Because of Google Glass, the Fitbit, Loseit and my current API design project for our Developer Relations team at SendGrid, I’m becoming more and more interested in the idea of quantified self + everything as an API + automated/intelligent systems. My latest blog post at SendGrid takes a practical look at the API piece of the puzzle.
Back in the days of my first funded startup, one of the ideas I was interested in was to create a Life 2.0 system, using technology to try and remove tasks that must be done, but we hate spending our time on, and then optimizing and enhancing the time spent on things we love to do. I got caught up too much on the implementation though, which at that time was going to be a custom Linux distro.
Today, using REST (or close enough) standards, I think a generic API can be created to mask the complexity of all the various data points in our lives, but allow for detailed customization on the client side. The idea first came in the form of developing a FoodID profile, but then evolved into an idea to create a generic ToDo/Task API. Using principles from Object Oriented design, I believe we can create some pretty cool experiences by drawing data from our quantified self (in aggregate with others, think of what 23andMe can do with the data they have) measurements, our likes/dislikes (and those of people we care most about, like family and friends) and goals to help guide our system. The keyword is “guide”, since the goal is not to turn us into automated robots … yet.
One last scenario to consider. This one came out of conversations with a mentor regarding a restaurant chain. Imagine if all(most) data about a given restaurant was discoverable via API. If I walked into such a restaurant, based on my current diet (e.g. Paleo), current status (e.g. calories already eaten, maybe the gym is next on my calendar) and recommendations from the restaurant owner and other customers with similar needs, I can be presented with custom tailored options. Or I can say, screw it, and choose “most delicious” as my option. But before I buy, I’m presented with other local options, perhaps a protein bar from GNC or a deal at the restaurant down the street.