Sharing Goods And Sharing Data: Both Is Fun, Big Business And A Social Responsibility

Around 2010, Lisa Gansky coined the term Sharing Economy, or Mesh companies, offering their customers efficient shared access to their products instead of selling their products to them. Recently, it’s being called Collaborative Consumption or Collaborative Economy. It’s all about finding ways to make better use of valuable resources that have remained unused. Convenient access is being made affordable to people who can’t afford different products, or simply don’t need to own those products since they would only use them infrequently.

Typical mesh businesses like AirBnB, LendingClub or Cookening, demonstrate the power of sharing in very different ways: AirBnB is on the way to pass Hilton as the world’s largest hotelier in 2015, that is 7 years after its inception. The US peer-to-peer lending company Lending Club has originated over 4 billion USD in loans – it was originally founded as a Facebook app in 2006. The typical Mesh business runs a stylish app with a high usability. It’s service is new, easy to use and affordable. But all that does not fully explain the tremendous speed they conquer one market after the other. Who is the driver behind the Sharing Economy and it’s success?

It’s the user.
It’s the user. The user offers and asks for private overnight stays on AirBnB, the user provides and lends money on LendingClub. Even with services like Zipcar, when the product is provided by a company, the user „uses“ a product instead of buying and owning it. He has to rely on other users‘ good maintenance of Zipcars, since if there were too many ‚abusers‘ the company had to raise rates and the product would become unaffordable for most people. The same is true for AirBnB and others: users have to be sure that landlords don’t sell cubbyholes to them, whereas – vice versa – landlords have to trust their guests not to steal the TV or destroy the flat. So, the user has to use the service and she has to behave in an orderly manner – this is the foundation for a properly working and successful Sharing Economy.

The Sharing Economy

Image: The Sharing Economy, Latitude

Now let’s adopt the principles of the Sharing Economy to the individual who shares her statuses with her social graph on Facebook, discusses the latest news on Twitter and shares her preferred fashion designs on Pinterest. She dos it because she wants to express herself and she wants to communicate with a wider circle of friends than she can meet in person. She communicates in both, synchronous and asynchronous ways. She has learnt that the more she adds to discussions, the more she gets in return. In Social Media, she experiences the Pay-it-Forward principle in action at its best.

Sharing Economy has attained full age in 2014
Let’s assume we can all agree on that: communication openly and actively, sharing ideas, opinions, homes, cars, money and much more with others is not an extravagant imagination of Utopia, Inc., but a multi-billion dollar business eclipsing traditional business models around the world. Furthermore, it’s not just a gigantic business but a sympathetic and friendly way of matching supply and demand of individuals. Who wouldn’t prefer an individually furnished private home over a standard hotel room?

If we agree on the power of sharing the above mentioned martial and immaterial goods, can we also agree on the power of sharing data? Our data? Our own body’s data? Can we agree on the tremendously positive and socially relevant effects of sharing the data we produce ourselves, day by day? If you own a smartphone (you most probably will), you produce about 20 MB of smartphone data (i.e. data racked with your smartphone’s sensors) each day. Perhaps you haven’t been aware of that fact, or you just didn’t know how relevant this data could be for yourself, and for your social graph, respectively. Do you know how much you move each day? The U.S. Surgeon General wants you to move at least 10,000 steps a day to prevent and decrease overweight and obesity. (It’s very easy to know your steps: just get yourself one of those fitness trackers.)

And, did you know that your Vitamin D level is one of the key drivers of your well-being? Most North Americans, North and Central Europeans suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency. Do you actually know your Vitamin D level? Do you know that you can find it out yourself?

Let’s get more complex regarding data: microbes in the human body are responsible for how we digest food and synthesize vitamins, our overall health and metabolic disorders. The aggregate of microbes is called microbiome. Do you have any idea about your individual microbiome? Do you know that you can find out about your microbiome yourself, by using a simple kit?

Sharing Data still in its infancy, but…
So far, we have talked about the relevance and value of our data for ourselves. But – weren’t you interested in preventing your first stroke because thousands of other men at your age have provided their heart and respiratory rates anonymously and based on the analysis of this data you had been warned early enough to take appropriate action?

Wouldn’t you agree that the Pay-it-Forward principle works perfectly in the field of personal body data? The difference to the AirBnB model is that you provide your body data anonymously. It will be aggregated and used in a way that nobody knows that’s you behind your data. Since data analysis and respective actions or recommendations rely on big data, it’s necessary that many people participate and share their own data.

… will become a Social Responsibility in 2017
Today, in late summer of 2014, many people are sceptical and hesitate to provide their data. We think that personal body data sharing will be regarded as quite normal within a few years. If this movement takes up the same speed as the Sharing (Goods) Economy, it will be accepted as „normal“ within 2-3 years. We believe, that data sharing will become a social responsibility, comparable to fasten one’s seat belt or wearing a bike helmet. It probably won’t be called data sharing since this is a B2B term. There already is a very good term  – the Quantified Self, or QS. The term itself does not include the sharing element. But for every active members of the QS movement sharing is a relevant part of the quantification process because the value of an individual’s data is even bigger if used for general purposes.

We regard data sharing – our Quantified Self – as one of the most important movements of modern times and we would love to know how you think about it: please comment, provide us with your feedback: do you already share your data? How do you do it? Or, are you still sceptical?

