How to use technology to optimise every part of your life

This episode is with Chris Dancy – the world’s most connected person (and when I say connected, I’m not talking about his personal networks), mindful cyborg, and author of the book ‘don’t unplug’. In this episode we talk about how to use technology to optimise every part of your life.

LINKS

You’re listening to The Growth Manifesto Podcast, a Zoom video series brought to you by Webprofits – a digital growth consultancy that helps global and national businesses attract, acquire, and retain customers through digital marketing.

Hosted by Alex Cleanthous.

SHOW NOTES

  • 00:00:50 Chris Dancy’s introduction to the Growth Manifesto Podcast
  • 00:01:19 What do you say to people that say we are “too connected”?
  • 00:04:06 What do you have to say about the privacy concern that people have about their data being taken and stored on the cloud when they’re “too connected”?
  • 00:06:18 Chris explains autonomy in relation to technology
  • 00:09:04 Chris tells us how he ended up with the moniker “ the Most Connected Man on Earth”
  • 00:14:25 According to Chris, tens of thousands of things are tracking most people today
  • 00:17:14 What is Airtable and how does it work?
  • 00:20:55 Chris explains his Airtable automation process and how he integrates it in his life
  • 00:26:43 “We don’t know how to measure what we care about so we care about what we measure”
  • 00:30:10 Chris and Alex talk about “The Social Dilemma”
  • 00:32:30 According to Chris, when you want to start using Airtable, start with one process and make it very simple.
  • 00:35:18 How much do you spend reviewing the data that you track when you literally track everything?
  • 00:38:45 Chris talks about his ERD (Entity Relationship Diagram) on Airtable
  • 00:44:22 When it comes to technology today, a lot of people are on autopilot and not autonomous which makes them cyborgs. Chris is advocating for these people to become “mindful cyborgs”
  • 00:50:51 According to Chris, when it comes to tracking your data, just keep it simple
  • 00:52:55 What is the one thing you want the listeners of this podcast to do?

TRANSCRIPT

Chris Dancy:

So when I turned 40 in 2008, I was 320 pounds, I was chain smoking, I was on all sorts of antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills. It was overwhelming, I’ll be honest with you. And it was hard because becoming 40 and having … I was relatively successful at work, but I had a lot of things that just weren’t going well. And it dawned on me one day when looking through my internet history, I think I was probably clearing it so I didn’t get in trouble for something, why don’t I know as much about me as my browser. So this idea came to me in 2008 that I would write a little code that would take any time I picked up my phone, logged into my browser, sent an email, wrote a document, anything I did, it would take that data and move it someplace where I could see it. So this is step one to autonomy, finding yourself.

Alex Cleanthous:

Today we’re talking with Chris Dancy, the world’s most connected person. And when I say connected, I’m not talking about his personal networks. He’s referred to as a mindful cyborg and he’s the author of the book, Don’t Unplug. Today we’ll be talking about how to use technology to optimise every part of your life.

And just quickly before we get started, make sure to go ahead and hit that Subscribe button so that you get the latest episodes as soon as they’re released. Now let’s get into it.

Welcome Chris.

Chris Dancy:

Hi Alex.

Alex Cleanthous:

Hey. Let’s just jump straight in and talk about technology, because I think that’s the first thing that we need to discuss. And what do you say to people say that we are too connected, and I say too in quotation marks, too connected and that we should be disconnected more?

Chris Dancy:

My book is called Don’t Unplug so I might be a little biassed. The reality is in 2021, 2022, 2030 when you’re listening to this, we’re more connected than we were the year before. So there’s no going back. I believe what we need to talk about when we talk about being disconnected is being autonomous. So when most people say I need time to be disconnected, I think what they really mean is I need time to be autonomous, I need time to feel like I’m making my own decisions.

Alex Cleanthous:

Okay, and … I’m thinking about it-

Chris Dancy:

Too soon, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

No, no, no, this is good. But what about like the best example is social media, right?

Chris Dancy:

Yeah.

Alex Cleanthous:

And with social media that seems to be the scapegoat for technology, that with AI, social media, the data collection, the privacy rights, that seems to be the big concern of our generation, is that what is happening with social media, and is this changing the world in not a good way.

Chris Dancy:

Yeah, yeah. So let me share something real quick Alex. So this is my social media intimacy stack. And basically when I think about social media and people talking about overly being connected, oftentimes what they really mean is the way that people have access to them feels intrusive. A lot of times they’re talking about privacy. So when I meet with people, whether it be a friend or a new acquaintance or something like that, you and I are just getting to know each other, I usually send them kind of an overview of how I like to connect.

So think of being connected as dating. You might have a different way of dating than I do, but for me dating looks like this. It starts off with let’s hang out in some kind of ephemeral app like a story app or something like that. It moves on to let’s talk about maybe the music we listen to, maybe some of our political opinions in real time, maybe what we’re doing for work, maybe the people we hang out with, types of people we date, dating circles, maybe how we treat our bodies, and ultimately how we treat our genetics.

That hopefully gives you a really good idea of when I think about being overly connected to all these services, I think the services have kind of taken the place of the silos we used to put our physical lives into. But unlike our physical lives Alex, because you and I are probably over 30, right, I know I am, those physical silos didn’t follow us into the digital world. And what people are noticing now is this pulling because they’re completely accessible everywhere, and that’s different than being too connected.

Alex Cleanthous:

Okay, that’s a good point to start with, because the other side of it is that because we’re soon going to get into like the 700 app, sensors, technologies which you use, Airtables and all that, but I just wanted to really start that conversation quickly because I know that’s going to be the first objection that people have.

Alex Cleanthous:

The second part is that when you’re connected, that we’re going to get to in a minute, your data is being stored in somebody else’s cloud. Is that right? Like is that a good phrase? And if so, what do you say to the privacy conversation that people might have around that?

Chris Dancy:

Yeah, and again, this is totally legitimate. I think if we go back again to the ’80s, I was born in 1968, but if we go back to the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, our data was stored on a lot of systems back then too. And it took a massive legislation and countries around the world to free up patient medical records, to free up financial records, all these other sorts of things.

So I personally don’t subscribe any type of digital dualism where like it’s different because it’s online than it’s offline. I do think it seems scarier now because a lot of our data is housed in these corporations that is accessible by other people. When your medical records were locked up at a hospital and your birth certificate was locked up at the court department and your bank statements were locked up at the bank, it was different. You knew where to go. You knew who to talk to and you knew what the document looked like. Okay, I need this piece of paper. It doesn’t feel that way now. And we’re generating so much data.

