Josh Clemente: All right. Well, we got a quorum here, so I’m going to jump straight into the intro here. We’ve got some special guests and Mateo and Alexandra co-founders of Eight Sleep are joining us for today’s Friday Forum. So those of you who are on this call already know Eight Sleep very well, thermo regulation through mattress cooling technology. It’s pretty unbelievable combined with a lot of smart tech. I am just about to set mine up in my new place and I can’t wait. They’re also supporters and investors of Levels and driving the tech scene migration to Miami. So I’m excited to have them on the call. If you want to say few quick words, just let the team know what you’re up to, what you’re loving right now about life, and look forward to hearing it.
Matteo Franceschetti: Alex, you want to start?
Alexandra Zatarain: Yeah. Thanks for that intro. I think that pretty much covers how we spend our time, which is basically building a company, trying to make sleep fitness a thing. But yeah, very excited to be here. We’ve both using Levels for a while now, and huge fans of what everyone’s building there, and just the idea of us as brands to build a real movement around living healthier and living longer. And how does that get built from the foundations of food, sleep, mental health, physical fitness, that’s super exciting for me. One of the thing that I’ve also been excited about recently is this whole thing of moving to Miami, not even so much about the city, but I have felt a big difference in the balance in my life.
Alexandra Zatarain: Anyone working on a startup, you know it’s intense, it’s not only long hours sometimes, but it’s just very mentally demanding work. And I love the fact that the weather here has allowed me to start bringing on some hobbies, getting better at my tennis. I’m not that good, so Mateo gets bored playing with me, but just doing it, being able to step outside during the weekends, starting to learn how to play golf, getting a bit more physically active, has been super exciting for me. And I think it reflects then on how I sleep, how I eat, I’ve taken on intermittent fast, which is the first time that I’m doing it. I’m honestly suffering through it, but I think that it’ll be a new habit to build this year. So a lot of things in health that I’m trying out and hopefully will reflect in better performance.
Josh Clemente: Love it. Yeah, report back on how that intermittent fasting goes. It takes some time in my experience. Mateo, anything to add?
Matteo Franceschetti: No, obviously I’m the CEO and co founder of Eight Sleep. You guys know what we are doing. We really want to achieve two things. First, we want to compress sleep. So what if you could sleep only six hours and get more rest than when you were sleeping eight hours? And second, we want to save your life. We will scan your body as you sleep and we’ll let you know if you have early signs of cancer. This is how sleep will be in five years from now. Love Levels, I think we got connected very early. I’m here with mine. I’m an early biohacker, or a self biohacker, so I really try everything on my health to increase my performance, and you guys are part of that.
Matteo Franceschetti: I’m on a keto diet and intermittent fasting. And all those things is part of what I do. And yeah, Miami’s soothing as well. I love it here. I’m able to do sports almost every day. I train a lot during the weekend, even twice a day, so that’s awesome. And I was able to transition a lot of meetings from a boarding group to a tennis court. So now I keep meeting tech people on a tennis court a couple of times a week.
Josh Clemente: Sounds phenomenal. I’m going to have to check this thing out for myself. Thanks to you two for joining us and just sharing some brief thoughts. I know the team definitely appreciates these and appreciates you all helping to boost the message, not only of Levels, but also of the health stack. So excited to do more with both of you in the future. I’m going to jump back to our recent achievements and start moving. So thank you both. There we go. Cool. So after that special guest intro, moving into a selection of this week’s accomplishments. So a big one, we rolled out audio articles, which will be released in the next build of the app. It’s currently live on the blog, and so this is going to increase accessibility of the content that we’re producing and also the convenience of it. So you can now consume this in an audio format. So I’m very excited for this one. I like to listen to things more so than read in my spare time.
Josh Clemente: And then Shinlu did a really awesome exploration of sleep correlations. So pulling in the sleep data that we’ve got and then putting together some exploration of both glucose Levels as it correlates, but also comparisons of things like meal scores and how that correlates to overnight Levels. You can see over in the corner here, we’ve got just one small sampling of say the last meal score prior to sleep, and then how that correlates to nightly glucose. And people are very individual here. So some people do better overnight after a high scoring meal and others do worse. And so that’s really interesting, a lot more to explore here.
Josh Clemente: On the topic of real time APIs for hardware integration. So there’s an exploration that we’re doing right now on a large “universal IRB protocol”. So this could allow us to study at the Levels company scale sub diabetic glucose with the side benefit of being able to potentially get access to real time CGM APIs. So this could be something that we will be sending out more information on as we learn more about it, but keep your eyes open for it. We’ve got two interesting pilots going. So Equinox, they have a special club called E Club with their top trainers and most motivated members, and we’re going to be doing a pilot with them with Levels. So it’ll start with about 10 trainers up to 50 of their members. Lots of interesting stuff there. They’re one of the premier change out there.
Josh Clemente: And then lastly, we had some really cool podcast recording opportunities this week. So recorded Bulletproof Radio, Cleaning Up the Mental Master, which are both tier one. And we recorded two sessions of the Levels MVP branded podcast, Shout Out Ben. So we’re definitely figuring out where to go with that show. You can see in the middle here a little working name, or working title, a whole new level. A few other things to call out. There are some really awesome people trying the program right now, Dr. Steven Gundry is a cardiothoracic surgeon and bestselling author is currently using it. Dr. Caroline Leaf is a neuroscientist, she runs the Cleaning Up the Mental Mess podcast. We’ll be doing an IG live later this week. Bobby Goodlett set up his Levels live on Clubhouse. So Ben gave him a live session with, I think, 150 people watching.
