ARI: My guest today is Chris Dancy, who has been called by many outlets the world’s most connected
man, technologically speaking. Hi, Chris. Thank you for talking to me.
CHRIS: Hi, yeah. It’s not LinkedIn connections.
ARI: Right, that was the first thing I thought when I saw it. I have to start with this, because every time I
give a talk, I always ask the audience this question, and it’s sort of my stumper for people. I say,
“Everybody raise your hands really quick if you can tell me what you had for breakfast this morning,”
and most people raise their hands and can do it.
Then I say, “Okay, great. Now do the same thing if you can tell me how many emails you sent last
Tuesday.” Nobody usually can answer that question, and then I get into quantifying and stuff. I’m not
asking you, necessarily, but I bet you probably have that answer.
CHRIS: Yeah, by hour, and by type of person.
ARI: So what led you to become so quantified and so connected?
CHRIS: It started about 5 years ago. I was – excuse me, I’m still finishing my breakfast.
ARI: No problem. Sorry about that.
CHRIS: That’s fine. I was looking at the job landscape. I had just turned 40, and I was looking at the job
landscape over the next 10 years, and I figured by 2020, a lot of the skills that I had as an IT professional
in management – I had traditional SQL background and other things – just weren’t going to be around. I
just saw so much automation happening, and the barrier to understand and use technology had just
dropped exponentially through at least the [inaudible 00:01:34]. Definitely I think in this decade, we’re
seeing that barrier drop even lower.
The few areas I really looked at, things like bioinformation, I couldn’t go back to school and become a
bioengineer; I wouldn’t have the time. But one of the things I found was personal informatics, and I
thought personal informatics was really interesting, from a lot of points of view.
But most importantly, I think if you take away all the technology and you take away all the systems that
manage the technology, all you’re left with is the information and life. We see more and more of that.
Some people even say they suffer from information overload. And if that’s true, understanding that
information and managing it is going to be a huge, huge job. Not technically, but from an interpretive
But more importantly, for us personally. I mean, we go to our doctors, and our doctors, to your opening
keynote question, our doctors don’t know what they saw us for, and if they do, it’s very minor. But we
remember how painful it was, or why we were there for the last time.
So how do we harness all that information and get it into our lives? And I spent the last 5 years actually
creating systems to kind of route all this hyper-personal information, including email – actually, email’s
one of the easiest ones – into a repository that I could understand.
ARI: I agree that email is one of the easier ones, actually. Forgive me for pointing this out, but in some
pictures, I’ve seen of you, you look like you were a lot heavier before, right?
CHRIS: Yeah. I’ve lost about 110 pounds so far. What I did was I had about 3 years’ worth of data –
behavior, so who was I with when I ate this, where was I located when I had a bad night’s sleep, what
music did I listen to before or after an event that made me feel amazing. Just lots of information
anywhere from my life. Days where I spent over $100 on things that weren’t for me.
ARI: Oh, wow.
CHRIS: A lot of behavior type information, because all of financial systems and location-based systems,
they all are feeding into the same repository. I just started, the first I’d say 20, maybe 25 pounds were
just simply looking at situations that were really bad, where my activity was very low or my consumption
was very high, and saying, “What were the conditions around that? Is there anything in common?”
It turned out a lot of the times, there were. The first thing I discovered, there were very toxic people
who I thought were really wonderful, but they led me to eat or not rest, which actually made me eat
worse, in really profound ways.
After I sorted through the toxic people and limited my exposure to them pre- or post- any type of
consumption, a couple hours before a meal or something, I then just started working on very simple
things, like is there a correlation between how I rest and when I eat?
To your point, eating breakfast was something I never did, but I found out I was eating so late in the
night and I was getting up in the middle of the night to use the restroom – because I have a motion
sensor near the toilet, so when are you going to the toilet? Very, very simple stuff like that. I don’t have
to record anything. That’s the key, is none of this information I manually record. It all just happens
seamlessly in the background.
So once I got a lot of those things under control, I just engineered some environmental stuff to lose
maybe 20 pounds. Twenty pounds was enough to make me at least be interested in wanting to get
healthier. And then I just started doing some life hacks. If I wanted to read Facebook or check out
Twitter, I had to be walking. If I wanted a meal that cost under $5 for a single person, I had to walk to it.
Regardless of what it was.
Just doing simple things like geo-fencing my credit card for food establishments where they were junk
food. I couldn’t use it there. I had to get cash, which was an extra step. A lot of what would seem to be
really easy, but kind of “Oh, I never would’ve thought of geo-fencing a credit card.” Simple stuff we
could do because technology’s there and the information’s there but providers don’t give us any access
I always tell people, if you go to Safeway or any grocery store in your area and you say to your grocery
store, “I don’t want any more discounts. I want you to give me my club card purchases for the last 6
months in a spreadsheet, and I want to know when I buy fruits and when I buy toilet paper. I just want
to see the information. I want to see what I’m buying.” They won’t give it to you. They’ll send you a box
ARI: Right. Okay, there’s like 17 questions I want to ask you, so I’m trying to get these in the right order
here. One thing is, you said this is all seamless; you’re not manually inputting this stuff. I constantly
make that argument with people, that it’s like you don’t have to really think about this stuff. This
information is happening to you, so you might as well capture it, quantify it.
The one area that I have always had an issue with that, and I’m curious of your solution here, is the food
tracking aspect. Because you can have the motion sensor by the toilet, you can have the Fitbit on your
belt, but to identify the food that you’re eating, if you’re not scanning a barcode – which would already
suggest it’s not that healthy – how are you doing that in a seamless fashion?
CHRIS: Yeah. You need to really build up a food database of things that are good for you, and then once
you have that food database, you can reduce the friction by simple little life hacks. You don’t need an
elaborate program to do that; you could just use something called ConTEXT, which basically is a text-
based program where you text a certain code to a phone number and it logs something for you.
Zapier and IFTTT both have push-based message things. So you literally can just text real quick, three or
four keywords of what you’re eating, and it’ll actually capture that and you’ve already got it tied to the
calories and stuff. That’s simple.
The hardest part is actually building the common food database that you normally eat, because a lot of
us go, “Oh, I don’t have that every day.” But it’s amazing, if we actually took time to – it was Tim Ferriss
that said a few years ago in 4-Hour Body, just photograph your food. We do eat the same stuff all the
time. So it’s not that hard to do.
But a step beyond that, because I really got interested in the ingredients in the food, not just the
calories. So then I started using this little program called Lose It. Lose It would send me a nice email at
the end of the day with all the sugars and fats and starches and stuff, and all I did was have that email
then piped in, parsed out, put into a spreadsheet, again using automation like IFTTT or Zaptier.
ARI: You’re the only guest I’ve ever had who’s mentioned Zapier and IFTTT, and those are like my sort of
obsessions. I spent like 3 hours the other night just playing with different recipes that I could do. How
many IFTTT recipes do you have?
CHRIS: Between IFTTT and Zapier, I probably have 1200.
ARI: Okay, wow. I have about 160. Twelve hundred, all right.
CHRIS: They fall into life categories, so financial, entertainment, health, spiritual. I’ve got 10 areas of my
life that I monitor at any given time, and then those 10 areas have all things, like health would have
food, activities, sleep, etc., blood work. Yeah, so what I do is all the recipes then have the part of my life
– knowledge work, how many emails, you asked about emails.
All those 10 areas, and then they fork out into different things. So creating an Evernote, creating an
appointment, those things are all then forked, and then a category is created. That way I can get the
information visually into a calendar, and then secondarily into a flat file, and then the third way I do it is
push things that I want to actually measure and do graphs on into spreadsheets.
So display it, save it so I can run it through something I use, Stanford’s [sp] Deep Learning Engine for flat
files – large, huge flat files of information I get sent – and then spreadsheets. So that’s why there’s so
ARI: It’s interesting to me, too, because obviously you can collect all this data – and this is something
with me; I use my data to overcome Crohn’s disease, and I lost a bunch of weight, and I sort of saved
myself from dying. But I didn’t really know what to look for. My feeling was that I’m not a data scientist.
If you collect enough data, something might pop.
CHRIS: Neither are data scientists.
ARI: Yeah, right.
CHRIS: They have some very fundamental principles, which are just basically the scientific principle, and
the most important thing to do is not tell yourself you can’t be a data scientist. You can be. I’m an
accountant. The first rule of data science is when you think you’ve found something, prove it wrong.
ARI: Sure. Actually, I think that’s a beautiful way of looking at it. In my case, I started to see correlations
between food and energy levels, of course, and then inflammation markers that I was doing with blood
work and other things that I could quantify that way. So that’s when I started to hit that. But originally, it
was just like – for me, it really started with I had been getting blood tests every 5 weeks for 3 years. I
had all this data, I was like, “Let me do something with it.” So that’s really how it started for me, but I
didn’t know what correlations I was looking for.
Do you have that seesaw a little bit, where it’s like you can collect all the data, you’re not necessarily
looking for a correlation, and then it sort of comes out? Or how do you decide what you’re going to
CHRIS: Yeah. It kind of happened by accident. You know I always save everything in these 10 buckets of
my life, and then for me, understanding next – I needed to visualize it. I had no way of seeing – I knew I
could collect it and say “Okay, these are all the health things and these are all the financial things and
these are all the entertainment things, like what’d you watch last night, what’d you eat last night, and
how’d you feel about it,” but I had no way of seeing it.
So it was really when I started putting it into a calendar, at least I could then look at a day and see a
day’s worth of activities, almost like a Facebook Timeline, but on steroids, like everything that could’ve
possibly happened in a day. There’s pictures of my calendars all over the internet.
But it really wasn’t until I color-coded it and made those 10 areas tied into different colors – so work,
anything that had to do with getting paid, was red, and all the subsystems within that. Health was green.
I did this really simple color coding on it, and then I just go to my Google calendar and say “Are there
blotches in the day that are like heat maps for collected information?” Remember, because any
[inaudible 00:11:40] would be good. And if there were, I’d say, “Okay, that’s interesting. Now let’s see
days where those blotches aren’t there. Are there any things that happen on or around that time?”
So for me, it was about the visualization of the data. It really made me easy for me to start to look for – I
don’t want to say problems, but at least understand the relationship to the patterns of activity I had in
I think after that, it really got into what you’re talking about a bit more, and that was – a lot of people
think that I spend all this time looking at information, and I don’t. That would take a lot of time. So what
I do is if I think I have a problem – and I have friends and peers and family that will tell you, they’ve seen
this in action: I’ll go searching, like Scooby-Doo, I’ll go looking for “What was it?”
Sometimes it’s just as simple as I had a bad day. I mean, there is no data point. There’s nothing – you’re
not going to find anything; you just have to accept that. But sometimes you can actually find real
tangible sources. Spending more than you should on something that you don’t need once in awhile is
okay, but getting – and then you can actually route alerts. Like you’ve got this much left, you spent this
much at this location, you have [inaudible 00:12:56] glass or pebble or something crazy like that. You
start to get feedback loops.
Feedback loops are very, very powerful, because you just set up little routines in your life that say “This
is really important to me.” We all have a feedback loop for sleep. We all say, “Gosh, I didn’t sleep good
enough. Oh my gosh, I only got 6 hours of sleep.” But we don’t actually look at the bigger picture.
Maybe 6 hours of sleep is enough for you, and actually beating yourself up over 6 hours is not the
Audio, like right now I’m at about – hold on, let me look – I’m at 74.5 decibels right now when I’m
speaking to. If I sustain 75 or 76 decibels for more than 30 seconds, I actually get feedback from a little
light that lights up. It’s just about low friction, reintroducing myself to my casual connection to
everything around me.
ARI: Huh, okay. That actually sort of leads to my next question: if you wake up with a sore throat, for
instance, what do you do? Other than having a glass of water.
CHRIS: The first thing I do is dread, like “I’m not going to have the flu!” Because I’m one of these people
that I’m always dying. I’ve got no problem admitting that now. It’s like man flu or whatever they joke
around and call it.
No, there are some things biologically that I don’t try to figure out. Colds and flus are one of them. My
body is interesting, like everybody else’s body, but I also understand there’s a lot I will never understand
about it. Doctors haven’t solved the cold yet. So I actually take things random, like colds or sore throats,
as kind of a clue that “Okay, there’s something wrong in the system, and the best thing I can do is rest.”
A lot of times, if I’ve been traveling a lot or I’m just really stressed out and I can’t sleep, I used to really
just lay in bed and stress about it, and now I just understand, from a purely data point view, just because
my mind is racing, doesn’t mean my body doesn’t need some rest. You just force yourself to lay there.
That’s where a little bit of mindfulness comes in and you do a body scan or something like that.
So I think the one takeaway that a lot of people miss when they read about the Chris Dancy, world’s
most connected man silliness that people say about me, is that it really was just a casual reintroduction
to a body and a mind that I had so sorely neglected for so many years.
ARI: Okay, and I really appreciate that, because what I tend to talk about with people in my work a lot is
that there’s this loss of self-awareness. All this stuff is going on, and people are just – and that’s sort of
the illustration of that – because every now and then, when I say “What’d you have for breakfast this
morning?”, there’s a couple people in the audience who don’t raise their hands. They have to really
think about it.
So that’s bad. That’s really bad, and if you don’t know that Tuesdays are your worst day, for whatever
reason that is, or that if you don’t sleep well then you’re probably going to drive like an idiot and you’re
going to have a fight with your boss – that self-awareness is something that’s so powerful, and it does
come back to something very basic, which is that mindfulness and breathing and just sort of being aware
So I think it’s really wonderful to hear someone – and I’m sorry to keep using this, but the most
connected man, to say that it’s good to just check in with your body sometimes. That’s great.
CHRIS: Yeah, but journalists don’t like to write about that.
ARI: Right. Well, I like that. And that’s the thing, is I’ve tracked so much of my life, and I don’t, right now,
use anything on a daily basis. I have a Basis watch which I’ll use sometimes when I’m doing things. I’ve
tested a lot of things for people. I don’t do sleep tracking. I don’t do that stuff anymore because I feel
like I’m aware. I don’t need the quantification specifically for that. When I want to deal with a problem,
I’ll look at that stuff and whatnot.
CHRIS: Yeah, and that’s something else, is I did sleep tracking for awhile and then I stopped, and then I
started again once I got a low friction routine. So if I can find a really low friction routine for sleep
collection, I’ll do it. I hate wearing stuff to bed, but something like the Beddit wraps around your
mattress. So you don’t have to wear anything; you just sleep normally. Really low friction feedback
things are very powerful ways that you don’t have to think about it, and it’s there for you.
But you certainly don’t have to collect everything, to your point. I really like being able to Google search
my life, and if your information’s in a Google calendar, you literally can Google search your life, and
that’s pretty cool.
ARI: What about internal biologics? Blood testing, DNA…
CHRIS: That’s actually the second way I got started with all this. The first thing was just collecting my
behavior online, like sending emails and posting things online. But the second thing I did was – and a lot
of this is out on my SlideShare. If anyone uses SlideShare, I keep all my presentations out there.
But I went to my doctor – he’s a nice guy. I don’t want to say his name, but he’s getting up there in his
years. I’ve seen him for 20 years. But he forgets, and I’ve got a chart like this thick, and I’ve got a
companion chart this thick.