So I do think so there’s a legitimate concern people have around the concept of privacy. But often I like to say, do you really mean privacy or do you mean safety? Because if you’re talking about safety, I think that’s a conversation we can unpack. Privacy as a concept didn’t exist before 100 years ago, won’t exist in 10 years. So how we function and how we communicate with each other comes back to that word I started with, autonomy. Are you autonomous in your digital spaces? And I hate to sound nuanced and creepy, but this show is about empowering people not to feel overwhelmed, empowering them to take control of their lives, and empowering them to think about what is it I want that’s in this digital space that I have in the physical and vice-versa.

Alex Cleanthous:

And so just could you Chris quickly explain what you mean by autonomous?

Chris Dancy:

Yeah.

Alex Cleanthous:

Because it can mean many things, you know.

Chris Dancy:

Yes. No, and it’s weird, because I just recently started using that term. I mean, I’ve used it my whole life, but in relationship to technology. I think a lot of people right now don’t feel in control of their own lives. I think they don’t feel in control of their technology and they don’t feel in control of their decision making. And a lot of that comes from most of the time we’re making decisions within technology. The technology is kind of making the decisions for us. And we don’t really see it in any type of elegant way. We just know that things are suggested to us. You go pick up your phone. There’s a suggestion.

I like to show people. I have this little chart I drew for an event once. If you think about your decision making being the black and the artificial intelligence being the red, right now we’re at about a 60/40 split with how much information and decision making we’re making, if you actually were to measure it on yourself. Your calendar drives a lot, but your calendar sometimes will make suggestions to you. Your phone will tell you to take a break. Your watch will tell you to get up. I mean everyone from moms to kids to business people are using their devices to kind of drive these turn-by-turn directions.

But you have to remember, when you insert your life into technology, it takes a lot to make sure that some other system doesn’t nudge you in another direction. Even your phone will dim if it’s too dark in a room so it doesn’t blind your eyes.

Alex Cleanthous:

Right.

Chris Dancy:

So when I say autonomy, it’s weird, I just started using that concept, but I think it’s important because I think what we’re feeling isn’t overly connected but underly autonomous.

Alex Cleanthous:

Got it. And so, just to clarify, just for myself and hopefully the listeners as well, so by autonomy it’s like you using the technology for how you want to use it, not letting the AI algorithms or some other company that is maybe kind of optimising on other things that are not what you want. Is that what you mean?

Chris Dancy:

That’s a perfect way. I’ll give you a really straightforward example. Twitter, you can actually tell Twitter show me my Twitter feed in chronological order. By default, it doesn’t do that. It shows you to like what’s best, what’s the most interesting thing you want. There’s no autonomy in that. Jack Dorsey’s running your life. Jack Dorsey’s running your attention.

Alex Cleanthous:

Right.

Chris Dancy:

Facebook just last week came out with tools to allow you to reorder your news feed because of a lot of things happening in Australia with news [inaudible 00:08:44] of the world with other parts of misinformation. So autonomy can be as simple as you setting your interface to show you things, or as bold as you saying to your phone, “I don’t want you to dim. I don’t want you to listen. I’m going to put tape on my camera.” All these, there’s a spectrum of it, but I think the way you put it was probably the most important, easiest to understand.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, yeah, fantastic. Okay, I think that keyword, autonomous, is going to be like the foundation of this discussion, because I don’t want people thinking we’re just going to basically upload ourselves into everybody else’s cloud. We’re actually going to be using technology to improve our lives. That’s like the focus of this discussion anyway.

So let’s go straight to your setup now. In the intro I said that you’re the most connected man on earth, and that’s a quote I think from Mashable because you were featured there because you’re not connected through networks, you’re connected through technology. Your website talks about there’s over 700 sensors, apps, applications and so on. So can you just talk through quickly your setup?

Chris Dancy:

Yeah-

Alex Cleanthous:

But quickly, it’s 700, so, yeah.

Chris Dancy:

Yeah, yeah. Can I just give you a two minute background on how I ended up here in 2021 with this moniker?

Alex Cleanthous:

Yes, please.

Chris Dancy:

When I turned 40 in 2008, I was 320 pounds, I was chain smoking, I was on all sorts of antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills. It was overwhelming, I’ll be honest with you.

Alex Cleanthous:

And just for the listeners out there of the audio podcast, he is not 320 pounds anymore. He’s very much in shape. Yeah.

Chris Dancy:

I’m very much in shape. And it was hard because becoming 40 and having … I was relatively successful at work, but I had a lot of things that just weren’t going well. And it dawned on me one day when looking through my internet history, I think I was probably clearing it so I didn’t get in trouble for something, why don’t I know as much about me as my browser.

So this idea came to me in 2008 that I would write a little code that would take any time I picked up my phone, logged into my browser, sent an email, wrote a document, anything I did, it would take that data and move it someplace where I could see it. So this is step one to autonomy, is finding yourself.

It wasn’t until about 2012, 2013 I was at a conference and there was a person sitting behind me and they were a writer. I didn’t know it. He saw my calendar, like all these appointments were automatically being created. He was like, “What is happening on your calendar?” I’m like, “It’s a script. Any time I do anything with technology or any time anyone does anything to me, like someone likes something on Facebook, it updates my calendar.” He said, “Why?” I said, “I need to know what’s going on in my life.” And you would’ve thought I was speaking like another language. And we didn’t have all the tools we have today like the screen time to tell you what you were doing, but he was fascinated by this.

So literally within a month or two I was being interviewed by Bloomberg, and that was 2013. Then I was in Wired. The Mashable thing didn’t happen until 2014. Cover of Businessweek in 2014. It was just so rapidly what happened. And the first person ever used most anything was actually the BBC, and they called me the most surveilled person in the world. It wasn’t until … I think it was Mashable or someone else changed it to connected, and then ever since then Google’s owned my life as far as my terms. But what does that mean today? All right, so. Is that an okay background?

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, that’s a great background, yeah. But just to confirm, you started by putting, created a script that any time something happened, it updated your calendar. So I’m assuming your calendar was very busy.

Chris Dancy:

Thousands of appointments. And if you just google Chris Dancy’s calendar, it’s thousands of appointments in every single day. And at one point I colour coded them so I could make more sense, so days where I had behaviours that weren’t as aligned with where I wanted to be, those were in red, and behaviours who were in green. So it started making sense to me. And in Google, you can have multiple calendars. You can have a personal calendar. You can have a business calendar. So I just had lots of calendars on this Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, like everything got put into a bucket.

It made sense to me. Nowadays, when I do a lot of talks at universities, I do a lot of … I consult for a lot of big businesses, everyone from bear to Google, people look at it and go, “Of course, why wouldn’t you do that?” And the other thing about calendars is they’re universally understandable. Alex, I could share my calendar with you right now and you’d tell me exactly what type of person I am. Doctors want to know how you spend your time. Well, it’s in your calendar.