Josh Clemente: We’ve got Jenna Kutcher joining, she’s an influencer. We’ve got Chrissy Allen, also joining actress, and 1.2 million followers. And then we’re just getting a lot of attention on all the content we’re producing. So Haney produced several new articles this week, including one on PCOS, which I think is a really poorly understood correlation, so that’s an exciting one. And then Neil Cosla was shouting us out right up there with Neurolink and Varda Space. So lots of good stuff this week. TB12, got to shout them out, the podcast. Yeah, overall great work. So I’m going to call it there. Jumping ahead.
Josh Clemente: Let’s see. Fourth Friday Fireside. So this is a new format. We’re going to basically be kicking this off this afternoon. It’s going to be a scrappy start, but basically this is going to be a forum for all of us to converse about things that are happening in the company and just tune in a collaborative format. So jump on later this afternoon, looking forward to doing it, and then we’ll iterate on the format for February and in months ahead.
David Flinner: So I mentioned this last week, but Gabriel’s been working on improved anomaly detection, and this is important because it’s really hard to, there’s a lot of friction in adding logs, and so to the extent we can make it a smooth friction free process to alert our members about events that matter, that’s going to be really helpful for education. So he’s been working on improvements to the algorithm, which are pretty exciting. We pushed it out a couple days ago and the preliminary results are showing that now when we detect events we’re improving the accuracy, decreasing the number of false positives, and increasing the number overall of anomalies detected. So just preliminary results, but results from yesterday compared to the same day last week looks like we significantly improved the quality of our event detection. So great work on that, Gabriel, and I think it’s a material difference for our members and we’ll monitor that closely to see how it progresses.
David Flinner: Next slide. Josh mentioned the audio articles. I’m particularly passionate about this too. Always listening to podcasts, articles, education when I’m out running. Now for all the media education articles we have in Levels, we’ll be able to add audio files for them so that people can listen to it at the most convenient time for them. A lot of our content is long form, and so this is a handy way to consume it. Thanks for Haney also for kicking off this initiative. There’s, you may mention this later, but I think this is on the blog now, too. So you can listen to it on the website or in the app.
David Flinner: Next slide. Jeremy’s been working on subscriptions. This is in progress, but as you know, we’ve been taking off on our subscription side without intention around that, and so it’s getting really hard to manage manually all the hundreds of subscribing members. So Jeremy’s been working on an effort to integrate with the Stripe subscription portal, which is going to be a better experience for our members. They can self-manage, they can opt in, opt out of a monthly subscription, update their addresses, and then we’ll materially improve the ops burden. Right now, I think where manually running charges for every member every month and all the shipping details, so this is the first part to automate that process. Pretty soon, I want to say maybe within the week, we’ll be able to test this internally. I won’t speak for sure, but that’s coming up next. We’ll be able to move our internal signups onto the new subscription platform.
David Flinner: Next slide. I won’t go into the details here, because it just dropped, but do take a read through as you use exploration doc into the sleep analysis, it’s really fascinating. It seems like there are interesting correlations and things to tease out, but we’ll need to do some more research into it. Next slide. Great. So John just started, the goal right now is we want to help members understand what their response means, and then also help them figure out what should you do instead if it’s not where you want to be. And this has been something that we’ve been hearing from members for a long time. And we’ve had this goal of getting better contextual education in the app for quite a while, we had a few dependencies. First, we did in-app content and then we redesigned the zone show page to free up more space for education, and now we’re finally starting to work on embedding the educational content right there in the zone where it matters. So just started, but more on this next week as it progresses.
David Flinner: Next slide. And no picture here, but Mario’s been overhauling our offline mode, which will be super useful. One of the most common things we get from members is random disappearing logs or duplicate logs. And some of these are complicated technical issues related to caching in the offline mode and syncing that back up with the online experience. And so he’s been working on a version two of this, which should provide a much more reliable, streamlined experience, so I’m excited to see the progress on that.
David Flinner: And the next slide. And finally, this is a little bit more conceptual, but I have a few in progress, product specs out there for where we can take the dashboard and the educational journey. I think we have a really good experience right now in the app, helping you see your data, understand it, closing the loop in context. But what we don’t really have is a canvas for really prominent value add insights, and helping you understand where you are on your Levels journey, and what you should be doing next if you are running out of ideas. So we’re exploring some concepts to make a simplified version of the dashboard where you always know the most important thing up top, like how your day’s going, what really high quality insight cards are available for you, and then should you want to do something else, where are you on your education journey, where can I pick up on that, what’s important to read based on events that have been happening to me. Like I just had a low glucose event, might read some low glucose education, things like that.
David Flinner: You can take a look, those are in notion. But the goal here is, as we think about coming out of beta, hopefully somewhere around halfway through this year, we want it to feel really seamless and smooth for that health seeker audience who is a little bit beyond the tolerance threshold for our early adopters and who shouldn’t need to rely on their own technical background or understanding of the space. They should just open up the Levels app, understand what to do next, understand where to go. And hopefully we can have some better canvas in the app to support those efforts. Yeah, I think that’s it for the week.
