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By Renato Valdes Olmos on Mar 3

Superhumans: Doug Kanter

Our series about the people using Human to stay healthy.

Part three of our series about how people are using Human to stay healthy. We've asked them to tell us a little bit about themselves, and how Human has impacted their life so far. This is how we learn. These are our Superhumans.

Doug Kanter, Founder of Databetes

Doug Kanter

Meet Doug, based out of Brooklyn. Doug's a quintessential quantified selfer, interaction designer and photographer. He's also a type-1 diabetic. Doug founded Databetes, helping patients self-manage their diabetes.

What’s your biggest motivation to move?

Exercise just makes me feel good. But I also see its effects on my diabetes control. I did a yearlong self-tracking project while I trained for my last marathon. I saw my insulin rates decrease about 40% when I was peaking on the training.


How did you find out about us?

I heard about Human from the tech blogs. I'm quite interested in technology that helps track both exercise and nutrition, always looking for new approaches, especially ones with passive data aggregation. My goal is to correlate this information with changes in my blood sugars.

Are there any people around you that you try to motivate to move more? How do you do this?

I have a friend that has run 2 of my 3 marathons with me. We run together from time to time. We motivate each other and give that little incentive to get out there.

With that in mind, do you have any specific role models in mind when it comes to exercise?

A few years back, a friend told me about Insulindependence. It's a community of diabetes patients interested in integrating exercise into their treatment. Amazing group of people! People like their Founder Peter Nerothin are really inspiring.

You log a lot of data in many ways. Has Human had any impact on your life so far?

Human is one of the apps I use for tracking my activity. Yet I'm usually trying out new FitBit, Jawbone Up, Nike+ and other tracking devices. I think they all have positive aspects of their design. I love the idea of non-device tracking of activity. Setting a simple goal for all users is smart as well.

As for specific changes to my life, I haven't made too many because of Human or other apps/trackers for that matter. I live in New York, so I walk a lot already. As a result, I don't find it too difficult to hit my Daily 30. I am also a runner and try to get out there a few days a week.

How do you motivate yourself to stay active on days with all the bad weather in New York?

It's been an unusually cold winter here. I could probably be out there a little more than I have... But when I do get a run in, it usually does make me feel good. I feel the normal high from that, which most athletes do. But as a diabetic, I also see the positive benefit of seeing my insulin rates change. So there are times that I feel both of those things, telling me to get out there! Beyond that, there's also a big emotional award to being active. It clears your head and can help ground you.

Most people have a hard time to interweave activity in their busy schedules. Any tips to interweave casual daily activity into your schedule?

I always used to run at night. But I switched to running in the morning when I got busy, since it was the only time of the day I knew I could fit it in. I think it helps make for a more productive morning at work as well.

What do you think we could do better?

I think carefully chosen push notifications would be helpful. It's smart that a lot of the new trackers use Bluetooth LE, check my activity automatically and send a push notification to my phone in the afternoon or early evening. I like that many vary the timing of this messages to maintain an element of surprise.

I also like weekly e-mail messages. Viewing the app information outside of an app setting is a nice change. I don't think anyone sends me a monthly or annual summary, but I think that would be really interesting. Highlighting trends (days of the week, times of year) are also interesting. I think people want insights and other information beyond raw data summaries, such as comparisons to weekly averages or other users.

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