That evolved to 2012, 2013, 2014 to like sensors, like all these different sensors, like respiration sensors, sensors that measure electricity in your arm, sensors that measure when you’re talking what you’re saying, blood pressure sensors, sensors for actually checking your blood sugar, pulse oxim. Everyone’s talking about pulse ox now on the age of COVID. Well, I’ve been on pulse ox-ing myself. Just hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of sensors.

But what I did in 2013 was I started counting, well, how many things are watching me, and I say sensors, devices, applications, and services because they’re different. You can have a device, a phone with lots of sensors, lots of sensors in here. You can have an application that talks to a lot of services. Microsoft Word talks to the Microsoft service to host your documents.

So right away just using your phone to type a letter on Word you’re into eight things. Now, that usually be like, “What do you mean?” Well, you’re talking to Word, you’re talking to Word cloud, you’re using Apple, Apple’s iOS. Inside that you’ve actually got the accelerometer watching when you’re walking, and you’ve got the ambient light sensor watching how bright it is, and you’ve got the sound sensor which is into the watches now, you don’t even need your phone anymore, checking for these sorts of things.

So when I started calculating it, the earliest numbers was like 700 things. And any day 700 things were watching me or on me or keeping track of things, writing to my calendar. Today that number’s tens of thousands of things. And by the way, that’s not me. That’s most people.

Alex Cleanthous:

Oh, so tens of thousands of things are tracking people already.

Chris Dancy:

Most people every single day. Once you pull in-

Alex Cleanthous:

What are some examples of that just quickly? What are some examples of things that …

Chris Dancy:

Yeah, so let’s break it down so it’s easier, because it’s easier put these kind of numbers in buckets. Basically you’ve got biological things watching you, so there’s sensors in your phone that tracks the biology of things. The phones do sleep now by default, Android and iPhone. You’ve got behavioural things like screen time, simple things like that, spending credit cards, et cetera. And then environmental things.

Now on top of that kind of personal stack, environmental, biological, behavioural, you’ve got a societal stack. So you’ve got things like commerce, traffic cams, civic sensors, and data and demographics. And then on top of that you’ve got besides local you’ve got national and then of course you’ve got global, everything from air quality to carbon emissions, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah.

Chris Dancy:

That kind of pyramid of data is huge. And when we think about it, a lot of times people get like, “Oh my gosh, where would I even start?” And I go, “Calm down. Like you asked for it all, so I’m going to give you it all right now.” Let’s just be simple. Let’s start with something simple. Your steps, that goes on a biological bucket. Your screen time, that goes in a behavioural bucket. Your spending, that goes in a behavioural bucket. You’re not sleeping well. That could be the temperature and humidity, light and sound in your house. That goes in an environment bucket. Is this starting to make sense? I’ve got diagrams for this sort of thing-

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, yeah man. This is good.

Chris Dancy:

So when I teach, like I do a lot of stuff for a lot of universities, I teach a lot of doctors actually. I teach a class teach … If you have a patient who’s unresponsive and you’ve got a phone you can get into, how to kind of basically do an autopsy on what that phone’s been doing. And people just start to get it. They start to slowly go like, “Oh, that’s my life.”

But remember, because it’s been put together for you, like iOS and Android, they put your life together for you. They came with certain default apps. But back in the day these default apps were simple. I think the browser was a detailed follow-up. That’s all you had to worry about in 1995, which browser did you pick. Then it was like, okay, well, which email client and which browser? Okay, which email, which … You know what I mean? So it kind of slowly … But today which entertainment provider, which TV provider, which automobile provider. I mean, phones are linked to our cars on full-time. Tesla’s nothing but a phone on wheels.

I think I was a little bit early to the game and figuring out how these systems work together, but for me it just makes sense and I try to help people understand their lives, especially when it comes to business and personal, because there’s this balance. Are you doing enough of this? Sometimes health goes out the window and then your relationships fall off the train and your business falls apart, then your friends leave you. So it’s like there’s a lot of systems there.

Alex Cleanthous:

Okay. And we’re going to get to a few of those, and there’s a few comments that you just said which I’d like to unpack, but quickly, you record everything to something called Airtables, right? So could you just explain to people that don’t understand actually how Airtables work and what they are, and why you use them?

Chris Dancy:

Yeah. So historically, as we just mentioned, all my data was in my Google calendar for the longest time. But then in 2014, 2015, I moved over to a aggregator system called Gyroscope. This is a book from Gyroscope. And what it would do is would take similar information I was to put on Google, but it would literally keep it in their source. And this company’s still around today and you can still get these books to see your life today.

But what I found with Gyroscope, again, like a lot of these problems was Gyroscope was deciding what was important. So it’s like Apple’s deciding what’s important. If you ever look at Apple Healthcare or to Google Fit, is like they’re deciding what health things are important. Now, you can favourite some of them, but they’re still deciding for you.

For me in 2017, I was searching for a CRM. I was not trying to fix my data logging problems. I was how do I fix my CRM? And I, as a small business owner, had invested a lot of time into research into CRMs, and every time I found one I kind of liked, it just … and had all the bells and whistles, but then again, it felt like somebody else’s processes were being forced on me. This is how you would do CRM. It’s not how I do CRM.

So someone suggested I look at Airtable. What is Airtable? Well, that’s the million dollar question. It’s a $10 billion company with a million dollar question. At its essence, Airtable is a spreadsheet on steroids. That’s the term they always say, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Right, right.

Chris Dancy:

Ultimately it looks like a spreadsheet, but unlike a spreadsheet you can link to other spreadsheets. So imagine you’ve got three spreadsheets. You’ve got your household budget. You’ve got another spreadsheet of all the things you’ve ever bought for your house. You’ve got a third spreadsheet of all your credit cards. Airtable would allow you to link the thing you bought to the credit card you use to where it lives in your house. Does that make sense?

Alex Cleanthous:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Dancy:

So each row in a spreadsheet isn’t a row, it’s a record. And I’ll give you an example of this right now. I started playing around with it for Airtable to build a simple CRM, and then I realised, “Wait a minute. Airtable’s allowing me to externalise the values I have for my customers and my life. Why would I stop at my CRM? Why wouldn’t I do this for my home, my family, my belongings, my health? Why wouldn’t I do this for my planning? Why wouldn’t I do this for my mental health? Why wouldn’t I do this for my tasks, my projects?” And since they’re all related, that’s when I thought to myself, “Aha, this isn’t a business tool. This is a life tool,” and I started working on it.

Alex Cleanthous:

Okay. So just with Airtable because I haven’t used it that much personally myself, how hard is it to get into to start to use?

Chris Dancy:

So simple. I’ve got a couple of videos over on my website. I don’t have any simple how-tos, but there’s a bunch of simple how-tos. But I always tell people, if you’ve heard me speak and you liked anything you heard, go to Airtable, get a free account, create one table for you, your spouse, and your business. There’s usually three people in every relationship. You can add your dogs and kids in later, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Sure. Yeah.

