Topic Archives: Conference

Two videos. Mark Wilson. Tehching Hsei.

Mark Wilson will be presenting his project at the QS15 Conference and Exposition. I wonder if we could get Tehching Hsei to present his?

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Forget Normal: A QS + InsideTracker Challenge

ForgetNormalChallenge

Most people think of blood tests as medical procedures ordered by a doctor, but in the Quantified Self community we’ve seen many fascinating self-experiments using biomarker panels to answer personal questions about sleep, stress, mood, exercise, and more. Thanks to our long time friends and QS sponsors InsideTracker, we’re inviting you to take part in an exciting challenge to develop new ideas and questions about what we can learn from unlocking the information stored in our blood.

Participating in the challenge is easy. All you have to do is propose your own self-experiments using InsideTracker’s extensive biomarker analysis capabilities.  Use this form to tell us what you want to learn about yourself and why your question is important to you.  We’ll select two ideas that we think will be especially meaningful for everybody to learn from.  The winning ideas will receive two free Ultimate Panels (valued at $499 each) to support their project, and be asked to present their ideas and initial data virtually or in-person at the QS15 Conference & Exposition. All entrants, whether selected as winners or not, will receive a discount on InsideTracker, and a $100 discount on QS Conference registration. We’ll be accepting entries until May 30th, so act fast!

Enter Now!

 

Not sure where to start? Here’s a great example from our friend and QS Seattle community member, Mark Drangsholt:

We’re sure that you have some great ideas for what you could do with access to the answers in you blood. Share your ideas with us and the Quantified Self community on Twitter using #UnlockBlood. We’d love to see how you want to learn!

Want to learn more about InsideTracker? Read this great ToolmakerTalk with Gil Blander, founder and chief science officer. 

Want to meet the folks behind InsideTracker in person? Come to our QS15 Expo, where you can hear more from Gil and the InsideTracker team! Quantified Self website readers get a $10 Discount on tickets so act fast. Register now !

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Tracking Fight or Flight at the Office

Today’s guest post comes to us from our longtime friend and QS community member, Paul LaFontaine. Paul will be joining us at the QS15 Conference & Expo to share his expertise on tracking and making sense of heart rate variability. Read below, and then join us on June 18th through the 20th for three amazing days of talks, sessions, and meeting amazing innovators like Paul. 

uhappy-big-bossHave you every had to give a briefing to the Big Boss, the Boss above the person you report to? And in that have you ever gotten this look?

And when you got that look your brain just froze? You could not think of what to say? The start point for my work in Quantified Self was to try and understand that “freeze” phenomenon and how to train myself to experience it less. I negotiate a lot for business and my hypothesis was that control of physiological reactions in meetings could make me a more effective negotiator.

I had an excellent opportunity to see how I was doing this week as I briefed not one, but SIX Big Bosses. Nine people total were in the room. One Boss had showed up uninvited because he opposed the concepts being discussed. And to make matters even more fun, I was told I was the primary presenter thirty minutes before the meeting. After hearing that I thought, “This will be a great HRV reading.”

The meeting was on a controversial topic and several of the Big Bosses did not agree on how to resolve it. I had been asked a few weeks earlier to help create a resolution. We were scheduled for an hour. There were two points in meeting I remember feeling the “brain freeze” moment and had to push on by looking at the slide and restarting my mental engine. Because of the late notice that I was the presenter I could not use my standard practice of memorizing the material prior to a high intensity presentation. Here is my reading for the session:

slide11

This reading recalls the shape of the meeting very well. At the start each of Big Bosses tried to steer the meeting toward a resolution they thought was best. Big Bosses can’t help it, they get paid to steer. The Biggest Boss kept coming back to “let’s let him go through the material.” The dark blue from interval 426 to 2996 was me trying to get a word in edgewise.

In the middle of the meeting I had made my points and the Big Bosses began debating the merits of the resolution. As the spotlight moved from me I did deep breathing, listened and took notes. My memory of that period was that my brain was turned back on and I could feel a lighter feeling in my chest and head. The reading shows that I dropped from Fight/Flight as indicated by the white spaces from interval 2996 to around 6000.

Then the Biggest Boss said something to the effect that the resolution I had presented was incomplete. You can see around interval 6000 I go back into Fight/Flight as I was trying to explain how the missing part he was concerned with actually was completed. This lasted for a good period because other Big Bosses saw this as an opportunity to re-introduce their specific personal points and we were off and running. It was in this period I recall a specific “freeze” moment regarding a question on a detail that I resolved by having the group look at a different slide.

Finally I was able to get the Big Bosses to turn to the last slide where there was a collective “Oh, here it is” and you can see around interval 8900 my physiology begins to relax. The part of the resolution they were looking for was there. To my recollection the room relaxed as well. Some jokes where shared and people began to prepare to summarize and end the meeting.

During this hour long meeting I was in Fight/Flight 46% of the time, a full 27 minutes. I can’t reveal any details of the meeting, but I can believe that quality of my answers was more reactive and less thought out during those two periods. My personal variability training did make an important contribution as I was able to break up the 27 minutes into two periods that each had a specific topic I was “fighting” to make. In the first period I was concentrating on getting my main points across. Once done I was able to use my breathing and get myself to a relaxed state where I had ticked the box of “points made.” When the second period started I was only “fighting” to show the one completion point. I believe that if I had not allowed myself a completion state in the middle I would not have been as focussed on a single point which I was able to make in the end.

To see how much the environment like a meeting can change very rapidly, I had the opportunity to measure a meeting immediately after the meeting recorded above. As in I walked from the conference room for that meeting to the office for the meeting in a period of five minutes. I already had the kit ready so I just hit “record” for the second meeting.

In this second meeting I was brainstorming with a colleague on how to handle a problem that would play out over several months. There was no urgency, the colleague and I get on well and we were coming up with good ideas. Here is the reading:

slide21

That means I came from a pretty intense Big Boss meeting where there was a lot of Fight/Flight, did a BreatheSync session for two minutes and entered the second meeting. In this one there was very little Fight/Flight at all and it was a very productive 35 minutes.

Breathing tools, understanding how the physiology reacts when meeting with the Big Bosses and finding the balance between Fight/Flight and relaxation can improve both how you prepare, and how you ramp yourself down when in an intense situation. And these same tools allow a fast transition to a new environment where you can be productive as appropriate for the situation.

I will be presenting more about how I use heart rate variability at the Quantifed Self Conference and Expo in San Francisco June 18 – 20. I look forward to it and I look forward to meeting many of you there.

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Quantifying Family Caregiving

Today’s post comes to us from our longtime friends and collaborators, Rajiv Mehta and Dawn Nafus. Read below to find out about an exciting new project they’re starting and a great Breakout Discussion they have planned for our QS15 Conference

What would it look like to take a “QS approach” to a major social and public health issue, like family caregiving? Caregiving has been the topic of a large array of survey studies, ethnographic studies, etc., but what might it mean to take a close look at the realities of caregiving activities through the first person lens that self-tracking affords?

We have been curious about this issue for a little while now, both as self-trackers curious about what it might be like to quantify the care work we ourselves do, and as researchers interested in care (Mehta) and self-tracking methods (Nafus) more broadly. We hope we can entice you to explore this topic with us in a variety of ways.  The two ways on top of our minds currently are the Breakout Session at QS15, and the Atlas of Caregiving Pilot project.

Breakout Session at QS15

Caregiving has been present as a theme from the beginning at QS. The first conference had a standing-room-only breakout session on tracking for chronic illnesses. At the third conference Yasmin Lucero gave an amazing talk about tracking her baby. In Amsterdam last year, another breakout focused on the human issues around family tracking. In June in San Francisco we want to dive deeper into how to track caregiving activities and the social implications of such tracking.

In this session, we’d like to think broadly about what counts as “care.” So many of us do not think about ourselves as “caregivers” and yet do a whole heck of a lot of it, some more short term than others.  We are curious about how care work affects your self-tracking practice. Does it make sense for you to track care activities explicitly, or does it make sense to track all the other things that are not about care for others, so that you can better care for yourself too?

We are also interested in the social ramifications of making these burdens explicit. Will your siblings be more supportive or empathetic if they really understood how much you’re putting into taking care of your mother? Will your mother feel even more guilty about all the trouble she’s causing you if she saw graphs of your troubles? In many kinds of self-tracking data, it is not just you implicated, though you might only do it for yourself. What are some good ways of negotiating the minefields data can sometimes open up?

Atlas of Caregiving Pilot

AoC_Symbol_3B

We’re not just talking … we’re doing! The “Atlas of Caregiving Pilot” project, supported by a grant from long-time friends of QS, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will enable us to explore this further with our researcher hats on. Our interest is in leveraging QS tools, methods and mindsets. We are less interested in allowing traditional healthcare and academic experts to frame what should and should not be of interest, and more concerned with ensuring caregivers themselves have the opportunity to say what is and is not important about their experiences. Ultimately, these are their stories, not ours, and the pilot is exploring ways that we can help people reflect on, and tell, their stories through QS-style numbers. We are also exploring what new insights are possible by leveraging self-tracking technologies, especially what can we learn about the activities and burdens of care. In practice, this means we’ll be combining qualitative and quantitative approaches; we’ll be encouraging self-reflection; we’ll be emphasizing the individuals (families) and not just the group (population); and we’ll emphasize learning from the uniqueness and variety of family situations. Read more about the project at Atlas of Caregiving.

We would love to hear from you, with suggestions on what to track, technologies to use, and war stories of what not to do. And if you want to to collaborate, contact Rajiv at rajiv@bhageera.com.

Join Rajiv, Dawn, and an amazing group of individuals at our QS15 Conference & Exposition. Register Now!

 

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Announcing the QS15 Expo

On June 20th, we are hosting the first of its kind Quantified Self Expo at the beautiful Fort Mason Center. We’re excited to bring toolmakers from all over the world to showcase their devices and apps. To learn from leading users and experts through hands-on workshops and how-to sessions. And to engage with the ideas and breakthroughs that are helping us understand ourselves, our families, and our communities in new and exciting ways. This exposition is your chance to take part and experience first-hand how Quantified Self and personal data will impact your life now, and into the future.

Join us. Tickets for the exposition are on sale now. We hope to see you there!

If you’re interested in the full conference experience we invite you to explore the program for the QS15 Conference. It’s an amazing two-day event leading up the Expo where you can take a deep dive into the fascinating self-tracking experiences, ideas, and insights from amazing individuals from around the world.  Your QS15 Conference ticket includes an Expo pass. Register now!

 

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QS15 Conference Program Preview

One June 18-20 we will be hosting our seventh Quantified Self Conference. The 2015 QS Conference and Exposition is going to be unprecedented gathering of users and makers of self-tracking tools. Thanks to the remarkable creativity and generosity of people coming from around the world to share their knowledge, we’re going to explore a remarkable range of ideas and tools from the world of the Quantified Self. We build our program entirely from the proposals submitted by attendees, and we’ve been astounded by the amazing self-tracking projects, personal stories, discussion topics, and companies that have stepped forward to contribute.

Today we’re publishing our first program list for the 2015 QS Conference and Exposition. Already we have over 90 different sessions on our program; and there are more to come! We are grateful to each and every one of the individuals who are taking the the time to help shape and expand the QS community through their experiences and insights.

Below are just a few previews. For much more, check out our full list of the initial confirmed program sessions.

(And, of course: Register now!)

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Show&Tell Talks

THREE YEARS OF LOGGING MY INBOX COUNT
Mark Wilson
The number of emails in my inbox correlates very well with my stress level. After passively tracking this number for three years, I explore what this and other data says about how I’ve controlled (and been controlled by) this stream of angst.

SEX-TRACKING THE MICROBIOME
Francois-Joseph Lapointe
My wife and I have tracked our microbiomes in an attempt to assess the complex dynamics of bacterial communities living in two bodies in close contact. We sampled oral, anal, urethral and vaginal microbiomes to see what changes occurred.

DREAMING NUMBERS
Damien Catani
In 1998 I started logging dreams in an effort to reconstruct my life after an intense teenage crisis. 17 years and 5,782 dreams later, I’ll share the surprising findings made during this quest to rationalize irrationality.

BUILDING MYSELF BACK UP: TRACKING AND HABIT
FORMATION POST-CONCUSSION
Maggie Delano
I was diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome last September and had to give my brain a break from cognitively stimulating activities. I’ll discuss how I tracked my progress toward recovery.

Breakouts

WHAT IS HIDING IN THE PRIVACY POLICY OF YOUR
QS TOOL?
Alexander Senemar
We’ve developed a standardized rating system in which we rate the privacy policy and terms of service of Quantified Self services. We’ll use our results to open a general discussion of the mostly unread contract terms governing data access and privacy.

DISASTERS IN QS – FAILURES AND LESSONS
LEARNED
Jakob Eg Larsen, Edison Thomaz
The experimental nature of self-tracking means that failures are inevitable. We will discuss challenges in self-tracking, experiences from self-tracking that took a different direction than anticipated, and the lessons learned.

HACKING OUR MICROBIOME
Alexandra Carmichael, Richard Sprague
Today it’s possible to get data on the microbes that live in our gut using personal genomics. We’ll lead a breakout workshop on understanding and hacking our microbiome.

Lunchtime Ignite Talks

TRACKING BABY MILESTONES: SURPRISING RESULTS OF BRINGING DATA TO PARENTING
Morgan Friedman
By tracking and comparing baby milestones, we can find interesting and important patterns and correlations. Applying quantified self principles to babies is letting us create a movement to use data we collect to learn how to help kids grow healthy. We’ll discuss data, patterns, and surprising parenting advice we’ve learned.

A QUEST FOR HIGH FIDELITY ACTIVITY TRACKING
Jamie Williams
Jamie will show us how he is building tools to capture a timeline of his daily activities and explore his habits through data visualization

Office Hours

THE BRAIN STIMULATOR
JD Leadam
We create Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation devices for consumers. These devices are able to dramatically influence changes in cortical excitability in the areas of the brain that are targeted. We’ve found numerous customers use our products after quantifying their life and determining what they want to improve on.

BEEMINDER
Bethany Soule, Danny Reeves
Beeminder is Quantified Self plus commitment contracts. It graphs your progress on a Yellow Brick Road to your goal and if you go off track, it charges you!

WHATIFY
Cara Mae Cirignano
We are a web-based platform for networked randomized experiments. Our goal is to bring the power of randomized experiments to a wider audience.

FITABASE
Aaron Coleman
My company helps researchers use Fitbit data to make discoveries in public health and behavioral science. Stop by and I’ll show you how.

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QS15 Conference Preview: Katie McCurdy on Symptom Tracking with Spreadsheets

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

katie-mccurdyKatie McCurdy is a UX Designer and Researcher living in Burlington, VT. She also happens to have a few autoimmune diseases, and for the past few years she’s been fortunate to be able to focus her UX practice on healthcare. She is especially excited about helping patients communicate better with their healthcare providers, and she’s always experimenting with new and better ways of telling stories. A few years ago she created a visual timeline of her symptoms in an effort to tell a more concise and illustrative story to a new doctor. (It worked.) More recently, she’s been tracking symptoms in a spreadsheet in an effort to maintain control over them. Katie currently works with Open mHealth and the start-up Notabli.

Katie will be sharing her self-tracking story as part of our show&tell program, where attendees share their first-person accounts of what they’ve learned through self-tracking. Katie has been tracking her symptoms, medication doses, and other important health-related things in a giant spreadsheet for a year and a half. She call’s it her “Spreadsheet from Hell.”

Spreadsheet_from_Hell

In her talk, Katie will share insights that she’s learned from working with her spreadsheet including but not limited to: how she realized that she had chemical sensitivities; how she kept up with tracking for so long; how she got lazy and started entering incorrect data; and what she learned about her periods. We’re excited to have Katie joining us and asked her a few questions about herself and what she’s looking forward to at the conference.

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

Katie: Right now, I’m still using a spreadsheet most of the time for symptoms and related life things. It’s not my favorite, but it’s flexible and so far it’s the one I’ve been able to stick with the longest. I do keep Moves and Breeze on in the background on my phone at all times.

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

Katie: I’m looking forward to meeting and talking with the awesome people at the conference. I love the spirit of openness and experimentation in the QS community. I’m also looking forward to seeing what other people are learning about their health through tracking.

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

Katie: I’d love to speak with anyone who is interested in how health tracking can help with chronic illness. I’ve tracked symptoms and triggers on and off for about 3 years, and have learned some things that have helped me modify my behavior. I also have an interest in bringing health tracking data into a clinical setting and making it more useful for doctors and patients; that’s what I’m doing professionally with Open mHealth.

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

Katie: Anything that makes it easier for patients to gather data, and anything that makes it easier to make sense of data sets (heath or otherwise.)

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

Katie: I think it’s good to keep in mind that for most people, manual data tracking over long time periods is not very feasible – it’s just too hard. This is especially important for app developers to understand; even though the resulting data may be really useful, tracking is hard work. I personally have a love-hate relationship with it. I hope that the move to more passive data collection could result in more seamless data capture.

Katie’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. Register here!

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QS15 Conference Preview: Valerie Lanard on Quitting TV

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.

vlanard_head_b_n_w_sm-2We are excited to welcome Valerie Lanard as a presenter our upcoming QS Conference & Activate Expo. Like many in our community, Valerie has been tracking a variety of her health and fitness data and was pleased to find out “that there others like her” when she discovered the Quantified Self. Currently Valerie is working on Gigabody.com, a streaming fitness video service designed to help with regular exercise. She also has a keen interest in habits, health & fitness tracking, wearable devices, lifelogging.

At the QS15 Conference Valerie will be talking about her fascinating project to quit TV for thirty days. In August of 2014, Valerie committed to quitting TV and focused on how her environment and triggers reinforced a behavior she felt “locked into.” In her show&tell talk she will be sharing her process, what ended up replacing all her TV time, and lessons she learned about herself when she was able to break the habit.

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We also spoke with Valerie about what she’s looking forward to at the conference and she mentioned she’s excited to see new tools and devices as well as the opportunity to meet new QS community members:

I cannot wait to see the new crop of devices and QS companies at the conference – I feel like a kid in a candy store every year. But I’m just as excited to talk about the latest health tracking APIs, and meet smart, like-minded folks from the community. Come say hi!

If you’re interested in meeting and learning from interesting and engaged people like Valerie then register now for the QS15 Conference & Expo.

Register now!

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QS15 Conference Preview: Glen Lubbert on Tracking Alcohol Consumption

On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & 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.

GlenLubbertWe are excited to be having Glen Lubbert joining us at the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo. Glen has been developing tools and systems to help individuals improve their health and wellness for almost twenty years. In his daily life, he’s using multiple QS tools to help him understand himself, such as the Withings scale, Beddit sleep tracker, WaterMinder, Moves, OptimizeMe, and Jawbone’s UP.

During the conference Glen will be giving a show&tell talk about what he’s learned from tracking his alcohol consumption. We spoke with Glen about his talk, and why he decided to start tracking what he was drinking.

“Alcohol is part of the very fabric of our American culture with our founding fathers to our current President utilizing its benefits. Having a couple drinks a day leads to longer lives by reducing stress and promoting sociability.  So what is the right amount and how do we keep our bodies in equilibrium so we’re humming along for a long and happy life?”

Glen has been tracking his consumption, paying close attention to the type of drink, who he’s with, and the reasons/occasion. Specifically, he’ll be sharing what he’s learned by connecting his drinking with other personal variables such physical performance, weight, body fat, pH levels, and sleep.

A breakdown of Glen’s weekly alcohol consumption.

A breakdown of Glen’s weekly alcohol consumption.

We also spoke with Glen about what he’s looking forward to at the conference and he mentioned that visualization and organization of data is particularly interesting to him.

I look forward to seeing any projects or tools that combine data sets into useful visualizations and insights. I’m fascinated with Fluxstream and ZenoBase, and I’m curious to see what else is being done to organize and visualize our personal data tracking tools.

If you’re interested in tracking what you’re drinking, want to speak with an seasoned entrepreneur like Glen, or just want to meet and mingle with our great Quantified Self community members, then register now for the QS15 Conference & Expo. Register now!

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QS15 Conference Preview: Bill Schuller’s Quantified Talk

On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & 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 & Expo.

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