It seems like only yesterday that Zach Burt released AwesomenessReminders. (In fact, it’s been just a little over a month since he asked the Hacker News community to review it). When I saw it, I immediately sent it over to my colleague Ryan because I thought it was hilarious. He had already checked it out.
“I can’t believe it already has 100 people signed up!” I said. We decided that there was probably some people out there who were buying it as a joke, or as a gift to someone else. A few days later it had doubled. We debated getting it and finally curiosity got the better of me and I bought one for our awesome team at isocket. I also got one for a friend as a birthday present.
However, not everyone was so enthusiastic about it. Here’s an example of an HN comment on his initial post. (There were of course more positive comments but my point is that it was definitely not a universal “this is the best idea evarr!!1″ kind of thing.
Since that fateful post though, AwesomenessReminders has blown up. Featured in Thrillist, Time and other fine publications, 1000+ subscribers and more – it’s becoming pretty clear (at least to me) that this thing is awesome. Here are some the reasons why I think so:
1) The callers are actually really good
If you were thinking that AwesomenessReminders was going to be robo-calling people or outsourcing it to India, think again. The two people we’ve had – Joe and Jen – are both really upbeat and sound great on the phone. They go out of their way to not just say “You’re awesome!” but things like “I talk to lots of awesome people today and you’re the awesomest!” and “I hope you have an amazing day!” It’s those extra comments and infectious enthusiasm that make this service great.
2) It boosts office morale
When Ryan and I set up AwesomenessReminders, we had it rotate through our team – so everyone would get a turn at being awesome. You might think it’d be lame but actually people really like it. We all like to stop what we’re doing, put the call on speakerphone and cheer when they tell us we’re awesome. It adds a little humor and fun to the day and because we rotate through, it doesn’t come often enough to get annoying.
3) The employees love working there
On Friday, we got called by Jen and after celebrating our awesomeness and tell her that she’s awesome too, we actually had a little conversation. We asked about how she got the job (job posting on the site), where she was from (North Carolina I think?) and whether she liked doing it (definitely!). I think she might have said, word-for-word, that it was “the best job ever” because it’s so pleasant and fun. I can only assume the same is true for Joe.
4) 90% of people have a good experience
I wanted to write and thank you for your awesomeness. I subscribed to your service for my wife and one of my best friends from college. … My best friend from college called me to tell me that when my personalized message was given to him that it was the best call he had ever received in his life. I’m not exaggerating. Those were his exact words. In this world of insults and epithets, it is nice to see someone promoting happiness and encouragement.
That was a real letter that Zach got from an AwesomenessReminders customer. He’s posted a couple up on his blog. When we talked to Jen she said that about 10% of people are put off by the call or just confused by it, the vast majority of people actually really love it. She said she’s actually heard a ton of really touching stories from her calls – probably like the one above. I mean – how can you really get upset by a happy person telling you you’re awesome?
5) It’s pulling in 10k+ a month!
Beyond all this touchy-feely stuff, the fact is, there are over 1000 people subscribed to AwesomenessReminders and with most of them on the $10/mo subscription, this service is likely generating over $10,000 a month! I haven’t asked Zach directly and obviously he’s gotta pay his callers and for the calling itself, but still – I bet he’s cash flow positive (which is a lot more than most VC-backed startups can say!). EDIT – sadly the Live Counter on the site has gone away so I hope the number of subscribers aren’t dropping!
6) It is still innovating and improving
When the site launched there was just a sign up form, a few questions/answers and that grossly bright yellow background. Since then the background is still yellow but Zach’s added a blog, sample calls, international calling and more. He’s definitely not resting on his laurels but working to make the product better and better.
7) Inspiration to entrepreneurs everywhere
Seriously, I think this is the biggest part of it. How many times have you thought of an idea and then dismissed it as silly or dumb? What in the world is “dumber” than a business around paying strangers to call people and tell them “You’re awesome!”?? You never know until you launch and get people to pony up cash. AwesomenessReminders is a testament to the fact that 1) you don’t need a good looking site for people to give you money and 2) just because an idea seems silly doesn’t mean it can’t also work!