Tag Archives: Chris Dancy

The future of quantifying our memories

The short answer to the quantifying our memories: a new app called Compass.

But first, let me explore how I got there.

This week, I’m taking my weekly writeup in a different direction (no pun intended.) A few of my recent quantified self experiments are simply requiring more time and data to evolve. I am still tracking my coffee intake before working out, and now I’m starting to gather more Moves data from those actual workouts. I can begin to see new conclusions forming, but am still stuck with a small sample size.

This limbo phase inspired me, however, to reflect to a time earlier this year before I had all the new tracking apps on my iPhone 6 upgrade. How else have I conducted my own quantified self experiments? What old data can I uncover?

Then it hit me: I have actually been tracking my travels for years. Thanks to Facebook.

I know this isn’t some revolutionary “light bulb moment” here. The majority of us are already aware of Facebook Places. Past check-ins and geotags on photos are aggregated into this data map below and you can sort your places by most recently visited and cities as a whole.

But today for the first time I viewed my destinations in a quantified self lens. Here are a couple of conclusions I easily arrived at: there are still so many cities in the U.S. I want to see and OH YEAH, I need to travel out of the country!

This is literally the entire world I’ve explored with my own eyes. I don’t even have a passport. But onto my next point…

The other cool feature of Facebook Places is if you hover over one of these data points, it pops up photos taken from that city. For example:



So this begged the question: Where can we go from here with this data? It’s nice and heartwarming to revisit memories from places we visit, but then what?

That question triggered what I believe may be the answer: a new app coming out called Compass.

This is not some paid promotion. I am genuinely excited about this app and was introduced to it by the creator of Compass himself, Chris Dancy.

He spoke at the QS conference in San Francisco this summer and first established his overall philosophy to design with compassion. Dancy then presented Compass, the way to carry out his positive intention.

One key feature of the app, as it contrasts to Facebook up above, is that Compass shows us our memories in combination with a visualization of our data (see: above.) These photos may come with small reminders to keep us focused on a goal or even a behavior it automatically detects from us (see: the bottom left photo below.)

The result is Compass as a guide —  a friend — there to motivate us and help improve our wellness along the way.

I signed up as an Alpha tester soon after the conference and was able to experience the app first hand. Right off the bat, Compass was the most beautifully designed interface I have seen to date for a QS tracker.

You can view your entire day with a quick spin of the compass. You can view the breakdown your daily activities there, or in a timeline manner below. After a few days, Compass even began to predict my activities later in the day; for instance, an idea of what time I would be home for the night.

In my one month trial, I noted a few differences in my own personal behavior. I was exploring the Bay Area at the time and was even more alert to document my day with photos, specifically to see it in Compass. That spark alone is exciting enough to imagine the data it opens up (plus, I can be a nostalgic sap sometimes :))

It was clear that within days of getting settled with the app, Compass has the promise to be the one-stop app to track all things health, activity, wellness, and memories — and connect them all together.

For now, you can head over to existence.io to view more of the pretty display, understand the Compass philosophy even more, and sign up to be an Alpha tester yourself!

“Your behavior is the new device.” — Chris Dancy (@servicesphere) at the QS15 Conference, San Francisco


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