First of all: Thanks.
We (James, Ryan, David, Steph, and Adam) want to thank you for coming to visit us on KickStarter. We've been working on DropKicker for a while now and are super-excited to turn it into something you can start using on your own habits.
Simply put, DropKicker is an app that works like a game, designed to make it fun to kick your bad habits and form good ones. We've been using the alpha version to quit nail biting, manage our diets, be more productive, even to find more time for ourselves. With your support, we we want to turn DropKicker from a series of text messages into a full-service app anyone can use to break their bad habits and form good ones.
How does DropKicker work?
Right now, DropKicker works like a conversation over text messages. Once you choose the habit you want to change, DropKicker sends you periodic messages to see how you're doing. The better you do, the longer your streak, and the less frequently DropKicker checks in with you. If you slip up, DropKicker gives you a new record to beat, and lets you know when it will check in next.
Take a look at one of Adam's habits, getting out of bed before 7am, to see what we mean:
This is the basic idea. When it's complete, DropKicker will be a full-service app for the iPhone and Android devices. Being an app allows DropKicker to do a lot more than it can do over text - things like helping you track what causes you to fall into you bad habits (your cues), see popular habits other people are trying to form or break, and get tips from other users on how they've succeeded in changing habits similar to yours.
A basic version of the DropKicker app will be free to download - you can use it to work on a habit, and to help support your friends as they work to change their habits. If you want to work on more than one habit (say, break a bad habit and form another good one), or use some of the more advanced features we've described, DropKicker will cost a buck a month for however long you want to use. But for backers, we're offering 12 months of the full app for just $5. This means you'll get access to the app once it's published, at less than half the normal cost to use it for a year.
Other Reward Levels
A major goal of ours is to get DropKicker released in time for New Years 2013, since that's the time a lot of folks make a choice to change something in their lives. So at the $15 pledge level and above,we're giving backers access to the Beta version of the app, in all it's buggy glory, by New Year's Eve. As these early users work on their own habits, they'll help us test and refine DropKicker, and be listed as "App Editors" on the DropKicker website.
Starting at the $25 pledge level, our Kickstarter rewards include a few tools that make DropKicker work even better: Kicker Stickers and Cue Cards.
Kicker Stickers are designed to create new cues for better actions - see a sticker on your fridge, remember why it's there, and maybe you'll find it easier to eat an apple instead of that cake. Kicker Stickers are made of super high-quality vinyl by our friends at Sticker Mule, so you can peel and re-stick them lots of times. They work like mini-whiteboards, too, so you can write a note to remind yourself why you're trying to kick your habit. Here are some we've placed for ourselves:
Cue Cards are tools to help you get a better sense of what causes you to slip up. These cards live in your wallet or purse, and whenever you slip, the cards help you to identify the things that might have caused your slip (your habit cues). The more you learn about your cues, the easier it is to find ways to change your habits.
What is the KickStarter funding being used for?
Software requires a huge amount of time and energy to develop. We've been working on DropKicker for over a year now, and to get DropKicker ready by New Years, we need to bring in additional programmers and developers. With your help, we'll be able to release DropKicker apps that not only help keep track of your good and bad habits, but also allow you to:
- Identify what causes you to fumble (your cues) and alert you to them in advance.
- See the history of your habits over time, via sweet graphics.
- Get tips from other users on how they’ve broken (or formed) habits similar to yours – and contribute tips yourself when you succeed.
- See popular habits from other users and make them your own.
- Have your friends join you as your Teammates, to help keep you accountable and provide encouragement as you work to reach your goal, and
- Integrate directly with professional advisors, personal trainers, and other coaches.
Why do we need an app to change our habits?
DropKicker was inspired by recent research on habit loops, which Charles Duhigg summarizes in his book The Power of Habit (his website covers this nicely). DropKicker alerts players to their unconscious actions, in order to bring those actions into their conscious mind. It also replaces a bad habit's reward with the pleasures of playing a game. As DropKicker evolves, it will allow players to communicate with expert habit-breakers and identify their personal habit cues, to get the best advice and encouragement as they try to improve their lives.
Changing a habit requires a huge amount of willpower, and as this article from WSJ illustrates, willpower is an extremely limited resource. That's one reason a huge number of New Year's Resolutions end in failure (Statistics Brain reports that only 8% of people achieve their resolutions each year, and other resources report similarly dismal numbers). In any case, changing a habit is much harder than most people think.
DropKicker isn't a magic bullet. It won't give you an inexhaustible supply of willpower or the ability to create new routines at the push of a button. But it will give you the support and reinforcement you need to strengthen your resolve, and a set of tools to help you reach your goal.
We're working hard to have DropKicker ready for this New Years Eve. With it, we believe we can all take a positive step toward changing our habits, and our lives, for the better. Join us to kick your bad habits for good, and to feel better, do better, and be better in 2013.
Where did DropKicker come from?
The short story: Necessity is the mother of invention.
The long story (as Adam tells it):
A little over a year ago, I changed jobs, moved to a new apartment, and did a few other things that caused the amount of cash in my life to decrease - a LOT. I was stressing out about money and feeling lousy because I felt like I wasn't in control of my life. I'd been reading Jane McGonigal's book "Reality is Broken," and thinking about the game "Chore Wars" by Kevan Davis, and hit on the idea of turning my financial struggles into a game.
I designed a game I called "Live Cheap or Die!" in order to start finding ways to live a full life within my means, while simultaneously turning something that seemed like a sacrifice (not spending money) into an achievement (saving for my future). It worked surprisingly well, and I talked the idea over with James, and he and I started working on turning it into something we could provide to other people.
Along the way, we realized that what we were really working on was something that made good financial habits easier to learn. "Why not do this for all sorts of habits?" we thought, and DropKicker was born. We asked our friends David, Ryan, and Steph to help make it into something that would work on phones, and now, here we are on Kickstarter, ready to share DropKicker with all of you.
Thanks for taking a look at our project! We hope you'll join us in making it a reality.
The DropKicker Team
James Lomuscio - Game designer, entrepreneur, Yinzer wannabe
Adam Nelson - Game designer, systems thinker, charming rogue
David Adamson - Lead developer, language technologist, factoid wrangler
Ryan Carlson - Mobile developer, human interface designer, nail biter
Steph Bercht - Graphic designer, design researcher, circus artist
We live in Pittsburgh, PA, a most excellent city.
We started this company to make games and other playful things that serve a social purpose, and help make real life more fun. Ludo Mechanica means "game mechanics" in something close to Latin.
- (30 days)