How made.com connects online and offline

Made.com has been around for a good few years and has made a name for itself by offering designer furniture online. However, I hadn’t realised that apart from their online platform, Made.com also have 2 showrooms (in London and in Yorkshire respectively). Keen to find out more about how Made.com combine a user’s online and offline experience, I went to their London showroom to see for myself:

  1. CloudTags – When you enter the Made.com showroom, you will see a stand stacked with white tablets (see Fig. 1 below). These devices enable you to scan individual items in the showroom. You can scan visual “Near Field Communication” (‘NFC’) tags on each item. Scanning these tags with your device will get you more information about a specific piece of furniture and create a list of items you’re interested in. Made.com can then email you the list, which enables you to do further research on the items that you’ve looked at (see Fig. 2 below). This also provides Made.com with valuable data on its users .
  2. Product discovery – I really liked the product pages that came up on the handheld device as I was scanning CloudTags on products. For example, when I scanned a “Landsdowne Upholstered Bedside Table”, I got a product page which was clear, visual and which encouraged me to look at similar products (see Fig. 3 below). From this product page, I found it really easy to look at the bedside table in different colours and to explore different products by type and collection respectively. Also, the email that I got from Made.com included both the item that I’d looked at as well as “recommended products” (i.e. other items in the Landsdowne collection).
  3. Don’t forget about the iBeacons – Based on my in-store selections, I expect Made.com to be able to build up a good profile of my furniture preferences. In addition, Made.com uses iBeacon technology in-store which, in combination with the tablets, generate data on e.g. customer dwell time. Made.com can then use this data to personalise its marketing and showroom merchandising strategies.

Main learning point: I really like how Made.com are combining the online and offline user experience. When you go in-store, their combined experience feels intuitive and seamless. I’m curious to see how Made.com will continue to build on this combination of online and offline touchpoints, and how it will use the data which it generates in the process.

 

Fig. 1 – Handheld tablets as used in made.com’s showrooms – Taken from: http://www.essentialretail.com/news/article/53be97c7361cb-in-pictures-madecom-showroom-trials-tablet-shopping-experience

Made_com using Cloudtags tablets in showroom 2

 

Fig. 2 – Screenshot of the email confirmation screen of Made’s tablet

IMG_2667

 

Fig. 3 – Screenshot of the Landsdowne bedside table on Made’s tablet

Made 2

 

Fig. 4 – Screenshot of the email I received from Made.com following my visit to their showroom

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Related links for further learning:

  1. http://www.made.com/about-us
  2. http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/07/10/madecom-attempts-connect-offline-and-online-store-product-scanning
  3. http://www.essentialretail.com/news/article/53be97c7361cb-in-pictures-madecom-showroom-trials-tablet-shopping-experience
  4. http://www.cloudtags.com/
  5. http://www.rfidjournal.com/articles/view?12024
  6. http://www.cityam.com/214513/intelligent-design

 

Site review: Carwow

“Be a happy car buyer” is what it says on the homepage of http://www.carwow.co.uk/. The promise here is that people will “Experience new car buying without any of the hassle or uncertainty”. Carwow’s proposition is effectively a reverse marketplace; enabling users to specify the car that they would like to buy and attracting offers based on their specifications. Once a user has specified things like a car’s make, model, features, etc. they receive offers directly from dealers.

Users can compare offers by price, location of the dealer, reviews by other users and what’s actually in stock, all done in a very transparent fashion. It’s then up to the buyer to decide whether to contact a dealer based on their offer, either by anonymous messaging through the Carwow platform or by giving the dealer a call. This all sounds very promising, let’s have a closer look at http://www.carwow.co.uk/ :

