July 9, 2021

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

Josh Clemente: All right. I think we can probably go ahead and jump in. Yeah, we got a good number here. Cool. Welcome to Friday, July 9th, we will jump straight in. YouTube outreach plan. So I’d like to compare this to the podcast tour that we took on last year that Tom led and was wildly successful. I think we had over 120 appearances that came from that podcast press starting from zero. So, that was successful. We’re going to take those lessons learned and move them onto the YouTube channel and excited to see where this goes. Tom’s working closely with JTPR and yeah, a lot more to come as we explore the YouTube channel. And then we are conducting our first subscription email campaigns. You can see one of these visuals that go in there. I couldn’t get the copy in there, but we’re going to be actually A/B testing new subscribers, previous subscribers, basically just bringing up the subscription offering as a core product now that we really have made it such. Josh Clemente: So historically, as you all know, we were a one month program. We’re now out transitioning to more of a membership and ongoing subscription model. So it’s important to convey that information to people in our orbit. First pieces of the new information architecture, which is really exciting, have made it into the app. I think these are, and I could be outdated by now, but the Bottom Nav, I updated my app this morning, was pleasantly surprised by the new Bottom Nav. Modal support and Learn V2 have also gone live. And I think the Me Page is very close behind. I’ll let David take the details. But very exciting, thanks to Alan and the Eng team for cranking on these things and David for managing. We exported our first de-identified study data sets. So the Grove City college team has been using Levels along with CGM to explore the differences between ketogenic energy bars and standard energy bars to see how physiologically they affect endurance in a treadmill effort. Josh Clemente: So it’s a pretty short study looking into some of the peripheral information that we know about endurance and output in a ketogenic versus glycolytic state. And so this study is, it’s going to be interesting, there might be some cool correlations that come from it that then go into our research efforts going forward. Thank you, Hal for helping out with that. And then Dr. Godfreid sent over some updates on her work on a systematic review and meta analysis on the development of biomarker transition into pre-diabetes. That information is up here. It’s now posted on the National Institute for Health Research website, and it’s pretty exciting. We are part of the tertiary goals here, which is, does continuous glucose monitoring combined with other biomarkers predict the transition to insulin resistance and pre-diabetes better than fasting glucose or HbA1c, the current gold standard. Josh Clemente: So there’s a lot going into this review. It’s going to be a very long process, but it’s super cool to see these types of things. We’re now both on ClinicalTrials.gov for one of our efforts and also NIHR, and this is just great, the multi-omic research that Dr Godfreid is working on could directly file into the additional product offerings that we’re looking at, the additional lab work. Exploring product analytics via Posthog. This is a self-hosted in-app interaction analysis. We can use this to see how the app is being used use and understand how our features are actually being interacted with. I think we’re testing this internally before any rollout. The team continues to grow. We’ve got new additions coming to the member insights, engineering and legal teams. All awesome. It’s going to really kickstart obviously our ability to get work done and free up resources for other things. Let’s see, updates to the your invited page. Josh Clemente: So I believe Ben has been tackling this to make the actual invitation page look different from our homepage that often causes confusion, where people hit the same page they thought they already signed up on and they drop off. Something I’m very excited about is this mission patch here. It’s actually a mission sticker. We’re going to be rolling that out. Some people who are watching this will probably get to see one of these in the flesh sometime in the future, but we’re going to start this community effort to have some tangible memoranda or badges that you can carry forward, that demonstrate that you, proof of work that you were involved in these early community initiatives. Josh Clemente: Had a couple podcasts drop this week, Dhru’s show with Casey is live on YouTube as well with great video content, which is one of the first of those types appearances we’ve had. And I wanted to highlight this Instagram post that went up. I think it was yesterday or the day before, which is Dr. Lustig’s, the three part pyramid to better eating and how to think about food. And it really resonated with our audience, which I thought was super impressive. We had 1200 likes, which is something on the order of 10 times larger or higher than our standard posts. Josh Clemente: So very cool, lots of awesome NPS responses this week. Overall, great week. Thanks everybody. And with that, I’d like to welcome Lukas