Feature Image: Max Gotzler of Biotrakr, presenting findings of a Testosterone study at #QSEU14

Global Sleep Patterns

Sleep is one of the most interesting aspects of life: during sleep we don’t act consciously (apart from a few natural processes inside our body) and therefore some people try to minimize sleep to get most out of their lives. Others maximize their sleep: for them sleep simply is the greatest activity they could think of. The Quantified Self folks try to optimize their sleep; i.e. to maximize their sound sleep phases and minimize light sleep and times of being awake.

The guys from Jawbone looked at their UP band user’s sleep data and could provide us with this interesting global sleep pattern. Since Jawbone’s data are more detailed and accurate than the American Time Use Survey, this view on the different sleep patterns provides great insights in how inhabitants of cities behave, or how active a city is, seen as a whole. The average hours of sleep shown in the feature visual above do not include time awake in bed.

Science tells us that we should sleep between 7 to 8 hours per night and we should sleep during the same cycles in order to maximize recovery and relaxation from our daily routines. Now look at people living in Tokyo: with 5h 44min they sleep least, whereas Melburnians (yes, without the „o“) sleep most with 6h 58min – which is just the bottom end of the recommended length. Again Australians, this time the folks in Brisbane, go to bead earliest, at 10.57pm. The night-owls in Moscow hit the pillow almost 2 hours later, at 12:46am. But Muscovites (rise latest at 8:08am) sleep only 29 min less than the Brisbanian who raise at 6:29am.

sleep cycle

Image: The author’s sleep pattern on August, 19 – provided by the Jawbone UP app

How about you? Do you know how long you sleep? Do you know about the quality of your sleep?

Above, you see a snapshot of my own sleep: On August, 19, I had 5h 22min of sound sleep and 1h 52min of light sleep – which is a pretty good ratio. I reached my goal of 7 hours of sleep as well, which is partially due to the fact that we are in the middle of school vacation and there is no need to mange kids in the mornings. So, don’t worry if your sleep looks less sound – I wake 1 time every 3-4 nights.

The most relevant criteria defining my personal sleep are
– duration
– cycle; i.e do I go to bed and rise at roughly the same times?
– alcohol input
– time without staring at a display before going to bed
– general family mood during the evening

I’d love to know about your experiences with your sleep. Do you track? What makes you sleep sound or light, short or long?

The social relevance of the explore app guides – The Datarella Interview

Today, we speak with Michael Reuter (KMR), Co-founder of Datarella, about the social relevance of the explore app guides.

Q
At Datarella, you offer different programs your users can participate in. Can you elaborate on the meaning behind these programs?

KMR
With our explore app, we provide a useful free tool for smartphone users to optimize their lives. There is a broad range of specific life situations in which the explore programs provide valuable and sustainable benefits. From lifestyle oriented programs as SMILE!, our guide to learn how to smile in 5 days, to specific health programs as our OsteoGuide which supports users suffering from Osteoporosis – we provide a broad range of programs. The most important aspect for Datarella is to always provide real benefits to our users: it’s not about technology, it’s about the social relevance of technology, its immediate impact on the user.

Q
Could you describe one of those programs and its impacts on your users in more detail?

KMR
Sure! Let’s take the OsteoGuide: in countries with populations with median ages of 45 and older, Osteoporosis has become a widespread disease. People suffer from Vitamin D shortage, move less and less during the day and, as a result, their bone structure becomes more fragile. If Osteoporosis is analyzed at an early stage it’s curable in most cases. To cure a patient from Osteoporosis you have to help her to regulate her Vitamin D level and to move more; i.e. to change her behavior: the patient should use the staircase instead of the escalator, or walk or go by bike instead of using the car or a taxi.

A change of human behavior is one of the toughest challenges you can think of. Ask yourself: how easy is it for you to quit smoking, stop taking the extra bar of chocolate, etc. The best method to support people in changing their behaviors is to provide them with instant feedback of their behavior and to give regular counsel in terms of notifications and recommendations. With the explore app and our programs, we cover these aspects perfectly. We accompany our users during a certain period of time and help them to change their behavior to the better, step by step, day by day. In case of the OsteoGuide, we cooperate with Prof. Dr. med. Reiner Bartl of the Bayerisches Osteoporosezentrum, an acknowleged expert in the field of Osteoporosis.

Q
That sounds fascinating: you say that people in need of medical care can get rid of their diseases by using the explore app?

KMR
To be very clear: the explore app cannot fully compensate a medical treatment. And Datarella is not a team of health professionals. We have to join forces with experts like Prof. Bartl to provide our share of a solution for a patient. But, in many cases, medication can only applied successfully if the patient herself contributes to her well-being. And, in most cases, this means that she has to change her behavior. We have string evidence that the explore app programs are perfect tools to achieve this goal.

Q
You mentioned that the explore programs are free. Where is your business model?

KMR
Yes, every smartphone user can download the explore app and apply for any of the explore programs. It’s free to participate on the basic program level which includes, tasks, notifications and recommendations during the complete program. If a user wants more, e.g. if she is looking for a personalized individual coaching, she would have to subscribe to the premium version of the corresponding program. With the premium version she would also get tasks, notifications and recommendations, but on an personalized level, customized to her individual needs. This coaching approach is mostly sought-after by users who must change their behavior in order to achieve a satisfying level of personal well-being. And if behavior change is a must, then you’ll look for the easiest way to reach your goal. The explore app programs fit very well into that requirement since the user will be coached in a soft, but equally demanding and rewarding way.

Q
Thank you very much for these insights!