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Where Was I?

I’ve been really enjoying using the Moves app recently as a way to monitor my day-to-day movement but last night I was pointed to a companion service called “move-o-scope” which uses your moves data to give you a visualisation on a map of where you’re spending your time. Very cool. The image represents where I’ve spent my time in London the past three weeks (the time which I’ve been using Moves). The colour key is:

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On the site — and no I won’t be sharing the URL with you (can’t have you following me around) — you can interactively choose dates, drill into locations, etc. Very well done. 🙂

Punk-ass Alternative Stew

My musical inspiration for today. A rough yet melodic punk, post-punk, and alternative melting pot of goodness. I’m fired up, if you’re not check your pulse … might be bad news.

If this was of any interest to you check out this playlist I created:

Debt/Capital Markets Broken?

A lot of the progress of the last 300 years is a direct result of the debt markets that have sprung up to help capital flow into the hands of those innovators who need it. Watching Apple’s announcement yesterday about a slowdown turn into a media circus is on one hand not surprising and yet quite alarming in implications. If you are a top company these days, your “success” is not based on building a successfully profitable business but by exponentially growing. That Apple, at its size, can not achieve exponential growth is not only not surprising, it is completely unsustainable. If they did continue it, it would mean we’d all work for Apple in a few years. On a more serious note, it would mean a huge reduction in vibrancy in the overall marketplace where the casualties would be thousands of small to medium sized businesses no one has heard of.

I am eager to see if we don’t start to see a movement toward a post-debt market economy. It won’t come easily or quickly as its too ingrained and supported by existing capital interests but at the same time the roots of this change are starting to take shape already:

  • Cost. The cost of innovation has been decreasing steadily for decades; a tech solution 10 years ago that cost millions could be done by a few kids in their basement with an investment of mainly just time
  • Sourcing pool. The intellectual capability to drive the ideas behind innovation can now be sourced across the world, increasing the competition amongst innovators exponentially.
  • Competitiveness. Any two companies which offer the same solution where one of the two carries significant debt; the company without the debt load will have a substantial advantage … the debt bearer will not just have the cost of servicing the debt but also the cost of unrealistic expectations from investors which inevitably results in a less compelling product to the consumer.
  • Pricing power. Brand value will likely continue to increase margins for those who have it but with less impact. This will be happen as consumers are able to gain easy visibility into products, their composition, their customer’s satisfaction with those products, and ultimately the real variation between competitors becomes transparent (aka, making more and more things “commodities”).

At some point in this cycle, as Entrepeneurs and consumers alike start to notice this change and accept a more bootstrapped route to market as not just normal but desirable then the margins in investing in companies will decrease and quickly you’ll see investment money having a hard time trying to find margins. This in turn will see a lot of the investment pools shrink which will fold back into the trend away from debt-originated entrepeneurship.

I don’t see debt markets ever going away but I think the peak of their influence may be near. In the mean time I’ve got some Apple stock to sell.

Withings bought by Nokia

I have used Withings products for years and really like them for the ease of data that they bring me. The Withings scale I use every day and the blood pressure tool I use from time to time (my blood pressure just ain’t that exciting but it’s good to make sure I stay within bounds). Anyway, today they’ve announced that Nokia has purchased them. Hopefully this means more capital and better products but with mergers you never really do know and it’s not like Nokia is the high-flying company it used to be 10 years ago. Well here’s to hoping. Fingers crossed.

Glucose and Sleep

I’ve was surprised and then excited to understand how important my glucose levels relate to cognitive focus and overall energy level. Low glucose is an important way to lower cardiovascular, cancer, and dimentia risk but these lofty long term aspirations don’t help one build a pattern of measuring and changing behaviour. To change behaviour it’s the short term feedback loops like “how do I feel right now”, “how productive am I being”, even “am I loosing weight” and “how is my athletic performance effecting my sense of wellbeing?”. All of these short term questions are related to your glucose levels too and provide a basis for establishing the motivation needed for change. Better yet, it’s a variable that you can have an immediate and long lasting impact on without too much effort.

For me the control of glucose levels has come through diet and to a lessor degree exercise. Over the past three years I have learned to manage this marker to an optimal level and whenever I slip up a little I can see the impact immediately in both my glucometer and in how I feel. Recently, however, I have hit a patch of “volatility” which I’m not used to and am wondering if I should try to look at sleep as a variable in this game too.

To me food, exercise, and sleep are the holy trinity when it comes to bio-hacking. Why not look at sleep? For me the reason for delaying comes down to a few factors:

  • I get to bed easily, I can sleep without interruption, sleep duration is simply a function of how much time I can afford to sleep … aka, why fix something that isn’t broken?
  • My success in diet and exercise felt like I was comfortably achieving my optimisation goals
  • I always theorised (i.e., guessed) that this was the least influential of the three major variables

That said, I’ve always been intellectually interested in knowing more about sleep. How much do I need? How important is regularity in duration and to-bed timing? Intellectual interest alone, however, has it’s limits in terms of prioritisation and effectiveness.

So will my new found motivation to track sleep result in bahaviour change?  We’ll see but I’ve done two things to improve my chances:

  • Google research has convinced me that — medically speaking — there is a clear association between glucose and sleep:
    • the body’s reaction to sleep loss can resemble insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. Insulin’s job is to help the body use glucose for energy. In insulin resistance, cells fail to use the hormone efficiently, resulting in high blood sugar.

    • Short or long sleep durations were associated with higher A1C levels, regardless of physical activity, diet, obesity, or depressive symptoms. – See more at: link

  • I have bought a better sleep sensor to track my sleep

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The Beddit sensor attaches to your bed and it uses movement, heart-rate and your phone’s microphone to track your sleep characteristics. So far I’m happy with the device as it “just works” without needing to press buttons, strap on equipment, etc. The data it produces is interesting and demonstrates yet again how your “gut feel” and “actuals” tend to vary quite a bit. In my limited testing so far, one aspect of my sleep that has been validated is that I am extremely irregular in when I go to bed and how much sleep I get.

So does it impact my glucose level? Stay tuned and you’ll find out.