Personal Data Analytics{2}

The article, “What 23 Years of E-Mail May Say About You”, by Anne Eisenberg talks about ways in which every day people can utilize the power of data analytics. We tend to perceive the idea of data analysis on a larger scale– businesses keeping track of their daily, monthly, and annual progress through data modeling and analysis. Stephen Wolfram, a scientist and entrepreneur, incorporated the idea of corporate data analysis into his new software, “Wolfram Alpha Pro”, where people can monitor their daily activities digitally. As citizens of the digital age, we accumulate large amounts of data in our lives through everyday activities– especially telephone conversations, electronic mails and writing. Dr. Wolfram suggested that the outstanding compilation of our digital information could be used to analyze our daily lives. Over time, data graphs give us a visual snapshot of a specific period in our lives that depict how we spend our time and energies. Such as how businesses analyze their data to make better decisions in the future, people can also use their personal data to improve their lives. For example, Dr. Wolfram tracked patterns in his personal data to determine what activities helped stimulate new ideas during his entrepreneurial venture. We may have memories of times he sprouted a brilliant idea, but details of its upbringing are often times unclear. A data graph provides contextual evidence to help us recall these situations for the purpose of future innovation. On the other hand, businesses become a lot more competitive. For example, companies may realize through data graphs that periods of highest outgoing calls correlated with the highest sales percentage. Such business would have an idea of what worked and what didn’t. Perhaps we want to track the progress of our weight loss goals. We could simply record the foods that we consume on a daily basis and the amount of calories burnt during an exercise session. In a matter of 30 days, we should have an idea of our habits and how we could fix them to better reach our goals. With so much potential in its usage, the data tracking system may end up becoming a sort of digital treasure trove of memories, historian or even a coach for developing better work habits and productivity.

As I recall from our class discussion, developing a functioning database requires not only the preexisting data but also a system known as the database management system(DBMS). Without the system, it would be very difficult to manage and organize voluminous amounts of data over time. I personally think the Stephen Wolfram’s software is a simple and effective platform to learn about the basics of database management.

The future of data management does not only entail corporate decision making but also personal decision making. The personal usage of database management systems, if used correctly, could potentially improve the quality of lives for everyone. Companies reap the benefits of better performances due to more productive lifestyles.


Citation: Eisenberg, A. (2012, April 7). Mining our own personal data. . Retrieved from