of someone with a business suit on but a karate belt around their waist? Pictures, pictures, pictures. I'm still thinking more about the image at the Amazon link with it picture of a single arm and 12 rubber bracelets around it, than your website.

Shuffle the wall of text to another page, or at least put pictures in between. After the initial intro/description, put something like:

Habits I broke:

Biting fingernails (date)
Eating after midnight (date)
Not flossing (date)
Smoking (date)

Maybe also some kind of leaderboard or compilation of "top habits broken".

An embedded, less than 30 second video would be great too.

Odd it's been posted to multiple places, because from the website it looks like it wasn't posted anywhere.
posted by cashman at 9:51 AM on May 6, 2011

(and by that I mean your website doesn't have a media section or some other thing linking to the places it has been posted and discussed)
posted by cashman at 9:52 AM on May 6, 2011

I agree with lilnublet -- I like the idea of this, but for me to use it, it would need to be a website that I could access online (from anywhere) with a simple interface.

I haven't looked at the App (I don't have a smartphone), but in my ideal world, the website (and app) would welcome me with an image of the belt I've earned so far, and then ask me to tick off the habits I completed that day. Each "ticking off" should trigger a rolling-dice animation that would indicate the number of points I'd earned, and my point totals should automatically be summed up. If I've earned a reward or leveled up, I'd expect a little "YAY!" thing to pop up, and the image of my belt should be updated accordingly.

Cool idea -- good luck with it!
posted by cider at 9:54 AM on May 6, 2011

Yeah, I'd advise going for a look and user experience closer to 750 Words. The medium should match the message.
posted by Victorvacendak at 9:55 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Okay, I bit. I looked at your website. The name was a bit silly but captured my attention enough to keep going.

You totally lost me at this:

I read the rest so I could come back here and comment, but, dude, I have no idea what this means. And it's not a link and there's no FAQ. (I could extrapolate to say that others might think, "This makes me feel dumb." Or, "I don't want to try a system I can't understand.")

Next, if you really want to adopt this, get a few people to do it and give you testimonials. One guy's experience isn't enough.

Also I wanted the tabs across the top to tell me more about HabitJudo, not send me to other sites or apps.

Finally, I think you could beef up your first line: "Having trouble making positive changes your life? Habit Judo can probably help."

Positive changes is too vague. Maybe give some specific examples of trouble areas for people you want to tempt. "Wish you could eat better? Procrastinate less?" Something like that.

Also, if you sell this, you gotta sell yourself. Maybe try a self-published book? Maybe people want to pay a little bit for a really good system.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck!
posted by bluedaisy at 9:57 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I second the idea that a well-made iPhone app of this could help blow it up. Surely there is some confirmation bias, because I use an iPhone, but I see iPhone apps (vs Android market apps) surfing higher on the zeitgeist, or whatever. At any rate, it is a large segment of the audience you want.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:08 AM on May 6, 2011

Felix: I'm not actively hostile, just indifferent. My interest is in propagating the idea as widely as possible, the money in this is irrelevant to me.

As to spending money, I'm currently a law student so money isn't growing on trees. I would be interested in knowing, if I WERE to spend money, where it would be most effectively spent.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:17 AM on May 6, 2011

Pitch to your own community. Start with people you know, especially fellow law students. And then expand to the larger law student community. The whole world is too big of a potential market.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:32 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, here's my feedback. Disclaimer: I have been/am working on a somewhat similar system for physical fitness, the details of which are available in private discussion.

1. Your idea is not particularly valuable or interesting by itself. An algorithm for self improvement is available from an unlimited number of sources; everyone has frameworks, few have implementations. There are myriad 'competitors' (including me!) that go a step further and attempt to provide a full featured implementation, more on which below.

2. Your website is terrible. It's not inviting or compelling, and loses most people in the 2nd paragraph (only those intimately familiar with Excel would understand RANDBETWEEN). The navigation bar does not provide the user with the actions they are familiar with taking (learning more about what it is, who you are, signing up for it, downloading downloadables...). Even your 'call to action' statement is wishy washy -- 'Habit Judo can probably help.' Probably? Have some confidence! If you believe it works, then work it. And the wall of explanatory text is not just boring, it's full of problems -- e.g., " At point thresholds that occur about every 10-12 days, you ‘level up.’" (as seen on my Chrome browser; maybe it works in IE?).

3. You talk about all of the things you should do. Well, why the hell aren't you providing them? Here is the bare minimum of functionality your website should have:

a. Clear, exciting call to action, stated simply, with detail available on an about page
b. Web based secure signup for the program
c. Web based program, tracked daily, stored in database
d. Physical 'belt' rewards automatically mailed to deserving recipients
e. On-site community (forums to reinforce behaviors, etc.)
f. Phone, SMS, e-mail reminders of habits for slackers

Here is optional stuff which would probably really help uptake:

g. Facebook integration
h. iPhone app

And here is what you have instead:

h. An excel spreadsheet, in 2011
i. An android app
j. Links to not one, but two different groups, with unclear purpose for each
k. A long scientific explanation

So here is what you should do:

1. Invest in some design first off. Your idea is good, which is why it has received quite a lot of attention. Yet you are not reinforcing that attention by following up with the basics. People coming from prestigious websites that have given you free advertising have no idea what they are looking at. If you are a student it's possible that you go to a school where there is a design program; go there, talk to professors and ask them for advice on finding someone with great web design skills.

