February 17, 2023

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


Josh (00:00):

All right. Welcome to Friday Forum, February 17th, 2023. Everybody can see my screen, I assume. All right.


Quick reminder. Friday Forum. This is our weekly sync time. We get to hang out, talk about recent achievements across the different functions, hear from our members directly, and share culture updates, et cetera. This is not the deep dive on business analytics. This is not the weekly function updates. You can find those async in comms and in our strategy memos. This is our sync time to get together and celebrate.


On the recent achievements this week. So continuing to see really nice progress and a stabilization of our conversion rate at about 4%, and this is after a number of big updates that have been made to our checkout flow, to our sign-up process. You can see the trend here, starting at when we launched the new checkout flow, kind of ramping up quite a bit and trending towards a stable 4%, which is huge. So big shout out to the team working on that.


We also have a simplified shipping and checkout step that is releasing now. We’re building the crystal clear pricing and how it works efforts which are going to be super important to people understanding what they’re getting and how much it’s going to cost, reduce that sticker shock. And we’re shaping new consent and referrals processes. So, just generally helping people understand the Levels ecosystem as they land on our page. We released a big update or a big episode to A Whole New Level, episode number 202, which is Dr. Mark Hyman, our advisor, really an amazing person in the world of longevity and functional medicine. He and Casey got to dive deep on our channel. She’s been on his many times, so this is very exciting. It’s released this week. It’s also digging into his new book, which I highly recommend.


We kicked off Sonja and Stacey’s paid guides cohort, so we’re still shaping the guides cohorts very rapidly, but we’re now testing willingness to pay and ability to pay, which is a big step, especially because this is very early. So it’s a scrappy, it’s not built into the Levels ecosystem yet. So the fact that people are willing, we have several hundred, about 300 people who are paying right now on the order of $10 a month. And we’re exploring, through Sonja and Stacey’s work, whether we can provide ephemeral content versus goal-based programs and which is finding the most basis. So really exciting work there.


YouTube performance ads are getting ready to launch. We’re also going to have, you can see some of the snippets here. We’re also getting ready to launch tailored landing pages for our marine persona. So instead of having a jarring experience where you’re jumping into a product that looks like it’s for people that aren’t like you, we instead can build those and maybe test them and see what’s working best.


We’re also building strategy for guides in app alpha cohort. So by March 15th, we intend to sign up 250 people for an alpha cohort for guides in app. Again, this is going to be a hybrid. It’s going to have a lot of stuff that’s going to be external to the app, like Instagram and elsewhere where we’ll post content. But we’ll be able to test the logging and feedback loops inside the Levels app. And so, just going to get the very first initial feedback on how that’s going. We’ve also got a new expanded role-leveling process coming. So this is on the people ops side. We’re very close to rolling this out. We’ll have some updates shortly, but essentially we’re expanding the number of levels that we have available, and this will give just more upward mobility, more clarity on role expectations, and I think more movability. And that final drafting phase is underway.


We also have multiple meetups happening in Q1 and Q2, so if you’re interested, reach out, get signed up. I think Miz is going to do a deep dive on that a little later today. We are switching from boxes to branded mailers for subscription refills. There’s many reasons to do this. One of them is we massively reduce waste and we can also reduce shipping fulfillment times and cost quite a bit. So this is great. We’re also testing different colored performance patches. You can see what I call the band aid color right there, but we’re also going to have a couple other colors that we’re testing with green and white. And this is a crowd request. People really want something besides black, which we understand. We’re going to continue to iterate on this and find a way to expand beyond our one size fits all approach there.


Okay, editorial and product collaborations have been going awesome. You can see the guides up here. The editorial team is really diving in on the guides, just the scrappy rapid phase rollout that we’re doing with the guides programs. So working very closely with product, which sounds like has been going phenomenally well. Also had four big articles that went live with the Hyman episode piece, so taking the Hyman episode and breaking it down on the blog. And then a really nice one, how to make your preferred diet more metabolically healthy, which goes to our philosophy about meeting people where they are. So making sure that we don’t try and force people into a dietary philosophy that they don’t abide by.


And then lastly, we rolled out our first push notifications ever to 5% of our members this week. This is a big moment. We have not done push notifications before, but it’s really embracing the real time nature of the CGM data we’ve got.


And then lastly, we’re splitting account creation from checkout to enable us to run that guides cohorts. So people can make accounts separate from buying and then work their way into Levels app. Sorry for the noise in the background.


Okay, we’ve got some cool stuff coming. A little update on the daily checklist and Levels Levels, and I’ll dig into that in a minute. Some barking going. Okay. With that, want to welcome my friend, Kara Eschbach to the Friday Forum. Kara is a member of Levels. She’s got a history deep in founder, CEO. She’s a talk show host. She’s built a magazine before. She’s been a collegiate athlete. And generally I’m just really excited to hear from you, Kara. Thanks for joining us this morning. Would love to hear from you about what you’re excited about in the world of health and wellness and your experience with Levels so far.

Kara Eschbach (05:50):

Thanks for having me. I’m so excited to get to talk to you guys. I have been a big fan of Levels since the start. I know Josh and Sam, and I think I actually got my code through Stacey since she had a nice in on her Instagram, so I follow her. And, yeah, I think just in general, obviously I used to be an athlete and then I became an investment banker and then I started a startup. So I’d say that I wasn’t great about keeping up with my health.


