Finally and thanks to the enthusiasm and to-do attitude of Dennis Harscoat, last Thursday was the launch of QS London group, organised by myself and Dennis.
What I saw at the meeting was nothing short of mind-blowing. We had three presentations, first by Dennis Harscoat talking about Quantter, then by Kiel Gilleade about body blogging his heart rate, followed by Jon Cousins explaining Moodscope. Each was pioneering in their own way and I felt I was watching something powerful that will continue grow in force.
Dennis’s motivation behind Quantter is the desire to help people to do something regularly, with constant improvement, following the 10,000 hour rule. The sooner, the better!
Kiel’s constant heart rate monitoring with added spice of being published in a twitter stream, opens up possibilities for understanding one’s body, for better and probably different kinds of diagnosis. He’s also an example of how it impacts our behaviour when its made public both from the participant’s perspective and their followers, which is probably the most intriguing area of self-tracking, at least for now.
Jon’s Moodscope is, among other things, evidence of how powerful and beneficial our friends can be. Plotting moods and sharing them with selected friends has helped Jon manage a serious and at times debilitating mental states. Now he wants to make it possible for others to do the same and I believe he’s well on the way there.
Thanks to all who helped to make such a meeting possible and we hope to organise the next QS London group meeting within a few months.
As this event was hosted by VRM Hub, the venue was GfK NOP, which kindly provided a meeting room and refreshments. VRM Hub is a regular meeting of people working on and interested in VRM – Vendor Relationship Management and there is a natural overlap between QS, self-tracking/personal informatics and VRM. As we already had a regular venue available, it made sense, philophically and practically, to have the new QS London group launch at VRM Hub monthly meeting. Our challenge for the QS London group will remain to find a more or less regular venue that fits the show & tell format – a quiet environment and ideally a projector.
Here is how I see the landscape, when thinking about all three and trying to explain it at the meeting (clicking on the graphic shows bigger size):
My interest in personal informatics is related to the Mine! project and the way people collect and manage their personal data online. Mine! is being designed as an open source application/utility helping the individual user to capture, manage and share data on his own terms. It is intended to serve as infrastructure to various functionality and analysis applied to user’s data.
My focus in self-tracking and personal informatics is at the level of the individual. I don’t track much consistently, usually my exercise, walking and calories but nothing on the level of Kiel or Dennis or Jon. Apart from a natural interest in personal informatics and self-tracking as a new kind of literacy, I am very concerned about the privacy, data storage and individual focus of all this as I recognise how huge and potentially powerful it can be.