August 5, 2022

Friday Forum is an All Hands meeting for the Levels team, where they discuss their progress and traction each week.


Dom (00:00):

Welcome to the first meeting of August 2022. Coming straight in, so as always, want to highlight the incredible work on the support side. Happiness is at 87% despite continued challenges and continued learning on the SLAs, and volume, and nature of the engagement that we’re getting on the support system. So just seeing that happiness number remain high despite all those challenges is really awesome. I want to highlight that always. Help Scout Data is now in Snowflake, so we’re able to pull out much deeper insights and analytics. Shout-out to Helena for helping out on that. That’s a big improvement and we’re already seeing it show up in Chris’s amazing, weekly member experience updates, which I highly recommend. We had an uptick in delegations, so I don’t have the screenshot here, but it does seem like the 10X delegation project is starting to show some early fruit, and the total number of delegations across the team, as well as the per per team or per team member delegations are all up.


So this is great, we want to continue to use systems thinking and scale ourselves, and scale our time, and delegate, and our EAs are doing an incredible job of supporting. So it’s really just a matter of finding those opportunities and creating process around it. In July, we had digital posts up 12%, so the volume and cadence was up and we had over a million impressions, tons of engagement, starting to build UK social channel insights strategy. So as we start to transition toward the UK Alpha and Beta, we’re going to be looking to do the same thing. Get really deep insights into how our social channels are growing. Shout-out to Matt for a really great deep dive on this month’s digital channels. On the UK side, so Alpha cohort invites are out. You can kind of think of this as our getting started cohort for our very earliest UK members.


We’ve got a really awesome playbook coming together for advisor outreach and activation. This was two memos kind of in one. One specific to the UK, and one for just generalized new market expansion. So using early partners and advisors has been a huge lever for us getting started, getting validation here in the US, and we’re going to be looking to repeat that elsewhere. And the ENG team is working on the e-commerce framework for the UK launch. The Huberman Lab podcast ad is live and the landing page accordingly. Tom and Jackie, and others are doing some really quick work on thinking through experimentation around partner offers. Essentially, how can we test the opportunity to give partners like Andrew Huberman something, a carrot sort of so to speak, to offer his specific audience. Now that we’re in general availability, we don’t have a wait list anymore, there’s a lot to think about here. A lot of opportunity to experiment and to continue to give partners like Andrew Huberman something that is really, really unique to their audience, which is super important for these sorts of partnerships. So looking forward to that.


Company Survey results as everyone knows by now, have been analyzed and distributed. Another huge shout-out to Miz for taking this on, and to everyone for participating and sharing really good, candid feedback. Super helpful. On the other side of the business. July receipts were right in line with expectations, so we’re now in growth mode formally. That was our first month in the books. August, we’re going to be looking to show some growth. So we’re off to the races here. The ENG side, so stability scoring, it’s currently live in app, looking for bug fixes. Everyone please be using the product and sharing your experiences with the new stability score.


We are now focusing on getting that stability score propagated across my data, replacing the metabolic score there, and also focusing on logging and tagging. So increasing the total number of tags, autocorrect, creating new tags in order to support the logging V2 initiative. So very exciting there. On the backend, you can see this nice little chart here. The ENG updates, which are now in the Async project updates, which we’ll be emailing to everyone after this meeting, show some really nice insight into what’s going on behind the scenes. So event loop latency, the specifics there are a little bit complicated, but the point is that our servers were really getting hammered over the past few weeks, and with some quick work by the backend team, we’re seeing some really amazing latency improvement from four milliseconds to less than two microseconds. So orders of magnitude improvement there and that shows up as better performance in the app and on the server. So really appreciate that insight.


New user personas project distributed, so shout-out to Lauren and many others who contributed to this, but the deck is amazing. You see kind of a sneak peek here. Really gives an awesome insight into who our members are, what they care about, and how we need to think about working with them. So love that one. Everyone should really dive in deep here. I haven’t been able to do an extremely deep dive, but already thinking about our members by name is such an improvement in kind of feeling like you have a relationship to them. On the IRB side, so we’ve got two … Well, really on the research side. Two cool graphs here, the first one is we’re seeing early time and range improvements with our IRB participants, and this does not seem to be correlated with the day of sensor life, which is important calibration, for example. So this, it seems to be an early indication that Levels helps people improve their health. Obviously, we have a ton more to do here. This is just a very, very early insight, but very promising.


And then just below that, I mentioned this last week, but you can see here, one of the other research programs we’re involved in, which shows a low carb/high fat versus high carb/low fat dietary approach for high performance athletes. And what the study has shown is that people, there is no performance difference between them, but there is a significant 10 milligram per deciliter difference in average glucose between the two groups. So this is a meaningful health difference if performance is the same. So that’s important. Here are some cool images of the app work that’s in work with my data and the stability ring propagation. We showed up in conversation between the Rich Roll and Peter Attia this week. Super highly recommend that conversation, it was awesome, and really gave a nice concise reason for why CGM matters to the future.


Here’s a sneak peek of our upcoming member story with Dave Phillips. Some great work on UGC with Ashley Salvatore, Austin McGuffey, and a ton of awesome memos that came out this week. And then we’ve got some whole new Level episodes featuring Allie Resnick, and more of the Levels team. Awesome stuff on the month in metabolic health, which is quickly becoming my favorite piece of content that we produce right now. It’s a really nice roundup and deep dive. And then Janet Gunn did a IG live with Lauren, which was awesome. All right, that’s it. We’re going to jump ahead and welcome Janet Gunn, who did that IG live with Lauren to the Friday forum. Janet is a lifestyle influencer, creator, and partner to Levels, and she has a really keen insight into metabolic health for longevity. Very excited to have you here, Janet, and really appreciate you taking some time on your Friday morning to hang out with us and we’d love to hear kind of what you’re excited about in the world of metabolic health, personally, at scale, just anything you’d like to share with us.