I think one of the things that I really love about Levels is that it’s not something that I have to do all the time. I’m kind of a sporadic Levels user, so I think I’ve had maybe four cycles of doing it and at different times in my life too. So I think when I first did it, I was kind of like, “All right, I need to get my health back into shape.” The second time, I think I did it once while I was pregnant, and so wanted to see kind of how my blood sugar levels were and just curious how that was going and didn’t want to end up with gestational diabetes. And then I did it again recently as I realized my diet has been kind of changing and so wanting to see coming off of postpartum and all that kind of stuff, just like how is this affecting my body?


And I just love that real-time data that it gives you. It’s like, oh, I didn’t realize it but apparently I do not do well with sweet potatoes. There it is. Who would’ve thought? It’s like, I’m paleo and seems like it’s totally fine. I feel like it’s probably all stuff you guys are used to hearing. But as an individual person who I’ve had some health issues, there’s another little piece of background, so I ended up being diagnosed with PCOS. I have Hashimoto’s, so some thyroid issues and all things that have metabolic components to them.


And so I think I’ve been really appreciative of a lot of the content you guys put out too, and having a place where I generally go to Levels first when I’m trying to find, okay, if I want to know something about diet and PCOS, I’m going to check Levels first because I know you guys probably have the better information there than most other places, or definitely better than what I’m going to come up with just by Googling quickly because that’s usually a hot mess. Although you guys are coming up higher and higher on my Google search results, so that’s also better.


So, yeah. I think for me it’s like having some things that are contraindicated for metabolic disorder and then being able to get some real-time data that lets me actually change my actions and the decisions that I’m making has been awesome. And I’m excited, at some point, to try some of your blood testing and other things you guys are offering because there have been times before I’ve been like, “Oh, I’ve read that I should get this kind of a test,” but how to actually get it, I need to dig in more on that. It’s been, I have a one-year-old, so it’s a little hard at the moment, but I think some of that stuff is really exciting to me too.

Josh (08:57):

Awesome. Yeah. I love that you have stepped into Levels a number of times over the past few years. You are one of the earliest signups, I think I recall the first time that you signed up.

Kara Eschbach (09:07):

Oh, really?

Josh (09:08):

And being able to try it at different stages of life is really what we need to build. And then now the focus is stringing together those experiences. So even when you’re not on a CGM, you still have that continuity in terms of what information is being surfaced inside the app and being traced over long time periods. Stay tuned for that Labs 2.0 relaunch. We’re getting ready to roll out an entirely new version of that.

Kara Eschbach (09:31):


Josh (09:32):

Yeah, amazing. I would love to hear, just from your perspective, having seen us, how we’re growing, where we’re heading, what one thing would you have us build or improve? It could be anything, just like a product, feature, service, something that you would love to see a company like Levels build and that you would use in your life.

Kara Eschbach (09:49):

A really good question. To be honest, I feel like the one thing that occurs to me just because I just finished a 30-day cycle recently, I think I don’t have a solid concrete way I would think about this, but somehow having the awesome blog content more easily accessible in the app, I think about what you’re just saying, having more touch points with Levels. I feel like I only use it when I have a current CGM, but it feels like the kind of place where I’d love to go into the app and have the app be more of a thing that I’m checking even when I don’t have a CGM going.


Or even, I guess a next level would also be, I hate trying to stitch together all of the different apps where I keep all kinds of information. As a woman, I have cycle tracking, I have Mira, I have… There’s maybe stuff that I have from Apple Health, and I would love levels to be the place that aggregates all of that, because I just trust you guys to make a better user interface than other places. And trying to pull all those pieces together to get a more holistic view of my full health. And I know that there’s more. I’d also say I’m not an expert user of Apple Health. I’ve heard that there are things you can do to make these things talk to each other, but I’m reasonably techy and I have found it difficult to actually string that together. So I feel like some way that could kind of pull that together and then connect it to what I’m eating because I know that what I’m eating has such an impact on all of the other things that I’m keeping track of.

Josh (11:37):

I love that last part there, that the big lever that you know you’re pulling on is nutrition, and that’s why it makes sense to form around Levels as the hub as opposed to a sleep tracking device, for example, which that of course matters, but I think what you’re pushing on there makes a ton of sense. And as we sort of build towards this CGM optional framework, which we’ll be rolling out in bits and pieces over the coming weeks, that is definitely something we have to pay close attention to is building that sort of data foundation that you can learn from CGM in these sort of spikes when you have a CGM on, but then also continue to live that information and collect the other data that relates to how you’re responding to food on an ongoing basis, whether or not you have a CGM on. So I’m excited to have you try that new product when it rolls out. And-

Kara Eschbach (12:28):

I’d love to.

Josh (12:30):

Yeah. Overall, just want to thank you for taking some time this morning, coming to hang out with the team. This is super, super valuable to us and just appreciate your ongoing support for Levels. It’s amazing.

Kara Eschbach (12:40):

Yeah, totally. I love you guys. Want you to do all the best. So happy to be a supporter.

Josh (12:46):

Amazing. Well, thank you, Kara. Feel free to hang out for the rest of the meeting. We will dive into some function breakout stuff, but if you’re super busy and want to jump, please feel free. And on behalf of the whole team, we really appreciate you taking the time.

