We must become our own CIO’s

I recently co-authored a blog post for HBR on the marketplace for privacy where we assert that there is a price to be paid for your health-related information. Technology is a key driver to participating wisely in privacy commerce, so you will need to become your own CIO to make sure you know when to take advantage of opportunities and know when the risk is too high.

Commerce of commitment

The latest example of this is the GymPact system for tracking and rewarding the right exercise behaviors. It also punishes those who make poor fitness choices. It creates a marketplace for commitment to exercise that each user can evaluate and decide upon their own comfort level of risk versus reward. The tag line? “Conquer excuses with $$$ and get your butt to the gym.” They claim people who use GymPact make 86% of the workouts they commit to.


Users download the app and link it to other social networking platforms, such as Facebook, the first segment of privacy that is given up. Each week involves a pact with the pool of GymPact users that are participating in the ‘accountability pool’ for that week.

Users commit to how much exercise they’re planning and how much they’re willing to pay if they don’t follow through. The application is then linked to other systems that track runs, bike rides, or check-ins at the gym. To keep people honest, the GymPact app records data about activities (location, distance, time, etc.) or it periodically pings a user’s GPS to see how long they remained at the gym.

At the end of the week, the money pledged by those that didn’t keep up their end of the bargain is divided among those who did. Skipping the gym has even more cost than ever before.

Big sweaty data

One can imagine the amount of data and information that is potentially gathered and tracked about each user and their exercise behaviors. Anyone participating can determine whether the rewards of fitness and cash outweigh the loss of privacy and possible cost. For me, I’m all for it. I workout steadily and don’t mind telling this app and others users my details in return for funding my running shoes. For others, it might not be worth it.

The bottom line is that everyone needs to be aware that we’re headed into a world where this is only the beginning. We all need to start thinking like we’re our own CIO’s.


Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Apps, Privacy, Sports

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One Comment on “We must become our own CIO’s”

  1. October 11, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    Excellent post. In fact man of us are CIO by default (for our own families). In fact I wrote a blog a while ago called “I’ve been promoted to CIO, but I’m not qualified, willing or able.” http://bit.ly/Riq9XC which looked at the issues you raised from a personal perspective

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