Self Quantification – Self Knowledge Through Numbers
[Editor’s note: the following is a summary of remarks given by David Reeves, one of more than 20 presenters at October’s sustainable behavior change conference, Consumer-Centric Health: Models for Change ’11. View a video clip of Reeve’s presentation on Health Innoventions video channel.]
David Reeves, Product Head for Limeade, is one of those adventurers who has taken on “personal science experiments with a sample size of one.” As a Quantified Self (QS) meet up organizer, Reeves has been privy to the variety of reported motivations that have led a growing fringe to embark on self-quantifying activities. “Some people are trying to improve things related to pain and chronic illness,” reported Reeves, “while others are just incredibly curious optimizers and really kind of motivated to figure something out and analyze it and really understand it through numbers and improve it.” One of the QS examples highlighted by Reeves was a Crohn’s disease sufferer who, after not finding any relief from prescribed medications, was able to alleviate many of his symptoms following experimentation with his genetic data, sleep patterns, exercise and eating behavior, and nutritional supplements. There is not cure for the disease.
Reeves ran down four technological factors that are enabling these efforts, as posited by QS co-founder and Wired journalist, Gary Wolf: smaller and cheaper sensors, mobile phone computers, content sharing tools, and cloud storage and computing. Reeves suggested that the relevancy of QS to more general behavior change is in “the long term potential for tools to get packaged [in consumer-friendly ways] and made easier for people to use, and the ability to get more meaning from it.” Feedback loops, he explained, are an integral part of the process to use data to create a story that resonates with the individual and ultimately, drives behavior change.
View Reeve’s talk at Models for Change ’11: Quantified Self: Self Knowledge thru Numbers