I went to him 4 and a half years ago and got copies of my medical records. He handed them all to me,
and then I had them scanned, and then I paid someone a Mechanical Turk – I was really exposing myself,
but I didn’t care; I needed it – to actually transcribe every single medical record I have and then to take
every single blood result I have and put it in a spreadsheet. And to this day, if I do see Dr. Alford [sp], I
get my results sent to me, and they go into this walking medical record I have for myself.
So I didn’t have a chronic disease like you mentioned earlier, but I did have this yearning to understand.
So often, I would go to see him and say “I read up online…” and he’d get this flustered look on his face.
But it’s a whole ’nother level thing when you go “My blood results are these levels every year at this
time.” “How did you know that?” “Because I have 20 years of them here on a spreadsheet. Would you
like to see them on my phone?” And those are very simple things that we can do to take care of it.
Unfortunately, in the United States – and I don’t know about the rest of the world – we wait until you’re
chronically ill or you’re terminally ill, and then we become Quantified Selfers. But until then, it’s this
freakish technology Utopian thing that people with lots of money or OCD do.
And that’s not true. You don’t have OCD, and you’re not this technological guru when you have cancer.
You’re concerned about making it to the next day. If you’ve got a chronic disease, you’re not worried
about being the world’s most connected person; you’re worried about not affecting your family and
But we don’t label it that then. I don’t think doing it when you’re healthy makes you any more
pathological or fetish-like than doing it when you’re sick, and I think we really need to stop this kind of
“technology’s hurting us” routine.
ARI: Yeah, that’s really funny that you put it that way, actually, because I’m obviously a special case like
you as well, but I just did a test that I haven’t done before, which was adrenal stress. It’s you spit in a vial
four times a day. What people don’t realize is that when your cortisol is very high, you actually feel really
good and you’re amped up and you’re energetic and ready to go. But that doesn’t mean that that’s a
good thing. But nobody’s going to get tested when they’re feeling good.
So I am, I’m testing my cortisol right now, just because it’s interesting. But you’re absolutely right.
People wait till something’s broken. They don’t want to take the preventative measures, and a lot of
times they don’t realize how small those preventative measures can be.
CHRIS: Right. I always tell people, your body is like a vehicle. Building a routine, or at least an awareness,
is just putting a dashboard in it. It’s not narcissistic. You wouldn’t put a dashboard in your car [audio
cuts out 00:20:33] or empty. Like all of a sudden it was like “Oh my gosh, I’m empty all of a sudden!” But
that’s how we live our lives.
I think if we just took a little bit of time to say “I’m not going to wait till the check engine light comes on.
I know it’s about this many miles, and I know how I’ve been driving.” Awareness. The check engine light
never comes on. And when it does, all the work you did with being kind to yourself and the processes
you’ve created help you manage through it. So much of our life we just leave in the doctor’s office, or
we leave when we say “it was a smart, healthy food choice.” No, it’s a smart, healthy moment by
moment decision, and that’s up to you.
ARI: What do you think – and of course, I know this depends on the person a little bit, but what do you
think is the most important metric? Or actually, a better way to put it, someone who’s just starting with
this. I don’t usually recommend people get the Fitbit or things like that. I think there’s some information
there, but a lot of times they get it and they don’t look at it. What do you think is a really important
metric for people to start with?
CHRIS: Toxic people. I have a friend who I’ve known for about 18 years, and he was having a problem
last year with some people – he was getting really stressed out at work. I just started asking him, “Would
you keep track of who you go to lunch with?” He said, “Why?” I said, ”Just write down who you go to
lunch with every day.” He goes, “Well, sometimes some people, sometimes other.”
But long story short, after about 3 months of doing this, he found out that it’s this person named Jim.
Every time he ate lunch with Jim, he exponentially had a worse day that afternoon or the next day. And
it turned out, upon asking other people, Jim was kind of this low friction, almost this radioactive – you
didn’t see it, but it was affecting everybody – type of thing.