2. If you want a community, build a community. You don't get a community by giving away excel spreadsheets to random people. You get a community by making a place people want to go, and making it great there. Google groups: no. Facebook groups: no. Make your own community. Requires a web developer.

3. Your idea cries out for, nay, demands, a web interface and lots of sticky web hooks. It should be trivial, frictionless, and exciting to get into Habit Judo. It should take one click, and one signup, and bam, I should get a white belt in my mailbox in 3-4 days. I should be able to check into the system using anything that can connect to the internet. This will require a web developer, a fulfilment strategy, and a web designer.

4. There's a lot of 'value add' around your idea as well. If you did it properly, you could be the lifehacker of personal motivation and habituation. You could sell books from the site, sell subscriptions to pay for the wristbands, sell posters or desktop/cubicle toys to remind people that they are in the program, sell Habit Judo t-shirts and Habit Judo voodoo dolls. You could post great ideas and reminders and keep people engaged and excited about visiting your web property and using your implementation of your great idea. You should think about this, maybe make some spreadsheets and try to figure out whether this is something you want to do with your life or not. Requires a product guy (which is usually you, the CEO).

5. Consider doing a startup / incorporating. Your idea is good and there's a lot of money out there looking for good ideas. It's easy to see how people need what it is that you've been thinking about, but there are a lot of competitors out there looking to get their slice of the pie too, and you're slow out of the gate. If you're not willing or able to pay the money to get your idea going, then either find other people to help you who are, or give it up and stop thinking about it, because doing something half-assed in the web motivation space is not going to help anyone.

I'm available for further more specific discussion via mefimail.
posted by felix at 10:51 AM on May 6, 2011 [5 favorites]

The website is your showcase, so it should be more encouraging. I agree with others that pictures, such as a screenshot of the app, would help as well as increasing the font size or adding some contrast. The design is very low energy and not very exciting. You might want to use the same red-orange in the logo for the nav just to call attention to it.

This line should be bigger too:

Having trouble making positive changes your life? Habit Judo can probably help. It's an actionable statement and should get some attention!

Do you belong to a law society or student society? Are there publications and websites associated with these that you could advertise on, free or cheap? How about writing an article? Hosting a lunch and learn to other students? Submitting it to LifeHacker, Android or GTD websites? HTH!
posted by Calzephyr at 10:54 AM on May 6, 2011

You might want to look at EEBA's website for ideas btw - one look and I was hooked on their app!
posted by Calzephyr at 10:56 AM on May 6, 2011

I'd also think about turning abstractions into specifics. D&D dice instead of RANDBETWEEN.
posted by Victorvacendak at 11:08 AM on May 6, 2011

I downloaded your spreadsheet, found it works differently in LibreOffice than in Excel (they differ in when the randbetween function is called and the cell updates), and really wasn't sure what columns were supposed to add up to what. (And the fonts and font sizes are ugly and too big in LibreOffice.)

Figuring it out didn't get prioritized over my other work, and so I haven't returned to it.

Do I enter a 1 at the intersection of habit and day if I completed the habit that day? Or do I enter the current random value for that habit? (Again, in LibreOffice, entering a value doesn't cause randbetween to recalculate as in Excel.)

Total updates, Cumulative points never does because it's based on Points, not Total. That implies I should manually enter Points, but when and what is not explained. Why would I enter Points if Totals is calculated for me?

I like the concept, but frankly, this is never going to get super popular as a spreadsheet; you need a web page or app that does it.

Code something up using javascript, mysql, and python.
posted by orthogonality at 7:03 PM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Everyone who gives it a try becomes a fan
It sounded useful, so I gave it a try. I can't say I'm a fan in its current implementation. I use Gnumeric and randbetween doesn't recalculate there either. I'm convinced the concept of random rewards is sound though and would be very happy to see it as a web app.
posted by Pigpen at 9:42 PM on May 6, 2011

For anyone who doesn't want to use Excel or wait for another implementation: I've now tried it with Spread32, a free shareware "mini-Excel" that does recalculate randbetween whenever you enter a value. I shall give it another go.
posted by Pigpen at 10:11 PM on May 6, 2011

I didn't understand any of it. MEGO after the first sentence. I do want to develop healthy habits, but if I have to fill in a spread sheet, I'll start to cry. Please get someone to write clear, concise steps, and hire a designer to make your site look appealing.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:21 PM on May 6, 2011

What felix said. Your idea could really take off if you provide people with the tools, not just the theory! Like these websites:

750 Words (mentioned upthread) - the online, future-ified, fun-ified translation of 'Morning Pages'.
Daytum - helps you collect, categorize and communicate your everyday data.
posted by fix at 1:05 PM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ok, I'm completely sold by everyone's comments, but also not capable of executing on a lot of them on my own.

If anyone is interested in helping on the web design, development, or commerce aspects PLEASE shoot me a mefimail.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:43 PM on May 7, 2011

« Older Why Do I Tremble From Anticipatory Jealousy?   |   How to perform a worthwhile diy science experiment... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.