Business

How today's earthquake woke up half the Bay Area, in one chart

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Like many in the Bay Area, the magnitude 6.0 earthquake woke me up in the middle of the night. So, I asked the good folks at Jawbone to pull some data for me on just how this earthquake affected the sleeping patterns of Silicon Valley. Here’s what they returned.

Sure enough, not only did the earthquake wreak havoc on the historic Napa Valley, but it left an entire city more sleepy the next day.

Jawbone also pulled some statistics on how many people stayed up the whole night:

“Napa, Sonoma, Vallejo, and Fairfield were less than 15 miles from the epicenter. Almost all (93%) of the UP wearers in these cities suddenly woke up at 3:20AM when the quake struck. Farther from the epicenter, the impact was weaker and more people slept through the shaking. In San Francisco and Oakland, slightly more than half (55%) woke up. As we look even farther, the effect becomes progressively weaker — almost no UP wearers in Modesto and Santa Cruz (and others between 75 and 100 miles from the epicenter) were woken up by the earthquake, according to UP data.”

Why this is more than eye candy

This is the power of big data. The more we learn about people’s movements, sleeping patterns, and habits, the more we can quantify important events. Of course, waking up at 3am is nothing compared to the tragic damage that many Napa Valley residents faced this morning. But, in a natural disaster, cities often ask for financial aid from state and federal governments.

Had this earthquake happened during a weekday, it might be reasonable to ask for additional federal aid to make up for the economic productivity loss for a day’s worth of grogginess.

Additionally, some health tech companies are already beginning to analyze disease patterns from the way people move around during the day. After the earthquake, Jawbone would be able to analyze patterns that could indicate higher bouts of depression. In this case, health officials could buy ads alerting people in the area on how to get help for mental health issues.

The more we know about people’s behavior, the more public and private agencies can help.


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