Janet Gunn (07:41):

Hi. Thank you for having me. Can you see me and hear me?

Dom (07:47):


Janet Gunn (07:48):

Okay. All right, great, because I wasn’t for sure. I’ve always thought that I was a pretty healthy person as far as my diet and my lifestyle. So I really learned so much with wearing this CGM because it gave me a whole nother look into how foods affect everything from the time I wake up until the time that I go to bed. So I love that I can share this data with a lot of women who are especially in my age group, and I love to focus on women’s health, 40 and 40 plus. So when I first learned about glucose a while back, I always thought, well, that related to people if you were diabetic or you were pre-diabetic, but it’s everybody, and when you can understand how your glucose affects your moods and your overall health, well, that was real eye-opener for me, and also learning from Lauren, that most of the studies have been done on men and not so much women. And I think that being able to wear this, and people always ask me about it when they see it on my arm, and so just to change the conversation and now get people, just to make people aware that, oh, well, actually this could affect my brain, my heart, my sleeping, everything, just overall health. So for me it’s been, I think one of the most important things is learning about myself, but changing the conversation and making people aware.

Dom (09:34):

I love that. You know what I was going to say? What you’re describing is this concept of metabolic awareness, which is really the first step is understanding that the choices we’re making have some real tangible change biochemically in our bodies, which feels super abstract and science-y until suddenly you just see it in that closed feedback loop. So I’d love to hear any personal examples. These are the most powerful for our team is just to hear from you. Any specific example in terms of what you’ve learned, what you’re hoping to learn, or even better, something that you haven’t been able to learn because we haven’t yet provided it and you’d like to see it in the product at some point.

Janet Gunn (10:13):

Well, definitely what I’ve learned is that I was someone who ate a lot of sushi. That was my go-to meal because I always thought that the rice carried the protein to the blood and to me it was healthy. I work out quite a bit and I would eat the sushi even after I worked out and I would literally, my head would almost hit my desk. I would need to take a nap and I always thought that just that little bit of food would be okay. And I changed all of our chips in our pantry, everything went to rice chips. So my husband and my son, we were all eating the rice chips and that was making me tired. So I’ve spent the last four to five years eating sushi and rice chips thinking that this was a healthy diet, and when I saw the spikes, it was, I couldn’t believe what happened.


So for me, that was a real game changer for me. I also loved to eat potatoes, like a baked potato, and I stopped. I really didn’t eat many baked potatoes because I thought it was fattening, just don’t have that. And so for me, a baked potato doesn’t really spike me whatsoever. So it’s been really learning about the foods, just that overall how my energy drops. I’m trying to think what I haven’t learned. I’m still trying to adjust with when I see the blood, when it drops at night when I sleep, I have put the monitor on my left arm because I sleep on my right side. So I’m still curious about what happens whenever we sleep, why it tends to drop sometimes.

Dom (12:05):

Yeah, I think that scenario that’s ripe for more research. Certainly there are, like you mentioned, there are pressure lows where if you lay on the sensor for too long, it can push the fluid away from it, but generally there is a really interesting study showing correlations between glucose concentration changes and stage of sleep cycle, and it’s a small end study. We have an opportunity with our large IRB to start to collect significantly larger scale information like this with in the context of CGM. So I’m hopeful that we can do a lot to push the ball forward there. All super interesting.

Janet Gunn (12:40):

[inaudible 00:12:41].

Dom (12:40):

Yeah, sorry, go ahead.

Janet Gunn (12:42):

[inaudible 00:12:43]. Excuse me, is that, so I would always eat blueberries on top of a little bit of the oatmeal. That to me felt like a healthy breakfast. I had this conversation with Lauren, and when I saw what that did to my glucose, that was an eyeopener, but when I switched to the frozen dried blueberries, or the pomegranates, or the raspberries, it didn’t spike it. The frozen dried, like the berries, just like the overall berries because I had also kept away from fruit because I thought that it had too much sugar, but I’m also learning … That’s what I love too, is that I learned a lot about the different fruits that I always wanted to have, but I thought that they had too much sugar, but I’ve learned the ones for me that actually worked, and it’s helped me keep a pretty even score throughout the day by having that.

Dom (13:45):

Love that. Yeah, the positive reinforcement is some of the best, I think, or some of the greatest examples I think of how this technology can, it really is, it’s not judgmental, it’s just trying. It shows what the reality is. And so being able to understand that you can have some more flexibility with certain things than others. I had a similar experience with rice and potatoes. I definitely unfortunately I could eat a bathtub full of rice, but I have to kind of biased towards potatoes and that’s okay, but with berries, I’ve also introduced quite a bit of those into my diet. So there’s a lot of similarities here. I’m curious, what are some features that you’d love to see in the product? Maybe besides the sleep analytics, but other features that might help as you go through the journey with Levels and continue to learn. What would you look forward to us introducing?

