Work With Us

Quantified Self Labs is growing and we’re looking for a few good people to join our team. If you share our interest in “self-knowledge through numbers” and enjoy working with a talented and experienced team both in person and remotely, please look at the open job and internships listed below. To apply, send a cover letter and resume/cv to labs@quantifiedself.com. Please include your salary requirements. If you want to work with us, but don’t see a specific job listed, feel free to get in touch. We welcome questions and referrals.

Community & Communications Intern

We’re looking for a great Community & Communications intern to help us engage with our worldwide Quantified Self community through in-person events, regular online communication, and ongoing research activities. This is a great job for somebody who believes in the QS mission, and is eager to gain experience building engagement in Bay Area cultural and technical communities.

Full job description for the Community and Communications Intern

Associate Editor, QS Access

We’re looking for a talented researcher, writer and editor with a keen interest in advocating for the right of all individuals to have access to their own data. This is a great job for a journalism school student or recent graduate who is deeply interested in Quantified Self, public health, data access advocacy, and the social impact of new technologies. You will work with a small, experienced team that cares deeply about extending journalistic values of independence and accuracy into new formats.

Full job description for the Associate editor, QS Access

About Quantified Self Labs
Quantified Self Labs is a California-based company founded by Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly that serves the Quantified Self user community worldwide. Our mission is to inspire meaningful discoveries about ourselves and our communities that are grounded in accurate observation and enlivened by a spirit of friendship. We produce international meetings, conferences and expositions, community forums, web content and services, and guides to self-tracking ideas, methods, and tools.  We’re committed to creating a diverse and open work environment.

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Open Research, Open Data, Open Humans

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“Open Humans aims to break down data silos in human health and research. We believe data has a huge potential to live and grow beyond the boundaries a single study or program. Our online portal allows members to aggregate data from the research they participate in. By connecting individuals willing to share existing research data about themselves with researchers who are interested in using that data, data can be re-used and built upon.” — OpenHumans.org

On March 24, 2015 the Open Humans Network officially opened their virtual doors and began allowing individuals to sign up and engage in a new model of participatory research. We spoke with Co-founder & Principal Investigator of the Public Data Sharing study, Madeleine Ball, Ph.D. about Open Humans, what it means for research, and what we can look foward to from this exciting initiative. The following is an edited transcript of that conversation.


It’s been a lot of work up to this point.

We’re grateful to have the funding support of two organizations to help get this off the ground, the Knight Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It’s been a lot of work to get to this point, from hiring Beau Gunderson as our Senior Software Gardener to launching with our first three studies. We’re excited to be partnering with the Harvard Personal Genomes Project, the American Gut study, and the GoViral study. These are the seed studies, what we’ll build off of in the coming months and years. Today, we’re excited to start letting participants in these projects, and all individuals interested in participating in research, know about Open Humans.

This is an open invitation to join us.

We’re also working to make it easier for research partners to join the Open Humans Network. We’ve already started receiving interest from researchers that want to integrate with Open Humans or start working with our already growing public data sets. We’ve set parameters regarding how you have to behave as a study as well as how researchers looking to work with our members should engage with us. (You can find out more about that here.)

For members who sign up with us we’ve developed methods for them to control access to their data. Whether that is data from personal health devices and apps like Runkeeper (adding this to our next project), genetic data, or other data sources derived from participating studies, each individual member will have the ability to establish a peer-to-peer interaction. Members can allow access to some data, but not others. They may choose to release some or all of their data publicly, or the may choose to only share with one study. In the end it’s up to them and their individuals goals.

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What excites me about Open Humans is the potential we have to transform future research studies — from how they treat data to how they think about data sharing. We’re building our system so that participants are central to the data process. A good example of this when researchers use our member’s data they must also agree to return any new data that results from their research back to the original participant. This decentralization of data is a key component of our design. No single person, researchers, or study has all the data.

We’ve also built in the ability for researchers to contact our members who contribute data. The idea that researchers must come up with all the right questions before starting a study is a recipe for failure. Researchers are not psychic, that can’t forsee what interesting questions might come up in the future. By opening up the ability for these connections to take place in the design of Open Humans, we’re creating the ability to continue asking questions of specific individuals, or groups of people, far in to the future.

We’re founded on the principle of transparency. You as a researcher, or participant member can see what we’re all about. You can even see our Open Human member profiles (Madeleine BallJason BobeBeau Gunderson). We worked with Marcia Hoffman, special counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to develop our Terms of Use and Data Use Policies so that they’re readable and easily understood. We want people to read them, we want them to ask us questions. We want people to be engaged and involved.