Kara Eschbach (12:59):

Yeah, thanks for having me.

Josh (13:02):

All right. Going to head here. Culture and Kudos aside. We got a productivity and focus slide first. I believe this is-

Rebecca (13:09):

All right. Hey everyone-

Josh (13:11):

[inaudible 00:13:12] Nicole.

Rebecca (13:13):


Josh (13:13):

Rebecca, sorry.

Rebecca (13:15):

That’s okay. Okay. So today I want to share some of my best practices for staying focused and productive. And this kind of came about for me because I was medicated for ADHD for 15 years and about three years ago, during my health journey, I wanted to get off all medication. So it was super important for me to build a life that supported my highest productivity and focus. And this can be helpful even if you don’t have ADHD or focus issues because we live in such a distracted world that this could be helpful for anyone. So my hope for you is that you’ll hear me with an open mind and take what resonates and then just leave the rest.


So first you need to master the basics. And I don’t need to explain this to you all because you know this already, sleep, seven to nine hours a night, waking up and going to bed at the same time every single day, even on the weekends. Eating the right foods for your body, nourishing your body, not riding the blood sugar roller coaster. And then getting your steps in, getting movement in every single day.


And then next, I start the most critical part of my day powerfully. So what I mean by the most critical part of my day is it’s right after I wake up. So it’s the morning time, and you don’t have to get up at 5:00 A.M. to be successful with this. It’s just that time right after you wake up, so you’re doing something before you go to your desk. So it’s not just waking up, diving into things, it’s actually starting your day powerfully. So I do that by waking up with my first alarm. And I know, I think it was The Magic Show where some people said that they snooze their alarm a lot. Not a problem. But I think that waking up with your first alarm is keeping that first intention that you set for yourself for the day. So maybe you just need to set your alarm a little later, but waking up when you say you’re going to can really launch your day into success.


And then I always follow the mantra, create before you consume. So what this means is to put your creative passions first before consuming anything else, like the news, text messages, emails, notifications, anything on your phone. So I actually don’t look at my phone at all in the morning. I just dive right into my morning routine. And my morning routine is designed to help me get into a peak mental state before I start my day. So what this looks like for me is I wake up and I visualize my goal and my future self and I write it out. I go for a walk, I get sunlight in my eyes, I meditate, I do yoga, I eat a nourishing breakfast, I might do some self-study. And you don’t need to do all of these things. You can literally do something for five minutes. The point is just to get your mind into a very positive state, already focused on what you want and what it feels like to have achieved your goals before you start your day. So this is all just before you go to your desk.


Next, I optimize my environment. So I do this by removing all distractions. So that means to close all the tabs besides the one you’re working in, it’s putting your phone in the other room. If you have a to-do list sitting out, put that away because it’s distracting. Take off your watch or put it on do not disturb. Turn your notifications off, remind yourself who is in charge. And this just removes the need for willpower as well. You make it super easy for you to stay focused and not be distracted.


Next, I cue my body. So I do this by putting headphones in, putting my glasses on, putting my slippers on. I’ll put essential oil in a diffuser. This is my brain’s way of telling my body to create a habit around that this is time to focus. So every time the headphones go in, the jazz music starts playing, I know that it’s focus time, the glasses are on, it’s focus time. That’s why I’m wearing my glasses right now.


Next is to leverage my productive hours. So for me, my most productive hours are first thing in the morning and then from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. So you really have to understand your energy and what your hours are your most focused hours. So once you understand that, you can plan your day around that. So for me, I dive straight into focus work or creative work. And again, I use the mantra create before you consume. I don’t dive into comms first thing. I usually check comms after I do some work. If there’s something mission critical, I know that I’ll get that triple at or if I need to find some information, I’ll quickly skim it, but I won’t dive into any conversations or get distracted by that. You want to use your mind in its clearest state on the work that needs the most focus. So as soon as you start absorbing more information, your mind starts to get cluttered and muddied and then you have so much going on, you’re less focused.


And lastly is set beautiful boundaries. So take scheduled breaks. So for me this looks kind of like the Pomodoro method. So work for a segment of time and then walk away from your desk for five minutes. Take an actual break where you’re doing something different. Sometimes I might work for two hours and then take a scheduled break, but I always take a break. I will never work more than two hours without stepping away from my desk. Something my eye doctor taught me was the 20/20 rule, which is look 20 feet away for 20 seconds and it gives your eyes a chance to reset and relax and it can help you adjust your focus in that way as well.


And then lastly, always set an end time to your day. So working from home, working remotely especially, there’s always going to be more work to do. The work’s never going to be done. Of course you can set deadlines for yourself, but at the end of the day you want to stop at the time you say you’re going to stop. And this is keeping that final intention and promise to yourself. The work’s going to be there tomorrow. Set an end time, draw that boundary, respect your personal time and fully committing to productivity and focus in your personal life empowers you to be more productive and focused in work and vice versa. Thank you.

Josh (18:28):

That’s expert level input right there. I’ve got a lot to dwell on. My productivity practice is nowhere near where it needs to be apparently. Awesome work, Rebecca. This is great. I think a further lightning talk on this is due based on how much was crammed into that slide. Thank you very much.


