LetSimonDecide Takes On Life's Tough Choices


Nobody likes to make difficult decisions. And while the web has offered outlets for advice for years, ranging from forums to sites like Yahoo Answers, these are prone to flame wars and grossly incorrect information. Now, some new startups are emerging that are looking to take the community element – or at least the flamewars associated with it – out of the equation. Today sees the launch of LetSimonDecide, a new site that looks to help make decisions easier across a variety of topics, ranging from picking a college major to determining if you should buy or sell your stock.

The obvious competitor here is Hunch the new startup from Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake. And while there are some definite similarities – both startups revolve around decision making – they’re taking very different approaches.

While it is powered by complex algorithms, Hunch’s data comes primarily from the community – you essentially vote on each portion of the decision process to determine how it should impact subsequent users. This means that you’re exposed to new options that you might not have previously been aware of, but it also means that you’ll occasionally get a suggestion that you’d never consider as a viable option. Conversely, Simon is more about helping figure out what’s important to you, and then basing a decision off that. In a way, it’s like an enhanced version of the traditional Pro/Con lists people make when they’re trying to make a decision.

It sounds a bit odd at first, so I’ll try to demonstrate how it works with an example. After logging into Simon, I was prompted to build a personal profile, which asked for some of my overarching life goals (these include moving to England and writing a book, for those who are curious). It also asked a handful of other questions, like my favorite activities and my personality type (there’s a choice from a half dozen categories).

From there, I tried using the site to help me with a decision. The first one I tried was to help me pick a college major – a decision I grappled with years ago that I figured might be a common choice for newcomers to the site. The site first asked me for the options I was considering (Political Science and Biology), and then which attributes about each should factor into my decision (I chose ‘Is It Interesting?’, ‘Work Load’, and ‘Job Potential’). The site then asked me to rate each major in terms of these three attributes, and how each would affect my quest to achieve my life goals. Based on my input, it spat out an answer (Biology).

So rather than look at data input by the community, Simon used data I had previously entered to help make my decision. Because there isn’t a large database of existing questions and responses it feels a little too basic at first – it’s effectively just presenting you with questions that you wrote for yourself. At the same time, I can see why it could be useful. It forces you to figure out exactly what’s important to you, and helps you make your decision accordingly.

And in the end, that’s really the best these services can do. For any genuinely important decision, you probably don’t want to rely on the wisdom of the crowds to land on your ultimate verdict – the average answer isn’t always the best one for all of us. So Simon holds your hand and helps you come to your own conclusions. It’s better than the old fashioned Pro/Con list, but it may still have a hard time attracting many users – unlike Hunch, it isn’t all that fun.

LetSimonDecide is the newest product from Ayax Systems, a consumer research company. Rather than include advertising on the site, Ayax is planning to use aggregate anonymized data to generate reports, which it can then sell to universities and Think-tanks.

More TechCrunch

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

23 hours ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

1 day ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 tech companies and music streaming services to warn them not to use its music to train AI without explicit permission.…

Sony Music warns tech companies over ‘unauthorized’ use of its content to train AI

Winston Chi, Butter’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that “most parties, including our investors and us, are making money” from the exit.

GrubMarket buys Butter to give its food distribution tech an AI boost

The investor lawsuit is related to Bolt securing a $30 million personal loan to Ryan Breslow, which was later defaulted on.

Bolt founder Ryan Breslow wants to settle an investor lawsuit by returning $37 million worth of shares

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, launched an enterprise version of the prominent social network in 2015. It always seemed like a stretch for a company built on a consumer…

With the end of Workplace, it’s fair to wonder if Meta was ever serious about the enterprise