Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Looking Down on Data

Nicholas Felton, creator of the Feltron Annual Report and founder of Daytum had a pretty interesting interview over at the SVA Interaction Design blog where he talks about his projects and general outlook on collecting data. One thing he said in particular stood out to me, as it paralells something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

“The first step — and the one we’re concentrating on — is empowering people to collect information about their lives that tends to go uncollected. Our electronic footprints are everywhere, but I don’t believe they’re necessarily the most interesting or comprehensive records. Once we’ve made the gathering as easy and detailed as it can be, some interesting things might start happening. I can imagine how counting fireflies over the summer would make a poetic record of the way the summer was spent for an individual, but if 100 or 1,000 people are doing the same thing, does it start to tell an aggregate story that speaks more to global warming or habitat loss?”

This ability of this aggregate data view to change behavior is something I’m totally fascinated by.

February 25, 2009