Okay, Culture and Kudos. So I’m going to start from the right side and work my way left. So personally I want to shout out Sonja, the work she’s been doing with Matt, transitioning the digital DRI over to Matt and just generally being very detail oriented, I think very supportive from what I can tell, but just also really guiding the philosophical parts of running digital, which really it touches on a lot of the language limitations that we have to abide by in order to not overstep in terms of what we say. And Matt and Sonja have been doing an amazing job together to get there, but there were a couple of great examples of Sonja just giving very clear and direct feedback and Matt very quickly adapting to it. So just a great example of how a handoff can go and just in very good faith making a transition happen.


Big shout out to Jhan, huge team player, just constantly giving these little shout outs. But as we transition to the 2023 product work, had this surface, which is just that Jhan picked up a ton of the projects that other people like Justin and Raphael were working on wrapping up and ran them to the finish line so that Justin and Raphael could transition over to get new projects done and that sort of thing. Just pulling together loose ends and making it happen is kind of what Jhan is known for I think. And so awesome team player. Thank you, Jhan.


Got a chance to hang out with Sonja and Jesse and Alex this morning for a Barry’s class here in Austin, which was a lot of fun. And then lastly, I just want to celebrate Andrew. So today is Andrew’s last day with Levels. Andrew is as OG as it gets. He was at the very first meetup here with Levels, has built so much of what we are, and just want to appreciate you and send you onto the next phase with a bunch of Levels love. So, yeah, thank you Andrew. Love to hear a couple words if you’re up for it, but otherwise, thanks.

Andrew (20:36):

Sure, yeah, I deeply appreciate everyone. I’m so excited for what’s next for the company and so appreciative of meeting all of you and being able to work with you. It’s truly the best team and so, thanks so much. Don’t be a stranger. If anyone’s ever near Durango, please stop by. Love to meet up and, yeah, I’m sure we’ll all talk in the future.

Josh (21:02):

Amazing. Yes, the mural in the background is hand painted by Andrew himself and we saw that come together, there’s probably a montage of Friday Forums that we can see that coming together.

Andrew (21:13):

Very slowly. It took me in total like 50 hours, so I do not recommend using wall paint to do a mural.

Josh (21:19):

Amazing. Well, unfortunately my salute emoji didn’t show up it looks like, but there’s a salute emoji on there. So, Andrew, thanks so much. Yeah, everybody stay in touch. Check out Durango. I need to get out there myself.


All right. Company objectives. So Levels shows you how food affects your health. It’s still the main thing, we’re working towards this. Everyone should be. If you don’t feel that you are, definitely raise that. Product is our top priority. We’re focusing obviously with our 2023 strategy on revamping into the CGM optional mode. And with that, we got a product update.

Mazier (21:54):

Thanks, Josh. I’ll start and then I’ll hand it off to David. Welcome to product update for February 17th. Next slide please.


Okay. So the pods are up and running. We’ve got the guides pod and the everything else pod, also I think it’s called the ego pod. Just kidding. But that is their symbol. The pods are effectively, essentially the engine for making sure that we can deliver the different pieces of the 2023 product vision data. And they have been working really closely with product design and we reallocating people from different projects to actually be able to support the pods to actually launch what we need them to launch.


And what we have done as part of that process is really break down the product development process into phases in true skateboard fashion. And the first one that the pods are working to deliver on is what we call Alpha 1. It is effectively just the wood on the skateboard. Okay. What is Alpha 1? Alpha 1 is trying to test a few hypotheses for us. As you guys know, Stacy has been running a guide experiment with 1,200 of her followers. And what we want to see is whether her followers will actually consume content within the Levels app, similar to how they will consume it on Instagram. So that’s hypothesis number one; do people actually interact with our app and content the same way that they would do with Instagram? So we’re taking 50 of her current followers and asking them to go to the app and consume one piece of content a day in the app.


In addition to that, the second thing we want to test is can guides actually drive action in the real world? And have them use the app to track that. If Stacy, for example, tell her members or her followers to eat a certain food and log it or complete their checklist, would they do it in the app? So really the Alpha phase 1 is a very scrappy version of that where we’re going to manually load her followers into the app and see if they actually will consume content and take the actions, which is really the action and accountability component of our vision. So this is Alpha 1. This is meant to be launched next week and it’s going to be very scrappy. So it doesn’t even have the wheels of the skateboard on.


Alpha 2 is to see whether we can actually, instead of having Stacey’s followers be on Instagram, be in the Levels app. So actually sell another month of the product within the Levels app and not be on Instagram. And it still be a skateboard fashion, meaning it won’t be polished, and it will be manually loaded. But the difference here will be that they will actually be buying the month in Levels instead of in Instagram. And this will tell us whether the product, as we envision it, will actually be something that people want.


The next version, which will be the first week of April is Beta. This is the real test to see people that are naive to Levels and to Stacey’s experience, would they actually buy a beta version of the Levels app? And this will effectively be 250 members that we will invite through different channels. I’ll also test a lot of our hypothesis on our growth channels and conversion. We will see if people will actually buy this product in its pre-MVP format. And throughout the Q2, we will create other versions of Beta really with the aim to go to MVP for general availability in the third quarter.