Chris Dancy:

And then just put down everything you need to know, your name, your address. Make it like an emergency safety record. “Honey, if anything ever happens to me, go to this Airtable. Everything is right there. Everything you need to know, all the phone numbers, emergency information,” just built like a super driver’s licence. If you like, then say, “Okay, now we know who we are. Let’s start adding on to that.” And I can give you a demonstration of kind of how I thought about that if you’d like.

Alex Cleanthous:

Well, yeah, sure. But we can get to that part. We start by creating a few Airtables. We put some information in. It seems like, based on what you’re tracking, you’ve automated quite a lot of these.

Chris Dancy:

Yeah.

Alex Cleanthous:

This information that goes into Airtables, right? What is the integration tools or how did you integrate the data from all the different sources into Airtable? Is that through something like Zapier or is that something else?

Chris Dancy:

Yeah. I mean, again, it’s funny because people get so excited, and I love your … I can feel your excitement about this, because yeah, the biggest challenge with Airtable isn’t automation or all the cool things you can do with it. The biggest problem is you can do anything. And like everything in life, when you can do anything, you do nothing. That’s just like life 101. If you can do anything, you will do nothing. It’s only in constraints do we actually start to find our power and our autonomy.

So I always tell people, if you build your Airtable just like I said, you can just build a super record, I’ll show you mine in a second, of everything about you, you can start to add on to it. Automation, let’s just keep this real simple. So let’s just say you’ve now built a table about Alex or Alex’s business.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yep, simple one. Yeah.

Chris Dancy:

You want to build something really simple like automation. First thing I would do is build another table, and I would call this table journal, just something simple, or interactions. I like interactions too. That table is not going to be … Any time you send an email or schedule an appointment, it’s going to automatically create a record.

Now why? Let’s talk about why. So we know Alex exists and we know he’s sending emails and he’s producing shows and he’s got all sorts of things. But those are all kind of interactions. It’s you talking out to the world. Most of the interactions we do digitally today are calendar appointments and emails. Those are the two biggies, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Yep.

Chris Dancy:

So when you do those two things, they need to be linked to something. Well, first we know they’re linked to Alex. Let’s say Alex and Web Profits. Maybe they’re linked to Web Profits. Web Profits it’s not Alex. Even though you can get confused at times, they are separate.

Alex Cleanthous:

It’s not.

Chris Dancy:

Web Profits doesn’t buy coffee. Alex buys coffee.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, they’re separate things.

Chris Dancy:

You’re feeling me, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, yeah.

Chris Dancy:

But you got to think about it that way. A lot of entrepreneurs don’t. They’ll try to like, “I’m my brand.” Well, no, that’s … You’re not wonder bread. You’re a human who has a business, so let’s keep this separate.

Alex Cleanthous:

Great.

Chris Dancy:

So now you’ve got this interactions table. So what’s great about Airtable is there’s a really simple, again, automation built right in. You just go in and say, “I want to link my calendar to this Airtable.” Then when you do it, it says any time a calendar appointment’s created, what do you want to do? So you just say, the date created is the date of the interaction, the title is the title of the record, you know what I mean? So it’s just-

Alex Cleanthous:

Ah, good, good.

Chris Dancy:

It’s simple mapping. You don’t even need to use Zapier.

Alex Cleanthous:

Oh great.

Chris Dancy:

You don’t even need to use Zapier.

Alex Cleanthous:

Okay.

Chris Dancy:

Right away you have an automation of every email you’ve sent and every calendar appointment you have at least in a way you can sort it. Next thing you do, let’s just go one step and we’ll stop.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, yeah, go, please. No, no, we’ll see if we’ll stop. Let’s see what the next step is first, yeah.

Chris Dancy:

Next step. So we know we’ve got a backward flow to Alex.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yep.

Chris Dancy:

And by the way, no one’s ever asked me to explain this, so you might have like a real hit show on your hand. You’ve got an upward flow to things happening, right, like …

Alex Cleanthous:

Things that [inaudible 00:24:06] software.

Chris Dancy:

Well, yeah, things … No, no, no, not that. I mean things happening like emails and calendar.

Alex Cleanthous:

Oh, things, okay, cool.

Chris Dancy:

But what are they happening to, right? So you might want to have a table called organisations, because you usually send email and make appointments with businesses. Now most people say, “Well, I set emails and things and schedule appointments with people.” Yes, yes, we’ll talk about people in a second. There’s people work for people.

Alex Cleanthous:

Got it.

Chris Dancy:

Right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Dancy:

And those people move from creative care. So right away, let’s just say you’ve got an email to Chris Dancy, you’ve got CMMDF. So you’ve got a company called CMFD, that’s my company name. You’ve got a record out here for that. You’ve got an email on this calendar appointment today. I can show you ours, you and me, even though you didn’t know you and I had a relationship.

Alex Cleanthous:

Sure.

Chris Dancy:

Coming back to you. Now, I might email you at some point in the future and say, “Alex, I loved when you told me about that coffee company down the street. What was that?” That’s nothing to do with Web Profits. So right away that email comes in. So CMFD comes in and that’s not linked to email, but now it’s not linked to Web Profits, it’s linked to you.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, sure.

Chris Dancy:

So right away you can see your life in your calendar and your communications-

Alex Cleanthous:

Three separate tables, they’re three separate tables.

Chris Dancy:

Exactly.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah.

Chris Dancy:

Simply.

Alex Cleanthous:

Got it.

Chris Dancy:

Now if you wanted to, you can add a people table. I have a people table because I do believe people are people. But people move from businesses. So now you’ve got us, I call it the entity table, you’ve got the interactions or journal, and then you’ve got an organisation and a people table. From there you literally Alex can do anything because your entire world starts to filter through there.

Now my system is a little bit different. I’ll be honest with you. The thing I loved about my system was I had this entities table, me, my spouse, everything, but I didn’t want my entire life being connected to the world. I wanted my entire life connected to my values. We’ll talk about those in a minute. And those values create moments in my life and those which are in a timeline, and from there it’s linked to the tasks journal, where we talk about journal, projects and goals, and then I reach out to the organisations and people.

So someone sending me an email would come in through this bucket. They’re either in inbox, it’s something I’m going to record because I need to remember it. It’s going to turn into a task. That task could be linked to a project. If it’s significant enough, it’s tied to a timeline. But does it get to me? Well, if it doesn’t meet one of my five values, it doesn’t.

We’ll talk more about this in a second because I think from a business standpoint this might be a little bit too much for some people. But I find a lot of business people today are starting to struggle with how am I spending my time? And I honestly say, if you haven’t set what your values are, you won’t spend your time, it’ll be spent for you.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, no. And I think, just on that point about this podcast, this podcast is about growth, right?

Chris Dancy:

I know.