Josh Clemente: Love it. Ton of great stuff there. Yeah. I like. Haney, previously on Slack you posted the so whats and the now whats and how content can help guide for both. It can help you understand the context for why something matters, and then also what to do once you under understand that, but you’re confused or frustrated because it’s going in the wrong direction. So I think that this goes exactly to that in the product implementation. Rapid hiring update, nothing’s really changed here. We’re still actively searching for a lead designer, a lot of great calls this week actively searching for software engineers.
Josh Clemente: And then we’re looking to learn about the general counsel, so specifically if there’s someone that you know, anyone watching this or participating on the call, know who could be a great fit for us given our industry and what we’re doing, please send them our way. And then if you’re interested in just a general position, please check out our careers page at Levels.link/careers. This hiring slide is going to be renovated because the numbers aren’t exactly right. I know Sam has done a lot more intro calls than the two that it shows here for lead designer.
David Flinner: Yeah, same here.
Josh Clemente: So yeah, this will be updated, but suffice to say, we have a ton of great candidates in the lead designer pipeline and a few really good ones in the legal council pipeline. And anything to add on that Sam or David?
Sam Corcos: I’ve probably interviewed six or eight people at this point and I have a whole bunch more scheduled for next week. So it’s coming along.
David Flinner: Similar on my side. The step is we’ve been getting a bunch of leads, and we’re going to be queuing up the more in depth technical design interviews for the end of January early Feb to start.
Josh Clemente: Awesome. All right. Over to Mike for member success.
Mike Didonato: Cool. Thanks Josh. Another great week with engagement and feedback from our members. Two quick things, just want to quickly highlight strenuous swag still seems to be confusing, I know we’ve heard this before and a lot of our members live active lifestyles, and we want to make sure that we’re not discouraging exercise given the known benefits. The first one there, the first quote seems to be a discoverability issue, which seems to definitely be improving. The second quote there, which was pretty interesting was that member used the strenuous swag, but it wasn’t really clear what was happening. And then, the second theme, we’ve definitely heard this before and there’s definitely a curiosity and a desire to know what other people are doing, but more recently we’ve heard questions like what our team is up to. Just about every call I get asks that question.
Mike Didonato: And then when someone asks for an alternative, I may suggest Josh’s protein part, or I might send them to Dr. Casey’s kitchen, amazing Instagram page for ideas. So it just seems to be a curiosity, but also then a desire to learn from the team. So wanted to call these things out. And that’s really all for the week.
David Flinner: That metabolic score, there was a bug where the score wouldn’t update if you added a new log and flag it as strenuous. So John fixed that and that should be live now.
Mike Didonato: Awesome.
Josh Clemente: Great. Yeah. Good overview. I like the, what is Levels team up to, I think that opens up some opportunities for the everyone on content that Haney’s managing. Mike, you presented on this forum a few weeks ago about what you do in a day, but that would be an awesome blog post that we could just share to that individual.
Mike Didonato: Absolutely.
Josh Clemente: All right. Miz.
Michael Mizrahi: Cool. Coming at you with a lot of numbers this week, so just follow me here. I want to share some of the metrics that we watch and some of the numbers that we keep an eye on just in running the daily business. Our overall numbers are still small, but it’s important to keep an eye on this. So on the left hand side, you just have our overall running trailing six weeks of orders shipped. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we added a Brooklyn fulfillment center for the TruPill pharmacy from the East Coast. Over time, it’s going to take more and more of our share of overall orders. It’s going to cover most of the country. The exception are our existing subscribers. Once a prescription is started out of a certain state, it becomes more difficult to transfer that prescription to another state. And so it’s not like a regular e-com business where you can just transfer those orders to a different fulfillment center. It has to be shipped from the same pharmacy to keep things consistent.
Michael Mizrahi: So right now you can see our weekly order volume in that 300 to 400 range. We’re a little bit down in the last few weeks as a result of pushing out a bunch of consults from that performance cover shortage, but all of those consults have re flooded the EMR. So the next two to three weeks we’re going to be catching up and fully back up to speed. On the right hand side, overall subscribers. So these are last night’s numbers, and it’s obviously an incomplete week since Monday, a few more days, but we’re on track to pass 550 subscribers, adding 40 to 50 or so a week. As David mentioned, we’re very excited about the product updates on subscriptions, all of this work is completely manual today. So from the filling, to the billing, to the shipping confirmation emails, we’re doing our best to keep up, but anxiously awaiting some product fix there. So looking forward to that.
Michael Mizrahi: Go to the next slide here. So on the support side, some quick high level metrics, we’re seeing about this past week 540 messages to the day. Obviously again, not a complete week. When we moved over from SMS and Front to help Scout, and Zendesk over All In to help Scout, we turned on live chat directly in the app during our business hours, for the most part. The volume coming in through realtime chat is still relatively low, it’s 20 to 30 chats a week. Those chats that come in are really helpful in the moment, they’re usually application issues or very specific questions, and so we’re able to meet members where they are in those moments, but still not highly trafficked. So something to look into.
Michael Mizrahi: When we turned off SMS there was a lot of discussion around losing that real time component. We offer it now, but not heavily used. This might be countered by the fact that our email first reply time is 43 minutes. We’re seeing 60% of our contacts within business hours, which is 5:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific, in less than 15 minutes, and we handle 84% in under an hour. So if you have fast email support, maybe you don’t need live chat as much. And so, as I’ve mentioned, week over week, we’re doing a great job on this side. And if you go to the next side, we’ve got our CSAT on the bottom. So we’re holding steady in the 90s on the CSAT in the bottom. And then NPS, which is again, would you recommend Levels to a friend, is in the 60s, or we’ve we dropped a little bit with some increases, but back up into 62 for this last trailing week.