Now, it is possible that after we do Beta 1, we feel comfortable enough that we will merge into general availability in Beta 2 or Beta 3. And so we will do a lot of the work to be ready to go general availability sooner, but as we think about it now, we’ll have a couple of shots on iterating Beta 1 to get to a place where we feel comfortable to make this available to the general public. And obviously the sooner we can get to that MVP 1, the sooner we’ll be able to start thinking about our growth and our growth numbers. So it is essential to try to bring it in, but right now we’re anticipating three Beta iterations.


So really, on Beta 1 we’ll see the experience in the hands of real customers and from what we learned from 1, we’ll continue to invest in features that we think will really get us to general availability and growth. So that’s the general plan. We’re pretty excited and we will be working very closely with growth given that they are one of the key components of PMF, or product market fit, and obviously the engineering team, design team, product team, and support team of course, because I’m sure they will be getting a lot of calls. And thank you in advance. With that, I will hand off to David.

David (27:00):

Thanks, Maz. There’s a lot of exciting features that we’ll be releasing for experiments and validation over the next couple of weeks and next week we’ll talk about trends and labs I think. But this week I just wanted to give a brief update on Levels Levels. So, yeah, you can go to the next slide, Josh.


So there’s a major update to Levels Levels, and this is the metabolic checklist. We’re simplifying the experience based on what we learned from the first major release of Levels Levels. And today you can open up the latest development version and try it out for yourself. But we’re simplifying by rewarding members for completing their daily checklist and really anchoring around the concept of completing your checklist as opposed to, in the past we tested out completing your checklist and earning points and then tying those points to the item in your checklist that you completed, and then having that level up. We’re trying to reduce the cognitive burden that our members have to understand exactly, tell me what do I need to do in order to take the next step on my health goal? And we think that centering around the idea of completing your checklist really does that.


And just to anchor this into the 2023 vision, when we don’t have glucose, we can still encourage you to be taking healthy action across the different categories of your life, whether that’s food or exercise or sleep or anything else that we want to come up with in the future, like mindful minutes and things like that. And how can we encourage people to take action and keep at it over a sustained period of time in a way that is rewarding and feels like they’re making progress and reflects back on the identity that they’re building out as a healthy individual?


So what you’ll see with this is a lot of the same core rails that we had when we released the original metabolic checklist Levels Levels, but you’ll see a simplified version where we are making it easier for people to understand explicitly, what do you need to do in order to complete your checklist? And how did that map back to your progress? So, yeah, I think Lynette put in the chat here, we’re moving points in favor for earning credit for completing the checklist. That is the case and it’s going to be much easier to know when people say, “How do I complete my checklist?” Well, you tap in there and there’s a variety of ways you can win each category.


So, for example, if you want to win stable meals, today you have to get at least one zone that has a stable meal. For the no CGM use case, it’ll be have at least one meal with a healthy ingredient, and we can expand that over time to give different ways for people to win as they go throughout their levels journey. So this is the next major update. So give it a shot, let us know what you think. There’s release notes that I’ll link to here in the chat and you can try to experience yourself out in the app or take a look at the visual walkthrough in the release notes. And that’s it.

Josh (29:43):

Oops. Awesome. Thank you, David. Yeah, really excited for this and also to dig into trends next week as well.

David (29:51):

Actually, you know what? Before we go on, let me just, one more thing I wanted to add was the thing we’re really seeking to learn here is if this reduces confusion om understanding and what people need to do to take action and also understanding where they are on that progress of the Levels journey. So what we’ll be looking at is percentage of people completing their checklist, we want to see that go up. And then the original survey that we ran for the original Levels Levels, we saw a lot of confusion around people not understanding the purpose of the checklist, people not understanding the purpose of the levels. So we’re going to be looking to see if that increases the comprehension of that as well. And those are the two main things that we’re testing with this.

Josh (30:29):

Nice. Yeah, great clarifications. Thank you. All right, jumping ahead to Miz.

Michael Mizrahi (30:37):

Cool. Little bit of an update on meetups and team building in general. You can go to the next slide. So believe it or not, we have a few memos about this topic and one of the ones that I’m going to reference is from December, 2021, Team Building at Levels. This is one that Sam wrote back then, but not everyone has read this based on the new notion analytics that we can see. So it’s worth reiterating just some of the points. There’s also a handful of other memos and documents and processes around meetups, assemblages, virtual events, connection across the team. So Nicole’s been working on that. There’s a handful of others that relate to this and so, if you’re looking for that, I’m sure you can find them.


So a few assumptions that go into our team building philosophy that I want to quote directly. The first one is one we’re familiar with, which is we treat people like adults. And from the memo directly, the language around this is that adults have agency, adults can decide who they want to be friends with, who they want to spend their time with outside of work. And we are not in the business of setting up mandatory play dates for people on our team, like parents might do for their children. So that’s the fundamental piece on that one.


The second one is we’re a team, not a family. Our top goal is to solve the metabolic health crisis and we’re collectively responsible for building the highest performing team that we can in service of that mission. And a side note on this one is that it’s important to note that we are somewhat different here and that’s our approach and that’s okay. There are some very, very large tech companies, hundreds of thousands of employees or maybe 100,000 employees if we think of the Salesforces of the world, that go to great lengths to emphasize the corporate value of Ohana and treating everyone like family and extending that across contractors and the entire organization across 80,000 people. And that’s totally okay for them. We don’t pass any judgment, it’s just not our approach and we’re taking a little bit of a different approach on this one. And so that’s team not a family and that has a lot of implications for how we think about a lot of our team and culture building.