I think this work is creating a new form of data sharing that will unlock a world of new exciting possibilities. Our hope is that when participants start getting data back from studies, and have the ability to use it and share it how they wish, that participation in research will be more rewarding. This model helps participants become a respected member of the evolving research conversations happening all over world. We know a lot of people don’t participate in research, even researchers who rely on participants don’t participate in studies. Hopefully this work will help move the needle.

It’s wonderful to see the long scroll of members.


As of this writing the Open Humans Network has over 200 individuals who have created member profiles. If you’re interested in participating in open research you can learn more and sign up here. If you are a researcher or personal data company interested in integrating with Open Humans you can get in touch with the team here.

We invite you to share your data access stories, and this article with the #qsaccess hashtag and follow along here, on Medium, and @quantifiedself.

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QS15 Conference Preview: Bill Schuller’s Quantified Talk

On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo in San Francisco at the beautiful Fort Mason Center. This will be a very special year with two days of inspiring talks, demos, and discussion with your fellow self-trackers and toolmakers, plus a third day dedicated to the Activate Exposition. As we start to fill out our program we’ll be highlighting speakers, discussion leaders, sponsors, and attendees here.

Meditation & Attention Values During Public Speaking

Meditation & Attention Values During Public Speaking

We are excited to have Bill Schuller contributing to our growing QS15 Conference program with his “Quantified Talk.” Bill has been involved in the Quantified Self community since 2009 and currently organizes the Dallas Fort Worth QS meetup group.

BillSchullerThis June, Bill will be sharing his process and what he’s learned from tracking his public speaking. Stemming from his very first show&tell talk in 2010 he’s been working to figure out ways to understand and ultimately quell the butterflies and nerves that come from speaking in front of an unfamiliar crowd.

We spoke with Bill about what he’s looking forward to at the conference and like many of our attendees he’s interested in what other’s are learning from their data, what new tools are being used, and how to turn vast amounts of data into actionable information.

“I love to see what wonderful things people are learning by reflecting on their tracking. Of course there’s also the gadgets. So many gadgets. I am also very interested in how QS tools and methodologies can help individuals who happen to run small businesses improve their business outcomes.”

If you’re interested in tracking and improving public speaking, or just want to meet and mingle with our great Quantified Self community members then register now for the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo. Early Bird tickets are going fast and will be sold out very soon!

Register now!

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Meetups This Week

This week will see 8 Quantified Self meetups with jam-packed agendas.

The QS family of meetup groups continues to expand with Bucharest having their very first Show&Tell meeting.

There will be two meetups occurring in San Francisco this week. QSXX will have a show&tell talk from Valerie Lanard on quitting TV. QSXX meetups are for women or those who identify as women. You can find out more here. QS San Francisco‘s meeting will have a stress-management and calming theme.

Cambridge will have talks on home blood test based analytics by Hemavault, anxiety monitoring via sensors in clothes, and a person’s experience tracking activities for 2 years. Stockholm will have Mattias Ribbing and Jonas Bergqvist as guests to speak about memory training, nutrition and fitness. Houston will have researchers Susan Schembre and Troy Gilchrist present their recent research on the gut biome and continuous glucose monitoring.

Berlin will feature a show&tell talk from Maximilian Gotzler on tracking high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), a general indicator for inflammation, in his blood over time to find out which food or lifestyle factors influence inflammation in his body. They will also have a toolmaker talk by Josephine Worseck of Kenkodo, a blood test for measuring metabolites.

To see when the next meetup in your area is, check the full list of the over 100 QS meetup groups in the right sidebar. Don’t see one near you? Why not start your own!

Monday, March 23
Cambridge, England

Tuesday, March 24
Houston, Texas
Stockholm, Sweden

Wednesday, March 25
Berlin, Germany
QSXX – San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California

Friday, March 27
Bucharest, Romania

Saturday, March 28
Denton, Texas

Lastly, some photos from last week’s meetup in Washington D.C.:

600_435415982 600_435416004600_435415989 600_435415984

 

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What We Are Reading

Enjoy this week’s list!

Articles
The inside story of how Apple’s new medical research platform was born by Daneila Hernandez. I know we’ve been talking a lot about ResearchKit lately, but I had to add this fantastic piece on Stephen Friend’s journey that lead him to help bring it out of Apple’s lab and onto our iPhones. Of particular interest was this sentence from a FOIA request on Apple’s meeting with the FDA in 2013:

“Apple sees mobile technology platforms as an opportunity for people to learn more about themselves. “

Your Data Is Not Your Life Story by Michael Humphrey. An interesting take on the influence of machines and algorithms on our ability to understand and tell the stories of our lives.

