Introducing H. - How do I get advantage from my data?


I am interested in getting to know myself a bit better and I work as a marketing guy for a small US/EU tech startup company, which offers a product that helps huge enterprises deal with their (meta)data. Therefore, I am living in a “data friendly” environment and that, through numerous discussions, has influenced me to think a bit more about what data are collected about me, how is somebody else using them for/against me and, most importantly, how do I get an advantage out of it.

Things I use/have:

  • FitBit Alta
  • iPhone SE
  • Swarm
  • usual mix of social media/messaging apps

I would like to learn a bit more about what can I do with the data that are collected about me and what are the other tracking options? I do not know what is possible and I am looking for inspiration. Is there a some sort of “quick start summary”, which will provide me with options, that I can follow further, if they interest me?

Thank you!


You can put the data into google spreadsheets and get the statistics addon and use the describe tool.

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Hi, could you provide an example of how you structure your google spreadsheet? Also, what do you mean by the ‘describe tool’?


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Here are my column headers:
Date DOW AM PM mean 7 mu 7mufwd cardio crdo mu weights vit d [IU] fish oil pro glut [0.5g] dairy mtmcl prtn librax nexium clrtn prilo mltnn[mg] wt [lbs] symptoms notes

WRT the describe tool, you have to first get the statistics addon, then you will see the describe tool under the addon’s menu. did you get addon?

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Hi Honza

Interesting question. It depends on the questions you want to answer about yourself. What are your goals and objectives for the year - and how can this data boost your ability to accomplish them, for example. Where do you want to gain a better understanding about yourself so you can achieve better outcomes?

In terms of analyzing the data, @IsaacGerg talks about one such approach - you define a structure to host the data in a spreadsheet and then start analyzing it to draw new insights.

In this case, I suggest a structure that includes “dimensions” and “measures”. Example dimensions include time, geography, people, weather. The key is to identify a set of core dimensions that apply to all your datasets. These core dimensions will serve as the point of integration when analyzing otherwise disparate data.

Besides the spreadsheet, another idea is to use a natural language processing API, such as this one from IBM Watson to automatically extract keywords and sentiment from your social media activity. An example of what you can do here is to correlate heartrate (from fitbit) with keyword sentiment (from social media) over time.

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Even without doing anything with the data, you may already have gained an “advantage” by paying attention to how much exercise you get etc.

As @Sergio mentioned, you need to come up with the questions you want to answer. For example, if you are trying a new diet, exercise routine or other behavior, you might want to check how what you are doing is reflected in your data. Maybe you are already collecting all the data you will need to answer your questions, but if you aren’t, it will be obvious what you are missing.

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Thanks everyone! I’ll definitely try out your tips and post some progress here.