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From MIT’s blackjack team to the quantified self: Jeff Ma’s new startup TenXer | VentureBeat

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Interesting guy.

I'm skeptical.

"The self-quantification movement is enormous. For example, Stephen Wolfram counts everything: keystrokes, email, phone calls, and meetings. Fitbit, Jawbone Up, Nike+, and a host of other devices and system purport to tell you how many steps you’ve taken, how many calories you’ve burned, and how well you’re sleeping. The goal in most cases: self-improvement."

All these products promise a lot but deliver very little.

Nothing life changing yet.

I think you and I agree on the facts but differ greatly in perspective here.

In my mind the current state of the self-quantification movement is developing tools to help people who are already disciplined be more disciplined.

I don't think they are much use to people who are not already truly committed to their desired goals.

I look at these like a scientific calculator: in the right hands it provides the leverage to do incredible things and do them more quickly than you thought possible. However if you do not have a grasp of even basic math, let alone the advanced formulas and functions, it is little more than a paperweight that requires batteries.

Nike sneakers can make running much more comfortable and pleasurable. However people who truly have no desire to go running should not be disappointed that the shoes did not go running for them.

Soon, between everywhere/always-on devices like smartphones and gamification, motivation tricks, etc we may start to get self-quantification to be more useful to more people. But in the end if people just want a seamless magic pill this is far too cerebral and not visceral/emotional enough to *ever* cause change in the vast majority of people. That's just not how humans work.

Okay, that makes a lot of sense.

There's a group of people who are already manually measuring things.

These quantified self tools just help them do it in a more organized (or automated) fashion.

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