Many of you have asked when the next conference is going to be. I can say with confidence that there will be a next conference, but we don’t have a date yet. One of the reasons we don’t have a date is that we’ve been thinking carefully about the last 11 years of work supporting the QS community, how to make sure it can continue, and what kind of work is most needed next. Our mission, as always, is to help people learn about themselves with their own data. Our method, as always, is to help people share their first person reports of personal discovery: “What did you? How did you do it? What did you learn?”
Our conferences don’t make money. Why not charge more? We’re not unaware that many conferences involving technology charge $1000 or more, and have corporate sponsors paying for exposure and marketing. But this obvious solution is inadequate in our case, because we’re not a business oriented conference, and many of the people we learn the most from are students, artists, independent technologists, designers, and scholars who pay for registration out of their own pocket. We want to continue to do it this way, because that’s where we think the most learning is.
Typically, we’ve subsidized the conferences through other program work making tools and organizing research. This work has been supported by grants and sponsorships. We’re grateful to our sponsors, especially to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who provided us with crucial early support. But the Quantified Self community has never been a great fit with the institutions that are focused on traditional clinical and public health discovery. We’re focused on supporting individuals learning about themselves, even if what they learn only applies to themselves. For us, the value of the community is realized not only in the specific lesson that one person takes from their own data, but also in the aid and support all of us get from one another. We’re interested in the ecosystem we can see forming around the Quantified Self community. How do we support that?
Right after our last conference, we decided that this was the time to act. We’ve founded our own non-profit organization, called Article 27, with the mission of supporting personal discovery through everyday science. And we’ve marked out a big goal: 10 million discoveries in 20 years.
How do we propose to do that?
At the link you’ll see a draft of our fundraising pitch for Article 27. I’m editing it everyday, based on feedback from others in the Quantified Self community. Will you add your comments? This is an open process and I’m also glad to respond here also. We are just starting this phase of the work, but we aren’t starting from scratch. Tell us what we have right, what we have wrong, and/or what we’ve simply missed.
And, sooner or later, we promise you a conference date.