Another cool feature of #spire: Sending weekly reports that compares your aggregates to others similar to you. Here’s mine from last week:
It was fun! I actually looked forward to doing it today!
As I said in yesterday’s #themartian takeaway, I felt like I had something significant to share after each chunk of the day. The experiment was to share just one short takeaway at the end of the day, which actually wasn’t supposed to be an exercise in constraint, but of abundance.
Of course, if I had more to share, there was no reason for me not to do a longer takeaway (which is something I might experiment with later) or to share multiple takeaways. If I felt shy about occupying extra screen time (which I do), I could have found other ways to share — a note on the E3 WhatsApp channel or on my Colearning Slack, even a tweet or *gasp* a blog post!
In a lot of ways, I did this experiment as a way to see if I could encourage others to start sharing. I feel like my muscles for sharing are strong, and they are, especially in comparison to others in my community. At the same time, I’ve been generally unhappy with the low frequency of my sharing over the past year. I’m trying to correct it by investing in higher-level narrative and storytelling and by writing more blogs, but there are lighter-weight things I could be doing that might be tremendously beneficial.
Of course, I already knew that, but I haven’t been acting into it. I confused muscle tone with strength, when the reality is that my sharing muscles have atrophied. Even though I do a lot of internal sharing on my different projects and in my different communities, I can be doing more and a better job of it. This experiment has been a surprising reminder in that.
- Ever since Genentech in 2010, I’ve experimented with video as a way of reporting out after and even during meetings.
It’s always worked well, and has even become a signature in some projects, but it’s never been a discipline, especially a personal one. I could try it on for a few weeks. Because these would involve other people, it might naturally help build other people’s muscles (and mindsets) around this as well, which is one of my goals.
- I could do an experiment around sharing a tweeted takeaway after every meeting or chunk of my day.
- I want to create an external guide for following / stalking me. There needs to be channels for different frequencies and levels of communication. Crafting a guide would not only help my engagement with others, but it would force me to develop an actual strategy. This would have ramifications for my projects as well, because this kind of thinking is useful for community engagement in general.
As I also mentioned on my video yesterday, this experiment has also been a surprising reminder to me of the importance of pausing, which was not the intent, but which I clearly need to strengthen.
I got no feedback the first two days of doing #themartian, either on the E3 WhatsApp or on my Colearning Slack. As usual, I just assumed my videos were going into the ether — no harm, no foul.
I posted my Day 3 video yesterday and suddenly started hearing from folks!
First, on Slack, one colleague shared this:
Love these @eekim! Now I have TWO end of day viewing rituals: Bob Reich’s “Resistance Report” and Eugene Kim’s “Takeaway”!
Later that evening, an E3 colleague noted how my takeaway reminded her of this Oatmeal comic that’s been going around.
This morning, on our E3 checkin call, another colleague referred to my videos and some ideas that they sparked.
Most surprisingly, a peer shared a comment on my YouTube channel this afternoon! I wasn’t expecting anyone to be following me there!
Folks are listening, even if I’m not necessarily aware of it. It’s gratifying and also a little nerve-wracking, as you don’t want to waste anyone’s time either. Still, I’m much more inclined to continue this experiment knowing that folks are listening. I’m particularly curious (and this is the main thing I’m tracking) to see if this inspires others to share takeaways more regularly in similar ways.
My first #spire experiment is complete. Here’s the data:
|Thu, Apr 27||Fri, Apr 28||Sat, Apr 29||Sun, Apr 30||Mon, May 1||Tue, May 2|
|Calm||80 / 21%||58 / 16%||65 / 33%||4 / 3%||100 / 42%||42 / 16%|
|Focus||169 / 45%||268 / 76%||99 / 50%||91 / 76%||78 / 33%||184 / 70%|
|Tense||130 / 34%||27 / 8%||33 / 17%||24 / 20%||60 / 25%||38 / 14%|
|Active||78 / 15%||28 / 5%||29 / 6%||12 / 15%||34 / 8%||44 / 9%|
|Sedentary||448 / 85%||567 / 95%||425 / 94%||67 / 85%||413 / 92%||442 / 91%|
No response from E3 WhatsApp. Just posted both videos today on my Colearning Slack. No response there either.
In order to post to Slack, I had to make the videos available on YouTube. I debated whether I was ready to go public with these yet or not, then decided it would be fine — nobody watches my YouTube channel anyway. It has changed my videos already, however. For example, I referred to Jodie and Alison in today’s video as “colleagues.”
My first day of the Spire was overall a surprisingly great experience. I didn’t feel it at all, and the data was interesting.
Overall, I averaged 16 breaths / minute, right at average for an adult male. Spire tracks five different kinds of activity / breathing:
- Calm (green)
- Focus (blue)
- Tense (orange)
- Active (yellow)
- Sedentary (gray)
My breakdown for the day is below:
You can see that I had large swaths of tense breathing today. Those correspond to one-on-one conversations — a combination of meetings, phone calls, and dinner with my sister. I enjoyed every one of those interactions, so what it tells me is that, when I’m talking, I’m taking short, tense breaths. I can understand how, after a day of meetings, I’m totally exhausted as a result. It’s a good indication that I need to be more conscious of how I breathe when I’m in conversation with others. This isn’t totally surprising to me, as I often get animated and intense when I talk, but seeing the actual data is always a completely different experience.
From the standpoint of my desired use of this tracker — as a way of tracking participant stress — if this pattern holds true for people in general, it pollutes the data, because it will always show tension when people are talking. That’s interesting data, but I’m interested in when folks are feeling stress versus other emotions. If I could isolate when people are not talking and see if folks are ever tense then, that would be useful, but it would require an additional data source. Maybe none of this matters for the purposes of facilitation. Still, something to note.
Otherwise, I was a calm, focused breather throughout the day as I worked — good news!
The notifications were definitely too noisy for me. If I have a streak of calm breathing, getting buzzed is counter-productive. I turned off notifications for calm and focused breathing, and left everything on. I do find it valuable to get buzzed if I’ve got a streak of tense breathing, as it’s a great reminder to pay attention and breathe.
When I have a large enough baseline, I’d definitely like to do some meditation experiments to see if it affects my overall ratio of calm versus tense breathing.
Got my Spire yesterday, charged it and started wearing it this morning. It feels totally unobtrusive, which surprised me, although I’m worried that it will slip off my pants. (I know a lot of folks who have lost Fitbits this way.)
Neither the iOS nor Android apps are highly rated. Configuring the app was relatively painless, but it took a while to detect the device. Will continue to monitor this.
Otherwise, it’s pretty easy to use. I have all the default notifications on right now, so it’s buzzed when I’ve had a good “calm” streak, for example. I will likely want to turn most, if not all of those notifications off, but I’m going to leave them on for the time being.
In Week 1, everyone tried to share a video, but only two were able to successfully, with one emailing an audio recording as a proxy.
In Week 2, two of us shared a video on our designated date, one sent one later, and two skipped.
As of today (almost three weeks after the experiment ended), only I have shared an extra video (a Kardashians wrap-up on the Monday after the experiment ended). We defined minimum success as at least one person sharing a video unprompted, so technically, this experiment succeeded.