Alex Cleanthous:

And the biggest part of growth-

Chris Dancy:

I’ve listened to a bunch of them now.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, is to grow personally, as well professionally. And I think the hardest part of growth is personal growth, because it’s easy to improve skill, it’s harder to improve you. So this is a really good conversation to understand who you are. And so I think, coming back to your point before, you’re putting everything into spreadsheets, sorry, into tables, right?

Chris Dancy:

Yeah, yeah.

Alex Cleanthous:

For the people table, is it to see who you’re interacting with the most and how you’re interacting with them? Is that what it’s for?

Chris Dancy:

Absolutely. That could be a perfect … what could be one of the things you could want to know. And then what type of people. Do I interact with friends more than I interact with business associates? Do I interact with people who are local to me versus people who are remote to me? How about this? When you create an interaction, you could have a little field in there which says how are you feeling right now. Who are the people that don’t make me feel good when I talk to them?

Alex Cleanthous:

And so these tables which you’re creating around people, this is just the data. And then from that, you can create other tables that will pull any information out of them. And that’s to your point earlier of it can do anything, and so-

Chris Dancy:

You’ve got to be careful.

Alex Cleanthous:

You’ve got to be careful because all of a sudden what you’re doing is you just have a big say for example a contact list, that could be just as far as that is taken, right? Okay. So is there a way which you would advise for people to maybe start to brainstorm the things that they want to figure out, because it feels like the kind of person I am, I love tech, software stuff. I’m just going to go. I’m going to log in, I’m going to create a table, and then I’m just going to start it, and then it’s just going to not get to the point potentially. But, if I-

Chris Dancy:

Well, again-

Alex Cleanthous:

… think about what’s important to me and then I try, like is there a process there which you can talk a little about how do you figure that out?

Chris Dancy:

Yeah. So I was saying I do at every conference, I speak out in every business talk. We don’t know how to measure what we care about, so we care about what we measure. And you just nailed it. And this is the thing, is people don’t think about what’s important, because we already know, if everything’s important, we’ll never get anything done. That’s why mine actually has this buffer between like all the world that I deal with and my values, because it’s got … Like, no, I can’t. Alex, I cannot spend any more time with people who don’t respect and care and do the work that I care about. It’s just not going to happen. I’d rather go broke. And spiritually broke is worse than financially broke.

So when you get started, you want to be really small in this. And I always tell people just make one process work. I wouldn’t do calendar and email to companies. I would do calendar for one thing. And then just get that one thing perfect, just 100% so you can understand one thing about it. But right now, let’s be honest Alex, we spend all our time, like all these emails and all these appointments, and then bills, and then this app for this and this service for that, and where is the password for this, and what’s happened. I just got a pop-up for that. And oh, something’s happening in the news. It’s enough to make you feel less than autonomous.

Alex Cleanthous:

Definitely.

Chris Dancy:

So what I like-

Alex Cleanthous:

What’s interesting on that point is quickly, so I just …

Chris Dancy:

You’re good, you’re good.

Alex Cleanthous:

I don’t think we’re going to get to this point again, but I was really heavily advised to watch, I think was it called The Social Experiment? It was the Netflix show about how kind of AI pulls-

Chris Dancy:

The social …

Alex Cleanthous:

The Social Dilemma.

Chris Dancy:

The Social Dilemma.

Alex Cleanthous:

Sorry, The Social Dilemma, forgive me, The Social Dilemma. And the one thing I got out of that at the end of it because I thought, look, I understand how they all work, yep, okay, I get it, there’s algorithms, there’s ads, there’s things, there’s people. But at the end of it, I turned off all my notifications for all my social media, and since that point, just that one little thing, I’ve now become more autonomous. And I didn’t even know how good their algorithms were until I turned it off and I was like, “Wait a minute, I haven’t checked Instagram for two days,” whereas before checking it every 15 minutes.

Alex Cleanthous:

So anyway. That was just a quick example of like how you can kind of just, you don’t even know.

Chris Dancy:

Yeah, you don’t.

Alex Cleanthous:

You don’t even know.

Chris Dancy:

You don’t. You don’t. And I’m not a big fan of The Social Dilemma on Netflix, I’ll be honest with you. The people who put it together were some of the Silicon Valley’s pioneers, the people who actually got us into this hot mess. And I think it’s rich that we’re going to give more attention to the people who stole our attention so they can sell us back more attention solutions.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, that’s what I was saying as well. It’s so funny that-

Chris Dancy:

It’s rich-

Alex Cleanthous:

… this thing called Netflix which has an algorithm that’s doing the exact same thing, is telling us of the algorithms that are doing this thing that we should be-

Chris Dancy:

The CEO of Netflix has actually said his biggest competitor is not Disney, it’s sleep, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

It’s probably true. Yeah.

Chris Dancy:

Yeah. I love that you watch that show, and again, even though I’m not a fan of it, I think it’s important that people watch it. The problem I find with shows like The Social Dilemma and we’ll get back in this a second is it’s a lot of fear-mongering, not a lot of actual steps you can do. And what that creates is families who then have dinner and parents say, “Everybody hide your phones. We’re having a real dinner.” Really? Like really? How does that work? Mom, you haven’t actually had a real conversation with me in a decade. Dad hasn’t actually cared about what I was doing in months. You know what I mean?

So I think we need to have to find a way to like live with the technology that exemplifies what we care about. And that’s kind of my whole, that’s my thing. Yeah, that’s why I like Mindful Cyborg and sort of Most Connected Man.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, yeah, good one. Let’s get back to the previous conversation about …

Chris Dancy:

Airtable.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, the Airtable. Yeah, so we’re starting with calendars. We’re starting with all the things that are going on, and we’re choosing with the one thing that we’re going to get-

Chris Dancy:

One process, and make it really simple. Yep. Yeah. And I always think. If you don’t have like one process, you could use a process that’s a little bit more complex but something everyone has to do which is bill pay. I can show you my bill pay. Everybody has to pay bills. Your bills are on a calendar. Some of them happen automatically. Some of them you do manually. You know they’re paid. That’s a really simple system in Airtable to build.

You’ve got the same thing. You’ve got your entity. You’ve got you. You’ve got your interaction, when did you pay the bill or when was the bill paid for you. But you have a new table called, and you also have your company table who’s the bill going to. But now you’ve got a new table called bill. And bills have bill types. Is it a monthly bill? Is it an annual bill? Is it a reoccurring bill? Is it a one-time bill? Is it a debt? Is it a liability? Is it an expense? All those types of things.

And I always tell people, keep your bills simple at the start. If you just do that, you’ll start to see, this is pretty neat. I can kind of see my spending in a way I could never see in a spreadsheet, kind of I could never see the spending through this lens.

