Attendees at The Fetch Melbourne dinner on Quantified Self held at Trunk, September 2012

What do you call 10 people in a room who want to talk about themselves? A spectator would have assumed this scene to be a group of narcissists discussing themselves in a séance like setting. However, those involved took the conversation to a more unique place altogether; down the path of the growing trend of recording, measuring, and learning about yourself – the movement of quantifying your body. At the inaugural Melbourne dinner catch-up for The Fetch, a group of individuals came together to talk about one thing: The Quantified Self.

Around the table I found I was surrounded by the smarts of Melbourne’s ‘digitally curious’; a mix of entrepreneurs, content specialists, educators, advertising pros, and of course the amazing Fetch crew.

While the menu tempted us with soft-shell crabs and hand-rolled gnocchi, it was the conversation topic on The Quantified Self that enthralled us the most – one that I have become quite opinionated on due to its nature. The Fetch had brought us together to discuss the meaning and implications of the quantified self in today’s world, and, to understand what the group thought the real meaning behind the shift signified.

The quantified self is all about using technology to record what was once intuition.

Using data to discover ourselves in a different way, and to use the information for self-optimisation. The night took us to the ethics of commercialising self-measuring software, and whether the free market even waits for ethics. We spoke about if Nike+ really is the most over-hyped pedometer ever invented. We debated the logic of measuring yourself for optimisation, and whether too much self-measurement can result in an over-reliance on a third party. We reviewed the apps we use, the apps that will come, and the apps that we don’t want to see any time soon (we’re still undecided about which category a sex self-assessment app falls into).

The result? Opinions connected and collided! Of course, that’s what you want from a good healthy dinner conversation. Passion flowed around the table with people contributing inspirational stories about their past, and how quantifying their actions changed them for the better.

I came for the food. Stayed for the conversation. But will come again for the company. The perfect way to kick off The Fetch dinner series I say.

Bio: Athan Didaskalou is a Strategist for Ogilvy Melbourne. Read more about the Quantified Self on his post ‘Narcissism and Personal Data: A Future of Less Sleep and More Sex‘. You can also follow him on Twitter @ath.