You, By the Numbers

By H. James Wilson

Afew years ago entrepreneur and scientist Stephen Wolfram wrote a blog post titled “The Personal Analytics of My Life.”1 In it, he mapped data about his email usage, time spent in meetings, even the number of keystrokes he’s logged—for 22 years. The resulting charts and graphs are mesmerizing, and somewhat instructive. Wolfram has documented that he’s a man of routine who likes to work alone late at night. He knows that although his scheduled telephone calls usually start on time, his in-person meetings are less predictable—and that he’s hitting the backspace key 7% of the time he’s on the keyboard.

This “effort at self-awareness,” as Wolfram described it, makes him a trailblazer in ...

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