Seth Godin says it so well in this blog post celebrating his 11th anniversary of writing every day on his personal blog.

Streaks are their own reward.
Streaks create internal pressure that keeps streaks going.
Streaks require commitment at first, but then the commitment turns into a practice, and the practice into a habit.
Habits are much easier to maintain than commitments.

We see this in several of our portfolio companies. Duolingo leverages streaks to encourage people to stick with language learning. Foursquare’s Swarm uses streaks to reward people for continuing to play that game (one I’ve played religiously for over a decade).

And of course my 16 year streak here at AVC is working powerfully too.

As Seth says:

once a commitment is made to a streak, the question shifts from, “should I blog tomorrow,” to, “what will tomorrow’s blog say?”


#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. johndodds

    There used to be so many more streaks. We were lucky to have them then and are lucky to have the very few that abide.

  2. William Mougayar

    This is really good: “Habits are much easier to maintain than commitments.”

  3. JScarry

    I just clicked on the Swarm link. You would think that the main page of an app would at least tell you what the app does. But not this one. It looks like it might be some kind of photo organizer but I don’t see how that would be a game. No indication of the price either. If this is an example of how your portfolio companies operate, I don’t see how they make any money.

    1. Mike

      I had the same question. Check out the company link for more details on the company and App. There is a larger offering around location based services. Founded in 2009 looks like they timed the market pretty good. First iPhone came out in 2007?

    1. JLM

      .Joe DI used to love the NY Yankees. My favorite was Mickey Mantle.A few weeks before he died, I was playing golf and he was there. Signed a couple of balls for me.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Tom Labus

        That’s a very nice memory. I still check the box scores first thing!

      2. Rick Mason

        My father took me to old Tiger stadium in 1968 so I could see him play. My dad had seen Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb in that very park at the end of their careers and he wanted me to have the memory of seeing Mantle play. We had really good seats. I still remember every moment of that game, Mickey couldn’t run very well but he still managed to get a hit that day.

  4. Joe Marchese

    If you want more info on building, sustaining, or breaking (a losing) streak, read Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s “Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End”. Her analysis as well as her writing are first rate.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      RBK is one of my favorite HBR contributors so it’s easy to believe the writing is first rate. Will look this up. Thanks.

  5. jason wright

    The problem with a streak is that it has to end, and that can nag away at the back of the mind. The ‘What will end the streak?’ question. Psychologically i think it’s better to consciously and deliberately end it and then start a new one. It demonstrates the ability to control what can become an unhealthy obsession, the pursuit of something that serves only itself, the streak, which is not the aim of the ‘game’.

  6. KB

    The loyalty I’ve seen to the streaks on Snapchat is frightening.

  7. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:A good blog post by Seth Godin:Fooled by reputation!Captain Obvious!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

  8. Saul_Lieberman

    “Ben Azzai said: Be quick in performing a minor commandment as in the case of a major one, and flee from transgression; For one commandment leads to another commandment, and transgression leads to another transgression; For the reward for performing a commandment is another commandment and the reward for committing a transgression is a transgression.”Ethics of the Fathers 4:2

  9. Ro Gupta

    I’m now on my 41st year of never having had a peanut butter & jelly sandwich in my life. Despite pleading from friends and family that I’m missing out on real deliciousness, I can’t bring myself to break this streak.

  10. JLM

    .Beware streaks.I once went 13 years without falling when skiing. I skied approximately 4-6 weeks per year at the time. I skied every type of terrain. I used to have my skies sharpened all the time.One late afternoon in very gray, flat light, under the gondola at Steamboat Springs on my last run of the day — headed to the hot tub — when I usually skied as fast as I could, I caught an inside edge on some ice and had a spectacular, Agony of Defeat fall that resulted in a green twig fracture of my right wrist. I slid down more than 1000′ vertical and had abrasion burns.A lady on the gondola skied down and told me, “That was the most spectacular fall I’ve ever seen. Your head bounced off the snow six times.”I think it was nine, but who’s counting.My right wrist had a mouse on it that the doctors had to drain with a hypodermic needle. It was scary to see how big the knot was and how fast.I tempted Lady Luck and she tore a chunk out of my ass in revenge.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Patrick

      My uncle would come with us on family ski trips when I was growing up. Tall, athletic, confident. He’d always brag about how he never fell.It always struck me as not something to be proud about. If you never fell, you weren’t skiing hard enough.Somewhat cliche, and it’s not meant as a direct response to your story, but your story made me think about that memory for the first time in years.

    2. RichardF

      The last run down, notorious. I just have a gluhwein at the top and take the gondola down these days

    3. sigmaalgebra

      I’ve never been injured on skis, water skis, in rock climbing, base jumping, on a trampoline, boxing, college wrestling, on a skate board, or in competitive weight lifting. There’s a good reason for that 100% perfect record — I’ve never done any such things!I used to do a LOT of bicycle riding, and got hurt a few times. Once when I was 15 and on my way in a big hurry to see the girl, 13, I was in love with (maybe still am) just to get there maybe 30 minutes sooner I did some very risky stuff at night in heavy traffic — I got by with it but I learned a lesson: I’d been hurt a little on a bicycle, that night could have been hurt a lot or killed, and concluded I had to be careful on a bicycle.I was on a motorcycle once, as a passenger, and concluded never again be on a motorcycle.Similarly for a horse — on a few times but never again. Those animals weigh maybe 1500 pounds and could toss me in a parabola all the way to the nickel seats.My brother really, really wanted me to play on the high school football team. Once in practice I got hit in the head, lay flat on my back for maybe 20 seconds, remembered some injuries some other students had had (one guy got hit from the side and had his knee bend to the side — lots of serious, likely lifetime, damage to bones, ligaments, tendons, etc) and gave up football.Yes, I liked trying to do well in high school: I had a sure-fire, totally safe, fast, fun, and easy way to do that, no risk, totally blow away all or nearly all the other students (college prep high school, 97% of the grad went to college) and sometimes the teachers — major in MATH!!!!!And never broke a bone. Knees? Just fine!I tried running. Fast result: On both feet, bone spurs between the Achilles tendon and the bursa and the bone the tendon went over. Had darned sore tendons, never ruptured, but had surgery to remove the spurs. Tendons were sore for years. Some of that exercise stuff to try to be healthy seriously hurt my health.

  11. Donna Brewington White

    I’ve resisted that streak pressure from Duolingo. I know they mean well.

  12. Thomas Huynh

    Seth is a major reason why I recently started my blog. He is an inspiration and full of original ideas.

  13. Jordan Jackson

    Really cool – Thinking of starting a blog and this may have gotten me over the edge!

  14. Neima

    I love that you follow Seth Godin. I am happy he started blogging, I find that the few minutes I spend on his writing almost daily are a few minutes of reflection.

  15. Prokofy

    You really are an inspiration, Fred!