The Quantified Self

Meet Juvoni. He is an African-American male living in the Bronx, New York. Look at any of the statistics for African-American men growing up rough neighborhoods like the Bronx and his prospects of getting ahead in this world are not very good. He knows it too. But rather than becoming a statistic, Juvoni has decided he will make statistics work for him. He uses his smartphone to analyse data on himself to improve his life.

Marketers and researchers have long used extensive data about consumers’ lives to identify what products to sell them next. But what happens when consumers gain control of this same data to improve their own lives?

Data for happiness, productivity and health

Juvoni and the thousands of others that have joined the ranks of the Quantified Self (QS) movement show us a world of possibilities. On August 4, 2016, at the QS meet-up in New York, Juvoni shared how he uses data to study what makes him happy, productive and healthy. He recognised that in order to escape his circumstances, he needed to be systematic about improving himself. He read that getting enough restful sleep was important to productivity. He used an app to track his sleep. When he found he wasn’t getting enough, he used additional tracking to isolate the problems. It was a combination of light, noise and humidity. He analysed the data and adjusted his environment. He knew he’d need to invest time in studying. He added apps called Pomotodo and HabitBull. It ensured he was devoting focused time each day to his studies.

With the goal of a sound mind in a sound body to support health and vitality, he adopted JetFit and MyFitnessPal. He tracked his water intake to make sure he was hydrating properly. He used an app for meditation. He used an app to ensure he was expanding his intellectual horizons with GoodReads. He studied his media habits and the relationship to his happiness and productivity. Binge watching Netflix wasn’t adding to his happiness. Watching too much news was bringing him down. He used the aps to uncover these patterns and adjust accordingly. Juvoni is thriving.

If you’re an ESOMAR member you can read the full article in MyESOMAR in the digital copy of Research World. If you are not a member of ESOMAR you can join and receive a free copy of Research World 6 times a year or alternatively you can sign up for a subscription of the magazine in our publications store.

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