Creating an Open Zeo ecosystem - how open should we be

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Creating an Open Zeo ecosystem session


  • John Eckman
  • Tom Stites
  • Ben Rubin
  • Keith Hopper
  • Doc Searls
  • Robbin Lubbock
  • Bob Wayland
  • Alan Hoving

Where we have been - you use the SD card to upload your data to the web site.

What are the various ways we could open this data?

  1. Excel download of sleep features
  2. OpenAPI - access your sleep data from anywhere on the web (data export) (Read, Write, or Both)
  3. Aggregated data - sharing / access - how do other 40 yr old women in Duluth sleep
  4. Open up the data real time - data comes out of the serial port, do we publish the format
  5. Make it an open application platform - let other people write apps on it.

We’re leaning towards the open platform, but we have to make sure we do it responsibly.

How many users? Largest sleep database in the world, well over 30,000 points of data.

Reach out along social media space - FB group (300 fans), twitter account (600 followers).

To what extent are you feeding conversation? (What arcana exists where people talk about what they learned from their Zeo)

People are talking about their ZQ score - we’re seeing the 1% of that online, but people are having the conversation.

Doc recommends registering the - for the other third of your life which is sleep.

A. Create a planet, aggregating content from around the web about sleep - make yourself the Lord of Sleep.

B. Then, once you have some critical mass - make a big push out of the fact that the user owns their sleep data - I use a zeo, I own my sleep data.

C. Go to the users - what should we all do with this data? The people in the community. These are issues best studied in aggregate, we think there is value in it, how can we best leverage it?


At the end of the day, the building of a commuity around what you’re doing is where the value is - sleep optimization / sleep data / focus on sleep issues not just sleep data.

Reaching out to existing communities - where can we find folks who are already having this issue.

Doug Mayer who runs car talk forums - folks who want to answer questions versus folks with question.


Forum recomendations - Vanilla, Ning, BBPress,


What about data owership:

We’re right at the beginning of this and we don’t know what’s around the curve. We’ve got the folks who are zealots, and folks who don’t care at all, and not much in between.

You need to be able to redraw the picture as you go - drawing your picture in pencil as you go.

You’ve bitten off a market corner that’s really large but focused.

You have to have a clear policy about the data. This policy reassures the concerned but also creates the space for having the possibility to do interesting work down the road.

What kinds of policy make sense for data usage? What should you allow or not allow?

Difficulty of traditional challenges - the default corporate culture today would be to keep the data private.

Keith - the key value here is going to be the community, which will require honestly. Also, you’re going to get a lot more exposure by being open. Finally you’re also going to get some interesting results coming out of the research.

Whats the argument to make to those concerned about regulatory issues and those from a more traditional background who worry about giving away the data?

What prevents a competitor from coming along and ripping off the interface and use? What would keep people from taking the SD that has the data on it and using it for other purposes?

When people impersonate you, that’s a sign you’ve won. Don’t worry about Elvis impersonators - you’ll always be better at it than you. ---

Devil’s Advocate positions: - let people access their data, but only through a web API - let people access their data off the SD card but decrypt it if you use an app where you’ve accepted a developer version.

What’s wrong with that?

Feels like the company is setting the terms whereby the user can access his data - why is it the companies place to set these terms?

What would be better would be to say this is your data to use as you please, but here are some terms of service you should request - there are lots of people who will want your data, but this is what you should require from them.

The shift from “you give us ownership” to “you give us a right to use a copy” in photo sharing services - there are steps beyond this you can explore.

Example: you can use this data for non-commercial, aggregate level research studies.

What you want ultimately is a trusted relationship with your community of users - that’s a huge value if they know that they trust. That’s more important than the cheap opportunity you’d miss out on from selling the user’s data.

You have to be the shining example of safeguarding the users data.

What’s the benefit to the consumer of interacting with you? The most important thing is to build trust with the community. - you’re gonna sleep better - you’re gonna become part of a community - you’ll see your own behavior normalized in an aggregate set (where does my sleep disruption sit on a scale)

What will build trust?

- a user data covenant is one part of a broader picture - accurate results, helpful results - transparency into the data - contest type stuff - the X prize for sleep

Open is horizontal, closed is vertical - you can do either, you can even play at both.

Apple as the prime counter example - they manage to do things but stay closed.

Be ready to jump - let the market tell you.