Janet Gunn (14:34):

Well, anything that could do with heart, like the heart and the heart rate, because that is such a big … For women, heart disease is a very big thing. So I would love to be able to have that visual data where we could share that with women because I think that would be super enlightening because the visual data, that is, and I also feel like we’re just all living in this visual world, and so the more visual we can have, the better. So anything that can accelerate the knowledge of women and heart, I think would be super helpful, because when I’ve shown this app to some of my girlfriends, they’re like, “Oh, wow. Oh, that’s how it works.” They don’t really understand how it works. You can talk about an app, but until people actually see it, then I think that’s where we can maybe change the game a little bit. I think it would be great too, I was thinking about this after I spoke with Lauren, is to be able to have someone film me while I’m looking at the app. I mean, I try to do the best I can with doing a screen recording for my reels videos, but when I know that it can really be super helpful when people can see the data, that’s the biggest thing.

Dom (16:05):

Yeah, so it sounds like maybe some opportunity to introduce additional sharing features and almost narrative around the way that you’re interacting, or individuals are interacting with their data, and be able to share that experience with other people might be something that could be really valuable here.

Janet Gunn (16:20):


Dom (16:21):

Amazing. Well, besides that on the heart health and general cardiovascular health, as well as for specific demographics, women in particular. So Dr. Sarah Gottfried and Casey had a really amazing podcast recently where they dive into her research on the higher risk of cardiovascular disease outcomes, negative outcomes for women over time. And there’s a lot that we can do to surface the awareness that’s already, or the information that’s already out there, the research that’s already out there, but also, we’re very excited to contribute to it. And the data that is coming through our IRB study, anonymized, aggregated, is going to contribute to the whole space. The understanding of metabolic health for the entire general population as it relates to decisions we’re making, lifestyle choices we’re making, and we certainly will have some deeper dives with our metabolic health panel as it relates to heart disease markers. So very much on the same page and looking forward to continuing to raise awareness to this stuff.


And Janet, your help, your work as partner, the conversations you have, for example with Lauren, are super amazing for generating that awareness and helping us get that distribution. So thank you and thanks for joining today, really awesome to hear from you, and if there’s any way that we can collect more of your insights, please let us know. We would love to be supportive there.

Janet Gunn (17:35):

Okay, thank you. I really appreciate it, and anytime that any you think of, we could do another conversation, another live just to keep the conversation going. I think it’s really important. It’s so helpful.

Dom (17:47):

Amazing, 100%. And if you’d like to stick around, I’m sure you have many things going on, I appreciate the time you’ve given us, but if you’d like to stick around for the rest of the meeting, please feel free. We kind of just dive into the goings on here at Levels.

Janet Gunn (18:00):

Thank you. I really appreciate it and I love what you do, and all the work, and just taking charge of that, our health, and bringing that awareness is really important to better us all, so thank you.

Dom (18:10):

Well, thank you very much, Janet. Have a wonderful weekend.

Janet Gunn (18:10):

You too.

Dom (18:10):

All right, quick culture and kudos. So first off, I want to congratulate Shin Lu on two years. She’s on Pacific Coast Trail, I think rapidly approaching Canada at this point, which is pretty unbelievable. So awesome to have her on the team two whole years, I can’t believe it’s been that long. Then we’ve got two meetups. So we have a backpacking trip with Sissy, Brittany, and Steph in Tahoe, which looks unbelievable. And then an equally unbelievable background there with Matt and Riley up in Banff, which I’m super jealous of. That’s definitely a bucket list item for me. So awesome to see the team coming together and doing some outdoor stuff. All right, the main thing, so as usual, Level shows you how food affects your health, nothing’s changed here. Those priority or that main thing is supported by our current objectives on retention, member health improvement, and new member acquisition. Over to you.

Miz (19:08):

I’ll take this one. Yeah, so thanks all who joined the fireside yesterday, where we discussed the culture survey. Some really interesting discussion, and it felt like it had been a while since we’ve had that kind of group dynamic and since we came together as a team. So really enjoyed the conversation there. If you didn’t catch it, the recording is available in Notion. I’m not going to go over the culture survey results here just because there’s a 20 minute loom that covers that in much better detail than I’d be able to capture here, but if you’re curious about the action items, some of the themes that came out, dive into some of the numbers and comments, you should really take the time to go through that. It’s important that we address this transparently, that we take the feedback to heart, and that we do things about it in our culture and in our environment. So thanks all for the participation in this and we’ll keep the momentum moving.


Otherwise, just things to keep in mind on the people horizon, some work in progress to update our performance and feedback process, introduce a rating system that a lot of folks have been asking for. So that’s coming in the next few weeks, if not sooner. We have a two memos that come together. The first is a job titles memo, which we released about three weeks ago. Taking that over the finish line is contingent on defining expectations by level for each functional area. So team leaders and managers are working on that as we speak, and expecting to have that wrapped up pretty soon, which will unlock quite a few more changes, so excited about that. Stay tuned and I will have both updates along the way in thread. That’s it on this one.

Dom (20:34):

Awesome. Thank you, Miz, very much. All right, we got a product update from Moz.

Moz (20:46):

Hi everyone. Excited to give you an update on what’s going on in product line and give you a sneak peek of all the great work that team is doing. First and foremost, we are working on a visualization framework for our roadmap that shows where we are now, and where we’re trying to go, and what the priorities are, and how they tie to company objectives. And so this is a sneak peek, and so don’t pay attention too much on the words on the page, but structurally what we’ll have is we’ll have the features in the columns based on priority. So everything that gets worked on is in the column, and so it’s a left to right priority. We’ll work on the left column, then move onto the right column. The arrow signify that individual features enable other features in the roadmap. So it is again, left to right.