  1. How did this site come to my attention? – London-based Carwow recently secured additional funding in a Series A round, led by Balderton Capital. This bit of news drew my attention and I searched for Carwow’s site.
  2. My quick summary of the site (before using it) – I expect to be able to compare prices from different car dealers, and I expect to be able to read reviews of what other people think of a particular car.
  3. How does the site explain itself in the first minute? – I love the uncluttered design of Carwow’s homepage (see Fig. 1 below). Rather than trying to cram as much info as possible into prime real estate, Carwow has gone for a parallax design which works really nicely. The copy used on the first screen could be a tad more self-explanatory in my opinion. It currently says “Be a happy car buyer. Experience new car buying without any of the hassle or uncertainty”. However, it would be good to spell out the user benefits more clearly, outlining why people should be using Carwow over the tons of other car sites out there. I’ve drafted some alternative copy suggestions in Fig. 2 below.
  4. Getting started, what’s the process like (1)? – I start the process by clicking on the “Choose car” button (see Fig. 3 below). I then choose a make. Whilst doing this I was thrown slightly by the fact it also mentions “next choose a model”; I wasn’t sure whether I needed to click on this (it turned out to be non-clickable) or whether this was just a signpost, meant to give an indication of the next step (see Fig. 3 below). Indeed, once I’ve chosen a make (Toyota), I need to choose a model (see Fig. 4 below). I then select an engine (petrol or diesel) and a gearbox (automatic or manual), after which I’m presented with a screen through which I can indicate which models I’d like to receive offers for (see Fig. 5 below).
  5. Getting started, what’s the process like (2)? – After selecting the model that I’d like to receive offers for, I can then choose a colour and any additional features. I’m then presented with a recommended retail price (‘RRP’) (see Fig. 5 below). Perhaps a minor point, but I think it would be good if some of the abbreviations used throughout the process were explained or if there was an easy way for me to find out about things like ‘RRP’ and ‘MPG’. I can imagine that the average user of Carwow is familiar with these terms, but it would nevertheless be good to make the experience as intuitive and self-explanatory as possible. Finally, I enter my post code so that I can start receiving offers from local dealers (see Fig. 7 below).
  6. How easy to use was the site? – Very easy. ‘Assembling’ the car that I wanted to receive offers for was very quick and easy. I felt that the progress bar (showing the steps from model to compare offers) could be a little clearer and appear more consistently throughout the process. Apart from those minor things, I was clear on the process and its outcomes.
  7. How did I feel while exploring the site? – Soon after submitting my request for dealer offers, I got access to my personal Carwow dashboard (see Fig. 8 below). This, I felt, is the best bit of Carwow. With a clear design and just the right amount of information, it’s easy to view and compare the different dealers’ offers (see Fig. 9 below). I always find it very reassuring to see that there’s a customer support chat function, which I promptly used to ask some specific questions in relation to one of the offers (see Fig. 10 below). The only suggestion I’d make is to create a simple comparison table, which outlines and scores the different offers based on: customer feedback, service guarantee, discounts, delivery time, etc. That way, I could compare offers at a glance.
  8. How does this site compare to similar sites? – Most car broker and comparison sites don’t seem to be as user-centric as Carwow. One can see from the examples in Fig. 11-12 below that these sites purely enable to the customer to compare models or prices, but provide limited opportunity for the user to indicate features and other preferences. Dealer information is the other main aspect which seems lacking. Once I’ve compared models or prices, there doesn’t seem to be a way for me to access offers from local dealers or to get a sense of how reliable the different dealers are. In contrast, Carwow’s proposition is all about dealers “giving their best price on the cars you want” and “buying direct from a main UK dealer with reviews from previous buyers”.
  9. Did the site deliver on my expectations? – Yes, no doubt about it. Carwow provided a clear price comparison and useful dealer information. From the signup process to the offer comparison via the Carwow dashboard, it all felt very intuitive and transparent. The product person in me thought of some simple new features or improvements to add, but the site as is already delivers on its key promise: “Experience new car buying without any of the hassle or uncertainty”.

 Fig. 1 – Screenshot of the homepage on http://www.carwow.co.uk/ :

Carwow1

Fig. 2 – Suggestions for alternative copy regarding the key benefits of using Carwow:

“With Carwow, you decide what your dream car looks like (and what it costs)”

“Avoid having to haggle for your new car with the help of Carwow”

“The easiest and most transparent way of comparing car prices and features”

Fig. 3 – Choose a car and a make on Carwow:

Choose a car

Choose makeFig. 4 – Select a model. engine and gearbox on a Carwow:

Choose model

Choose model 2

 

Engine

Fig. 5 – Select a model that I want to receive offers for through Carwow:

Select a modelFig. 6 – Choose a colour and any extra features through Carwow, followed by a recommended retail price:

Colour

Options

Fig. 7 – Entering my post code on Carwow to receive offers from local dealers:

Post code

 

Send email

How it works 1

Fig. 8 – Screenshot of my Carwow dashboard with offers received:

Dashboard

Fig. 9 – Screenshot of “Offer A” received:

Offer A

Fig. 10 – Customer support chat on Carwow:

Customer support

Fig. 11 – Screenshot car comparison on http://www.whatcar.com/:

Whatcar

Fig. 12 – Screenshot of http://www.broker4cars.co.uk/:

Brokers

Fig. 13 – Screenshot of Carwow email:

Email

 

Related links for further learning:

  1. http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/23/carwow/
  2. http://techcrunch.com/2014/12/14/carwow-fuel-injection/
  3. http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/parallax-scrolling-1131762
  4. http://www.crunchbase.com/organization/carwow
  5. http://www.balderton.com/news/-zoopla-for-cars-carwow-raises-seed-investment-from-balderton-capital-alex-chesterman-598
  6. http://www.smarta.com/blog/2014/9/60-second-start-up-carwowcouk/
  7. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/01/11/young-entrepreneur-carwow-james-hind

Site review: Thread

Thread looks like the perfect site for fashionable men or those who perhaps want to become a bit more fashionable. It was founded by serial entrepreneur Kieran O’Neill who explained to GQ at the end of last year what Thread is all about: “what’s special is that you have access to the exact same stylists that celebrities or wealthy individuals have access to.”

Kieran then went on to explain that Thread wants users to build a long term relationship with their stylists. I decided to have a go for myself and see what I can to do improve my style:

  1. How did this site come to my attention? – A friend of my mine, who I know to be very fashionable, mentioned Thread to me.
  2. My quick summary of the site (before using it) – A style guide for men who want to find out about fashion & apparel online which (1) fits their personal style and (2) takes away the need to search in multiple places online.
  3. How does the app explain itself in the first minute? – Thread’s homepage states in bold letters: “Dress well without trying”. It then explains – in less bold letters – that one of Thread’s stylists can help you find clothes you’ll love, “all online and completely free”.
  4. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (1)? – First, I got asked the standard stuff like my gender, age and date of birth. Things got more interesting when I was asked to select a style that I was aiming for (see Fig. 1 below). Knowing that I could select as many styles as I wanted, I selected 5 different styles which I felt came closest to the look that I’m aiming for. The only downside was that when I wanted to go back and add a few more styles, I realised that there wasn’t a “back” button.
  5. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (2)? – I then had to give an indication of how much I usually spend on each item. Perhaps it’s just me, but I felt a tad confused by the term “usually”, especially since I sometimes a spend quite a lot of money on clothing (relatively speaking) and other times next to nothing. For example, I’m an addict for sneakers so my collection contains Nike Air Force 1s that weren’t that cheap as well as Converse All Stars which were very cheap in comparison. It might have been better to have been able to use budget ranges rather than a set price point when answering this question.
  6. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (3)? – The next step, selecting the brands that I wear, felt easy and intuitive (see Fig. 3 below). I picked a few brands and added a brand that wasn’t on the list. I was then asked to upload some photos of myself (see Fig. 4 below). Perhaps I had missed it when I first arrived on the site, but for me this was the first point where I started to understand where all the previous steps were taking me; enabling a dedicated stylist to provide me with recommendations tailored to my style and brand preferences. It wasn’t clear, however, from the explanatory text what would happen if I didn’t upload a picture of myself. Would the stylist recommendations be less good? Would the whole process come to a halt? It might be an idea to have an explanatory text which appears when a user hovers over the “Skip” button. The actual photo upload process from Facebook was very straightforward.
  7. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (4)? – Even though I had pressed “Done” after uploading my photos, I was nevertheless presented with another step: “What do you usually wear to work? Select by clicking on the pictures, and hit “Next Step” when done” (see Fig. 5 below). Perhaps others may well consider my next suggestion superfluous, but how about adding that one can select as many styles as they like? Not only would this be consistent with the copy used for previous steps but it would also work well with the scenario whereby men dress smart 4 days per week, apart from on ‘Casual Fridays’.
