Personal Metrics Will Increase Your Performance


Some of you might know that some guys and I are building a watch to count laps for swimmers (www.lapview.com). Our small team at Lapview spends lots of time thinking about ways to measure information so athletes can improve performance.

Personal metrics makes me think of the android character “Data” from Star Trek (pictured above). Data could sense a person’s blood flow and breathing rate and determine if they were friend or foe. How cool would it be if we knew our bodies that well! For instance, we could provide warnings to ourselves if we were about to ‘make a decision under duress’ or if we showed the vital signs of ‘love at first sight’. Maybe I’m reaching, and maybe I’m not reaching.

Now more than ever before, we have the technology to track many facets of human action:

  • laps swum per day (lapview.com)
  • resting heart rate
  • maximum heart rate
  • ejection fraction
  • anaerobic threshold
  • VO2 max
  • lung capacity
  • respiratory rate
  • body temperatures
  • blood pressure
  • visual acuity
  • auditory acuity
  • glucose level
  • blood-alcohol level
  • hemoglobin level
  • HDL level
  • LDL level
  • liver enzyme level
  • body mass index
  • lean body mass
  • body fat percentage
  • basal metabolic rate
  • glycemic index
  • estrogen levels
  • testosterone levels
  • sperm count
  • menstrual cycle
  • caloric intake
  • hours slept (Sleeptracker)
  • calories burned per day (Bodybugg)
  • exercise duration
  • exercise intensity
  • lactate threshold
  • steps taken in day (pedometer)
  • miles run per day (Nike+)
  • hours sat per day
  • mood and stress
  • medication taken
  • hours worked
  • cigarettes smokes

Notice how many personal metrics we can measure, and how few products there are to measure these metrics. The marketplace is shockingly empty, even though we know that measurement improves performance. We know this because of the so-called Hawthorne Effect.

According to the Hawthorn Effect (or Observer Effect) people change their behavior often for the better when they are being observed. Personal metrics improve performance. YMCA found that their retention rate increased 10% when they recorded their members’ workout data. That is a huge difference in churn.

In summary, the tracking of personal metrics is revectoring technology innovation away from artificial reality and to physiological reality. Reality is more actionable and useful than artificial reality. I am personally very excited to be involved in this marketplace with Lapview.

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