The rows are effectively the aligned to the company objectives, so efficacy, retention, and growth. And we have basically everything we work on, and every feature we work on will fit into one of these three objectives. And right now, we’re prioritizing efficacy and retention. We’ve also structurally aligned the product team that now David is responsible for the efficacy features, and Kozomo is responsible for retention features. This enables us to allocate the right amount of resources to each of these priorities and also measure results. So we’re excited to do that. On the bottom here, the yellow box are effectively what does the customer get? And so everything, if we achieve all the features in that column, left of column at the yellow box is what it means for the user or the member, this is what they look at. So effectively this chart signifies what are we working on and in terms of priority, how does it meet company objectives, and then what does it mean for the customer?


So we’re excited to work on this. We are working on this in the month of August and early September, and we’ll post an update for everyone and get feedback. So we’re excited to show this in a much more visual way to give you a sense of what we’re on, we’re trying to go, and what our priorities are. The second thing that we’ve been excited to work on in a true Levels experimental fashion is personality and content. This is effectively a personality trying the things that are the core principles out of metabolic health, and I think people along on the journey. So they will effectively try something, measure their glucose response, and then do the change, and measure it again, and see the change in the glucose response. So for example, you can imagine somebody would eat a late carb, and measure their glucose response, and then eat a mixed meal and measure their glucose response and really talks about the learnings.


We did an experiment on this in Alpha, and our very own David shot the first version, so I highly recommend it to check it out. We posted this on the internal threads. If this experiment tests well, then we will move to creating it with content producers, and we will run that a small pilot in the internal and external data. And if that test well, then we’ll create more content with the content team to then launch for general availability. So we’ll see how it goes. I’m pretty excited about this. I am looking forward to getting feedback from everyone to see what they think of this experiment. The next thing is we’ve been thinking a lot about obviously event based insights, which is when you fill a lot of food, we will provide an insight to you based on our metabolic health principles and knowledge base that we and our advisors have.


In addition to that, we want to create guided programs. So not being reactive, but being proactive, and really helping you make the choice in whatever time of day, or whatever meal it is proactively. So if it is morning and you’re thinking about breakfast, what are the things you should consider? If you are in lunchtime, or if you’re at dinnertime, or if you’re at snack, we proactively will help you make better choices, effectively providing content in a way that would show what choices you can make. So I’ve been doing a lot of concepting here and you can kind of see the sausage making here, but effectively, what we hope this to be is the foundation for our guided programs and help us deliver the right behaviors. We’re also using behavior design frameworks here, so to make sure that the content that we’re providing to people is triggered at the right time. It is within a person’s ability, so they can execute on it, and it taps into their motivation, and if they do it, it’s rewarding, so they see the benefit.


So this is really going to be an iterative process. We’re going to start with an MVP, and then go from there. We’re going to actually test some of the mocks, initial mocks, and then based on that, really go build it in a skateboard fashion. So stay tuned, we are in the early concepting phase. Another thing that we’ve been working on is Labs 2.0, really making this as a platform to measure the status of your metabolic health, and really show you a trajectory, and be something that you want to check regularly. And if you’re on track, great, but if you’re off track, really help you then with our programs and the app to help you course correct or drive the right trajectory. So really looking forward to these Labs 2.0 to become the core part of your Level experience and something you want to know all the time, not just once or twice as you put CGMs on, you want to be able to affect the outcome as well. So looking forward to see how this shapes out, we’re in early concept and really kicking off next week, and we will work collaboratively with the key stakeholders here.


Some of the other stuff we’re working on, which is more structural to make sure that we increase our velocity of in the product and design orgs, and collaboration with engineering and other parts of the company, like support. So one of the initiatives that Kozomo has been driving is how do we get the best ideas and feedback from our members that are using the product, touching the product, and be able to triage that. So she’s working on the process where we’ll collect in a much more systematic way, feedback from support, and support tickets into a database where we can triage. In addition to that, we’re going to work closely with Chris and his team because they have the bird’s eye view of all the channels and touchpoints from our members to collect the top ideas, and then also triage them in our product roadmap.


So we’re really, we’re looking forward to working with the team there and really hearing from our members in an efficient and systematic way. Another thing we’re doing is as we are spending a lot of time in the month of August and early September, thinking about our roadmap and constant generation, and then shaping, we’re thinking about that process, and have a much more effective and efficient way to collaborate within product design, and also across company with the key stakeholders. So we’re excited on that and we’re making some changes there. So between these two, hope to make improvements to the product and velocity process. Anyways, hope you all have a good weekend. See you soon, bye.

Dom (26:52):

Awesome dive there. Thank you, Moz. Excited for that last part on product development in particular, as that showed up in quite a few of the themes from our cultural survey this week. All right, jumping into experimentation and learning from Jen.

Jen (27:12):

These are some of the experiments and learnings that we discovered throughout developing the copy process for the growth team. So what this includes is everything copywriting related to the YouTube channel, the podcast, and social media captions. It’s basically, when you think about it, it’s the house that everyone wants to party in, but no one wants to own or take care of. So let’s dive in here. Where it started is the Levels social post tracker lived in Google Sheets, this was by Stacy. It was a really good place for her to manage the copywriting process, or through editorial, and manage people to create assets and schedule the post out, et cetera, but we needed to move it into Notion to take advantage of custom views and more advanced properties, and potentially like Kanban boards and calendar views, et cetera. So my original vision for this was a very beautiful, streamlined Kanban board for different cards, but then I realized quickly that there are just so many properties, so many moving pieces that I wasn’t aware of until I started to dive into it, and keeping track of everything on one big table just didn’t work for existing tables, even though we are doing this in more sophisticated views where it wasn’t like everything all the time, but it still just ended up being a lot for people to manage and think about too.