  8. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (5)? – Next, I was asked about the trouser fit that I prefer. To be honest, by this point I was starting to get a little bit restless. Nonetheless, I clicked on the trouser styles that I tend to wear most often (see Fig. 6 below). I then expected to be asked about the type of shirt fit I preferred. Instead, I was asked about the types of shoes that I prefer. I selected sandals/flip-flops and sneakers/trainers (see Fig. 7 below), followed by specific colours that I preferred (see Fig. 8 below).
  9. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (6)?  I felt I was getting close to the end when I was asked whether I was “open to trying more daring fashion styles?”. What!? Perhaps I was just getting a bit tired at this stage, but I was like: “are you telling me that my current fashion style isn’t daring enough!?” and “what does daring mean?” (I know guys for whom wearing a slim fit shirt takes them way out of their comfort zones but I also know guys who wear pink clothes like it’s nobody’s business – their interpretations of “daring” are likely to vary). I then realised that I was being a bit facetious, since a good stylist would be able to interpret what “daring” constitutes for each individual user, based on their input as part of the previous steps. Outcome: I dropped my initial thoughts, as they didn’t make sense!
  10. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (7)?  After I’d indicated which styles and products I’d never wear (see Fig. 10 below), I was then asked some check box questions which aimed to give Thread and its stylists a bit more context about me. Answering questions on the amount of style help I felt I needed and my reason for using Thread actually felt quite helpful (see Fig. 11 below). What I found most helpful when it came to selecting my sizes (see Fig. 12 below) was the ability to leave a comment on any specific requirements. For example, I left a comment in the text field to say that when I buy shirts, I sometimes buy them in size “small” and other times in size “medium”, depending on the make of the shirt (I assumed that the stylist would be able to work out that I’ve got funny shoulders from the pics that I uploaded earlier).
  11. Getting started, what’s the sign-up process like (8)?  I found the brief description of “How Thread works” (see Fig. 13 below) very helpful. Part of me was wondering whether some of the info in this description could have been peppered throughout the different onboarding steps. Doing so could in my opinion have helped to provide the user with a clear picture of the end goal. By this stage I was ready to get some good fashion advice and it was great that I could indicate to my stylist what I was looking for in my first outfit (see Fig. 14 below). Et voila, I was then presented with my personal stylist, Sophie Gaten (see Fig. 15 below).
  12. How easy to use was the site? – The signup process mostly felt easy and intuitive. As noted above, I felt that there were few points within the signup process where additional explanatory text could have been beneficial. Also, I believe it would be good if the site would provide with more opportunities to mention specific clothing requirements or issues. For example, I liked a recent F&F fashion campaign by social media agency We Are Social which allowed users to pose more specific styling enquiries or requirements.
  13. How did I feel while exploring the site? – Not sure if one can truly refer to the onboarding process as “exploring”, I guess that will come once I’ve received some specific recommendations from Sophie, my personal stylist. Having gone through all the steps of the signup process, I have some suggestions for potential improvements that Thread could consider in order to keep users fully engaged throughout the process (see Fig. 16 below).
  14. How does this app compare to similar sites? – As intuitive as I found Thread, I really struggled with a similar app in CoolGuy; I clicked on the icons for “My Closet” and “Outfits” but struggled to grasp what was expected of me or what the app was about. My first impression of Trunk Club, which promises similar things to Thread, was that this site wasn’t geared to people like me. Purely based on the imagery used, I got the sense that people wearing baggy Carhartt trousers and colourful sneakers, might not be well served by Trunk Club’s personal stylists. It would be good to see what the user experience on similar apps for women (e.g. My Shape Stylist and Blynk) is like.
  15. Did the app deliver on my expectations? – Overall, I was very happy with the signup process, even though it did feel lengthy at times. The proof is in the pudding, so I’m looking forward to Thread’s actual recommendations!