Michael Mizrahi: As always, Mike does a ton of feedback calls on these. And so you can find those in the user feedback channel to understand what those detractors are. Sometimes the scores and the comments don’t exactly line up, but there’s a lot of really good qualitative feedback in those interviews. And again, the end here is relatively low, but we’ll continue to keep an eye on this, and it’s just a good benchmark to have. One last slide, which is special for this week, did a little bit of a deep dive into our sensor replacements. And so, as you know, sensors fail, performance covers come off in door jams, with towels, in the pool, whatever it might be. Since December, we’ve replaced about 450 CGMs in about 420 orders. So in some cases we’ve replaced two sensors. We’re very generous when in our replacement policy, which scores us a ton of points on the member side, and it’s important at our stage to be doing this as we’re learning. That makes up just under 10% of our overall sensors shipped.
Michael Mizrahi: I think we’ve done about 5,000 or so sensors since December 1st to date. So 10% is not an insignificant error rate, or defect rate rather, so it’s something we want to look into and understand what’s going on here, is this normal for this product. The reasons of why these are failing are probably not a surprise to most. 30% of cases is saying your sensor’s broken, it can no longer scan, get a replacement? Another 30 or so percent is members saying this doesn’t feel accurate, something’s definitely wrong, it’s consistently low, even though it’s not erroring out, something’s not adding up. They might have applied it in the wrong position, or it just might be a defective sensor. So together 65% is sensor quality.
Michael Mizrahi: The rest of them come down to either application issues, pain or discomfort, or being pulled off. We track how many sensors are falling off with performance covers and how many sensors are falling off without performance covers, and there is some difference there. And so, we just track these reasons to better understand what the member experience is like. Next steps here, looking into the replacement flow. And I’m going out of order, sorry. Looking into the replacement flow, right now a customer in the sensor error, or in the sensor accuracy concern, we have that beautiful insight card that pops up in app that says, “Hey, your sensor looks like it might be low, tap here to send a message to support.” And that’s a delightful experience. Members love it. And so that’s really elegant.
Michael Mizrahi: On the error message we don’t exactly capture that unless someone writes in, and then if they’re on their last sensor, overnight them a sensor, two days shipping a sensor, and it becomes a manual process of us submitting a fill. And so just thinking and brainstorming of customer flows that will be a little bit more friendly here and reduce a lot of the friction and effort required since this is not a rare occurrence. And in the second note here is just looking at the replacement costs. Who’s responsible for these ultimately, is it the manufacturer, and is that something TruPill needs to deal with, or is that something that’s a distributor issue, or is that on us as the purchaser of these. So exploring that space and seeing what we can do there.
Michael Mizrahi: But ultimately the important part is making sure the member experience is pleasant here. And ultimately we want to drive down these errors, because they’re not necessary for as much as the product itself will support. That’s it on this. I’ll try and find some other insights week over week that’ll be interesting, but I thought this was a good one to recap.
Josh Clemente: Yeah, this is fantastic. I really appreciate the depth on this. All right, Sam.
Sam Corcos: Yeah. Not a ton to update here. We’re on track to hit our goal. We’re at 10.7 million in cash. We had a dip this month because we pushed probably half the orders for the month into next month because we have the performance cover supply issue, so that’s being resolved. Next slide. And weekly revenue last week ended up being one of our best weeks and this is becoming a pretty consistent trend. I think Tom has a lot to do with that. I don’t even know which it was last week. There were just so many different parts have been bound. So looking good on the revenue side.
Josh Clemente: Cool. All right, Mercy.
Mercy Clemente: All right. So Instagram, pretty good content like normal we’re at 17.7 or just over 17,000 followers, closer to 18,000. One thing I wanted to pour out that I thought was pretty cool was the two photos in the middle and just the change that this one member experienced in just three days of using Levels and tracking his numbers. He went from a 55% to an 83% average for his daily scores, which was pretty crazy. Another thing is people started sharing their daily share, their streaks and daily scores, you can see that on the right here. And then if you go to the next slide. We became a little bit more popular on Twitter. We had quite a few members sharing screenshots of their streaks and it was pretty wild. Another thing was just a lot of great content on Twitter. Again, it’s starting to pick back up. It was slow over the past few weeks I think it was just the holidays and everything. But yeah, a lot of really interesting stuff shared. We’re almost at 10,000 followers on Twitter, which is pretty exciting as well. That’s it for me.
Josh Clemente: Nice. There was also a call for a public leaderboard. We’re getting a couple of those. I think people are getting competitive with the streaks. So that’s a good sign.
David Flinner: The secret is that they stop at 90 because we have a technical issue. We have to work on persisting metabolic score.
Mercy Clemente: Mike has 91 right now.
David Flinner: That might be a [crosstalk 00:27:02] thing. He might be rounding up or something.
Josh Clemente: Yeah. All right. Podcast update.
Tom Griffin: All right. Great week for podcasts. Josh has been really hustling over the last week. So just shout out to Josh. I can’t imagine doing what he’s done over the last seven days. We had a few shows released, as Josh mentioned earlier this week, most notably Pomp Podcast, which is a very large show and a dedicated following, a lot of our members and investors listen to that show, so that was cool. And then funded part two with Sam, which as a lot of people may have seen on Twitter has been getting a lot of attention, probably no surprise to our team, but people seem to be in interested in the way that Sam thinks about things, which is really cool. He was also dubbed the Tiger Woods of fundraising on that show, so if you hear that being thrown around as a nickname for Sam that’s where it started. Sam, I don’t know if you endorse that nickname, but it’s out there.