Data Privacy in a Wearable World by Gawain Morrison. Gawain lists five steps for companies to consider as they beocome the gatekeepers of our personal data. My favorite: “Set up an ethical body”

DJ Patil Talks Nerd to Us by Andrew Flowers. You may know DJ as the gentleman who coined the term “data scientist” or from his groundbreaking work at LinkedIn, or maybe even his new position as the deputy chief technology officer for data policy and chief data scientist at the White House. Regardless, this interview sheds some light on his new role and how he thinks about the power of data at the national level.

Wireless Sensors Help Scientists Map Staph Spread Inside Hospital by Scott Hensley. A great piece on a new research article the described a new digital epidemiology method used to track individuals and infection in a hospital. One can’t help but wonder about the future of this type of system for understanding healthcare interactions now that we have low-cost iBeacon, NFC, and RF technology embedded into our phones.

Sensored City by Creative Commons. Together with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the City of Louisville, CC Science is creating an open-source project to map and visualize environmental data. So great to see this work getting out there.

Show&Tell
ShannonConners_FoodLogging Reflections on my ongoing diet and fitness project by Shannon Conners. Again Shannon wows us with her beautiful and thoughtful explanation on how tracking and visualizing her data has set her on a path to a healthy weight.

“I have now collected enough free-living data in my own n=1 study to quantify what works for me to lose weight and maintain in a healthy range for me — an understanding that largely eluded me up to this point in my life. Not surprisingly, I have converged on the same deficit strategy commonly employed in weight loss studies that treat people like caged rats, closely quantifying their intake and activity to prove that negative calorie balance is the critical factor that causes weight loss. I’m truly grateful that I didn’t need to live in a cage to learn what I have over the past few years. In many ways, learning what I have from my data has helped set me free.”

 

happiness-dashboard Tracking Joy at Work by Joe Nelson. Joe and his coworkers use Slack to communicate at work. He was wondering why sometimes things just weren’t working right so he created a tool to randomly ask himself and his coworkers how he they feel. Results are then displayed anonymously on a dashboard. So cool.

Visualizations
deardata Dear Data by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec. Two friends track one topic each week and send each other postcards with hand-drawn visualizations based on the data. Absolutely beautiful work.

 

AirTransformed Air Transformed By Stafanie Posavec with Miriam Quick. Two wearable data objects based on open air quality data: Touching Air (a necklace) and Seeing Air (glasses).

 


Laurie Frick – American Canvas. A great interview with our friend and data artist, Laurie Frick. Make sure to watch through to the end.

Access Links
It’s Not Just the Watch: Apple Also Helping Cancer Patients
Americans Believe Personal Medical Data Should Be Openly Shared with Their Health Care Providers
What should we do about re-identification? A precautionary approach to big data privacy

From the Forum
Looking for Android Time Tracking App
Looking for a software / app to track the general health
Heart Rate and Sleep Monitor

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Ulrich Atz: Tracking 120,000 Pushups Together

In 2013 Ulrich Atz completed a unique non-digital trackign experience. When the beginning of 2014 rolled around he was convinced by a friend to start an ambitious project to complete 10,000 pushups in one year. Using his interest in habits and self-tracking he built a simple system to bring his friends into the fold so that they could all track and learn together. In this talk, presented at the London QS meetup group, he explains just how this all got started, what happened to different “types” of people throughout the year, and what he learned.

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QS15 Conference Preview: Evan Savage on Data Sense

On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo in San Francisco at the beautiful Fort Mason Center. This will be a very special year with two days of inspiring talks, demos, and discussion with your fellow self-trackers and toolmakers, plus a third day dedicated to the Activate Exposition. As we start to fill out our program we’ll be highlighting speakers, discussion leaders, sponsors, and attendees here.

evan-headshotEvan Savage is an ex-Facebook full-stack engineer turned personal data, education, and persistent gameplay hacker/entrepreneur. Currently, he is working on Data Sense, a web-based tool to make personal data analysis accessible to the rest of us. Evan is also an avid cyclist, decent cook/homebrewer, and an occasional electronic music composer.