Understanding toxic relationships and not being afraid to get rid of them is probably the most important
thing. A lot of my friends and family will attest to you, I have no problems just removing people from my
life. Sometimes it’s hard, because you don’t want to do it, but if you want to track something, every time
you feel a little bit of stress, just write down who you remember being with within the last 3 hours, and
do that in a spreadsheet for a couple weeks. Just see if there’s any patterns.
ARI: That’s really interesting. No one’s ever suggested that. I think that that’s a great one. Do you still do
that particular quantification?
CHRIS: Yeah, except mine’s really kind of crazy. When I meet people, I usually try to get people in my
calendar, and then I’ll actually zap in with a reading. So I actually know when I meet someone how I felt
during that interaction. If it’s someone new or going to be casual, temporary, I don’t bother measuring
them, but the second time I meet people, I try to get as many readings as I can.
Because beyond just physically not liking someone – which sometimes happens; it’s just the way it
works. When you meet someone, you have a weird energy with them. But you can get through that if
you get to know them. But sometimes, there’s just this stuff you don’t see. Like I said, it’s like radiation.
You just don’t see it, but it’s affecting you.
Understanding and identifying those people. Human relationships, at the core, are the only thing we
really have in life. If we’re living, even if we’re sick, the relationships we have in our life are the only
thing we have left. Just because it looks good, doesn’t mean it is.
ARI: I love that. Okay, also, this is me geeking out, but can you tell me specifically the process that you
go through to quantify when you meet someone? You’re using the BodyFit?
CHRIS: Yeah, I use the body media. I use heart rate and my posture.
ARI: And your posture? How are you measuring posture?
CHRIS: Something called LUMOback.
ARI: The LUMOback, okay. I’m actually waiting for my LUMO – it’s a small one. It’s supposed to go right
CHRIS: LUMOlift? Yeah, that’s a nice one.
ARI: Interesting. So what, you get more erect or something, your posture changes if you meet someone
that you don’t like?
CHRIS: No, I’m more slouchy with people that – people who are engaging me, I actually kind of do this.
ARI: Perk you up.
CHRIS: I sit and stand better. My heart rate’s a little bit higher, and my actual phys [audio cuts out
00:24:39] when I’m slightly bothered. These were things I would’ve – they were imperceptible before.
And a lot of times I’ll meet people and they’ll know about this, and they’ll say, “Hey, I’ve met you twice
now. Can you send me who I was to you?” and I’m like “Sure.”
So often, we’ll meet someone or we’ll read about them online or we’ll look at their Facebook or we’ll
look at their LinkedIn or something, but that is not who they are. So you’ve got soft data, which is what
you do online; you’ve got hard data, which is your physical reaction to things; and you’ve got core data.
Those are things like 23andMe, Exogen, uBiome, all these types of hard data inside you information.
Blood results, anything you can do that’s really deep inside you.
So I think core data, hard data, and soft data, if you look at is as a hierarchy relationship – now, this is
really geeking out. Sorry.
ARI: No, please, bring it.
CHRIS: It really starts to make a lot of sense. There’s a company – I just mentioned them, Exogen, that
does this DNA breakfast. Your DNA breaks every day. It’s a consumer service, so they’ll test your DNA
breakage over 6 months. You don’t have to pay them every time they do it.
But it’s a great like “Oh wow, I’m in a relationship” or “Hey, I want to try a supplement” or “I want to
start a very mild exercise program” or “I want to go to bed 5 minutes earlier each night,” it’s really
interesting to then see, at a genetic level, did anything actually change? Did you have less breakage?
That’s really hardcore stuff. I don’t know how far along they are in rolling out, but I know they were on
Kickstarter or something.
ARI: No, they’re on Indiegogo.
CHRIS: Yeah. I actually met them and started with them back last year when I was at Singularity
University. There’s pictures of me on the web getting my blood drawn from them and stuff like that. I’m
a big fan of what they’re doing; I think it’s going to be a big breakthrough for QS [sp] and for healthy
people and unhealthy people alike.
