Monday, April 18, 2016

Keeping on track with planners and Instant App from Emberify

Hey guys! Let's talk about time-management a bit, ok? 

Lately, I've been trying to do some time-managing and scheduling. With the upcoming move to Santa Fe (BIG deal) and the inevitable big life changes that will follow, I am feeling slightly overwhelmed. Days feel way too short to get everything done, and I can't help but feel like I'm falling behind a lot. I am the worst at following a set schedule, mainly because of my two-year-old who just doesn't care to stick to any of the plans I make, but I decided that if I don't at least try, I will be in serious trouble very soon.

Being a stay-and-work-at-home mom, designer, blogger, designated-dog-walker,and house-wife (okay, more like a house-maid, let's face it) isn't easy at all. It's crazy hectic. I have a packed schedule every day and it gets so busy, I often times don't even have time for half of the stuff I hope and plan to do. When I catch up on bookstagram photos, I fall behind on designing. When I focus on my designs, I don't have time to read and write my reviews. And I realize that I need to try extra hard right now to stay on top of things and be organized, because it's all too easy to get buried under a pile of chores and work. 

And so I decided to make a weekly plan for myself and I am going to try very hard to stick to it. For example, Monday's are for scheduling blog posts, Wednesday's are for photo taking, Tuesday's and Thursdays are for designing. The rest? Not sure just yet, but I would love to have a day for just reading. And by day I mean the two hour free time I have while Tori sleeps, obviously. Because she takes over the rest of the time every day.

I figured I would need something more than just a Google calendar to keep me motivated and on track. I ordered a lovely planner from Posy Planners on Etsy (I'll show it off when it arrives very soon!) and I also came across this fun and helpful app lately, called INSTANT, that helps you keep track of your daily activities. I find this app particularly amazing, because unlike other apps it doesn't require constant syncing across your different devices, which makes things much simpler for a busy mom like me. And the reason why I decided I needed this app is simple - in order to plan better, I need to first know how much time my activities, chores and work take up. 

Instant automatically tracks your iPhone/iPad, fitness time, places, sleep and travel with Instant. Once a week, it gives you a report of your trends and patterns, and most importantly, the data collected by this app is completely private and for your eyes only. 

I'm hoping the planner and the app will help get me through this insanely busy time and perhaps even create some better habits for the future. 

How do you stay organized? Do you use a planner or Google calendar? Do you use any behavior-tracking apps? Let me know! I am always on the lookout for new ideas!

Interview with Shashwat Pradhan, Founder of Emberify,

Pune, India - Mar 1st, 2016
What’s the story at Emberify right now?
We just launched Instant's latest iteration -- Instant 3.0. Instant is an automatic self-tracking app, whose unique selling point is that it tracks everything automatically in one place, including how long you spend on your phone, at particular places, traveling, doing fitness activities, and sleeping. And it’s the friendliest possible experience for users: all you have to do is leave it running in the background, and it’ll track everything, put the results on one dashboard, and generate a weekly report.
In short, Instant is Google Analytics for your life.
What makes this kind of launch so newsworthy?
This fits into the increased attention that the Quantified Self movement has been getting in these past months-- and the Apple Watch, Android Wear, Apple HealthKit, Google Fit, and Fitbit are all manifestations of this trend. The problem people in this space keep running into, though, is that they need to sync across multiple apps, quantifying different things. We come in to simplify the entire process, and make it possible to get the multiple activities data in one dashboard.
What in your background led you to Emberify?
Before Emberify, I co-founded another context aware app startup & was researching on data mining from social networks as a part of my computer engineering college degree. The entire mobile contextual world had a lot of possibilities -- the average mobile device has 7 sensors and can gather so much data about users through them. Emberify builds on that capability with the mission of making personal analytics accessible to everyone using real-time personal data.

Could you describe Instant’s development trajectory?
Last February we launched our Android app, and were featured on Techcrunch which accelerated our growth -- 3 months later, we won an award from Google for it. This past September, we launched Instant for iOS and got lots of traction and were on The New York Times -- and since then, have been working on tracking improvements through machine learning techniques, and ways of making the data more understandable to our users. Out of this, we launched Instant 3.0 last week -- which debuted sleep tracking, weekly reports, and a new user interface. For the next version, we are working on an AI coach to help users keep in sync with their data.
So far, Instant has seen over 200,000 downloads, and of those, there are about 50,000 active monthly users. We just turned down acquisition offer last month, and signed several licensing agreements.
Does Instant have any notable competitors? What sets Instant apart?
A lot of competitors are doing a lot of different things in this space right now. But putting it simply, users have 3 main problems with these right now: you either have to use multiple devices and apps to track yourself, or have to enter the data manually, or have to struggle to get meaning out of the data. We’re addressing all 3 of these problems. In the case of Gyroscope, you need to connect to multiple apps to bring out all this data. Sony Lifelog is fitness-specific, Day One and Quantify require manual entry, and Moment only tracks one variable from users. Seeing these apps’ problems, we came up with Instant.
Another interesting point, on privacy -- all the data generated by Instant on your phone itself is private, and we have no access to it. A lot of data collection apps make money selling users’ data, but we emphatically don’t.
What is Instant’s revenue model?
Our revenues come from two places: licensing our tracking technology out to other companies, and in-app purchases -- namely, access to weekly reports.
Does Instant have any notable funders or institutional partners?
We’re a bootstrapped company -- I put in $50,000. We also got some tools & credits being a part of Google’s Launchpad program & Facebook’s FBStart.
As for partners, once we launched Instant, we signed licensing deals with several startups and midsize companies using tracking technology in their products. Instant is also being used at California State University for human behavior research, on the ‘The Global Impact of Technology’.
Disclosure: this post is sponsored by Emberify.


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