Why you should come to the Quantified Self 2014?

Quantified Self Europe 2014, May 10-11

Everyone knows the Quantified Self is really starting to hit the mainstream now. I was lucky enough to go last year and had a great time learning all about different aspects being quantified. I even ended up on the national radio following this video.

Its quite an amazing conference/unconference. Lots of different angles and opinions. Lots of interesting people looking at many different sides of life. All with the belief in knowledge through numbers.

The community which surrounds the Quantified Self are passionate and so sharing friendly. I think this is what makes it very different from the eHealth and personal informatics sectors. It can seem a little quirky at first, but only in the same way BarCamp seemed a little quirky on paper. After attending and spending time with the QS community, I was inspired and setup Manchester Quantified Self group.

But I’ve only just scratched the surface… Trust the community to explain why you should go, on top of what I already said…

Our conferences are different than typical industry or business conference. They are community-driven events that we like to refer to as  “carefully curated unconferences”. All of our sessions and talks come from our conference attendees, which requires more hands-on work from our program staff. The end result is dynamic program that reflects the interest, insights, and experiences of our community.

Show & Tell Talks: These talks are personal first-person self-tracking stories. We ask speakers to present their tracking experiments with an emphasis on what they’ve learned. At previous conferences we’ve heard talks on tracking Parkinson’s disease, computer use, continuous heart rate, and other fascinating subjects.

Breakout Discussions: We also program breakout discussions, which are held concurrently with Show & Tell talks. The breakouts are group discussions about a particular topic related to Quantified Self. Each discussion topic is proposed and led by a conference attendee. Previous breakouts have touched on issues related to privacy, the “missing trackers”, DIY tracking, visualization design, the role of open data in the QS community, and many others.

Lunchtime Ignite Talks: After a healthy and delicious meal (lunch is provided for attendees) we encourage attendees to listen to six or eight rapid-fire Ignite talks from attendees. These talks are similar to our Show & Tell talks, but typically have a more light-weight and entertaining feel. A great example is this talk given by Mark Moschel on tracking rejection.

Office Hours: In addition to the talks and breakouts, we also encourage attendees to bring current projects, tools, or applications they’re working on. We provide space during a program session for them to interact with attendees and have one-on-one conversations with interested individuals . At previous conferences we’ve been delighted to see a wide range of concepts exposed during office hours such as art projects, new visualization methods, meet and greets with luminaries in the field, and new tool prototypes.

It very certain I’ll be back this year and hopefully have some more experiences and maybe somethings to show this time? Massive thanks to Rain by the way for actually introducing me to the Quantified Self ages ago. Before that I only knew of Personal informatics which in comparison seems so dull and boring.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

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