Formula for success:
1) Take something people are typically made to feel guilty about.
2) Let them off the hook.

Can’t balance your checkbook? You’re irresponsible.

Trying to rent an apartment when you have pets? You’d have better luck as an ex-con with no dogs.

Can’t stay organized? Your online and real-world inboxes aren’t
empty at the end of each day? [puts fingers in the shape of an “L” on

Can’t learn [HTML/Design Patterns/Java/Servlets/Ajax]? What’s wrong with you?

Forget key birthdays? And you call yourself a friend?

Can’t program your new [stereo/digital recorder/clock radio]. Geez. Even my mom could do it.

Skipped your last dental checkup? [Shakes head slowly side to side]

Skipped church for the last six months? [Shakes head slowly, gets that “your soul is so busted” look.]

You don’t carry your cell phone with you? WTF? I tried calling you, like, ten times yesterday!

Behind on your email? Well…Jim always answers his within 24 hours. And he has a much more important job than you, and he’s an A-lister. With three kids and a lovely wife.


One of the things that made me happiest about this week’s ETech
conference was the number of people I talked to who were creating
companies (yes, some decidedly web two-dot-oh-ish) around products or
services that would reduce guilt. Not as their main feature, but as a side effect. A natural consequence of what the software or service or system does for you.