Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Lift Launches Incredibly Simple Personal Motivation App

If you had to break down motivation to its simplest bits, what would they be?

According to the new iPhone app Lift, they are: Setting goals, recording activity, getting support and seeing progress.

That’s all Lift users can do. It’s really one of the most basic apps I have ever seen. Don’t go looking for the prizes or the medal stand, because they’re not there.

Lift allows you to join or create a “habit,” click a big button once a day if you’ve met your goal, and give and receive props to other users. All activity is public.

If your goal is something vague like “exercise” — currently the most popular among beta testers — you can add more detail in writing, like “ran five miles.”

After some time spent tracking the goal, users’ gray personal frequency chart starts to fill up with green bars. Except for that one thing, the app is almost colorless.

Lift has been in development for more than a year, and co-founder Tony Stubblebine told me in May that much of that time was spent stripping away features that his team assumed were necessary. Previous versions had points, badges and levels. Now those are all gone.

“People have an unquenchable desire to pursue their better selves,” Stubblebine writes today. “Real life progress is more motivating than a game.”

Stubblebine now describes Lift as “a portable support community.”

One of the reasons people are paying particular attention to Lift is that the small, four-person, San Francisco-based company is backed and incubated by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone’s Obvious incubator. Williams and Stone recently previewed their next project, a collaborative publishing platform called Medium.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald