FAQ – How To Start Your Own QS Show&Tell
February 3, 2010
We’ve been asked by fans of QS about organizing QS Show&Tell meetings in their own cities. (Along with the Bay Area QS Show&Tell, there is a thriving New York QS Show&Tell, and new Boston QS Show&Tell
just getting going.) Below is a basic FAQ about organizing a meeting of
your own. While much of it is no doubt familiar to you if you read this
blog, or have been to a Show&Tell, it’s posted here as the easiest
way to make it generally available, and also to invite you to comment
if you see anything that could be improved.
What is a QS Show&Tell?
We are a users group for people interested in personal data
and self-tracking. Topics include, but are not limited to: Behavior
monitoring, Location tracking, Digitizing Body Info, Sharing Health
Records, Psychological Self-Assesment, Medical Self-Diagnosis,
Chemical Body Load Counts, Personal Genome Sequencing, Lifelogging,
Self Experimentation. We take advantage of the show&tell format you
learned as a child: stand up and present something of interest that you
are doing for a few minutes, take a few questions, and sit down. It is
usually very fun and interesting.
Do I need permission to organize my own meeting?
No permission needed. Please go right ahead. We’d appreciate
your letting us know, as we like to track the spread of this meme.
See below for how to link up with other QS groups.
What does a
typical presentation involve?
A typical presentation is 5-10 minutes long. Informal.
Personal. The story of your own self-tracking project and what you
learned. A description of a new tool or technique. A request for help.
You can use slides or not. The time allotted to each presentation
depends on how many people want to present. With 8 presenters (and some
time for switching gears between each one), everybody gets about 12
For more, see “QS
Show&Tell – Tips for Presenters.”
What is the typical schedule?
For the first two years we typically had a social hour from
6-7 p.m., and
presentations from 7-9. We found this worked well as long as the typical
meeting was under 50 people. (As the Bay Area group has grown, we have
started to tweak the format a bit. But we don’t have results from these
experiments to report yet.)
This may be obvious, but in case it
isn’t: we believe it has been helpful to us to start
and end exactly on time. Because there is usually more conversation to
be had after the presentations are over, people tend to linger after
the program. We sometimes nominate a local pub for continuing later.
How do people sign up to present?
They email the organizer, and, if there is time to allow
spontaneous additions we put a sign out sheet out during the social
hour. We take presenters in the order they requested to present, with a
bias towards people who have not yet presented.
How do you organize the place, time, RSVPs?
We use Meetup.com. It works extremely well. The organizer has to
purchase a paid account for a small fee. We list the meeting under
these categories on MeetUp: Science, New Technology, Education &
Technology, Neuroscience, Quantified Self.
You will find all the
groups listed at this
How do you enforce your idea about what kinds of
presentations are appropriate?
We don’t really enforce anything, but we do advise people
to talk about their own personal data project and say what’s been
learned. Of course, sometimes our advice is ignored. But since each
presentation is only 10-15 minutes, the consequences are not serious.
do you hold the QS Show&Tell meetings?
We’ve had meetings at design studios, universities, a think
tank, and at corporate research labs. Moving the meetings around allows
people to sample the local culture of tech/innovation/science. It is
part of the fun.
How do you get people to come?
We will post news of your meeting on our Quantified Self blog,
tell people about it through the normal social media channels. MeetUp
will automatically list it along with other meetings in its category.
We suggest you give yourself at least 3 weeks between the time you
create the group and the time you have your first Show&Tell, so
that people can find you.
Does a new organizer owe you anything?
No, of course not. But you would make us happy if you followed
a few naming conventions so that your Show&Tell (and the posts
relating to it) can be easily found by our automatic meme-spreading
robots. We are using the following terms: Quantified Self,
Twitter: #qs, #quantifiedself
How can I help?
We welcome your contributions to the QS blog. Email us at the
address below to request permission to post. If you come across a good
QS tool, please tag it in Delicious with qsresource, and add whatever
additional tags or notes you want. We are going to pull these out into
a large document when we have a chance.
Who started The Quantified Self?
Gary Wolf (aether.com) and Kevin Kelly (kk.org)
Where can I find more information?
Who maintains this document?
Gary Wolf (firstname.lastname@example.org). Your questions and suggestions are