Analytics Need to be Actionable

We live in an interesting world. Everything we own is connected to the internet. Your watch is online. Your thermostat is online. Your home scale is even online. They all provide some kind of data or analytics about some aspect of your life.

The problem is that most of the analytics that these services provide are pretty useless. So i took less steps today then I was supposed to.  So what? What does that mean to me?  So, my app got more downloads today than yesterday.  So what?  Why did it get more downloads?

Analytics need to be actionable. You can’t just provide me with a data point.  You need to do some sort of analysis based on that data point and make a recommendation about how you want me to change my life going forward.

I’d love a pedometer that figured out based on my the trajectory of my activity if I’d hit my goal.  If it looked like I wasn’t, it should prompt me to get off my ass.

Let’s make this happen.

What data do you consume that’s relatively meaningless?

My Process for Reading & Sharing Content Online

I have a myriad of online sources that I consume on a daily basis. If you look at my iPhone, it’s all apps to read stuff.  Once I find something I like, I share it via social media and my email list.  I thought I’d share my process.


Everyday I’ll keep an eye on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.  Often, someone will share a link that’s interesting.  If it’s something that takes a while to read, I’ll save it to “read it later app” Instapaper.

I’ll also read the New York Times, BuzzFeed, TechMeme, and my RSS feeds in Digg, along with the Digg home page.  Again, if I find interesting articles that I can’t quickly consume, I’ll save them to Instapaper.

Once the kid goes to bed and any chores are done around the house, I’ll plop down with a glass of red wine or a beer.  As I unwind, I’ll plow through my Instapaper queue.

Sharing Via Social Media

I really like sharing to all the different social networks and I like getting stats about what stories people click on it.  Buffer has been filling this need nicely.  Plus, it takes the articles that I find and it drips them out over the course of the day.  It makes me look smart all day long versus in short bursts, which is how often I’m reading.

Sharing Via Email

To pull together links for my email list, I’ve created a folder within Instapaper.  When I think an article would be of enough interest to stick in someone’s inbox, I share it to that folder.  When that folder hits critical mass, I start a new email to Justin’s List, which I write with MailChimp.

So, what’s your process for consuming and sharing content online?