The third assumption in this memo, working relationships are important for team cohesion. That one speaks for itself.


The fourth, it’s harder to build these kinds of interpersonal relationships virtually. So we’re going to encourage in-person events as much as possible. And those can look like a lot of different things.


The fifth one is one that we’ve spoken about a few times, particularly around some of the last few assemblages, which is it’s not possible to build strong interpersonal deep relationships with every single person on the team at 60. And so we just have to give that up. We’re past the size where it can be done and smaller groups are the key to doing this effectively.


And then the sixth one, perhaps the most important, a core mechanic of interpersonal relationships is trust.


And so, moving on to the next slide here, three different types of relationships. There are social relationships. One thing to note here, this isn’t the primary business we’re in. It’s something that’s organic, that can happen amongst the team. We’re not going to fight against it and social relationships are neither good nor bad, but what’s important to note is that you don’t have to be best friends with all of your coworkers in order for us to have an effective team. And so if you make friends here and that is an outcome, that’s totally great, but it’s not a priority at the end of the day.


What is a priority is working relationships. These are ones built on trust in the context of work and things to think about. If you’re working on a project with someone, do you have confidence that they’ll complete it, that they’ll carry their weight? Do you like working with them? Do they communicate effectively? Do you have a working relationship that’s strong? So this is that category, and you can build this by better understanding someone, by understanding their backgrounds, their communication style, their goals. This is the key to building strong working relationships.


And then there’s a category that this memo in particular talks about, which is leadership relationships, which is as a group of people in a company, we like to follow leaders. And we’re still at the size, thankfully, where we’re small enough where we can all interact with each other. We can grab dinner at Sam’s House, we can have small interactions across the group. And so those methods, Friday Forums, podcasts, memos are good channels to create that.


Okay, next slide. So we’ve learned a few things. There’s been many, many meetups, but I’m just pulling on a few of the lessons that we’ve learned from some of the larger ones. So Austin last year, around this time I think, we pulled together the ops and support ENG team. We learned that we can mix teams effectively and that leads to good outcomes. So that was a good learning. We were wondering if we’d do team specific or if we’d mix them all together and we realized we can mix teams together effectively and it leads to good outcomes. We also realized that we should not be mixing in-person and virtual events at the same time. So doing a meetup at the same time as assemblage, the virtual assemblage didn’t really play well, detracted from both. And so some lessons learned there that we will take moving forward.


From Farmsemblage, we realized that shared experiences really bring people together. I wasn’t there, but I can still hear in my head Justin’s comments upon going into the cold plunge on that hike. And there’s a lot of other memories from that trip that have really brought the team together and shared outdoor fun experiences in groups is really, really important. And that’s something that we should optimize for. We, I think, saw a lot of teamwork happen at Farmsemblage around product. Teamwork can happen, inevitably we’ll talk about work, we’ll talk about our lifestyle tips, we’ll talk about our fitness, exercise, diet. And that overlaps with our product beautifully. We’re really lucky in that we have that kind of interest and that overlaps with what we’re building. And so really good ideas come from that and work can happen even if it’s not a scheduled work session.


And finally, big groups benefit from strong planning and logistics shouldn’t be an afterthought. And then most recently we brought together Sam’s Directs in Austin last month. We learned that strong trusted relationships are a really important foundation for a team. And a lot of the reflections at the end of that were things like relief, gratitude, excitement, confidence, positive energy, really good team dynamics. And so everyone felt that and we structured in a way in which we can build that. And so we have some learnings from there.


Okay, final slide. Next week in New York, we’re bringing together one of our biggest meetups to date. We’ve got 30 people coming together. So it’s a lot of people. Bingo is going to get harder, there’ll be a lot of new faces, people meeting each other for the first time who haven’t in the past. And we’re going to do a combination of group and breakout sessions, some facilitated breakout sessions in smaller groups. And from some of our learnings, leaving a lot of free time for healthy fitness, small group activities, socializing, light coworking. The goal is really to spend quality time together with one another as well as a group. And it’s important to note too, it’s hard to feel like you can unplug from comms and work commitments. And there’s a lot going on with product, we’re racing towards these MVPs, but that is the priority is to connect as a team. And doing that will unlock very meaningful velocity moving forward. And so, try to balance that carefully.


And one other thing to note, for those not attending, about half the team is not attending, JOMO, joy of missing out. There will be other opportunities. This is just one of them. There’s not a world where we can bring everyone together at the same time, but we will be actively planning more of these more often. So thanks to Scott for really spearheading this New York one that started somewhat organically. Mike’s work on a lot of the past meetups, Chris being kind of a culture carrier on Farmsemblage and even Austin and a lot of the planning work on Nicole and Sonja coming into this. So a lot coming up, excited to see what this one brings for the team, what we learned from it, what it unlocks, and we’ll take it from there. That’s it.

Josh (38:21):

Great update. Thank you. Yeah, I appreciate the intentionality that goes into each of these and everyone continuing to work with us on this and share feedback on what you’re getting out of these sorts of experiences.


Okay. Hiring updates. We are still no open roles right now. If you or someone you know is interested, check out Levels.link/careers and shoot us a note there. And we are ahead of schedule here. So got some time for individual contributions, which is great. Highly recommend everybody share something. So I’m going to stop the share here and we will do reactions. Sam?

