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StickK.com: Take a Contract Out On Yourself

Want to lose weight, get a new job, stop smoking and floss every day? Whatever your goal is, let's face it: you won't do it without a serious incentive. At Stickk.com you can put your money where your mouth is and achieve your goals.

Dean Karlan, Yale Economics Professor and co-founder & president of Stickk.com explains.

What is stickK.com?
stickK is a way to put your money or your reputation where your mouth is. It's a way to achieve your goals. You put your money on the line. You make a commitment. If you don't achieve your goal, you pay. Or you can post your goal and notify your friends. Then if you don't achieve your goal, everyone knows.

Give us an example?
Let's say you want to lose 1 lb a week for 20 weeks. And you commit to losing $100 for every week you fail. So you put up $2,000. If you lose, the money goes to charity, and you can designate the charity. The idea is to select politically polarizing charities — what you hate the most — and that's where your money goes if you fail.

But why would people the penalties? Why not just lie?
People pay the penalties because they don't have a choice. They put the money down up front. In no setting would the penalty be voluntary. That is the beauty of the site. And you can do this informally with people, but you have to trust your friend to give your money back, and you have to trust him to NOT give it back. This is an objective, cold hearted business ! We have no interest in being soft on you.

Of course, if you want to lie, you're only harming yourself. But we encourage third-party referees — devices, companies, gyms — someone to monitor the situation.

How does your company make money?
This is a social networking site that encourages frequent visits so we make money on advertising.

Also, we are pursuing corporate human resource contracts. A company can provide health care incentives and hire us to organize these programs. We're also pursuing product sales, in partnerships with other companies that sell diet books or foods, or exercise information. One kind of product we're looking at is monitoring devices, so the info is downloaded as it happens.

How and when did you get started?
We launched at the end of January. We have an angel investor, and we are looking to do our second round of funding.

So how's business?
We have 3,300 contracts, $144,000 posted and 7,000 users. And we're in in conversations with a few different companies about incentive programs.

What's the second K for?
Stick is for stick to it, and the second K is for contract, which comes from the law.

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