Milking the moment

Local tech entrepreneur creates app rewarding phone users

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Courtney ‘Coko’ Eason was inspired to create the MILK App in order to encourage people to return to real life interactions.

Allison Brown
CityLifestyle Reporter

As of October 2018, the average American spends over three hours on their phone a day, according to a study done by Straight Talk Wireless. One company seeks to remind people to put down their phone in the important moments in life. Now, for individuals who commit to using their phones less can be rewarded with gift cards, discounts, cash or free products. 

“My company is called Milk the Moment, and the app we call MILK for short,” said Courtney Coko Eason, founder of MILK. “MILK rewards you when you refrain from using your phone in places or situations where we all should be a little more present, intimate, focused and safe.” 

The name “Milk the Moment” comes from the idea of milking an experience for all it is worth. Eason said we should take advantage of every drop of life, and once she coined the name, she said she immediately thought it was a hashtag waiting to happen. 

To utilize the MILK app, the user sets a timer with how long they want to stay off their phone. Once the timer is set, the phone is locked, and points accumulate every minute the phone is not in use. These points can be used to redeem gift cards, discounts, cash or free products. 

“I see the need for it,” said Genevieve Curtis-Smith, undeclared junior, a student who attended the MILK presentation at Collat School of Business recently. “[The rewards] provide that kind of instant gratification that people need, in the beginning at least.  

Eason said she first got the idea for MILK when she was working in the music industry in Nashville and saw how many people were watching a live concert through their phone instead of taking in the moment. 

“I used to go on YouTube and watch Michael Jackson concerts compared to concerts now,” Eason said. “Those people lost their freaking minds. They were fainting. There was so much emotion in those concerts, and now all you see is just a sea of iPhones in the air. Those people are having fun, but they don’t realize how much more their experience could elevate if they would put those things away.” 

MILK doesn’t just benefit the user. According to Eason, some restaurants have been eager to partner with the organization and support the idea of getting customers off their phone. 

Customers being on their phone in restaurants often create a great disconnect and cause inconvenience to both the customer and waiter, according to Eason.  

Eason said there are other apps that try to encourage users to spend less time on their phone, but they are only reminding the user to stay off their phone.  

“It’s a great concept,” said Haifa Alharrasi, senior in human resources management, a student who attended Eason’s lecture on the app recently. “It’s a great app. I feel like in our society now, everyone is always on their phone. [Eason] was talking about how she’s not just passionate about the app itself, but she’s passionate about people enjoying the moment and experiencing different things.” 

Eason said that she wants to see results from families having better relationships with one another to a decline in distracted driving accidents. She said that her passion isn’t in MILK, it’s in seeing the results that the app can bring. 

“My mission is to start a movement where millions of people pledge to put their phones down and pay better attention to their experiences and the people around them,Eason said. 

Eason said the phone dependency level is worse than ever before.  

Milk the Moment isn’t about banning cell phones, though. Eason said that she doesn’t find anything wrong with sitting on your phone when nothing is going on. 

“We’re about moments,” Eason said. “When you have someone around, when you’re enjoying a show or enjoying dinner, when you want to pray or meditate or study, or you’re driving with friends, things of that nature[syc].  

Chick-Fil-A in Hoover has partnered with Milk the Moment and will launch a “Dinner without Devices” on April 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone who refrains from using their phone during the meal will receive a free ice cream cone. 

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The MILK team.

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