Life’s data layer lets you know thyself in little ways

The information layer in our life is getting richer and more useful. Part of this is intentional, we hook up dashboards and carry devices to quantify parts of our lives, but part is automatic.

Take my bike for example.

Actually, its Hubway’s bike, in fact its their fleet of bikeshare bikes. A few days ago I tried a new short route between North and South Stations in Boston, cutting through Post Office Square; a shorter route with more stoplights.  After a few days of trying the new fun route, I wondered if it was really faster.

So, I logged in to Hubway to see their record of how long my trips took on the old and new routes. Yep, the new route was a few minutes faster. Whether we notice it or not, we’re being measured. And there are steps we can take to generate data that will pull us toward habits we want.

On the days I don’t ride to work, my Virgin Healthmiles pedometer picks up on the number of my steps and it notices which days I walk then, so when I finally connect it to the Internet it can compares what I’m up to others like me. Since I see that I’m walking more than the average person in the system, I get a bit of a lift and…

I challenge a colleague to a “walk for bourbon” challenge, my automatic data vs. hers. I may be the first Healthmiles user to connect healthy walking with Makers Mark.

Then I go home to bed, and my iPhone keeps on eye on my sleep via Sleep Cycle.

If it could talk to my Netflix account, it might note an inverse relationship between sleep and House of Cards viewing. But you’ll notice I woke up happy, that counts for something.

Sure these are all little silos, and in time they might be aggregated just as MINT aggregates my financial life and prints out some informative charts. But what I like about these is that both the data and the insights are mine.

All of the services I just mentioned allow me to keep my data to myself, unless I share it, as I am here.

Ultimately, we come to respect that which we measure, and I find that I start organizing around such metrics.

Its easy to forget the little stuff, but today my devices are nudging me in a good direction. ;>

Happy weekend.



1 Response to "Life’s data layer lets you know thyself in little ways"

  • Dave your first bike example (Distance between North and South Stations in Boston) is the perfect examples which really helps me to understand what exactly you want to tell us…

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