Tom Griffin: Recorded, again Josh mentioned this, but Bulletproof was recorded, which is going to be huge. And then Cleaning Up the Mental Mess, which is also a really huge show. I would argue it was less on our radar initially than it should have been. Dr. Caroline Leaf is the host, and she’s got 500,000 followers, and it’s a really big show. That’ll be released next week. And then similar situation for the top upcoming shows. Ben Greenfield is the most notable one, which will be released in about two weeks. Next slide. All right. Now just a quick partnerships update. Josh mentioned had a great call with Equinox, they are really excited about the program. One quote that we probably could have put in the initial slide that I forgot about, but they’re head of programming there who would be responsible for really rolling out a nutrition program for the first time for Equinox that includes Levels, said that this was by far the biggest behavior change tool or technology that he’s ever used. So that’s high praise from an important person.
Tom Griffin: Josh and I have been working on the Salesforce pilot proposal this week. We’ll be submitting that today, end of day, and that’ll be for 50 to 100 employees as they’re evaluating a broader metabolic health program. So frankly, it’s cool that they’re even using that term. Mark Hyman, more activations are upcoming. We’ve seen, I think around 40 to 50 conversions come through. They have not yet done what they initially had promised, which is a dedicated email, which they’re going to be doing soon. So we should see an influx of orders coming from that. And then Mark’s also making a video about Levels, which I just found out, which is going to be really cool, so we’ll see what that looks like. Ben Greenfield, a couple of the main activations are upcoming. We’ve done some one-offs in terms of an email and some podcast things in the past, but the interview is going to be live in two weeks and then there’s going to be a blog post that Haney took lead on and submitted that’s going to go live on their blog a few days after the interview, which is going to be awesome.
Tom Griffin: And then as mentioned, Dr. Caroline Leaf, IG live, or the podcast is going live on Monday and then an IG live with her 470 or so thousand followers is on Wednesday, so that’ll be a good one to tune into. And then a number of pro-athlete connections this week. So I’ll update more once they officially come in, but some big name people in the NBA, NFL, and NHL. That’s it.
Josh Clemente: Cool. Thank you Tom. Over to Haney.
Mike Haney: Yeah. So a couple new articles up this week that you may have seen. The top terms in metabolic health is one that we’ve just talked about for a while, as I’ve dove into this space and realized there’s just a whole lot of terms that I thought I knew what they meant, but then as I looked at them realized I didn’t really know what they meant. This is definitely a living article, so please drop things in Slack as you come across terms that you think or hear from members that there’s stuff or jargon were using that people don’t understand.
Mike Haney: And Josh mentioned the Abby O’Connor story is really great. One thing I’ll just call out from that, this is somebody who’s dealt with PCOS all her life, used Levels, it really helped her get control of her diet. And when I was communicating with her to get approval on the story, she shared that she’d had infertility issues for a long time, as people with PCOS tend to do, but because she got control of her diet, she finally got pregnant and they’re expecting their first child. So that was a really cool detail that we got to add into the story.
Mike Haney: And just to follow up on the audio article side, we do have the one up as a test on the ultimate guide to metabolic fitness. I’m going to put probably five more up either this weekend or early next week, and we’ve got analytics set up now so we can track how many folks are actually listening to those. I’m also going to test out some new voices. I may throw some things in Slack again, thanks for all who gave me feedback on the earlier voice actors, but we’re going to try some female voices, maybe even a British accent. So as you get a chance to listen to these, open to any feedback on those about how you like listening, what voices work best if you’re following along on the info.
Mike Haney: Okay, next slide. And then for the content metrics update this week, I wanted to just share, this is the dashboard out of Drip, which does our email newsletters. Since we had one go out this week, this is something we’re looking at. We’re going to get probably more serious about the email, or at least do some new work on the email, maybe revamp it a little bit later on this quarter, that’s still milling around. But as we think about that I like looking at this to see how things are tracking. So it’s interesting to see which stories and subject lines drive an open rate. You see that the Levels announcement of our round had by far the best open rate by quite a bit, which it’s one data point, but would suggest that people on the email newsletter, which is basically our wait list are really interested in news about Levels.
Mike Haney: But the best books about metabolic health had the highest click through rate, which is interesting. And this week, the one that I thought was going to do super well with the answers to your most asked questions, because people tend to like FAQs, did not perform super great. So just another piece of data that we’re looking at week to week. I think that’s it for me.
Josh Clemente: Awesome. Yeah. Super instructive and oftentimes counterintuitive, but that’s what data does to us. Thanks Haney. Okay. We trucked through that. So here we are at the individual contributions Dom, I see you’ve been able to join us, excited to hear your thoughts.
Dominic D’Agostino: Yeah. A lot going on. I have some notes here. Well, we have the IRB, it has been looked at, the IRB has made a decision and we have to do some clarifications on some things for the USF IRB. But I think this is a good thing, the more feedback the better. I talked to Philip Prince, and I think you did too Josh, at Grove College, and he is the IRB chair and they’re reviewing their IRB today. So we can get that study up and going shortly. I’m working on an e-book that’ll have a component talking about glycemic control. So I’m excited to get that out, and I think that’ll be a good resource for people, mostly talking about low carb nutrition and the benefits to glycemic control.