Sam (39:08):

I was stoked to see Kara. I’ve known her for years. I didn’t know she was coming on the Forum this week. It was really, I felt like we had prepped her for what our next iteration of product strategy was because she basically said everything that she wants out of the product are all of the things that we’re actively working on. So I think that was particularly encouraging for me.

Josh (39:35):

Yeah. There was no coaching, to my knowledge, ahead of time. Rebecca?

Rebecca (39:43):

Professionally, sharing today on Friday Forum was a big step for me. When I was asked to do it, I was originally, I put it off a little bit and I was kind of annoyed that I was asked and then I was like, wait a second. So something that I want to do professionally is be a motivational speaker. So then I decided to take this on as my first speaking engagement. So I’m excited and grateful that I get to have that type of opportunity at this company. It’s really awesome and a great place to practice.


And then personally, I’m getting married one week from tomorrow, so I am super excited. My brain is all wedding. There’s so many good things happening and I am so ready.

Josh (40:22):

Amazing. We should break up your productivity tips there. I was thinking we could do a whole series, you could just have a recurring slot. Hit one of those points-

Rebecca (40:31):


Josh (40:32):

Up to you.

Rebecca (40:33):


Josh (40:33):

Let’s talk about it.

Rebecca (40:33):


Josh (40:35):

Well, congrats ahead of time on the wedding too. Enjoy. It’s going to be awesome.


For me, I am very excited about the product strategy and the progress we’re making. And I think to Sam’s point, I’m really excited to find that we already have hundreds of people who have jumped in and paid us a couple bucks a month even, just getting to that point, really returning to the roots of scrappy product experimentation is exciting me quite a bit. And I’m trying to stay on top of it and I’m way behind on a daily basis just because the team is moving so fast. And that’s just a good feeling.


On a personal level, I got a chance to hang out with Sonja and Jesse this morning, got to get a great Barry’s workout in, which is always good. Sets me on the right path for the day. And, oh, Maz just corrected me, like 400 people have paid. That’s huge. So yeah, I’m going to try and get a car this weekend. That’s the thing that I really need to focus on.


And lastly, I just want to once again give Andrew a shout out. It’s been awesome to work together just on a personal level. You’ve taught me a ton and I just genuinely appreciate it. Yeah.

Priya (41:51):

Hi everybody. This is my first time sharing here. So professionally, I have had a really good time watching Sonja’s Stories for the experiment, but also watching my mom go through it. Some of you might’ve seen the feedback that I gave. My favorite was when she was like, “I don’t care what Sonja says, I’m not cold plunging.” But everything else, she’s completely loving and feeling so supported and it’s been just really amazing to watch both sides of it. So that’s been cool.


And then my personal one is kind of professional too. Somebody who knows what’s going on for me in my life right now, somebody at Levels sent me flowers and I mean Chris knows, we were in our one to one and I just burst into tears because I was like, “That was so kind.” And I don’t know who it is yet, I haven’t figured it out, but if you’re on, thank you to everybody who thought of that. It was so shocking to me because I’ve never been in a work environment where people think of, I mean I know we’re not a family, but it’s the fact that someone could still be thoughtful and I don’t know, I just was blown away. I’m going to start crying now, but thank you. It was really, it meant a lot. My daughter even was like, “Somebody sent us flowers.” She was so excited. So thank you. Really meant a lot.

Josh (43:13):

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Miz?

Michael Mizrahi (43:17):

Yeah, I mentioned this in the Andrew going away thread, but I wanted to call out just how many pieces of our culture came directly from Andrew and it’s easy to forget them because we’ve just kind of grown and moved on and these things have just become staples. But all of these were recommendations along the way. Things like I think the Friday Forum shares that we’ve had, the lightning talks, spotlight articles was just a passive idea of seeing some other company do it and suggesting it. The recruiting touches, the pro formas. There’s so much outside of engineering specifically that Andrew contributed to the culture and it’s really meaningful and helped us build so much to this point. So, thanks Andrew for all the touches and all the thought and all the care. It means a lot. I think we all have benefited from it and it’s built us up to where we are today. So wish you well. Thanks for everything and, yeah, we’ll see you around.

Josh (44:11):

Love it. So true. That was a non-all-inclusive list for sure. Mike D?

Mike DiDonato (44:18):

Miz kind of stole the thunder, but I just wanted to say, Andrew, appreciate you. It’s been so much fun building with you for three and a half years. I remember our first chat, there were six people on the team. I was the least technical person on the team and I appreciate your patience and I don’t really want to talk about all your technical expertise, but one of the things that I’ll miss most is just your humor, chia, French omelets, none of it’ll be the same. And I appreciate you and I look forward to staying in touch. Thank you.

Josh (44:54):

Love it. All right folks. We got 15 minutes left. Plenty of time for more contributions, personal, professional. We’ll wait.

Andrew (45:08):

I love the awkward silences.

Josh (45:11):

I noticed we’ve been embracing them a lot more lately. I was on the AMA with Riley this week and we really just white-knuckled like a two-minute silent period.

Alan (45:26):

I don’t know how to do the hand raise thing.

Josh (45:29):

No worries.

