Quantified Self: A Guide to Tools, Trends, and Applications

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This is a presentation I gave for a class I taught at NYU ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) as part of their 2013 Summer Fellow program.

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  • Why > How > What
  • -Dozens of Meetups-Thousands of members-Massive recent press-Rapidly changing technology forcing continual re-examination of the scope
  • Quantified Self: A Guide to Tools, Trends, and Applications

    1. 1. Quantified Self A Guide to Tools, Trends, and Applications NYU ITP June 7, 2013 by @andrewcpaulus
    2. 2. Who I am and why I’m here -Product based startup background: Savored  Groupon  Basno -Co-Organizer of the NY Quantified Self Group -Experience with a variety of QS tools -Excited about helping people better understand themselves and empower them with useful tools
    3. 3. What I have tracked • Activity – Jawbone Up, Moves, Chronos, friend’s app (mostly passive) • Sleep – Jawbone Up(mostly passive) • Mood – Jawbone Up (mostly passive) • Diet – Used personal notebook (discontinued) • Weight & fat mass – Withings Smart Body Scale (daily) • Heart rate – Withings Smart Body Scale (daily) • Productivity/computer usage – RescueTime (passive) • Location – Moves, Openpaths (passive) • Meditation time – Insight Timer (passive) • Clothing choices relative to weather – Personal GoogleDoc (discontinued) • Finances – Mint, Simple (weekly) • Goals – Weekly updated GoogleDoc (weekly) • Life balance & tasks – Color coded Trello board w/ weekly check-ins (daily/weekly)
    4. 4. Activity and Sleep
    5. 5. Weight, fat mass, heart rate
    6. 6. Meditation log
    7. 7. Productivity
    8. 8. Agenda • What is Quantified Self • How quantified self got started • The state of quantified self today • Tools & apps • Trends • Hacking your own QS tools and projects
    9. 9. What Is The Quantified Self? Original definition: self knowledge through numbers • Recently it has been a catch-all term in the media for anything where information relevant to an individual is tracked • At its core QS is curious introspection about the self as well as the methods and meaning of self tracking
    10. 10. Image by whitney erin boesel for Cyborgology
    11. 11. How it began First QS Meetup at Kevin Kelly’s house in September 2007 (image credit: Kevin Kelly) A sample of Tim Ferriss’s notes from the first QS Meetup (image credit: Tim Ferriss) The meetup initially just provided a forum for discussing the self-tracking that people were already doing
    12. 12. Quantified Self Today
    13. 13. QS Survey • Demographics & Basics – Age distribution - Average age = 36.2 years old, youngest = 23 years old, oldest = 74 years old – Gender distribution - 67% male / 33% female – Currently working in a QS related company or have created a QS tool – 30% • Data Sharing – % that share data with someone else - 51% – % that share data with a spouse/partner - 39% – % that share data with a health professional - 14%
    14. 14. QS Survey
    15. 15. What are people using / Tools
    16. 16. Notable Tools • Activity / general purpose trackers
    17. 17. Notable Tools • Sleep specific tools
    18. 18. Notable Tools • Brain activity / focus
    19. 19. Notable tools • Genetic sequencing
    20. 20. Notable Tools • Aggregators – will see more emerge
    21. 21. Notable Tools • Mood
    22. 22. Notable Tools • Food / diet
    23. 23. Notable Tools Effect of Google Glasses and effortless data Collection
    24. 24. What do we do with all this? The QS world Gary Wolf would like to live in: • Data can be exported from the various systems we use into a simple format for exploration. • We can store and backup our data using whatever method we want. • We can share our data with whomever we want. • We can rescind permission to look at our data. • We can flow our data into diverse visualization templates and analytical systems.
    25. 25. Where is QS going? • Moving from manual data entry to passive data collection will continue to bring it into the mainstream as tech improves • Brave vs. reckless with new technology, its methods and meaning • Increasing pressure to make data standardized, exportable, user owned • Boom of DIY data science
    26. 26. What can you do / hack yourself • Typically useful to start with a hypothesis or a question/problem you really care about since most tech still requires some effort • There are tools for everything, just start tracking and iterate as you reflect on the data • Look for interesting combinations – Weight and Foursquare check-ins – Meditation time and mood – Sleep and productivity – Sleep and activity – Exercise and productivity – Key is to stick with it and standardize your data collection methods
    27. 27. More personal hacking tools • Don’t be afraid of starting with a basic spreadsheet • Look for tools that allow you to export your data • Consider leveraging IFTT to automate data entry
    28. 28. …what do you want to find out?

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