Evan will be showcasing Data Sense during one of our two Lunchtime Ignite sessions. During his presentation he’ll talk about the making of Data Sense using screenshots of visualizations from Data Sense itself. He’ll also touch on broader ideas and lessons for helping non-technical users understand their data through visualization. Here’s a preview of a Data Sense visualization of Evan’s Facebook posting and music-listening habits during several months of development time:

We’re excited to have Jamie joining us at QS15 and asked him a few questions about himself and what he’s looking forward to at the conference.

QS: What is your favorite self-tracking tool (device, service, app, etc)?

Evan: As Luddite as it sounds, some of my most life-altering data-driven changes have come from simple pen-and-paper tracking. It’s about as close to universally accessible as you can get: the only barriers to entry are pen, paper, and basic writing/literacy skills. Compare that with websites (<3B users) or smartphone apps (<2B users).

OK, that’s sidestepping the question. As a geek, I have to admire IFTTT; they’re essentially teaching programming/UNIX concepts by stealth! That, and their list of supported services is impressive.

QS: What are you most looking forward to at the conference?

Evan: This is super-specific, but: Stephen Cartwright’s kinetic data sculptures. Believe it or not, those sculptures were my first exposure to the QS community at large. Before that, I’d been self-tracking to help address panic/anxiety issues, and decided to attend QS12 on a lark. I walked into the atrium, saw this moving rod sculpture physically stepping through timeseries datasets, and knew that I’d come to the right place.

There are very few boundaries around what is and is not QS – which is great! It’s a radical inclusiveness that was incredibly welcoming when I first joined, and it’s absolutely worth preserving.

QS: What should people come talk to you about at the conference?

Evan: Well, I’m co-organizing the breakout session on data visualization…
As for interests: education (see below), gameplay (in some sense, QS is the ultimate immersive game), data ownership (do you truly own your data if you can’t understand it?)… but really, if you have something interesting to say – and we all do – I’m eager to hear it.

QS: What tools, devices, or apps do you want to see at the conference?

Evan: An intracorporeal sensor for reliable food tracking that doubles as a tricorder.
More seriously: I’d love to see a section of floor for the hardware/sensing hackers, a space to really interact with these projects where QSers are building wireless weight scales from scratch, reverse-engineering Fitbits, hacking exosenses and real-time feedback, etc. This would be similar to the visualization gallery: a celebration of the awesome, quirky, and highly personal things that our fellow QSers are up to.

QS: What topic do you think that Quantified Self community is not talking enough about?

Evan: Data literacy. There’s a pernicious assumption that “the average user” can’t or doesn’t want to understand their own data: it’s too technical, people have limited attention spans, etc. It has to be pre-chewed and regurgitated at them, a sort of dataviz pablum. Word clouds and chartjunk dashboards abound.

QS could be a powerful tool for making data literacy relevant. Think of it as the core of a science/stats curriculum for the digital age, one students might actually relate to, and you’ve got the idea.

Evan’s session is just one of the many hands-on, up-to-date, expertly moderated sessions we’re planning for the QS15 Global Conference and Exposition. We’ve made some early bird tickets available for readers of the Quantified Self blog (for a limited time):

Register here!

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Announcing the QS Access Program

QSAccessProgram

Self-knowledge through numbers. Personal meaning from personal data. These are the guiding principles of the work we do here at Quantified Self Labs. Through our editorial work, our events, and our support of a worldwide network of meetups we are focused on shaping the culture of personal data and it’s impact on our lives. We realized some time ago that impact is determined not only by data analysis skills, scientific training, or even the use of new tools and technologies (although all of these play an important role). Rather, impact is directly related to our ability to access the data we’re creating and collecting during the course of our lives.

We’re happy to announce our new QS Access Program with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. We’re working together to bring issues, ideas, and insights related to personal data access for personal and public health to the forefront of this evolving conversation. We hope you join us.

You can read the full release here. Below are two quotes from the release that embody our current and future work.

“The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is working with many partners to build a Culture of Health in the U.S., and in that culture of health, people are attuned to the factors that influence their health and the health of their communities,” said Stephen Downs, Chief Information and Technology Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The explosion of data on day-to-day life creates tremendous potential for new insights about health at both the personal and population levels. To realize this potential, people need access to their data — so they can use services that surface the connections between symptoms, behaviors and community environments and so they can choose to contribute their data to important research efforts.”

“We believe that when individuals, families, and communities are able to ask their own questions of their own data, everybody benefits,” said Gary Wolf, Director of QS Labs. “We look forward to doing our part to build a culture of health with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and we invite anybody who has an access story to tell to get in touch.”