ARI: Do you do mood tracking? Because that’s one that I’ve never been able to really wrap my head
CHRIS: Yeah, I do mood, but mood is really different for me, because I think in so many ways – I try to
log mood, and I still do. I’ll still use something simple like MoodPanda. The problem with mood is, the
mood you log is always actually the mood that you are about to enter. It’s never the mood you’re in.
And then for me to actually get my hand around the mood I was in, I actually had to look at – gosh,
these four areas of my life that really could be backward determinators. So there’s the biological factors,
there’s environmental factors, there’s temporal factors, and then there’s contextual factors.
Biological ones would be all the things you could normally measure, or could measure. Environmental
factors would be everything from ambient light, ambient sound, temperature, humidity, etc. Temporal
factors would be what day of the week is it, is there a holiday, what season are you in, what time of day,
when did the sun rise. Contextual factors would be are the other types of zeitgeist events or other things
going on? Are you out of a job, are you in a relationship? Those types of things.
The feeds – and there’s 17 feeds from biological and 11 feeds from environmental – but all of those go
into one spot that actually create a mood. So you can figure out your mood; just you have to figure out
your mood yesterday or 5 minutes ago. You can’t figure out your mood right now.
ARI: Right, there’s that time shift. Yeah, and that’s the thing I always have trouble with. That was one
issue. The other one was it was very hard for me to just straight up quantify it. It’s like, “Am I one notch
happier than I was an hour ago? I’m not really sure.” So that was something that I never found to be
very useful for me, because I was obviously doing it the wrong way.
CHRIS: Do it backwards. Then you’re like “Why would you care if it’s backwards?” At least then you can
use it as an indicator for other things. So often, because we’re trying to do mood in real time, you can’t.
But you have to be really dedicated to the craft, as it were, to really be into this.
And it’s not for everybody. I sometimes say we’re living in a data elysium, because to get the data out of
most of these systems – Fitbit’s a perfect example. It’s not easy.
But I always tell people, if you really want your data out of these systems, there’s one life hack – and I
don’t think I’ve said this to any reporter, and I’ve met with millions – well, not millions, but a lot of
reporters over the last few years – there’s one life hack that I’ve never shared with anybody. If you want
your data out of any system that has an expensive paid plan, you don’t want to pay for it, or there’s just
no way to export it, almost every system will have a share feature. Share to Facebook or share to
What I do is I set up fake Twitter accounts that are private, and I turn on auto-share for every single
system. So the minute I touch it, it auto-writes the information onto Twitter. You can grab, you can
scrape Twitter really easy.
ARI: Oh, yeah.
CHRIS: So it’s really interesting how they just won’t give us our information. I think J.P. Barlow said when
it finds censorship, the internet routes around it. When you want your information, you will route
around any system to get it.
ARI: Yeah, awesome. What are you looking forward to being able to track in the future?
CHRIS: Blood sugar. I want real-time blood sugar. I feel bad; I spent some time with Scott Hanselman
from Microsoft on a plane going to South by Southwest, and he’s a diabetic and showed me his pump. I
had no idea, because I’m not diabetic – although my father, I have a history of it in my family – I had no
idea how much they had been through, diabetics, just with the history of the advancements in diabetes
management. It’s really slow, when you look at how fast we’re moving with things like a Fitbit. It’s like,
why isn’t that being addressed?
But one of the things I thought was really interesting were some of the advancements around real-time
blood sugar tracking. Right now, that is too high friction for me to – I’ve played with it, I’ve done it, but
that’s too high friction for anything I can tangibly have time to do with those results.
ARI: I think that’s a good one, because there’s a lot that you can do with that data, both short term and
long term. For instance, there was an article a couple weeks ago, they did this study on different
relationships, like married people, and how low blood sugar can really affect the happiness of the
relationship in general, because if someone has a hypoglycemic attack, basically, and then they just get
aggravated and fight, and it happens at the same time every day, it sort of becomes a chronic,
CHRIS: I haven’t read that article, but I’m seeing someone, and I make sure that person’s always fed.