Fig. 1 – Signing up for Thread: Screenshot of “What kind of style are you aiming for? Select as many as you like”

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 21.19.13

 

Fig. 2 – Signing up for Thread: Screenshot of “How much do you usually spend? Select the amount you usually spend on each item”

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Fig. 3 – Signing up for Thread: screenshot of “What brands do you wear – Select as many as you like”

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Fig. 4 – Signing up for Thread: screenshot of “Upload photos of you”

 

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Fig. 5 – Signing up for Thread: screenshot of “What do you usually wear to work?”

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Fig. 6 – Signing up for Thread: screenshot of “Which trouser fits do you prefer?”

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 22.04.56

 

Fig. 7 – Signing up for Thread: screenshot of “Are there any of these shoe types you prefer?”

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 22.09.33

Fig. 8 – Signing up for Thread: screenshot of “Which colours can your stylist include in their recommendations?”

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 22.14.01

 

Fig. 9 – Signing up for Thread: “How open are you to trying more daring fashion styles?”

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 22.16.39

 

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Fig. 10 – Signing up for Thread: “Are there any of these styles you’d never consider wearing?”

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Fig. 11 – Signing up for Thread – Screenshot of “Tell us a couple things about yourself”

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 22.30.50

Fig. 12 – Signing up for thread – Screenshot of “Select your sizes”

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Fig. 13 – Signing up for Thread  – Screenshot of “How Thread Works”

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 22.37.23

Fig. 14 – Signing up for Thread – Screenshot of “Tell your stylist what you’re looking for your in your first outfits”

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Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 22.39.37

 

Fig. 15 – Signing up for Thread – Screenshot of my personal stylist

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Fig. 16 – Suggested improvements in relation to Thread’s signup

  • Ability for users to save their signup information and be able to come back to it later – There were quite a few steps to go through, which made me think that it would be good for users to feel comfortable abandoning the process halfway through, knowing that they can always come back to and edit their info.
  • Style summary at the end – I like having my style profile captured as part of my account info on Thread. However, it would be great if users could be presented with their profiles at the end of the signup process, prior to ‘submitting’ one’s profile. This way users will have the opportunity to edit any info before sending it over to Thread and their dedicated stylist.
  • Progress bar – Given the number of steps involved in the signup process, I’d suggest introducing a progress bar which gives users a sense of where they are in the process. During the signup process I felt at times  that I wasn’t sure when this process was ever going to end. It would be good if I could see a visual representation of the remaining steps and understand the consequences of skipping a step.

Related links for further learning:

  1. http://reviewify.co.uk/thread-free-personal-stylist-review/
  2. http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/style/articles/2014-01/02/kieran-oneill-thread-personal-stylist-website-for-men
  3. http://www.businessoffashion.com/2013/12/thread-kieran-oneill-offers-a-personal-stylist-for-every-shopper.html
  4. http://adamreynolds85.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/threadcom-shop-with-online-stylist-for.html

Electric Objects brings art from the Internet into your living room

I recently found out about Electronic Objects, “a computer made for art”. An Electric Object is effectively a wall-mounted device which comes without a mouse or a keyboard. It promises to bring “art from the Internet into your home”, and I can see that it will do exactly this:

  1. Designed for the home (1) – The problem that Electronic Objects are looking to solve is that of small devices not being great for properly experiencing art on the Internet. As Electronic Objects founder and CEO Jake Levine explained to TechCrunch recently: “The devices that we use to access the Internet (our tablets, our laptops, our phones, our computers), they’re designed not for contemplation, not to live in the background, not to be quiet or still, but to demand your attention and absorb you.” Reason why the Electric Object “01” is created in such way that users don’t have to worry about all the – utility and productivity related stuff – happening on their devices.
  2. Designed for the home (2) – In a recent Product Hunt podcast, Jake Levine mentioned how digital hasn’t yet made its full foray into people’s living rooms. There are products such as Nest which cater for the whole house or the kitchen, but the “Internet of Things” hasn’t quite made it into the living room yet. Electric Objects aims to provide a product which isn’t about utility but something that can become “a part of our lives fitting seamlessly into our familiar home and work environments” according to Jake Levine.
  3. Designed to fade away – On Electric Objects’ Kickstarter page it describes how the “01” has been designed to “fade away”, like a photograph or a painting. I like that the screen of Electric Objects 01 is effectively just a frame that you can stick onto your wall. There’s no keyboard, mouse or alerts, avatars, slideshows, feeds or docks. The frame is connect to your WiFi account, which means that you can directly control the artwork on the frame from your smartphone or any other device.

Main learning point: Electric Objects have created an exciting new product in this computer made for the display of art from the Internet. Their “01” computer is now available for pre-order and it will be interesting to see how many people will buy it to bring digital art into their living rooms. Separately, I’m keen to see how many product people and designers will start to concentrate more on the ‘living room’ as a place to create digital products for. Watch this space!

Fig. 1 – An Electric Object ‘in action’ – Taken from: http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/30/electric-objects-funding/ 

electric-objects

Fig. 2 – Electric Objects Founder and CTO in conversation with TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha – Taken from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLSPCqUuRM4

Related links for further linking:

  1. http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/30/electric-objects-funding/
  2. http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/08/electric-objects-launches-kickstarter-campaign-to-build-displays-for-digital-art/
  3. http://www.theverge.com/2014/7/8/5880371/electric-objects-digital-picture-frame
  4. http://thenextweb.com/creativity/2014/07/09/electronic-objects-eo1-frame-brings-internet-wall-near/
  5. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/electricobjects/electric-objects-a-computer-made-for-art

 

Ben Essen and The Quantified Self

The other day I heard a few people use the term “quantified self”. Through Wikipedia I learned that the quantified self stands for “a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person’s daily life in terms of inputs, states, and performance.” In other words, this is all about quantifying peoples’ lives and behaviours, thus being able to learn more about people and their different activities and needs.