So the solution when talking to Ben was to think about things as two separate things, so divide and conquer. I was trying to jam in way too much into one table, where it didn’t really make sense, especially across different functions. So started to think about things in two pillars. One is digital assets and one is distribution copy. Digital assets includes things like YouTube, video titles, and descriptions. Podcasts, same thing. And then distribution copy is social media for all platforms. So what this ends up looking like is we have digital assets on the left, where we have stuff in the video pipeline, and stuff in the whole new level pipeline, which also includes audio, video, and sub cuts, et cetera. And then on the right, we have distribution copy, where all the things go for social. One of the main keys that was soup, where did I go? There I am. One of the main keys that really helped with this was the Notion relation property and being able to tag things across databases, so that they were linked, but didn’t burden the other tables with a ton of information or duplicate information. Some other key solutions was process documentation and prioritizing that because once that was prioritized, it started to make things easier, but in hindsight, you know hindsight’s 2020, so it is what it is.


The other thing was making the same card title across all of the databases so they were easier to search and there weren’t very small iterations of a title that made it difficult or impossible to find cards. Athena to help with table management and cleanup has been amazing, and also having a mega thread and open team communication to help point out edge cases, and process tweaks, and solution things through that one mega thread has really been great. The people that have moved into the house of social media and copy, and all that stuff, banged on the walls, moved their furniture in, move stuff around, et cetera, are these wonderful people of course, and everything was just been, it was stressful at first, but once we started to get into a flow and see how we are all using the table, it got really, it got a lot easier.


So some of the things that we’re covering are managing Casey’s social media through the same pipeline as the Levels social media, asset creation and management, copy creation, management review, including medical and legal review now, scheduling, contractor visibility and management, so people who are coming in for asset creation or copy creation, et cetera, and creating new properties as needed, yet keeping the tables as streamlined as possible. So just trying to figure out if there’s a way to tackle something through a filter versus creating a new property altogether, et cetera. In terms of ownership, no one really wants to own this thing, but that ends up being okay because it comes down to the fact that we use the mega social tracker as a tool. So we just go in, do our work, and then leave. That ends up being okay because that’s all we really need to do, and Athena is great with helping us keep it organized after the fact, after we’ve gone in and done our work.


So the main takeaways is you need to live in the house while you build it sometimes, in order to see the processes that are being created, and then simultaneously document, and always iterate and keep an open line of communication. As I mentioned before, having a mega thread for process tweaks and edge cases has been really helpful. And one of my main takeaways is that while complex Notion databases are very, very exciting, especially with the possibility of simpler views or more visual views, like calendars, et cetera. I have to remember to make sure to work within existing structures, and sometimes the solution is better off when it is simpler and tied together through a relation instead. That’s it. Hope you enjoyed this.

Dom (31:44):

All right, thank you very much for that dive. It’s reminiscent. I think we’re starting to see themes here with the recent share from Ian as well, on these sort of process control tables, interfaces, documents, whatever they are, but being able to set those up, despite the fact there’s going to be many users and use process, especially our Athena EAs, our amazing EAs to keep us on the hook for maintenance and updates, and allowing everybody to kind of work from the same thing without necessarily needing one individual to be spending massive amounts of their time on it. So another great example. Thank you, Jen. And a lot of good tips and tricks in there, especially on relation properties. So I think we’re doing more of that on our memos database as well. Thank you very much.


Onto hiring updates. No update here. Taylor joining us September 6th, so got another month out. And then on the open roll, so we’ve added a few additional additional JDs to the engineering blocks. So rather than just a standard software engineer, we now have backend and mobile broken out, which is great, adding some more detail. Oops. And we have our R&D engineer open. As always, if you or someone you know is a great fit for what we’re doing here at Levels, interested in the mission, love the culture, reach out to us directly at All right, we got this week’s metabolic pearl of the week from Casey.

Casey (33:15):

Hello everyone, good morning. Our metabolic pearl for the day is five ways that sunlight impacts our metabolic health. And the intention behind this bite-sized pearl is just get us all on the same page about some of the research about a really important metabolic health topic. So jumping in. First, let’s talk about how the body even perceives light. So the eyes are the brain’s access port to natural light, and we have photo receptors which are basically light sensitive cells that can actually absorb sun’s energy in the form of photons and that can actually cause a nerve impulse to the brain. So these photoreceptor cells in our retina absorb the light from the sun, and then we get an electrical conduction to the brain, to this area called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, and that actually is upstream of lots of different cellular processes that are impacted by time of day. So clock genes or circadian based genes. And so we really want our body to know what time of day it is, and that is done by exposing our eyes to light in the morning.


On this slide here, you can see what happens when light hits this molecule in the eye, in the retina, it actually changes the shape of the molecule, and that is what causes that electrical impulse tap into the brain. So by exposing our eyes to light in the morning, we’re causing pathways that set up genetic and hormonal pathways in the body that essentially are regulated by time of day. And so that’s why it’s really important to get light at the appropriate times of day, like in the morning.


