Task Management / To-do lists apps have risen in popularity over time as people continue to look for ways to stay organized and increase productivity. As opposed to the traditional paper post-it or to-do list, information can often be accessed from anywhere (phone, web, native app) and data can more easily be analyzed.
Right through college (and even now at a 9-5 job), we favored the paper-based to-do list, but with the upsides mentioned above, we decided to try a bunch of task management apps to see whether we could make the switch and realized we kept having a few concerns with each one:
1) Some app UI’s are very clunky and non-intuitive.
2) Completing tasks despite entering them in the app.
3) Expensive (~$20/month) subscription models for the good ones.
Concerns #1 and #3 are design and pricing problems, and could be solved by producing a cleaner design and lowering the price respectively ($5/month for a simple and intuitive app?). However, concern #2 has not been addressed till date. We’ve been pondering a solution that would get us to more consistently stay on top of the things that we have to finish and the one idea that jumped out was some form of daily and continuous incentives. Users are currently NOT incentivized to keep tracking progress and checking-off the boxes on the to-dos they complete and to keep creating to-do for new tasks.
After contemplating the idea of task-based incentives, here’s the strategy we propose:
1. monetary rewards the customers upon timely task completion and
2. penalties when tasks become ‘overdue’.
Every completed task is rewarded with $0.10 and every task that becomes ‘overdue’ is penalized at 3x the reward.
For instance, if you create 7 tasks in the morning that are due today and only end up completing 7 out of 8 tasks, then the day end balance would be $0.40. In other words, you would get paid $0.40 that day to ensure you’re completing your tasks:
Completed Tasks: 7 * $0.10 = $0.70
Incomplete Tasks: 1 * $0.30 = $0.30
Day Total = $0.40
(Considering 20 business days,) Total customer gain = $0.40 * 20 = $8/month
Question 1: Would you use a task management app that has a simple and intuitive workflow, incentivizes you with $$$ to get shit done, and has NO monthly subscription fees?
Question 2: As far as the reward/punishment multiplier, the 3x multiplier is just a starting point. We’re also exploring a self sustainable model in which incomplete task dollars are used to reward completed tasks. Also, instead of community redistribution, we could also base the multiplier on the amount of money that the user him/herself has given to us, giving customers a chance to make up more money faster as they get more behind on tasks, motivating them to get on track faster.
Question 3: Are there any downsides to the revenue model proposed whereby our best case is when our users have all incomplete tasks and lose a bunch of money? We are looking this from an ethical lens, and a long-term company strategy.
Case 1: What if users create hundreds of tasks and just check off tasks to cash in without actually being more productive?
We could limit rapid fire task creation to a few tasks per minute.
Some backend NLP process would assign a spammer rank to new tasks, allowing us to temporarily suspend rewards if we believe the customer is just trying to game the system.
Case 2: Even so, users could easily make hundreds of dollars each week if they just create tasks and check them off at regular intervals. How would you prevent that?
We could cap weekly rewards to around $10/month and penalties to $20/month.
Some parting thoughts:
We recognize that the task management app space appears “saturated” and customer loyalty is very low. I mean, what keeps you coming to your task list right now? Paying a monthly subscription?
As a YC alum said last month at a conference at MIT, “some spaces are saturated because there is a lot of opportunity there.”
With 250+ companies in a low user loyalty space implementing several different features sets and subscription models, and no particular leader in the market, I see a tremendous opportunity in this space!
Motivating people to get shit done with cash rewards just might do the trick.
What does the community think?
Sign up for a TaskUp account at https://taskup.com