From data to your heart’s desire

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Isn’t that fantastic? 50,000 women have – voluntarily – got pregnant in the last 18 months with the help of an app! At least this is what fertility startup Ovuline‘s CEO Paris Wallace said this week.

The Ovia fertility app has been downloaded 300,000 times and users are adding 1 million data points every two and a half days. This makes Ovuline’s fertility panel the largest in the world.

In the big data world, the more data a company has about users, the more more accurately it can predict their behavior. In Ovuline’s case this means, the company helps to guide women through their pregnancy. Users of the app know when they’re fertile or, in the case of its new pregnancy and they get instant feedback (which is something many other quantified-self apps still fail to do). For instance, the app can tell a woman whether her specific ache is normal and what percentage of other women also have it during this phase of their pregnancy.

Many people, especially here in Germany, are wondering about any privacy implications of using quantified-self apps. My pretty simple  take on that is: as long as you are not personally affected; i.e. you talk about doing sth. ‘in theory’, you miss the case when stressing privacy concerns. If you are a woman with a strong desire to have a child, and you can choose between a long and strenuous fertility therapy, or using apps like Ovia, Glow, Clue or Kindara – you won’t think twice!

And fertility is just one use case of many. Not being able to get children is really bad, but being able to prevent the next heart attack is even more important. At this point, let me quote QS co-founder Gary Wolf: “Self-quantifying will become a social responsibility.”

Women using a fertility app act autonomously and do not wait for – or have to trust in – external support by some fertility therapies. The new paradigm of the Quantified Self is that the individual can act and change things herself. It enables human beings to care for themselves. For me, this is the most important aspect of QS.

The photo was made on a party with beautiful kids (and their parents).

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