Josh Clemente: Awesome. Yeah, we should team up on that announcement when you roll that out.
Dominic D’Agostino: Yep.
Josh Clemente: Very cool.
Dominic D’Agostino: Thanks. Thank you, Dom. John.
Jhon Cruz: Yeah. Audio articles are great. This is a good way to keep improving my English and keep learning and getting up to date with the new content. And personally, my son is started school again this week, for now everything is from home, but it’s good to have him busy on learning and stuff. Hopefully he will go back to school in two weeks and we are really looking forward to that moment.
Josh Clemente: Very nice. All right, Miz.
Michael Mizrahi: Yeah. On the level side I recently got my parents on a few months ago. My dad is definitely type two diabetic and didn’t really treat it or know it very well. And so getting the awareness to then seek out help and actually improve the numbers, it’s good to see. I also had a friend reach out over Help Scout, who I talked him through troubleshooting a bug, who mentioned that they used our referral program to get their parents in, to get them to control. And so there’s something really interesting there and something for us to capitalize on in terms of how to grow and how meaningful of a product it is to people in their lives, and their parents, and their family, and all these things. On the personal side, I recently got a guitar and so haven’t really played any instruments since high schooler, so messing around my fingers really hurt, but excited to play around a little bit more.
Josh Clemente: All right. Live jam session on the assemblage. Looking forward to it.
Michael Mizrahi: In a little while.
Josh Clemente: Dom, I’ve got you in here again. Anything else you want to throw in?
Dominic D’Agostino: Yeah, well, I’m excited, I’m right in the middle of teaching neuroscience and also working in metabolism. So I always work in a discussion of CGM into the medical students and I tend to get a lot of questions about that. Also, the American Diabetes Association reached out to me and I’ll be presenting at their national conference, and they wanted to discuss the role of low carbohydrate nutrition on glycemic variability. So I think that’ll be a nice opportunity to talk about Levels and CGM the technology.
Josh Clemente: Fantastic. You got a lot of things going on, Dom. That’s awesome. Gabriel.
Gabriel: Yeah. I’m excited about the event detection improvements that we have a, a fair amount of data in the system now that we’re going to do back testing on. So it’s been really interesting and the improvements seem pretty good so far. And I’m personally, it’s sunny in Chicago, so I’m looking forward to, hopefully have some clear weather this weekend. That’s about it for me.
Josh Clemente: That’s not what I was expecting to hear about Chicago weather, but enjoy. Tom.
Tom Griffin: On the Levels front. I’m really excited to read David’s product strategy document, I’ve been waiting for that, so I’m pumped to dig in, hopefully this weekend. Also, excited about the branded podcast. And I guess a shout out to Ben generally who I’ve just really appreciated his scrappy and really fast moving approach with everything that he does. We went from talking really high level about what it might look like to launch a podcast to Ben having a webpage up, fully branded, and two episodes recorded. So I’m excited to just see how we iterate and how that evolves over time. And then personally, I’m heading to Austin next week for a month with some friends, so excited for the change of scenery.
Josh Clemente: Cool. Mike D.
Mike Didonato: Sorry, I was on mute. Definitely the audio articles are a big thing. I think it’s going to make our content more approachable for a lot of people. And like everyone else, I enjoy listening to things as well. The other thing, super excited to have Mateo and Alexandria on the call, they’re one of our earliest and most vocal supporters and I really enjoy the guests to the forum. So definitely would love for that to continue.
Josh Clemente: Nice. Ben.
Ben Gyrnol: I’m going plus one on audio articles. So hat tip to Haney for spearheading that, and John and David for getting that in product so quickly. The reason I’m so excited about it is that it makes our product and it makes our content, everything we’re doing, so much more accessible. And I know it’s a very small sample set, but the probability of us having members who have dyslexia or vision impairment is high given the number that we already have and the number of people on the wait list. So really important and happy to see that moving forward. Personally, the barber shops have been closed for a very long time, and I haven’t had a haircut since June. So I’ve got an appointment on Saturday and they are opening. So pretty pumped on that.
Josh Clemente: Enjoy. All right. For me personally, I’m very excited. I actually got engaged on Sunday of this week. And so looking forward obviously to that. That was a big life change, or I guess big life change is coming. Nothing’s really changed just now, but that’s exciting. And then professionally, I’m going to have to say research opportunities. I continually lose track of the fact that we have a phenomenal opportunity to shift the world’s understanding of metabolic health. And this is the underlying pandemic that is making the viral pandemic of COVID worse and so many other things that are breaking down our resilience. So I just love the fact that we are in a position to, with better understanding of our data set and better research, like the potential universal IRB, to set the standard here and also guide, I think the next iteration of deeper research and intervention. So Stacy.
Stacy: From a professional perspective, so many things. I really loved Mike’s post on Abby O’Connor and like how she used Levels to improve her glucose and transform her PCOS, and now she’s pregnant. That was just a really awesome story. I encourage you all to go read that if you haven’t popped on the blog yet. And on the personal side, we’re going to Vermont this weekend and working with a great hotel called the Woodstock Inn and going skiing. So that’ll be fun.
Josh Clemente: Very nice. Enjoy. Hao.
Hao Li: Yeah, I’m really excited about all the engineering project going on, sleeping data analysis, event detection, audio articles, Stripe portal, and offline mode. And yeah, it’s been really enjoyable to working with everybody. And personally, we have a snow forecast for Monday, so I’m really excited to see how half an inch of snow will panic the entire city or maybe not.