If you’d like to learn more or get involved. Please contact:
Ernesto Ramirez
Program Director
Quantified Self Labs
ernesto@quantifiedself.com

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Meetups This Week

There will be five Quantified Self meetups this week. If you live in the south of England, you won’t want to miss the meetup in London. They are always excellent.

St. Louis will feature a discussion with Dr. James McCarter on fasting. McCarter will explain the science of ketosis and how to take a citizen-science approach to measuring the biological effects of fasting.

Washington, DC will have a jam-packed schedule, starting with Patrick McKnight showing his exercise and hypoxic training data from his preparation to ascend Mt. Everest. Josh Touyz and Dmitri Adler of Data Society will show the group how to get their data from the Fitbit API and analyze it. There will also be a talk from an analytical chemist on how to use blood tests to address nutritional deficiencies.

In addition to the show&tell talks in Thessaloníki­, the group will have a discussion about the possibilities of Apple’s new ResearchKit, inspired by #WhatIfResearchKit on Twitter. Background on this hashtag can be found here.

To see when the next meetup in your area is, check the full list of the over 100 QS meetup groups in the right sidebar. Don’t see one near you? Why not start your own! If you organize a QS meetup, please post pictures of your event to the Meetup website. We love seeing them.

 

Tuesday, March 17
St. Louis, Illinois

Wednesdy, March 18
Denton, Texas
London, England

Thursday, March 19
Washington, DC

Friday, March 20
Thessaloníki­, Greece

Lastly, St. Louis gets the top prize for monumental creativity with the injection of the cityscape into their logo:

global_323793892

 

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What We Are Reading

Ernesto is in sunny Austin for SXSW, so I’m filling in to gather this week’s articles and links for your reading pleasure.

Articles

Apple ResearchKit concerns, potential, analysis by MobiHealthNews. ResearchKit was a big surprise coming out of Apple’s Special Event this week. It was quite difficult to select just one representative article about the ensuing conversation, so this round-up serves nicely.

#WhatIfResearchKit: What if Research Kit actually, truly, worked… by Christopher Snider. Okay, I failed to keep to one article on ResearchKit. This post chronicles a series of Twitter conversations on the question: if ResearchKit does work, what are the possibilities?

The Electric Mood-Control Acid Test by Kevin Bullis. Thync is a sort of evolved version of a transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) device. A technology with a lot of potential and controversy, this article explores why the brain-enhancing effects of the TDCS only work for some people. By the way, if you are a fan of Philip K. Dick, Thync may remind you of the mood organ that was in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Automated Learning by Nichole Dobo. Some school classrooms are experimenting with ”Blended learning”, a method of combining classroom teachers and computer-assisted lessons. A detail that stuck with me is the description of three large displays that show where each student is supposed to go that day, based on the results of the previous day’s lesson.

The Mouse Trap: Can One Lab Animal Cure Every Disease? by Daniel Engber. An in-depth how science’s predominant use of lab mice could be limiting our knowledge of disease. Of relevance to self-trackers because many models of optimal health are in part based on mouse studies.

Show&Tell

2014-Average-Sleep-Stages-by-Day-of-Week

Analyzing a Year of My Sleep Tracking Data by Bob Troia. This is a superb exploration of Bob’s sleep data from 2014 as collected by his Basis watch.

report_1

Notes on 416 Days of Treadmill Desk Usage by Neal Stephenson. The author of Snow Crash and The Cryptonomicon is a long time user of a treadmill desk, but when he began having pain in his left leg, he had to reevaluate how he used his favored tool.

Visualizations

 

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Qualities of #QuantifiedSelf by Christina Lidwin. A fascinating analysis of the #quantifiedself hashtag.

Access Links
First medical apps built with Apple’s ResearchKit won’t share data for commercial gain by Fred O’Connor
Talking Next-Gen Diabetes Tools with Dexcom Leaders by Mike Hoskins

From the Forum
Mood Tracking Methods?
Howto track laptop uptime
CCD or CCR conversion tools?
What gets measured, gets managed – Quantified Self in the workplace
Best ECG/EKG Tool for Exercise
Best iOS app to track water/coffee/alcohol intake?

This Week on QuantifiedSelf.com
QS15 Sponsor Highlight: RescueTime
Quantified Self and Apple’s ResearchKit
Better by Default: An Access Conversation with John Wilbanks
QS15 Conference Preview: Jamie Williams on Tracking My Days
Quantified Self Styles

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a lovely little comic with a message that many self-trackers can relate to.

thesecret-web
The Secret by Grant Snider

 

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