Hello! I have been researching the world of self-tracking, and have noticed a trend that I am trying to understand.
It seems as if many in the Quantified Self community are building their own solutions to aggregate & analyze their personal data, instead of using one of the many services already out there like Exist, Optimized, or Gyroscope.
Why do you think that is? If you’ve built your own application (or are very familiar with this world), what is the reason you’re not using something that somebody else has built?
Do the existing solutions lack certain features that you would like to see to analyze your data?
Do the existing solutions lack integrations with services that have personal data you care about?
Are you concerned with other products having your personal data?
Are you building the application yourself because you’re a builder and enjoy the process?
In addition, I would repeat what i mentioned in this separate post as it applies here as well:
I think many people in this QS community have cobbled together similar solutions that work for them including myself. From a solution standpoint, the big hurdle used to be the knowledge and skills to actually build something. But with the current batch of self-service analytics tools from the major tech companies, those hurdles are no longer there. This is to say that the value proposition has to be much more than solving the problem of data integration, analysis and visualization.
Important question @thefedoration, I am also asking myself this question. I have rapidly searched for existing tools for quantself data aggregation in the past and the main blockers for me are that:
1/ they seem highly opinionated and aren’t flexible enough for building custom metrics. I find many of the “out-of-the-box” metrics out there to be meaningless (number of steps, etc.). I want an aggregator allowing me to manipulate the “raw” data from services like RescueTime to build meaningful metrics to me. Each of us will have different meaningful metrics and defining them requires experimentation and thought. I suspect there is little economic incentive to building such a flexible tool as it might be “too complicated” for the typical user. I still believe that it is indeed possible to create a tool that is both highly flexible yet accessible to the occasional user, and that is the guiding principle driving me in the time I spend designing my custom solution. I think the problem is fundamentally a “UX Design” one.
2/ I feel uncomfortable in sharing my personal (and on top of that aggregated) data with yet another company
Interesting point @Sergio. But from a personal standpoint, if I find a product that did solve for me the problem of data integration and visualization to my satisfaction that would be a big value proposition sufficient for me to invest in it.
It would be interesting to have a post summarizing the main aggregator tools, what they do well and what their drawbacks are. Do you know of any posts on this forum or outside that does that ? we could maybe use this thread to build this summary ?
I wouldn’t say any of these platforms have drawbacks per se, but they do have different features and visions of what a quantified self aggregator is, and how their users interact with their data through it.
@ekerstein I agree with your definition. Regarding the spreadsheet, I would add the “Software Integration” section (for things like RescueTime) as well as “Data Privacy” (still thinking about how to segment it into relevant Y/N categories).
I think it would also be useful to have an additional sheet per product regrouping links to qualitative evaluations of users (found on this forum, the web or directly added on the spreadsheet)