Ben Essen, a London-based Creative Strategy Director, recently talked about the quantified self at this year’s SXSW in Austin. His talk was titled “Know Thyself. Self Actualization By Numbers” and these are the main things that I learnt from Ben’s presentation:

  1. Essen’s Hierarchy of Quantified Self – Similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Ben Essen has come up with his own “Essen’s Hierarchy of Quantified Self” (see Fig. 1 below). Ben’s hierarchy starts with “goal-progress” (e.g setting daily goals with apps such as Fitbit and Wello) and ends with the “Quantified Society” where everything is informed by our personal data. I like how Ben’s ‘pyramid’ moves from “insight” to “enhancement”, thus highlighting the changing role of personal data as one moves up along the hierarchy.
  2. Context-driven measurementMelon is a great example with regard to quantifying personal data within a specific context. For instance, with Melon you can track how focused you are when you’re working on your laptop compared to when you’re meditating (see Fig. 2 below). Ben refers to this as “lifestyle context”, which implies that your personal data are likely to vary dependent on your mood or the activity that you are doing. Another good example is Nest which home products are designed to learn from user behaviour. I’ve written a few posts on wearable devices and wearable trends to look out for.
  3. “The Human API” – Ben ultimately envisages a ‘Human API’ which encapsulates all your personal data, irrespective of the underlying data source (e.g. email, browse history, search, etc. – see Fig. 3 below). I’ve been trying to visualise an API of all my personal data (e.g. “went to a Danny Brown gig last month, purchased “The Mindful Leadership” on his Kindle and checked in with his Oyster in north London this morning”) and how a brand or other 3rd party would tap into this data set. This concept provides both opportunities (e.g. fully personalised experiences) as well as risks (e.g what happens if my Human API falls into the wrong hands?).
  4. Connecting data sets and devices – I strongly believe that the next frontier in digital development is the connection of different devices and the connection of a user’s various data sets. The possibilities are endless, but I reckon it will take a while to properly connect personal devices and data, thus creating a ‘personal platform API’ similar to the “Human API”, as mentioned by Ben in his talk at SXSW.
  5. Data shouldn’t replace our intuition – I personally prefer using the term “data informed” over the more common “data driven” since I feel that there are some strong limitations to a purely data-driven approach (I’ve blogged about these constraints previously). In his talk, Ben stressed the importance of understanding and interpreting personal data and using data as a source for decision making. However, Ben was keen to stress that “self-tracking must feed our intuition. Not replace it.”

Main learning point: Ben Essen has got a lot of interesting and thought-provoking insights around the topic of the “quantified self”. We are moving steadily in the direction of a society where a lot our behaviours, mood states and activities can or have already been quantified. The idea of a quantified self and a “Human API” will in my opinion truly materialise once we all get smarter about how we connect different devices and data sets. In the meantime, I suggest looking into some of Ben’s observations and reservations around self-tracking and have a think about about how we can move up “Essen’s Hierarchy of Quantified Self”.

Fig. 1 – Essen’s Hierarchy of Quantified Self (taken from: http://www.slideshare.net/benessen/knowthyself-sxsw-benessen) Essen's hierarchy if qs Fig. 2 – Melon Kickstarter video (taken from: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/806146824/melon-a-headband-and-mobile-app-to-measure-your-fo)

Fig. 3 – The Human Api by Ben Essen (taken from: http://www.slideshare.net/benessen/knowthyself-sxsw-benessen) The Human API

Related links for further learning:

  1. http://www.slideshare.net/benessen/knowthyself-sxsw-benessen
  2. http://www.wired.com/insights/2013/11/the-human-api-dont-forget-the-people-for-the-program/
  3. http://gigaom.com/2013/06/17/startup-human-api-wants-to-bring-quantified-self-data-into-the-mainstream/
  4. http://blog.programmableweb.com/2013/07/02/the-quantified-self-growing-interest-in-apis-to-manage-personal-data/
  5. http://quantifiedself.com/2011/09/robin-barooah-i-am-broken-or-i-can-learn/
  6. http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240212466/Google-bets-on-internet-of-things-with-Nest-acquistion
  7. http://quantifiedself.com/2012/12/get-your-mood-on-part-1/
  8. http://www.digitalmcgyver.com/personal/gadgets/moves-app-great-for-life-logging-worthless-for-quantified-self/
  9. http://www.slideshare.net/mark_pdx/mark-leavitt-using-data-to-hack-my-habits-and-whip-up-my-willpower-show-and-tell-for-qs-europe-may-2013