Josh Clemente: Good luck. I don’t think Lori’s on the call, Lori, if you are chime in. All right, Mercy,
Mercy Clemente: Professionally, I’m excited about the subscription stuff. Subscriptions are a long process to fill individually so that’s super exciting. Personally, I am super excited to get a sister-in-law finally, congratulations, Josh. I’m also just hanging out with my little nephew here.
Josh Clemente: All right. Haney.
Mike Haney: Professionally I’m excited about how excited everyone is about audio articles. That was an idea that came from Mike D in our first intro chat and was one of those, seemed so obvious when he said it. And I feel like it’s so exciting and so very Levels to go from that kind of a thing, to let’s just MVP it, to having it live in there. So I will also add to that a plus one to Ben and all the work he’s doing, and it’s inspiring watching him go so quickly through with those MVP steps. So I’m excited to check out the new podcast and all the other stuff that’s happening on that front.
Josh Clemente: Killer. All right, Sam.
Sam Corcos: Yeah. This is a bit of a curve ball. I’ve found that people keep sending me free stuff now. I’m living the Flinner influencer life. I got a free mattress, I got some protein, I got some health bars, I got some socks yesterday. People just keep sending me stuff. So I don’t quite know what to make of it.
Josh Clemente: You did the funded pod, you’re a hot shot now, you’re Tiger Woods. Get used to it. Try and get a Nike sponsorship while you’re at it. All right, well, made it, and we’re onto Tom’s presentation this week, which is, I’m going to leave it to him.
Tom Griffin: Yeah. Josh, am I just telling you when to go to the next slide? Is that how we do these things?
Josh Clemente: That’s probably easiest.
Tom Griffin: All right. So the weekly share is going to be about brain stimulation. As some of you probably know, I used to work at a company called Halo Neuroscience prior to Levels, which was trying to make this electrical brain stimulation technology more mainstream, both for initially the consumer market and then clinical applications eventually. And I figured given the personalities and DNA of this team, people probably find this more interesting than most people who I used to talk to Halo about in my friend circle. And while it’s a totally different technology than Levels, there are some interesting similarities that make it a bit more relevant. And it had nothing at all to do with the fact that these slides had already been created long ago.
Tom Griffin: All right. Next slide. Yeah. I just threw this in here because I think it’s always fun to see company mission statements from similar companies in the human health and performance space. So this was ours. This was a later iteration of it, it looks like it could come from us, or Whoop, or a bunch of other companies. Next slide. All right. So just bear with me here, I haven’t really looked at these slides in a long time, but the underlying technology that we were using at Halo was called TDCS, which stands for transcranial direct current stimulation, which really just means over the scalp, transcranial. So non-invasive direct current, which is the type of current. The frequency is zero to be compared to alternating current where there is a particular frequency and this technology’s been around for a while in a research and clinical setting.
Tom Griffin: So again, somewhat analogous to Levels in that we’re taking a technology that had already existed, and then we’re trying to package it for the first time ever in a consumer product and really build a market for consumer brain simulators from scratch. So Halo’s founding was during the uptick of the research that was going on with this technology. Next slide. All right. So how does it work? I guess at the highest level TDCS makes your brain work better. It accelerates, or at least it alleges to accelerate, the natural learning process. So the way your brain learns anything is through repetitions. As you repeat a particular behavior more and more, neural connections, or neural pathways get strengthened. And then that particular behavior becomes more learned, or automatic, over time.
Tom Griffin: And this is the case whether you’re learning movement, which is a bit counterintuitive, which is all really happening at the level of your brain and neural pathways, or traditional learning, sitting down to study or memorize facts. And essentially this whole process, which I’d imagine a lot of people here are familiar with, is called neuroplasticity, which is your brain’s just natural ability to rewire itself and actually physiologically change over time. And what TDCS does, at least in our marketing language, is prime your brain and put it into a state of temporary hyper plasticity. So your brain is essentially a little bit warmed up and ready to do that thing that it normally does when it learns, which is individual neurons are firing and wiring together and creating these neural pathways.
Tom Griffin: So that’s definitely oversimplifying it, but that’s generally how it works. And I think important to just call out that as we often said at Halo, the brain is an electrical organ at bottom, and so there’s an electric field running across your brain at all times anyway, so in ways it’s really the natural language of the brain. And as many scientists have argued, it’s perhaps a more natural way to interact with the brain than even something like chemicals or pharmaceutical drugs, certainly more targeted and potentially more natural and effective. Next slide.
Tom Griffin: All right. So we focused on movement to start as a company. The primary reason frankly, was the data was strongest in motor learning. Initially, when we initially characterized the existing science and literature, the mechanism for motor learning, it’s frankly more straightforward than understanding and influencing cognitive learning. So the data was really good. And then we basically, and this was happening before my time there, but tried to replicate a lot of the existing literature and we found that it was easiest to replicate the studies [inaudible 00:48:32]. So this applied to of course, sports, also music, esports, everything from pilots, surgeons, military, and then physical therapy and rehabilitation. Next slide.
Tom Griffin: All right. So this was the product, it was called Halo Sports, or it is called Halo Sports, and it’s got those little spiky things, which are really soft, rubbery nibs on top. And that is what is actually applying the electrical current over the scalp to the brain. We picked headphones just because we got neuro anatomically lucky in the sense that the motor cortex happens to sit as a band across the top of your head in between your ears, and it’s really in the exact same spot for all human beings. So if you build in a little wiggle room, you’re pretty much definitely hitting the motor cortex. And yeah, we made headphones, which again, our initial market was with athletes and peak performers so it made sense. Next slide.
