It’s the small victories in life that can often be the sweetest.
But are small victories even sweeter when they’re won from family and friends?
Yoav Lurie thinks so. It’s called the “bragging rights factor,” and it’s one of the ways Lurie, the founder and CEO of Colorado-based startup Simple Energy, is motivating people to reduce their energy consumption.
Lurie explains his concept like this: it’s a game platform where users can challenge people to rank their own energy consumption against others using social media tools.
“People will want to appear more socially conscious, more environmentally aware than their friends, and our platform gives them the opportunity to do it in an online setting,” Lurie says.
Taking the Simple Energy challenge
How Simple Energy works—as the name suggests—is simple. The first notification of someone inviting you to join an energy consumption challenge will be through Facebook or in your email inbox.
It doesn’t matter if challengers in your group live in an apartment in New York City, a house in Colorado, or a bunker in the desert—the platform establishes a baseline to compare energy consumption regardless of living space size, location, or climate. Lurie describes his platform as a kind of “golfing handicap for energy usage.”
Households are ranked on their energy consumption (or more specifically, ranked on their energy saving) against others in their group. Real prizes like iPads are awarded not just to the winners, but also to those who rank well, and those who prove they can make energy saving improvements.
It’s called the “bragging rights factor.”
Simple Energy launched in August this year and is the latest entrant in the gamification space, where companies are leveraging gameplay thinking and game mechanics to engage people in problem solving. The startup competes with the more established OPower Inc, and is on a mission to sign up utilities that are looking for ways to get consumers more involved with their energy consumption.
Along with his founding partners, Justin Segall and Chris Ennis, Lurie has so far secured $900,000 in angel funding since graduating from TechStars, an accelerator program, earlier this year.
Lurie points to Foursquare as one of the pioneers of gamification. Users can check into locations they visit, earning points, badges, and “mayorships” based on the frequency of their patronage.
In the case of Simple Energy, users can amass points and win prizes by doing simple things like unplugging electronics when they are not being used and switching to energy-efficient light bulbs.
And the only thing sweeter than bragging rights and prizes is the added benefit of saving the environment at the same time.