Los Angeles, CA — People think the great debate of this decade is about privacy – what we want other people and companies to know about us. I disagree. I think it’s about transparency – how much we’re actually comfortable knowing about ourselves.
A whole new generation of products from both startups and category leaders are going to push all of us to answer that simple question: Do you really want to know?
These new entrants deliver way more than the activity tracking you’ll get from a bracelet or fob. Instead, they let users look at their own biology on a molecular level and basically tinker with activity, nutrition, sleep and more until they get the consistent results they want. It’s more health hacking than quantified tracking.
One of our favorites is Cue. It’s a small, modular hardware system that works with iOS to let users create a simple home diagnostics lab.
When it launches in early 2015, users will be able to collect tiny samples of their own saliva, blood or nasal fluid to test for five distinct molecular indicators related to inflammation, Vitamin D, fertility, influenza and testosterone. Each metric has a different marker that, when measured and tracked, can be used to discover trends, monitor progress and help users gain realtime insight on their bodies. Those numbers correlate to some of the most basic questions people have about health – from why don’t I have more energy? To is it the cold or really the flu? To what’s the best way to recover from an injury or live your best life with chronic disease?
Like other trackers, Cue pulls the data into great dashboards that let users compete against themselves or collaborate with friends and strangers.
You can preorder yours for $199. But, chances are, very few of you will.
In fact this is just a consumer iteration of a challenge healthcare has long faced: Most of us could be living healthier lives right now. Instead, we put our health in the background – only acting when the signs can no longer be ignored. We resolve to stick with our treatment or diet, but we quickly fall off or forget.
That inaction (pleasant denial?) is the biggest competitor to everything from Apple’s Healthbook to Cue to the latest diabetes medication. For most of us, the answer to do you want to know? is no, not really.
Posted by: Leigh Householder