Hi there! I’m Robby Macdonell and I’m thrilled to be joining the RescueTime team to help out with product development and the overall user experience. They’re a great bunch of guys, and I have an awesome view of Elliot Bay out our office window, but there are a few other reasons why I’m giddy with excitement about this:
1. I just happen to be the very first RescueTime user ever
That’s right, back in late 2007 when RescueTime was just an idea, I helped out for a couple weeks on the front-end. I ended up being in the right place at the right time, and BOOM, I got first-user bragging rights! I’ve taken a couple of breaks from it over the years, but all in all, I’ve logged 5,643 hours and 9 minutes of computer time over the past 4 years.
2. I LOVE geeking out about data.
How so? I’m glad you asked. One time I wanted to make a mix CD that would be good on a rainy fall day. I cross-referenced the three years of my last.fm listening data against historical precipitation and temperature records. The mix was actually pretty damn good. Or, there was the time I got the feeling I would benefit from switching to a bike for my daily commute, so I spent a month tracking down-to-the-second location data to get a better understanding of my transportation habits. Turns out the bike is a good idea, any way you look at the data.
3. Right now is a really exciting time for personal data.
When RescueTime started a few years ago, the idea of stockpiling these massive piles of data about yourself seemed kinda weird. It wasn’t really clear how it could actually be beneficial to people. I feel like that’s starting to change. Particularly in the health space, a lot of really exciting stuff is coming out that clearly shows that giving people more data about themselves can help them make positive changes. Nike+, Fitbit, and Zeo are great examples of this. Given the fact that people are spending an ever-increasing amount of time focused on their computers and smart phones, RescueTime all of a sudden finds itself in a really interesting position.
I think there’s something really profound that can happen here. Right now, so many websites will track as much data as they possibly can about their users’ computer habits. This is done mainly to serve you ads that you are more likely to click on. I find that fact pretty depressing. What if there was a way to flip that around? To make your data something that you control and benefit from? To help you make the right decisions for yourself.
I think that would be amazing. I want to make it happen. And I can’t wait to share it with you.
If you’d like to follow me personally, you can follow me on twitter at @robby1066. Be forewarned, though, you’ll likely get a lot of posts about hockey and cupcakes. 🙂