On the seventh floor of a concrete office building in Washington, a government worker stops to contemplate a purchase from the vending machine. Then his phone vibrates. An alert on the screen suggests he pass on the Twinkies today. This guinea pig, among a group of employees at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, may be experiencing the office of the future. The department ran an experiment this summer to see whether new technology could get workers to form better health habits. The Health Department used wireless gizmos situated around the office that transmit signals to employees' mobile devices as they pass by. An app running on their smartphones interprets the data and delivers advice based on where they are. Employees who get up from a conference-room table might get an alert telling them to take the long way back to their desks. Walking past a water fountain five times prompts a suggestion that it's time to stop for a drink during the next go-around. [Bloomberg, related]
First Food Eating Challenge Of 2013: Underway
It's another vending machine challenge and you know how we feel about those (too much time, not enough food, doesn't put hair on anyone's chest) BUT it does involve a contract (described as "amazing" by the half of Dealbreaker that was at one time licensed to practice law in New York), the terms of which state that in the event of a loss, the loser will pay for a lunch he's not invited to, so we've got award points for that.
Does Your Next Food Eating Challenge Involve Binge Drinking Herbalife's Formula 1 Nutrition Shake?
As many of you know, around these parts we are constantly debating the merits of various financial services employees' food eating challenges. Historically, we've detracted points for allowing the participants far too much time to complete the task at hand (opening bell to close, might as well just make it limitless), an insufficient volume of food (a box of Munchkins, considered by many to be a snack), and lack of originality (vending machine challenges have been done). On the flip side, we've applauded creativity (an investment banker and 500 Starburst enter a room and there's a webcam involved),* obscene amounts of food and enough sugar to cause hyperglycemia (244 oysters, a cupcake of death), and topicality (the delicacy that is the Sausage Pancake Bite: yes! Double Downs: double yes!). Which brings us to this: the Herbalife Food Eating Challenge. New York Observer reporter Patrick Clark noticed that while the Herbalife story has been covered by many an angle so far (the blood-sucking pyramid scheme angle, the grandma angle, the Dan Loeb/UWS hedge fund manager on UWS hedge fund manager angle), the most important angle of all had yet to be explored: the actual ingesting of this stuff angle.