Lift, the stealthy startup backed by Twitter founders, prepares for August launch

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Stealthy San Francisco-based startup Lift has today ever-so-slightly pulled back the curtain to reveal a snippet of its master plan to change the way people achieve their goals.

Lift, as a refresher, is the tiny company that made a big splash last August when it came to light that Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone were backing the application through Obvious Corporation, the boys’ post-Twitter app house and New-Age venture fund for spawning projects that make the world a better pace. But, until today, little has been known about Lift, save its mission to “unlock human potential.”

As it turns out, Lift is an iPhone application, now slated for August release, that borrows concepts from the Quantified Self movement to help people track, analyze, and achieve goals, Lift CEO and co-founder Tony Stubblebine said in a blog post. The iPhone app isn’t designed for any one type of goal, but it has been used in its beta period for self-improvement in health, fitness, productivity, happiness, and relationship areas.

The company’s end game is to eliminate willpower as a factor in achieving goals, Stubblebine said. “Imagine smooth, fun, optimized, self-reinforcing paths for every aspiration … We think we can turn chores into positive draws.”

It’s starting point, however, is a simplistic habit-tracking app to help people develop mindfulness in the areas where they want to improve. Users set or share goals, track their progress, and get support from others with the same goals. The app shucks gamification elements and instead includes two feedback loops — visualized progress and support from others — to keep people motivated.

Lift sounds fairly rudimentary and will compete with an abundance of lifestyle and productivity apps on the market, but perhaps it will offer the same variety of approachable simplicity that helped Twitter take off. And, according to Stubblebine, the app works for even the most mundane, but still important, activities.

“Yesterday, 2 out of 5 Lift users tracked their flossing (including me),” he said. “That’s an example of a supposedly trivial, fundamental habit that everyone’s been told to pick up and that most people will say they wish they did. But flossing has never had proper support (just bi-annual guilt from your dentist).”

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