So this is a second thing that is basically highlighting that light can actually be an endocrine disruptor. So we think usually about endocrine disruptors as like chemicals, like we talked about obesogens a few weeks ago. And these are chemicals in the environment that can change hormonal activity. That’s what an endocrine disruptor is, but light can also act as an energetic endocrine disruptor. And so what that means is that if you’re getting light at the wrong times of day, like at night, for instance, when our body’s not really supposed to be getting light exposure, that can change our hormonal pathways and that can have an impact on metabolic health. So the key point really being that we want to get light when the body’s expecting it, which is in the morning, to tell the body that it’s morning, and we don’t really want this light late at night when our body’s not expecting light because that can actually kind of screw up some of the hormonal pathways in the body that impact metabolic health.


The third thing to talk about is link between sunshine, serotonin, and metabolic health. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that’s generally associated with happiness and contentment, but it also actually plays a role in metabolism and many disease processes. And so, increased serotonin signaling is actually thought to modulate appetite, and potentially decrease appetite, and also improve glucose control. So we want that good serotonin signaling and less exposure to sunlight is linked to lower serotonin levels. There’s also a correlation that exists between higher levels of serotonin and more exposure to natural light.


Fourth thing to talk about is sunlight and vitamin D. Vitamin D has such an impact on our metabolic health and almost every cell in the body has a vitamin D receptor. Many people in the US are deficient in vitamin D, and lower vitamin D levels are associated with obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, and other processes. We can get vitamin D from foods like trout and mushrooms that are grown in UV light and also salmon, but we get the majority of our vitamin D from sunlight hitting our skin, and essentially instigating the production of this vitamin/hormone. And we also have some research to show that vitamin D can increase insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells. So several different areas, it’s involved with metabolic health, and we want our levels to really be above 50 when we get our blood taken.


And then a fifth thing to remember is that we talk so much about glucose at levels in the metabolic health world, but where does glucose come from? It actually comes from the sun, and it all starts with plants. So basically quick trip back to high school chemistry, you remember that photosynthesis is this light dependent chemical reaction where plants use photons from the sun, water and carbon dioxide to produce simple sugars, which eventually transform into various types of complex carbohydrates like starch, that the plants use and that we use for energy. And so I just think it’s always fascinating to step back and realize the sun is so important for metabolic health, and so many biologic reasons on our bodies, but also because it’s literally the thing that’s creating the glucose that we talk about so much, and it’s doing that in plants. And it’s also cool to think that energy that begins as photon energy traveling from the sun actually winds up in the chemical bonds of the sugars.


So what do we do to get more sun exposure at the right time? So Andrew Huberman talks a lot about this and basically one of the key things is that if we can expose our eyes to natural light, our eyes and skin to natural light in the first half of the day, that’s great. So aiming for about 30 minutes of outdoor time without sunglasses in the first half of the day is great, and ideally getting a few minutes of sunshine to your eyes in the first few minutes of waking up to really let your brain and body know it is morning, and for those different hormonal and genetic pathways to sort of be set off at the right times, and it doesn’t work as well if it’s just coming through glass. Glass blocks a lot of that photon energy. So even if it’s cloudy outside, try and be outside for a few minutes. The way I do it, this is a picture of my backyard, so every time I brush my teeth, which is first thing in the morning, I go outside and stand outside and look at the sky. So that means I’m at least getting two minutes of direct sunlight first thing in the morning, that’s a tip, or that’s a strategy that was in part inspired by tiny habits and atomic habit, so I have it stacked, brushing my teeth with going outside.


So that’s some info on sunlight and metabolic health. Aim to get some sunlight first thing in the morning and have a great day.

Dom (38:29):

Fantastic. Tactical, insightful, and with a tiny habit there for all of us to stack on our morning toothbrushing routine. Love it. Thank you, Casey. Another theme that emerged from the company survey was that we all can use opportunities to get more metabolic health information, and I think this is one of the best opportunities for that. All right, it’s not replayed. Okie, doke. Made it to the individual contributions. I’m going to stop the share. So the prompt here is a few seconds each on something we’re excited, personal, excited about. Personal is encouraged. Professional is also encouraged if you’d like. We’re going to continue the process from last week, which is that we will do these based on hand raise. So please raise your hand using the reactions button on your Zoom thing, your Zoom toolbar, in order to tee it up, and we’ll just go down the list. If you don’t know how to find that, just shoot a chat message and I’ll call you out. We’re going to start off with Brett.

Brett (39:31):

Hey everybody, professional one. I know you guys all have fun jobs, but I want to tell you that mine is the most fun this week. I’m doing rewards, and so all I’m doing is making fun things, and various levels of fun. So the hardest thing I have to do is scale down the fun, and then the rest is all up from there. So it’s a ton of fun. It’s complicated and it’s as much art as it is science, I guess, but yeah, and then a personal one, I think that this Tahoe crew is still here and I’m trying to meet with them. I messaged Steph, I’m not sure should I? Yeah, I’m trying to align to be able to grab them and just say hi for a minute and if they’re hiking right now, it’s been pouring rain for two days and they’ve had lightning storms. So I’m not totally caught up on what they’re up to, but if they’re around otherwise, but yeah, and I got a fun weekend of friends and relaxation. That’s all, thanks.

Dom (40:37):

Love it. Yeah, definitely unite with the Tahoe native up there, folks. Thanks Brett. Rebecca.

Rebecca (40:44):

All right, so professionally, week three of onboarding complete. Woo, woo. That’s exciting. And then personally, so I started doing CrossFit about a month ago and I used to have back injuries and things like that, so I was really nervous, but I know that if I get stronger, that’s going to help me not get injured. And today, I lifted, I back squatted with more weight than I’ve ever used before. I’ve never actually even used the big black weights, and today I did. So it was really awesome. I feel really good about it.

