The Origin of #earnyourjellybean

May 1, 2018 - In honor of National Decision Day 2018, I tried to explain to my daughter the importance of today. Unfortunately, she is only in PreK, and it just wasn't going as well as I would like.
So we decided to focus instead on the decisions we make every day. Because after all, there aren't that many really big decisions in life. It is the millions of little decisions that we make every day that determines who we are as people. So being a tech guy by nature, I told my daughter we will create a system that will train us both to make better decisions.

First, the UX and UI needed to make these vague concepts more tangible to an average user. Next, we would need to create timelines that would allow us to measure our progress. The interface needed to clear so that the visual is the same on any user device. Although it did not need to be mobile first it, it should have a similar look and feel on Mac, Windows, Android, and IOS. What about gamification? Of course, it needs that, but how can we keep score, without becoming too complicated? Finally, decisions always have consequences so there would need to be a way to reward and punish the user. The most challenging part, we needed to have a minimum viable product (MVP) before Avery's bath time.

Introducing Avery's Jellybean Jar of Better Decisions. Here is how it works.
  1. We counted out 365 jellybeans per each user of the system. Note: We were not brave enough to count how many jellybeans we ate building the system, but that alone was a ton of the fun.
  2. We then placed the jellybeans in a mason jar and proceeded to define the logic of the system.
Here is how the system works. Every day after dinner the two users report to the jar. Each user then discusses the decisions that we made that day to determine "did I earn my jelly bean today?" If the user feels they did, then they eat their Jellybean, if not they give the jellybean to the other user.

For Prek Avery to "earn her jellybean" it is a question of did the decisions she made today make her family proud? Are there any decisions where she wishes she had made a different decision? Did she understand the decisions she made and the consequences that they will have in the future?  Most important this process provides the other system user (me) an opportunity to discuss her day and the decisions she made.

For me, it is not only about did I make decisions that would make Avery proud of me, but did I make the time to enjoy her. Was I there to help her with the decisions she had to make? Did I challenge her enough, but not too much? Am I there to take part in the daily jellybean ceremony?

So the MVP was been launched. It was under budget, on time and here is what I already know. There are only 365 tries in that jar. Lord willing, we will only get to refill that jar 12 more times before Avery has made her college decision. Every day that jar will get just a little closer to empty.

I love being part of making great systems, but this may be the greatest one yet. I took a jellybean today for creating this system. We will let you know how it goes from here. Did you #earnyourjellybean today? 


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