Alan (45:33):

I wanted say Andrew was my first point of contact for Levels. I was following you guys. I was referenced by Mike Davidson and I searched on Twitter and I found Andrew and I started pinging him and DMing him and I was super stoked. I was just like… And then he referred me in and I was really encouraged when we actually had an interview. He was so warm and welcoming. The conversation with Andrew was one of the reasons I decided to join Levels. It was just so clear that this was a person that I wanted to work with and smart and I respected him and I barely knew him, barely knew him, but I immediately had a good vibe. And so we’ve since bonded over some generative art and I hope you continue to send me weird JavaScript visualizations

Andrew (46:28):

For everyone else, our DM thread for the past two years has just been generative art back and forth. Whenever we find something cool. Sign up for a newsletter if anyone wants a generative art.

Josh (46:44):

Amazing. I love to hear it. Thanks, Alan. Maz.

Mazier (46:53):

Are you going to do a professional one too? Or just a personal one? Or was that both?

Alan (46:57):

That was both.

Mazier (47:00):

It sounded like both. I want to second the Andrew comment I think. Whenever I talk to Andrew, it’s a combination of philosophy and practical and advice and it’s just been phenomenal talking to him and working with him. So we’re going to miss you, Andrew. It’s been short but fun.


On the professional side, one of the experiments to highlight is the Levels Levels experiment. When we first started this, I think there was a lot of people that were very pro points and a lot of people that were against points. And it’s one of those things you can argue till the cows come home, but the best thing to do is actually create a scrappy experiment to see if points will work. And what we found out is people generally like the concept of progress, but they don’t like it when it’s random and arbitrary. So I think where we’ve landed here is interesting because we could have not started doing anything related to gamification and points because there were so many people against it. Or we could have over-invested too much in points because people were in love with it. And what we decided to do was actually somewhere in the middle where we tried to see what parts of this points in progress are things that people resonate with.


And obviously when we got our first, we put the first iteration out, we got the first response back, we saw that the part that was missing was the arbitrariness of it and the cognitive load of it that people didn’t like. People really liked the idea of completing and making progress and moving forward, but were getting really confused around, okay, so why is it this many points? And if I get this many points, increasing levels, but what does the levels mean? And so really trying to dial that back and creating this next iteration is going to be interesting how this plays out.


But the big takeaway for me was a lot of times you don’t know what you don’t know and you can either not start or spend a lot of time polishing and get it wrong. And really this allows the safe space to try some of these more ambitious, more divisive ideas without either not doing it at all or investing too much. So I thought that Levels Levels was a good example of where we can take big swings and do controversial things and learn from it versus either not touch it or just dive down that rabbit hole. So anyways, wanted to highlight that and big thanks to the people that made that happen.

Josh (49:33):

Awesome. All right. Got time for a couple more. Anybody interested in sharing? Nope.


There we go. Steph.

Stephanie (49:46):

Hey, I haven’t shared in a long time. I am still collecting my thoughts. First of all, thank you, Andrew. You are the reason that I have this job in the first place. He answered my LinkedIn cold message and I am totally going to come down to Durango this summer. And for anyone else that’s interested, Andrew’s a great mountain biking guide and hiking guide. And so, yeah, I’m stoked to come to the San Juans and reunite this summer.


I think Priya, you said something that really resonated with me of like, Priya and I got paired as, what’s it called? Nicole, you had set up that weekly mastermind buddy chat. And just that recurring sense of, I have it with Priya and a few other people on the team, has been so beneficial for me to have these touch points. I’ve struggled with my own physical health a lot over the last couple of months and having these people that I feel really care has been such a wonderful thing where I know, I love the sentiment of we’re a team and not a family, but I’ve made such wonderful relationships through working at this company that I’m really, really grateful for.


And on the more professional side, I’m so excited about guides and shout out to Ian and the team for driving that forward and I’m super excited to get something shipped next week on that.

Josh (51:08):

Amazing. Thanks for sharing, Steph. All right. One or two more? Anybody on that?

Sunny (51:18):

I’ll pop on actually. I’m getting ready to do test driving the new Labs 2.0. So we’re just waiting for the… Oh wait, they’re here now, so I’m going to go. But that’s the exciting professional development. Can’t wait to see what we do with it.

Josh (51:31):

I love it. Awesome. Report back. Lynette.

Lynette (51:36):

Woo-hoo. So let’s see. Super psyched about the guides experiments. That’s been, I guess, professionally really fun to kind of watch those unroll and how excited people are to do the experiments and how these tiny tweaks are already causing such change in people. So that part is super exciting.


And then also personally, what I’m excited about, no, we’ll do something that happened. So I was talking to friends of ours recently and talking to them about metabolic health and Mark Hyman and all this stuff and literal blank stares, which to me means we still have so much work to do. There are still so many people that are completely clueless, which is exciting, because that’s that many more people that we get to influence and impact and expand their lifespan. So, anyway, super excited in general about all the things. So, yeah.

Josh (52:25):

So true and a great reminder that we are in the very early innings. It can often feel like we’re risking it all and when we change strategy that we’re going to anger the people, the only people out there. And the reality is the vast, vast, vast majority of people have never heard of us, have never heard about metabolic health. We got a long way to go. And that’s exciting.


All right. Anyone else? Going once. All right, well this is a great one. Got a bunch of shares in here. A lot of good stuff. And with that, get a couple minutes back. Enjoy your weekends. Andrew, all the best. And talk to you all later.