Tom Griffin: Yeah. We built ourselves up from initial trials with just random people in the office to replicate some of the existing science. And then from there went out to the best athletes and peak performers in the world. And the idea was, certainly if we could get a result with them then this technology might be effective for the lay person. So we accomplished a lot on the research front, these were double blinded, placebo controlled studies that we did, but they were still case studies for the most part, there were a couple that were published. But we worked with Olympic teams, and professional sports teams, and other athletes and found some significant improvements both across sheer strength and power output as well as skilled development and learning. Next slide.
Tom Griffin: I think a few more research stuff. Yeah. So eventually we had independent studies that were being published, popping up in really good journals around the world, which was cool, using our exact product, as Levels also will face in the future. People will say, “It’s cool that there’s some research on transcranial direct current stimulation, and we know that you use transcranial direct current stimulation, but how do we know that your form, your actual product works?” So it was cool when, again, independently, these research institutions would just buy our product and run studies because it was directly the easiest form factor to use, which was validation for the company. Next slide.
Tom Griffin: Yeah, just quickly. This was an in progress study we were doing with Yukon Physical Therapy. This was another application of the technology just accelerating the results of rehab, essentially. Next slide. We did some work with the military, a lot of research, and we worked with Naval Special Warfare, and the AFRL, which is the Air Force Research Lab. This would happen a lot, as most of you know, the reality is we don’t really understand how the brain works. So we get interesting results randomly. So Halo Sport is a motor cortex focus product, but then we got a really significant result with pilots in the Air Force in terms of multitasking, which is frankly a bit more of a cognitive task, but there is some motor aspects of it. So we’re constantly getting results, and evaluating it, and figuring out how to move forward as a company based on these results. Next slide.
Tom Griffin: Yeah. In the end, there were just a lot of cool anecdotal stories with athletes and teams around the world that were using the product for a variety of different ways. Some NBA players in here, Dave [inaudible 00:52:22] is in there as you see. Shout out to Dave if he’s watching this. Next slide. All right. So in terms of where this technology might go in the future, obviously a lot of people say, if you tell me that I can accelerate learning for movement, what about learning, the real learning that I actually care more about? Like just studying for exams, or focusing, or reading books, or memorizing facts. Next slide.
Tom Griffin: So the stimulation target for this would be the DLPFC, which stands for dorsal lateral frontal cortex. Most of what we care about is happening largely in the prefrontal cortex, people refer to this as executive functioning. So think putting your attention on a task like reading, or focusing, or memorizing something. And there was a lot of research going on prior to Halo on this area, but this is where Halo was picking up the baton. Next slide.
Tom Griffin: Yeah. So there was a lot of good research out there. It’s still like really early days, but basically showing that different types of stimulation to this part of the brain can in fact help with cognition. Oftentimes it was working memory, is the term that was being measured. If you’ve never done one of those tests, they’re really frustrating, they make you feel really dumb, and I had to do a lot of them for Halo in our lab. Next slide. And then the other type of stimulation that is out there, it’s called alternating current simulation instead of direct current stimulation. So instead of one long pulse with a frequency of zero, this would be a particular frequency that would essentially mimic brain waves that you’d be aiming to induce in the brain. So if you’ve ever heard of theta waves while you sleep, or alpha, or gamma, or whatever, this refers to alternating current and a particular frequency of brainwave.
Tom Griffin: And so there was this big study that came out in 2019 that really validated this technology, it was written about in the New York times, a long form article. And it essentially showed that they could reverse cognitive decline in older adults with mild cognitive impairment, and essentially bring their performance down to people in their 20s or 30s. And interestingly, they could also reverse it. So they could interrupt these particular brainwaves, or these circuits that they were trying to induce, if they actively interrupted them for younger people they could also bring their performance down, so they could show it both ways. So a lot of people really excited about this result, and this is something that Halo was working on as well. Next slide.
Tom Griffin: I think this is it, but then also mental health treatment was a huge area of research for this field. There were a number of strong results in depression treatment showing that it was at least equally effective to antidepressants if not more effective. And certainly the combination of both antidepressants and TDCS was even more effective. So yeah, there are a lot of credible neuroscientists out there who really think that electricity might be the future of treating mental health and other brain conditions.
Tom Griffin: And from a first principal’s perspective it’s something that you can turn on and off. You can target a particular area for 30 seconds and then just turn it off. There are no side effects. The very nature of how chemicals work, you ingest them, they go into your gut, they go into your bloodstream and they work on the entire body and the entire brain, which is what side effects are, they hit everything, and then they also just happen to hit the area that you’re targeted. So with something like electricity, the idea is that there might not be any side effects and it might be more targeted and more effective. That is it I believe. I just threw one cool photo of an ex Navy Seal using our product. And that’s about it.
Josh Clemente: Nice. Super interesting. Do you have some Halo Sport units laying around or something that we can fire this up for the Levels benefit?
Tom Griffin: Yeah, I’ve got a few laying around.
Josh Clemente: We’re going to have to arrange something. We might need to send these to the engineering team, get 10% boost and output. All right everybody, well, we’re here, we made it. Thanks Tom, for a great contribution at the end there, and everyone for participating. And Dom for joining us. Once again, we’ll see you guys next week.