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QS Show & Tell #11 - Recap Summary

From: Mark M.
Sent on: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 3:42 PM
Hey everyone,

We had a QS meetup two weeks back with some incredible talks! We wanted to send a quick recap to give them the recognition they deserve. Thank you to everyone who attended, and a special thanks to our three presenters. 

Here's a very brief recap of the event:

Two intro product talks
  1. John Schnipkoweit of described the problem many of us experience - what to do with all this data? His startup is helping people make sense of their activity data. He recently graduated from the Nike+ accelerator and should be launching soon.  
  2. Chris Karr of Northwestern's Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies shared his team's work on Purple Robot. He'll likely be giving a demo to the group in an upcoming meetup.

Show & Tell #1: Doug Donohoe of Retrofit on Tracking for Health

For the last 2 years, Doug has tracked his weight and activity using a Withings Scale and a Fitbit. When he initially saw his weight increasing, he found himself thinking more consciously about his food choices and looking for ways to be more active. Since then, he's lost over 20 lbs. For him, numbers brought awareness and accountability. 

Doug also talked about Retrofit, the weight-loss company where he is the CTO. From their user data, they've learned that most weight loss occurs in the first 6 months of the program. It also shows that people who weigh in more frequently consistently lose more weight. 

Show & Tell #2: Stephen Cartwright on QS and Art: Visualizing 15 Years of Location Data in Sculptures

Everyone's initial reaction to hearing that Stephen has been tracking his latitude and longitude EVERY HOUR on the hour for the LAST 15 YEARS - "HOLY SH*T!". And he's been doing it by hand (as in, a pencil and notebook)! He's taken those 130,000+ entries and converted them to art - beautiful visualizations that explore his presence in space and time.

One piece shows his data projected onto a US map. He then created similar representations for his family members and overlaid them all to see how their paths have diverged and converged over time. Other sculptures explored this data (and other manually-collected datasets) in unique, interesting ways. More of his work can be found here:

Show & Tell #3: Kurt Preston on Tracking Productivity

Kurt found himself setting lofty goals each day, but consistently falling short on completing everything he set out to do. He wondered, how could he manipulate himself to be more productive. Reflecting on why he became addicted to video games (specifically, Zelda: Ocarina of Time), he concluded it was the consistent progress you experience as you move through the game. Progress meant he could see himself leveling up and opening new opportunities. He wanted to incorporate this into his productivity tracking. To help him, he built slakkr

He immediately learned that his daily expectations were far too high, so he started scaling back his tasks and prioritizing. Once he matched his actual daily output to his expectations, then he would regain control of his time. From there, he could slowly add more tasks. He also found that his productivity might be cyclical - every 4 weeks he has a week with unusually high productivity.

Fun links
Seth Robert's Notes from the first ever QS Meetup. 
Tim Ferriss' Notes from the first ever QS Meetup.
Why We Get Fat, which Doug mentioned

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