Correlation is a powerful tool, so use it wildly
Last week me and Niklas spoke at Tech Open Air in Berlin. One of the topics we covered was making meaning of data, and this is an excerpt from that talk.
At Hoa’s Tool Shop we’re huge fans of tracking our daily lives. We use scales from Withings to measure our weights, readmill to track our reading habits, mappiness to monitor our feelings, nike plus to measure our exercises. Niklas even measures his blood pressure with a Withings device and his iPhone.
Well, we gather a lot of data and we’re not the only ones, most of these services have millions of users.
But, data is still just data. We quite often talk about the importance of actually making meaning of data, because data is only interesting when it’s put into a context. All of these services have their own way of visualizing it, but the real magic happens when you start to look at them together.
I started to correlate the data from Nike Fuelband (a pedometer for hipsters), with Twitter, and data from our own tool Viary (which is like Runkeeper for work related behaviors). A common excuse for not working out used to be that I was too swamped at work, there was simply no time.
But looking at the actual data told me the opposite: the days when I scored a lot Fuels on the Fuelband, was the same days that I tweeted the most, and performed best at work. This may not be relevant in a scientific way, but it’s still interesting to me.
It turns out the working out wasn’t stealing time from me, it was giving me more.
Correlating data from different sources is a very powerful tool, not only in personal development, but also when it comes to developing your product. In order to understand why things are working, or not working, you may have to look beyond your own product och data and look at the bigger picture.
Photo was taken by startup queen Paula Marttila.