Think about it this way. When the pandemic hit, a lot of businesses took it on the chin. Where do you start cutting? If I told you tomorrow, “Alex, I need you to cut your expenses by 50%,” a lot of people like, “What? What?” Right now someone if told me, “I need you … Chris, I need you to cut your expenses by 3 hours and 31 cents,” I could do it like that. I know what I’d use, what’s the most important. So it’s really about coming back and saying what do you want to see. And I think expenses is a really fun one. I think simple CRMs, this idea of personal CRMs is fun. A lot of people struggle with maintaining friendships. So just using that same system entity, you, interaction, and then a people table, and just simple things. It’d be really nice if you created your Facebook-

Alex Cleanthous:

If you ever had to go to court, tell me what you were doing on September the 15th, 2012, you’d be like, “Yep, I was here and I did this and I did that and I’ve got all that.”

Chris Dancy:

I can literally pull mine up in a book. I can literally pull mine up in a book for people. But the friend CRM is really interesting. I always say friend CRMs are fun because the same table structure. But then what you would do is you’d have a birthday column, but you’d also have a second column called the anti-Facebook birthday which would be everybody’s birthday minus one day. And what you would do is you’d send everybody a message to saying, “I know your birthday’s tomorrow and all your fake Facebook friends are going to be messaging you. This message is from me to you because I care.” Right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, yeah, of course.

Chris Dancy:

So it’s about like autonomy.

Alex Cleanthous:

Autonomy.

Chris Dancy:

How do you wrestle yourself back from these systems so you don’t get lumped in with everyone else.

Alex Cleanthous:

You’re really talking about literally tracking everything, literally tracking pretty much everything which you can track, which you can track.

Chris Dancy:

I am, but I don’t encourage anyone to do that.

Alex Cleanthous:

Because that was the other part, is how much time and now you’re spending on reviewing the data and getting insight from it to help you change behaviours, spending patterns, improve fitness. How long are you spending reviewing the data? Because that’s the other part of it, because everybody just kind of has all this coming back to the CRM. They have all these, the CRMs with all this information in them, and yet, they never look at it and they never pull the reports and they never combine the data to get proper insight. So how do you do it with all this data across so many Airtables?

Chris Dancy:

Yeah. I mean that’s a really good point. I was actually kind of pull up an example for you that might be … It’s interesting. I don’t know. You might think, “Well, that’s not very interesting at all.” I actually had to just today go see a cardiologist because I’ve been having some challenges. I’m getting winded really easy when I’m exercising, don’t have any idea. It started in the middle of nowhere. I’m like, “Where in the heck is this coming from?” Everybody’s probably had that thing where like something strange has happened. So to your point, I’m not one of these people that does look at the data. Like people are saying, “Well, you don’t go back and look at the data?” No, I don’t. First of all, it’ll stress me out.

Alex Cleanthous:

Okay.

Chris Dancy:

But the most important thing about all this data is you have to have it when you need it. So I don’t encourage people to go back and look at it. So what I did, what I had to do was this doctor wanted to see me and he had like all these forms. So what I did was I ran a report in Airtable, you’re looking at it, that just pulled out my medications, what I was taking, when things happened in my life, a text history of my life, my questions for the doctor, some data about my biological behaviour over the last two years, my dietary trends over the last two years, and my exercise trends over the last two years so he could see things changing in real time.

Now, I don’t … I would go crazy if I had to look at this every day. But to go to a new cardiologist who’s never seen me as a 53 year old man and have him try to figure me out in the five minutes he gives me in between all these patients, it’s not going to happen. I need him to see me as a life that actually is understandable, and being able to have access to the data that I just showed you, to print it out and show to someone is life-changing.

Alex Cleanthous:

Got it.

Chris Dancy:

My CPA, let’s talk about my CPA. You’re an accountant. My accountant and I, when I … I’ll just be honest with you. I don’t have the best relationship with my accountant. She has this problem where she can’t remember that I asked her to do things or she’ll ask me to do things. So what did I need to do? I had to create a system where my CPA could log in and be able to see when the last time we spoke, what I did for her, and what she’s doing for me.

So what you’re looking at now is my CPA portal. Here’s the messaging section so I can see the last time I spoke to anyone there, colour coded by who spoke when, the documents they need to download, statements, if they have questions for me, all the transactions. So this allows me to create a level of accountability with that same data with my CPA, with my lawyer, with my customers. Everybody gets put into a system that they have to be accountable with. If I let my life live in my inbox and live on my calendar, it’s not my life.

Alex Cleanthous:

Let’s jump then to the business side of things. And how do you use this then from a business perspective to stay across things? It’s coming out of your calendar, coming out of your emails. It’s going into Airtable. Feels like Airtable needs its own separate list of things to look at Airtable for. So how do you …

Chris Dancy:

We actually have that. It’s got an ERD. Yeah, it’s in Airtable, it’s called an ERD, or an Entity Relationship Diagram. There is … you’re a little bit further along than you think.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, no. Well, I’ve been in the productivity game for a while. I just haven’t been in the Airtable game for a while, and definitely haven’t been in the tracking everything in my life table game-

Chris Dancy:

I get it-

Alex Cleanthous:

… for that long. But how do you … Okay, well, one second, let’s just step back. Can you talk about the ERD? Is there a central kind of Airtable to all the other Airtables?

Chris Dancy:

Yeah. So the Airtable ERDs, so this is a really simple ERD. This is an ERD of my Airtable, and this probably makes a lot of sense to people who are watching the show. If you’re listening, I’ll describe it to you. But what I did was I took down the different tables in my Airtable. We talked about entities, that’s me, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah.

Chris Dancy:

And I’ve put them in logical sections, so assets, liabilities, revenue, planning, record-keeping, action tables, and reflection tables. These are things every entrepreneur does instantly, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Dancy:

I’ve got my business, my CRM. You’ll see that in here. My references is a whole separate table.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah.

Chris Dancy:

The way the ERD works for me is you could look at Airtable, but the problem with Airtable is it looks like a bunch of tables. So if I’m sitting here looking at all of these tables in Airtable, there’s an entities table, a values table, timeline, all the things we talked about, that’s confusing. But an ERD gives you a top-down view. So if I want to come in and look at all the companies that I’m working with, I could just click on companies. That would take me into that record. I wanted to see all my current customers, I could click on CRM.

So an ERD stands for Entity Relationship Diagram and it shows you how your life, what if I was an actual database person, not being how your database, but I said life because your life is a database is linked together. And I think a lot of productivity people get into saving time and not creating value.

And for me productivity is different than valuetivity. And I like this concept of valuetivity because I think, yeah, you can do this kind of stuff well. Like once you get your productivity game together, you end up saying, “Okay, well, now I want my health game to be really good.” And once you get your health game together you go, “Okay, now I’ve got my health game and my productivity game. I want to get my values. I want to spend more time with my spouse.” And then after you do that, you go to this thing where you say, “Okay, now I’ve done all these values. Now I really want to get my kind of world game together, be nature centred.” Now if you get that together, like, “I think I’m going to be a Buddhist,” what we call basically the Jack Dorsey stack, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Right.