ARI: Nice. Very nice.
CHRIS: And it’s really funny, because a lot of times I think this person wonders, “Why is Chris always
feeding me, and feeding me lots, and at very specific times?” But there is, there’s this blood sugar bump
that happens with people. And sometimes, like I said, it’s imperceptible; you don’t realize you’re even
going through it.
But just being aware. Being aware that you’re aware helps you be aware of others. The biggest problem
with that is when you’re that aware of yourself, you watch other people and you’re just like “Oh my
gosh, I feel so alone,” because you just have no idea you’re even in the room.
ARI: This is starting to feel like a support group for me now. All right, I want to be respectful of your
time. I have one question that I like to ask at the end of this, is what are your top 3 tips for being more
effective? From anything that you’ve ever learned and done or whatever, but just 3 things that make
you more effective.
CHRIS: Probably in order of least important to most important, was probably get rest. Even if you don’t
think you need it, take time to rest. Take time to not move. I don’t care if your mind’s going a million
miles a minute; take time to be still.
The second thing is get used to impermanence. Get used to getting rid of and cutting systems, whether
they’re organic or biological or digital, out of your life. Just cut them right out. People struggle so much
with the perception of change coming that it’s actually, the perception of what’s coming, the change
that’s coming, worse than the actual loss of something.
So get used to change. I use the word impermanence because of some mindfulness that I do. But get
used to practicing change. I sometimes do something called Loving-Kindness Fight Club, where I’ll just
put myself in situations where people are freaking out, just to practice. Because we don’t get practice
not freaking out until we’re in a moment where we’re about to freak out. So go to grocery stores right
before a storm, go out into traffic at rush hour. Practice not freaking out.
And I guess the last thing is just be kind to yourself. If you have a thought that you’re not good enough,
say to yourself, “Well, that’s an interesting thought, that I’m not good enough.” If you have a thought to
yourself that ”I don’t know how I’m going to make next month’s mortgage” say, “That’s a thought, and
that’s a very real thought. I’ve got a lot of friends and family, and I’m not going to sit here and let that
thought consume me.”
Thoughts are not us. They’re just chemical reactions that are happening because of what we didn’t eat
or how someone treated us a long time ago. Us opting into those thoughts and allowing them to actually
become the GPS for our behavior is where we fall into problems.
And if you do allow your thought to become the GPS for your behavior, be kind to that. Say “Oh look at
that, I’m letting my thought drive me now. Oh look at that, I just was so mean to that person.” Just be
kind to that process. If you can spend two seconds just being nice to something you think – it’s like,
“Why do I have to do this?” You don’t have to, and that’s okay, and we’re all doing it.
ARI: Wow, great. Those are very profound, and thank you very much. Chris, where’s the best place for
people to find out more about you and follow you and everything?
CHRIS: My website is just ChrisDancy.com. That’s just a bunch of media stuff, because reporters like to
ask me silly questions. Not as good as your questions, so maybe the best place to find information is on
But I’m also on Twitter. I’ve got a personal handle, @chrisdancy, where I just tweet like everyone else,
my food and Instagram selfies. And then things I think that are technologically just really profound, it’s
@servicesphere. That’s kind of where I – things I think that are really important for people to pay
attention to, like yesterday there was some drone news I thought was really interesting. That’s about it.
And then I always encourage people, if you have questions, please email me. I answer emails all the
time. Or I even tell people you can call me. I’m really easy to find; my phone number is all over the
internet. I like the phone. My mom loved the phone. She’d sit there with the phone pressed to her neck,
smoking a cigarette, ironing, in the ’70s and on. Yeah, I still want to be my mom, so call me.
ARI: Awesome. All right, Chris, thank you again so much. I really appreciate it. That was a lot of fun for
CHRIS: Thank you so much. Be well.