Jul 16 2010
It started 200,000 years ago when one ape ate a bigger banana than another one. The stares. The jealously. The gossip. And since then, it’s encoded in our DNA: everybody is trying to keep up with the Joneses.
We hear through the grapevine that that huge mansion down the street sold, and we immediately look up the price. A friend of ours got a job and we’re really curious about his salary. We meet somebody at a bar and immediately ask their age, sign (sometimes?), college, job, whatever. We size people up. We judge. In the business world, it’s called “benchmarking.” In the real world, it’s called being human. It’s fun! And now there’s a place to compare yourself across a set of categories with all types of people. It’s called StackMeUp. And validation, goal-setting, and “life benchmarking” (I just made that up) never felt so nice.
What I like about StackMeUp is that it aggregates all this juicy data that normally you’d have to dig up on multiple sites. For example, on the Individual Income tab, you can find out how your income compares by age, gender, ethnicity, education, and even your profession. Whereas on the Net Wealth tab you can find how your net wealth compares by age, gender, ethnicity, education and more. You can also compare real estate and compare sex-related stuff; the latter of which may help you with that special someone and/or get you fired if you compare it on your computer at work. At the same time, it also doubles as a sounding board where people can simply get advice. While I’m personally beyond advice – I’d like to think I have everything pretty much figured out (keywords: Omega 3s, Vitamin D, and primal scream therapy) – the gossipy, what-are-other-people-doing? component of the site intrigued me greatly. So I signed up.
Upon doing so, I was prompted to select sub-categores in which I’d consider myself an expert, eg. “Top Stacker.” So for the Athletic Performance category, we had “Bench Press,” “Pull-ups,” etc. Ditto for other categories: Education, Health, Income, Sex, Real Estate, etc. And you have to put your money where your mouth is: your description lets you talk about awards and recognitions, so people know you’re legit. You can also select “Areas of Expertise,” and let people contact you for advice. I also like the “My Brain Trust” portion of the profile – people you’ve come to know and trust for insight and advice. But this is not just a static advice site. StackMeUp also lets you set goals, put them in writing, and track them over time. You can make your goal public so your pals, Brain Trust, etc. can cheer you along.
So this is where things all tie together. Your goals are only as practical or achievable as your network of experts. The more you can educate yourself, the better, and Stackmeup succeeds in building a nice little community of support and encouragement. In addition to helping you compare salaries, home prices, and other quantifiable measures, the site can do even cooler things, like, telling you the statistical chances of meeting a person who makes a certain income of a specific gender/race/age/religion in your county. My only navigational comments are as follows:
The copy at the top of the page is insightful (“Now you can privately compare your personal information or share your knowledge with millions of other people”) but I believe it could be made even punchier; unlike other sites where you can share knowledge, StackMeUp is different (see everything above.) It’d be worthwhile to accentuate this difference crisply (e.g. “StackMeUp: Compare, Get Advice, Set Goals.”) Just a thought.
You know, there’s an old saying, “No man is an island.” There’s also another: “It takes a village.” Also, “You can’t turn a rat into a gazelle.” Two of these three saying suggest that we are all inter-connected and, like it or not, reliant on our fellow man/woman. StackMeUp creates an interesting online community where you can not only rely on your fellow man/woman, but seek out experts for advice, “life benchmarking,” and support in reaching your goals. Kind of like a life coach, except StackMeUp isn’t $200/hr and doesn’t still live with his mother.