Chris Dancy:

So what are the domains you kind of go through in real time. And for me, being able to map that in a database so that I can say today I’m value-centred, tomorrow I’m nature-centred. I meditated this morning, I was being transcendent-centred. I got a bunch of work done. That’s productivity-centred. So from a business standpoint if you’re a business person, again, start simple, just build a CRM, but remember that CRM could be partitioned to do some for your personal life too. And if you’re married, I can’t tell you how many families struggle with these same concepts. Where is the money going? Where are we spending our time? When is this appointment? My Airtable on a calendar looks amazing because right away we can just say, “Show me all the things that we did that were centred around our values.” I keep talking about these values.

Chris Dancy:

So for me, as I’ve mentioned to you before-

Alex Cleanthous:

It’s about values-

Chris Dancy:

… everything in my Airtable gets filtered through a value. So these are my values. Health is number one. We actually as a family defined it, health, like what is health? How do we define it? And that’s usually your relationship with your body and your mind. Home is number two, it’s your relationship with the people that make you feel safe. It’s not a physical place. Home is not a place. This can be your spouse. This can be your kids. It could be your pets. It could be your business partner. Family, family is the people you would get on a plane for. Usually it could be friends, it could be neighbours, but that’s not traditional. This is the way I define these values. Work is what you do to create value. Financial values is what you do with the resources that come from the first four. And service is what you do to kind of serve your legacy.

So if you see mine right away, you can see I’ve got tasks, journals, and bills. So my entire life, those are kind of the three things I measure, what am I doing, tasks, how are things being done to me, journals, and then what’s being generated from that, bills and things.

Now I could show you this. I could turn on more fields. I could turn on goals by value. I could show you projects by value. I could show you all sorts of things. But at the highest level I just want to know this. What I need people to start thinking about is when you think about all the things you’re connected to and all the things you’re trying to manage, if you haven’t actually said what are they serving, if they’re just serving your bank account and an occasional vacation, you’re not autonomous. You should be able to say, my bills, my money, my money out every month goes out to health, home, family, financial, and service. It should be that simple. You don’t need mortgage and expense. You can have all that, but at the top level it’s not important. My time, my tasks are going to health, home, financial, service, people contacting me. This podcast for me is service, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Dancy:

It’s like something I’m doing because I want to support you, Web Profits, and Justin, the gentleman that contacted me. So I think it’s a new way of kind of looking at our lives, but I think it’s one we all desperately need to start to explore.

Alex Cleanthous:

Agreed. I’m just … a lot of the things which are online, yeah, so say for example calendar, emails, all that type of stuff seems to be kind of easy to connect into Airtables, right? What about steps? What about food? What about like your calories? What about like the health side of things that are on your phone and maybe on your watch, it could be in the Oura ring or however you say that company’s name, right? They’re all these different-

Chris Dancy:

I struggle too.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, but they’re all in these different places. How do you get them into the Airtables because this is going to be a thing which … Well, it’s definitely a question I have.

Chris Dancy:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Alex Cleanthous:

How do you get them in? Like is that a manual processor

Chris Dancy:

Again. Yeah, you’re back where we started. When we talked about biological, behavioural, and environmental, and they’re called the core big buckets, you’re there, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah.

Chris Dancy:

You and I need to make a whole class on those Alex, I can feel it, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, yeah.

Chris Dancy:

So yeah. Biological stuff, give me 30 seconds and we’ll come to biological in a second. Let’s go to behaviour for a second and do an easy one.

Alex Cleanthous:

Easy one.

Chris Dancy:

Spending money.

Alex Cleanthous:

Okay.

Chris Dancy:

Spending money. We talked about bills earlier. Airtable through a couple different services, one that I use, another one called I think it’s financial Airtable or a fintable I think it’s what they call it, I actually use something completely different, imports all of your transactions. So you basically, just like you would with Quicken or QuickBooks, you basically link all your credits, so all your bills are coming, all your money your spending is there. So there are ways to, again, get it in instantly.

But Airtable does not connect to your Fitbit. It will not talk to your Apple watch. There’s a reason Tim Cook and a lot of these companies are guarding kind of the hyper biological stuff because that’s the gold, that’s the goal, that report I just showed you, that’s what everyone wants, because you want to be able to walk in your doctor and say, “This is what’s wrong with me.” It’s different than going to your CPA or taxing officer and saying, “This is how I spent my money.” You’re saying, “I’m about to die. Fix me.”

Luckily today there are applications that will export Health Kit and Google Fit. I’ve used two of them. I can share the titles with you, but the Health Kit one will actually create a CSV of your biological data and create a link to it. So you literally could API call your chronological data if you wanted.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah.

Chris Dancy:

Let me tell you why I wouldn’t. You create a lot of biological data every day. It’s almost unmanageable. Like steps is easy. What I always encourage people to do is just run a report once a month and get your steps weekly, and just use that. You don’t need your daily steps. I mean, I have my daily, I have my moment by moment steps and my moment by moment calories, all the things, I’ve got all of it. But it all lives in Android or Apple, and it’s nice thing is it’s in a nice place for you. If you were to pull it in like they created, it would be too much. So I always tell people just, you can get these things sent to you once a month as a CSV, and they just import like that to Airtable, because CSV being comma separated value. I never know how geeky-

Alex Cleanthous:

Spreadsheet. Spreadsheet, spreadsheet.

Chris Dancy:

The spreadsheet. Yeah, I never know geeky I’m sounding.

Alex Cleanthous:

I think CSV is fine. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Calling the SQL kind of queries, maybe that’s a bit advanced, but CSV is fine. Okay, so-

Chris Dancy:

And same stuff with anything you can’t get that way, you can do through Zapier. Zapier will talk to a lot of these systems. And then another, I’m not sure if it’s popular but a lot of people use and I use IFTTT.

Alex Cleanthous:

If This Then That.

Chris Dancy:

IFFTT, yeah, If This Then That, and they do a lot of home systems. So the sensors around my house where we haven’t even gotten to home stuff, the rain sensors, the light sensors, the sonos, I got to make sure that doesn’t come on here in a minute, all these things also is data you can pull in and start to monitor. Your electric bill, like how many kilowatts per month you use, how much water do you use, how much data is the internet company saying you use? Was that data tied to a month where you watched a lot of movies? Did a lot of movies actually come from a service that you don’t think you’re getting much value from and how much family time was tied to that?

Now I’m going a little fast and deep because I know-

Alex Cleanthous:

No, no, this is perfect. This is perfect. This is perfect. This is great.