Dom (41:14):

That’s huge. Congratulations. I think that the linear growth portion of strength building is as fun as anything I think. I need to get back in the gym myself. Sam.

Sam (41:28):

For me, I’m most excited for the projects that Clay and Miz are doing on team performance, and thinking a lot more about how we can be intentional about helping people grow in their careers and having open conversations about that, I think that’s going to be a really important step. And also projects that Lauren and Sonya are taking on as well, which I think are, it’s going to do a really good job of giving more transparency across the organization on how we’re doing against our goals, which is something that we’re missing some of that. So professionally, that’s what I’m most excited about. Personally, my brother and sister-in-law are coming to New York next week. I don’t get to see them very much. They have retired and moved to a ranch in the middle of nowhere, that only recently got wifi. So I couldn’t even randomly call him if I wanted to because he doesn’t have reception. So it’ll be good, I haven’t spent time with them in a while.

Dom (42:31):

Wow. I imagine they had running water, but they might anyway enjoy some time back on the grid.

Sam (42:37):

It was well water. Yeah, so not even pipes, just like water from a well.

Dom (42:43):

Nice. Sounds fun. Matt.

Matt (42:46):

Yeah, I think professionally having Lynette and Rebecca joining the team, it’s been awesome coming back out of office and getting some time to spend one-on-one with them. Showing how I go through the support queue, it’s great to get somebody else to talk about and point out things like, why did you miss that step? And just make me realize how I can be better at my job through teaching and learning through them as well. So a big woo to both of them. Also, thinking about how we can improve the support onboarding process. They’re doing a great job of documenting these one-on-one sessions with everybody on the support team and annotating them so you could even go to the specific type of ticket that we’re doing during those sessions. So lots of hard work and it’s going recognized. So big props to you guys. Personally, my uncle is in town visiting from California. I don’t get to see him very much as well. He does not live as remote in Simi Valley, but still great to see him nonetheless. So I hope everybody has a good weekend.

Dom (43:45):

Awesome. On my side, personally I am, I’m getting back in the swing of things working out. I’ve been injured a couple times. I’ve been on the injured reserve and the sick reserve for a few weeks now. So I’m back in it, feeling good about it. My energy levels are returning, and I’m excited to, I’ve got a couple trips coming up. I’ve got Platinum Longevity next week, which I’m excited for. And then from there, going to be checking out Starbase with some of the other folks on the team, so we got an opportunity to head down there and check out Starship. So I’m very excited for that personally and professionally. I think that’s it. Miz.

Miz (44:28):

That’s awesome. On my end, I’d say the feeling of the product lately has also, they kind of come in waves in the last two weeks. It feels like every time I download a build, something has improved or feels different. So it’s nice to see that kind of progress coming through in the internal build and excited for that velocity. So good work tele engineering, and product, and design folks working on that. It’s noticed. And then on the personal side was out on vacation last week, which was awesome. I was in Hawaii. Mike prompt me for some photos, but I will share some, but I asked Matt for his, so I guess it’s fair. Yeah, it was great to get away. It was very nice [inaudible 00:45:03] shout-out to Riley for covering the bases while I was out, but we’re all still here and nothing’s broken and that’s the point. So it’s great to be out, happy to be back.

Dom (45:13):

We got to do retro and see how exactly offline you were. Hopefully you were okay, fully committed-

Miz (45:20):

[inaudible 00:45:21].

Dom (45:20):

Good. I love it. Sonia.

Sonia (45:25):

Hi team, I am sitting outside. I’m inspired by Casey’s sunlight pearl. Even though I’ve listened to it a few times now, I always learn something new in it, and I’m going to take individual contributions outside every Friday as a way to ensure that I get my Friday sunlight better during the week, but on Friday, sometimes I just roll into the day, and so this is going to be my new habit that I’m going to incorporate. Professionally, I have loved working with more people across the team on 10X-ing delegation and having some one-on-ones, and just kind of chatting with people about their strategies for increasing delegation, as well as working with Karan, and Tom, and Casey on the UK advisor strategy and putting all those pieces together. That’s been super fun and I am excited to take my first think week, next week, coinciding with Casey’s vacation to dive into a few other strategy docs that I’ve been looking forward to diving into. So looking forward to that.


And then personally, I want to give a shout-out to Miz and Sissy for inspiring me to try Future, the Future personal training app. And I didn’t have a great experience with my first coach, but I just switched coaches, and I feel like I’m really getting into a consistent strength training routine based on that. So if anyone else wants to try it. I have two guest passes to share if you’re looking for upgrading your strength training routine. That’s it for me.

Dom (46:46):

Nice. Love that. I also tried Ladder recently, which I really like the form factor of the app is excellent, so recommend that one too. Scott.

Scott (46:59):

So professionally, jumping back into a lot of the technical stuff. We’ve got a lot of really fun, we’re growing super fast and it’s breaking the infrastructure problem, which is a good thing, and I think Dave posted a really good thread just to sort of say like, “Hey, we’ve been a very batched data oriented company now, and switching to real time actually has a lot more implications and I think we need to get our heads around, what does it mean to get a steady drip of glucose data and how we can change the product and infrastructure around that.” So definitely good to start thinking about. Obviously excited for UK, it’s fun to just see things going up, getting more people to sign up for the app, new commerce, new Stripe, everything going well. Personally, The Blue Angels are in town this week for our annual seafair thing and it’s been canceled the last two years due to COVID, and so I am kind of giddy, and I am actually going to go out on a boat tomorrow because the main flight path is over some water, and so we’re just going to go sit under the airplanes and just enjoy them.

