The Financial Times had a fascinating piece this weekend about a new breed of entrepreneurs who are applying the same metrics-obsessed, data-driven approach to optimizing their start-ups to optimizing their bodies. These “self-quantifiers” seem to embody the credo best-satirized by Radiohead on their 1997:
Fitter, happier, more productive/comfortable, not drinking too much/regular exercise at the gym (3 days a week)/getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries/at ease/eating well/(no more microwave dinners and saturated fats)
There is at least one local devotee of the practice: Aviary co-founder and CCO Michael Galpert. In fact, not only is Mr. Galpert self-quantifying, he’s urging Aviary’s employees to quantify as well
The Times describes Mr. Galpert’s road to Damascus moment:
“Running a start-up, I’m always looking at numbers, always tracking how business is going,” he says. Page views, clicks and downloads, he tallies it all. “That’s under-the-hood information that you can only garner from analyzing different data points. So I started doing that with myself.”
His weight, exercise habits, caloric intake, sleep patterns—they’re all quantified and graphed like a quarterly revenue statement. And just as a business trims costs when profits dip, Galpert makes decisions about his day based on his personal analytics: too many calories coming from carbs? Say no to rice and bread at lunchtime. Not enough REM sleep? Reschedule that important business meeting for tomorrow.
Maybe the Singularity is coming sooner than Ray Kurzweil thought. The article also describes Mr. Galpert attempts to make converts at Aviary headquarters near Penn Station. Employees can use a mobile app to join a workplace weight loss and fitness contest that uploads daily weight and exercise routines into an shared online database that can be viewed by other employees. Mr. Galpert is convinced that physical competition will spill over into the professional arena:
“When you keep trying for one more push-up, it gets easier,” he says. “It’s the same at work. You can say ‘the project I’m working on is done,’ or you can say you’ll spend a little more time to make it better.”
This is either an ingenious motivational tool or a sure-fire away to speed-up turnover.