Chris Dancy:

But I do want people to start to go again, for me, it’s always been really important to be able to say and look my family in the eye, look my friends in the eye, and when I’m with them and go, “I am really with you because I don’t need to worry about anything else.” Now you can do that without all this technology, but the challenge is we live in 2021. It might not work out real well.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, the tech around us, and that’s why I started with tech because, and I love how you differentiated it with autonomy, because you want to control the information. The information is powerful, but at the moment most people have no idea what information is out there about them that other companies know a lot more than them. So this conversation, this approach, this kind of thinking is to take that, kind of to take that control back and start to really see who you are through the things which you’re doing because I think a lot of people, they work on autopilot, they’re not autonomous, they’re an autopilot, and it’s a very, very different thing.

Chris Dancy:

Alex, you are slaying this, right? And I think that’s just so important for people to really understand. I mean, I’m not advocating people become cyborgs. They already are cyborgs. I’m advocating for them to become mindful cyborgs. And what people don’t understand about what’s happening is, I’ve got this great graphic I created, is if we just take my lifespan and how much technology has changed in just these past 50 years, we’ve gone to from a lot of space between mainframes with card punches and physical media we had to deal with to like the ’80s and ’90s when it was just kind of you and maybe a keyboard and a PC to like the 2010s where it’s you touching everything and that knows what you’re doing and how you’re feeling, to the 2020s where you literally have this stuff on your body and in your ears.

This is the last decade. We are living in that because by 2030 most people are wearing and having this stuff just soaking in it, their homes, their cities and everything. I don’t want to scare people, but get as interested in you as Mark Zuckerberg is, get as interested in you as Tim Cook, get as interested in you as your government, because no one is coming to save you.

Alex Cleanthous:

And the thing is, is that you don’t need to be saved. You just need to know what to do to really get the data and to be able to see it and then to be able to say, “Okay, cool, now what do I do with this information?” And again, your point is to get one system. I can get it perfect-

Chris Dancy:

Just one. Keep it close to this.

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, right, because like in your example of the doctor thing, like if you went to look at the data seven years later and you’re like, “Damn it, I didn’t put that one thing in,” that’s seven years of corrupted data. So if you’re going to be tracking it, if you’re going to be having all these sensors connected, make sure they’re sending the right, correct information to the right places, because as soon as it’s gone, it’s gone, right?

Chris Dancy:

We could even keep it simpler than the health sensors. Everybody has to see a doctor anyway. You should be logging your visits to your doctor. Most doctors have digital healthcare records they don’t even look at. If you think you don’t look at your data, it’d really shock you to know your doctor doesn’t look at your data even when he’s with you. I mean, he’s got access to it. I mean a lot of this got started for me in 2004. I went to my doctor. I was really struggling. I was quite obese, and I was like not at my height yet. And I remember my doctor had a chart this thick. I’ve got pictures of it. And I’d ask him questions. I’m like, “Well, don’t you remember this a couple years ago?” He goes, “Yeah, I think it’s here somewhere.” And I thought to myself, “What?” And I remember … You remember Evernote, right?

Alex Cleanthous:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Dancy:

I’ve been on Evernote forever. I remember like 2006, 2007, I took all, like 30 years of medical records at that point, had them scanned and digitised and pulled into Evernote. So when I would start to see my doctor, I would literally look up my chart while we were in meetings together. I was literally fired, like the guy could not take me anymore. But I just thought to myself, “Isn’t this kind of your job? Or are you just here to like to collect the copay and check my heart and tell me that my blood pressure is high and stop smoking, because I know that. I have a wife. So it’s like what are you doing?”

But I don’t want people to get overwhelmed because I get excited when I talk about this, especially people like you who are interested in productivity and optimization. But at the end of the day, keep it simple. If it’s just health records, when you go to the doctor, at least you know. Does that make sense?

Alex Cleanthous:

Yeah, it does. And I think that’s a fabulous point to wrap it up. So if there’s one thing that-

Chris Dancy:

It’s been an hour?

Alex Cleanthous:

It’s been an hour. It’s been an hour.

Chris Dancy:

Oh, my gosh.

Alex Cleanthous:

I’ve told you. I told you this will go quick. But if there’s one thing that you want the listeners of this podcast to do, a site to visit, a book to buy, what would you like them to do?

Chris Dancy:

Gosh, just take it easy on yourselves. I think the world right now is really encouraging people to be more and more optimised. And this might sound like a complete paradox coming from me, but just take it easy on yourself. There’s no rush to get your entire life in an Airtable. There’s no rush to lose another 10 pounds. Just take it easy on yourself, and just, most importantly, like I said, measure what you value. Don’t value what is measured for you. If someone hands you a measurement and tell you it’s important, it’s your job to question that. Each and every single person alive today, talk to your kids about what’s important and how to measure it. If you just say to them, “Hey, family time is important,” it’s not important. You have to tell them how to measure it. We think in this way. It’s who we are. Don’t be afraid. And if something seems unmeasurable, call me. I’ll tell you how to measure it because you can do it. Some of it it’s unorthodox. I measure non linear time. So it can be done.

Alex Cleanthous:

And how do people get in touch with you?

Chris Dancy:

Oh my goodness. Well, you can always google most connected in like any country in the world, but seriously, my website’s just chrisdancy.com. I have a nice little post on there. If you go to chrisdancy.com/howto, it gives you the three steps. The first one is measure your time. I got a nice little app for that. Next one is get on your Airtable. And last one is a habit store. So basically create a place where you can share habits with other people, because I don’t think we download apps, we download habits. And people at the end of the day don’t want to be us, they want to be like us. That means they need to have access to the tools and systems that we use.

Alex Cleanthous:

Fabulous. Chris, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. This was such a great conversation because it’s something I’m super passionate about, and it’s an area which not many people are talking about. So again, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and we’ll talk soon.

Chris Dancy:

Thank you Alex.

Alex Cleanthous:

Thanks for listening to The Growth Manifesto podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, please give us a five star rating on iTunes. For more episodes, please visit growthmanifesto.com/podcast. And if you need help driving growth for your company, please get in touch with us at webprofits.io.

Adrian Clark

Now that you’re here…

Why not take a few minutes to see how Webprofits can help you achieve your growth aspirations?

We helped one company grow from $25M to $190M revenue in 4 years, and we work with challenger brands that want to make a serious impact in their industry and have the resources (and the will) to make it happen.

If you want a growth strategy that leads the way in your industry, find out how Webprofits can help you transform your digital marketing.

See what we can do

Meet Webprofits

85+ full-time marketers. Offices in Australia, USA and Singapore. Helping challenger brands drive growth since 2006.

One Team. One Brief. One Objective

Webprofits is a digital growth consultancy with fully-integrated, end-to-end, agile digital marketing teams that challenger brands can use to drive rapid growth in a complex and fragmented digital landscape.

Find out more