Streak broken ☹️

Dang! I totally spaced on sending an email yesterday.

I’m really sorry.

I said I’d send one every weekday, and yesterday, I very much did not. I’m gonna try and make it up to you ASAP though with some sort of bonus 😊

Missing a day does give a good opportunity to talk about streaks though. Does your app have '‘em in some form? You know - the little notifications or badges that say, “You’ve gone for a walk 68 days in a row!” Snapchat has ‘em for conversations with friends. Headspace has ‘em for days meditated. They’re certainly motivating - people don’t like losing their streaks!

It also feels a little bit like building a really tall tower of blocks, each one right on top of each other. It’s really skinny and very vulnerable to a slight push. And then when you do knock it over, you’re starting at zero. If you have a streak of 500 days-in-a-row going (a very tall tower indeed!) it sucks that missing just one day reduces that big number all the way down to zero.

And if that were my only marker of success, it’d be a big bummer. But I believe all those previous emails, though no longer part of a streak, still count. It’s like working a muscle. The work has been put in.

Because in reality, we do miss days. And so do the folks who use your app. We’re all human, and despite our best intentions, we fuck up and break promises to each other and ourselves all the time.

So. A few questions to ask in your app design process:

  • How forgiving is your app of people who take breaks? What motivation is there for someone to come back after “losing” their streak?

  • Are you working towards a marathon or a sprint?

  • Are your visualizations of progress more like a tall skinny tower or a wide-based pyramid?

A wider surface area of success can catch folks when they fall. Because blah blah blah, it’s not how many times you fall down, it’s how many times you get back up. Trite but true :-)

Thanks for your patience on day 0 of this new streak.

-Sam