Dom (47:57):

That’s a throwback.

Scott (47:58):

[inaudible 00:47:59].

Dom (47:59):

Yeah. Oh, man. Jealous. That’s going to be awesome. Enjoy.

Scott (48:03):

Yep, will do.

Dom (48:04):


Azure (48:07):

Hey guys, I’m first super excited about that pearl today because I love it when circadian stuff makes its way into the wider world. Also, this is getting old now, but we had the Seattle research meetup and this was last week, and also met Scott for the first time, and the guys made that super fun. I’m also very excited for Josh’s presentation at the longevity thing coming up. And personally, I don’t know, I’m glad to not be traveling for a little while and am finally going back to the climbing gym again. So things are good.

Dom (48:43):

Sounds great. Just went on all that. Casey.

Casey (48:49):

Hello. So yeah, I have to plus one on Sam’s highlight, which is just being so inspired by all the org initiatives that are happening right now, like OKRs led by Lauren, and delegations with Sonia, and the performance management stuff with Wei and Miz. It just feels like we’re in this really cool phase where we are solidifying some processes that are going to help us really scale and grow in the healthiest way going forward, and it’s just awesome to see everyone, so many people involved in that. Otherwise, this week, I also loved seeing the slides for Josh’s presentation that he’s going to be doing, they gave me shivers. Literally seeing the rockets, and the sensors, and the graphs. So Ben, and Azure, and Josh, awesome job with that. I can’t wait to hear how that goes. Personally, I am on vacation next week, actually for the next nine days, and I am going backpacking in Wyoming and I am so excited.


It’s with a group that I did a month long trip with when I was 20, this group called NOLS, National Outdoor Leadership School, and it’s like off trail super like survival focused and no phones are allowed. So it is like going to be no screens, and I realize it’s the first time I’ll have not looked at screens for more than a day in 14 years. So I am really excited to see what that does to my brain and especially after reading Stolen Focus. So I’ll report back, but I am really very giddy with excitement about what it’s going to be like to not have tech for over a week. So I’ll be back on the 16th and I can’t wait to see everyone.

Dom (50:27):

That’s amazing. That’s going to be, I think, my guess is life changing. So looking forward to the debrief. Andy.

Andy (50:36):

Yeah, I guess personally and professionally, for anybody who hasn’t caught my complaining on threads. I got picked for jury duty on a two week trial and it’s fine, but the thing that it reminded me is how wonderful remote Async work is because now I have this life where I have to get up every morning, Monday through Thursday, and get in a car, and drive downtown, and walk into an office building, and sit in a chair in a windowless room, and then I get an hour for lunch, and then I sit there again, and it’s a little soul crushing. It reminded me of like, man, this is how a lot of people live. So just a huge shout-out. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but this is just a better way of working.

Dom (51:16):

Wow. Love that testimonial. Sorry about jury duty. Tom.

Tom (51:23):

Yeah, I’m just back from Dominican Republic for my summer vacation, which was awesome, lot of adventure, lot of sun, bright sunlight, and I’m heading into two weeks of federal government grant reviews on nutrition optimization, where tech is pretty prominent in the nutrition protocols and everything. So that’s interesting to me, and I’m working on analyzing a lot of data that we’ve been collecting for the CGM studies, a couple of them and writing papers. And then after that, two weeks of travels on the West Coast. I’m excited about collaborations and partnerships there on the West Coast.

Dom (52:01):

Sounds great. Yeah, very excited about all that stuff. And also, if you happen to be crossing through Texas or over Texas, feel free to drop a line here and we’ll hang out a little bit.

Tom (52:12):

Okay, it’s great to know. Thanks, Josh.

Dom (52:15):

All right, Sissy.

Sissy (52:18):

Yeah, Dom, let us know if you’ll be in the Bay Area. My personal and Levels combination this week was backpacking. So I don’t know if all of you know this, but I haven’t worked closely with Brittany or Steph in the past. And so, we were talking about how it was kind of funny that the two of them had met, but I hadn’t met either of one of them. I had talked to them a couple of times on Zoom, and had decided, oh, we all love backpacking. I was hoping to get into backpacking and went on my first trip with them, and it’s just a testament to the team that we’re building that I can literally meet up with two effectively random people that I’d never really hung out with before and spend three days off the grid. We didn’t have service essentially when we got to ta Tahoe National Forest until when we left.


I didn’t realize we’d be fully off the grid. So my mom’s like, “Where are you?” On day three. So good to note for next time that just let everyone know you’re going to be gone, but it was just such an amazing weekend, kind of reflecting on our experience at Levels and getting to know each other. So if anyone’s thinking about dipping their toes into backpacking, highly recommend doing it with your Levels colleagues. We’re thinking about doing something maybe on a quarterly or biannual basis. So we’ll definitely reach out to the rest of the team for future trips.

Dom (53:33):

Huge, huge, huge plus one to a recurring trip. I haven’t been able to make any of them yet, but I would definitely jump aboard. And I love that example, it’s a real testament to the assumption of trust, baseline trust with the team. People coming in, we all have shared principles and we’re here for the same reasons, which I think is an important principle alignment. All right, well, I think that’s everyone that wanted to share this week. Another awesome week, tons of progress. Like Miz said on the product, a lot of background work that’s happening that’s just enabling us to continue to accelerate, and here we are heading into month two of growth mode. Exciting times. Everybody have a great weekend. Janet, thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate your time and also your partnership. And to the rest of you, have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for all the work and talk to you next week.