7 Reasons Why AwesomenessReminders Is Actually Really Awesome

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!

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Jason Shen

Jason is a tech entrepreneur and advocate for Asian American men. He's written extensively and spoken all over the world about how individuals and organizations develop their competitive advantage. Follow him at @jasonshen.

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  1. My boyfriend saw AwesomenessReminders on Hacker News and signed me up for it without telling me. That resulted in me going from happy and confused the first day I got a voicemail to slightly creeped out by day 3 when I had the exact same, word for word, voicemail three days in a row. Thankfully a little Googling led me right to the HN info on the service.

    He ended up canceling his subscription when the calls stopped coming. Despite his being among the first 20 subscribers, and paying for a call a day, I got maybe 3 calls a week rather than the 7 he’d paid for.

    Apparently I’m so not-awesome that even when paid to do so strangers won’t call to say I’m awesome. :(

    • Hey Nox, I’m super sorry to hear that you were creeped out by the calls. What can I say except that I still think you’re awesome and I’m sorry you didn’t have a good experience. It’s really my fault for being unprepared, the site took off too quickly and about 5% of our users probably had a negative experience in one way or another: that includes missed calls (which we make up for by giving 2x free days), repetitive voicemails… =( I really feel bad. Especially that you felt bad.
      I want to do anything and everything I can to make it up to you – what do you say we give your boyfriend a free subscription to make up for it? Would that be a start? If you email me the details (hello@awesomenessreminders.com) I’ll get it set up right away.

  2. This is awesome dude, I think point number 7 is the most valid of all .

    If you want to start producing something of value you have to execute your ideas, otherwise they are just stories you tell your friends or children when your old and bitter about not getting off your lazy complacent behind.

    Also , I love your job title :D.

    Have an awesome time doing what it is your doing !

    • Jason-
      Thanks so much for the kind words. You guys made my day on Friday. I can’t wait until Joe turns you guys over to me for more than just one day!
      It’s amazing how many times a day I hear, “Jen, I’m so glad you called. I was having such a crappy day and your call reminds me that there is someone who cares.” Obviously, they are talking about the friend or loved one that purchased this service for them, but the fact that I helped to bring a smile to a world full of stress is good for my psyche.
      You guys are awesome!

      • @Nox – I’m sorry to hear about the weird calling. I could totally see how Zach got overwhelmed early on.

        @Zach – thanks for stopping by and as you can probably tell – fan of your work!

        @urssur – Thanks dude! And definitely – we should have stories about all the crazy stuff we tried, even if most of it failed. 100x better than “Well I was *going* to do something but then …”

        @Jen – Same here! I’ve fundraised for my University and the difference between calling for money, and calling to tell someone they are awesome I bet is night and day… Keep it up! =)

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  4. Jason, I appreciate your comments and most especially the kind words regarding Jen, who happens to be my daughter. I am proud that this committed mother of two is enjoying making others feel special. ..or awesome! For her this is more than a job, but a ministry and an experience to touch lives. Thanks.

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  9. Zachary, if you’re still checking back here:

    I signed my mom up for this, and made a couple of mistakes.

    1) I wanted it to be a pleasant surprise, so I didn’t add any special instructions to say it was from me or anything.
    2) I used her cell number.

    The result was some stranger calling my mom on her cell telling her she was awesome, but they couldn’t tell her who had paid for it. This kind of freaked out my little old lady mom, she thought it was some elaborate scam and told the girl on the second day to stop calling.

    I suggest on the signup form, you have a checkbox for “is this a gift?” and require info on who’s giving the gift (or at least a warning that it might freak out little old ladies :).

    Once I explained to her what was going on, she was delighted and a little embarassed she’d reacted so negatively. I hope she’s still getting her calls, I’ll have to check back.

  10. Looks like they raised the subscription price up from $10/mo to $40/mo. They must be getting enough traffic that they need to hire more people to do the work, but 4x the price?

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