Linemayr. Correct me if I mispronounced your last name, but Lukas and I actually connected, I think first via maybe LinkedIn and via email, feels like a year and a half, two years ago now, but I guess that was something like January. Lukas, I’ll let you intro and chat about your experiences thus far as part of the levels community, but thank you for setting aside time to come in and speak with us on the forum. Lukas Linemayr: Yeah. Thank you, Josh. And it’s great to see some familiar faces. So like Josh mentioned, I reached out via LinkedIn, I think in January, I was working consulting at the time and trying to get into venture capital, which is quite the challenge. As part of this, I actually wrote an article on Medium, outlining Levels as an investment profile. And I first heard about Levels on a podcast. I think it was a Kevin Rose show. So love all the podcasts you guys drop. And quick background on why I liked it so much. I’ve lived many lives, I like to say, with regard to fitness. I played soccer, rode, everything growing up, and then ended up doing golf in college and also doing some fitness modeling alongside that. And each of these different phases of my life required significantly different ways of eating. Lukas Linemayr: And I was a big experimenter with fasting, carb restriction, just anything you can think of. And the issue I always had, was that the feedback loop is so long and everything is subjective. So if you want to fast for 20 hours a day, in order to actually understand if that works for your current lifestyle, you have to do it for a month or so. And then you guesstimate, whether it’s doing what you want it to do. And along the way, I did a lot of stupid things like I would work out and then I’d take orange juice and creatine right after the workout, throw in some protein powder also. And really just put my body through the ringer. And I’m so happy that I can use data driven insights now, and be a lot more precise with my nutritional lifestyle. So love members, or love Levels, happy to be a member, and happy to continue subscribing. Josh Clemente: Awesome. Yeah, the article, which thank you, Ben I was about to post that into the chat. The article that Lukas wrote was really awesome, it caught my attention immediately because it was so detailed and it grasped the goals very effectively. And so I think that is quite promising now that you have transitioned into VC. So it sounds like you’ve achieved your intentions over the past few months and yeah. It makes a lot of sense, given the detail that you went into in that very high level exploration of Levels as an investment opportunity. So I appreciate that. Really appreciate having such aligned and real world user experiences like yourself involved in the early community we’re building. So thank you. And obviously, Lukas has offered to be helpful in any way he can a number of times. So I would love to be able to return the favor, so Lukas, if there’s anything we can do on our team, let us know and we’d be happy to. Thanks for setting aside time. Lukas Linemayr: Thank you so much, Josh. Josh Clemente: All right. Quick culture kudos slide. This was a big week for our member support team. I just had a couple examples here, and also a great example of loop closure. So firstly, Jesse handled a pretty tough adverse event that occurred this week. No one was injured, luckily, it was mostly just a concern that this person experienced about their glucose control and handled it expertly and just very sensitively as always, I want to say. And then followed up and Lori got flowers to this person and they’re now much more aware of the physiologic background. They understand, I think educationally, why what they saw occurred and feel much better, I think, and will continue to use Levels. But it was a real Testament, I think, to in the moment managing a very tough situation, a lot of interpersonal dynamics that are tricky, and it came off very effectively. Josh Clemente: And I think the full loop or that entire cycle of experience for that person, I think went from very hard to deal with, to surprisingly delightful, I think, in their experience with Levels. And it’s just so challenging to do this effectively and to see it in action was awesome. So thank you specifically, Jesse, and Lori for handling that. And then lastly, Haney had a great example of closing the loop. I think it was a six month timeframe in between a call regarding some of the product driven content that this person would like to see. And then Haney released that content, followed up with that person. And they were so shocked. This is by the way someone, this is Julia, actually, you all know Julia. She’s handling a huge number of conversations herself in her work. And so this is her job and she’s like, “I can’t believe how well you all do with closing the loop.” And this is the type of thing that goes a very long way to showing that we dot our I’s and cross our T’s as a team. Josh Clemente: Thank you, Haney, and thanks to everybody who’s doing this behind the scenes that I don’t always get to see, appreciate it. All right, David. David Finner: Jim has been testing out a new in-app product analytics suite, which I’m really excited about. In our general health and wellness space, just in general, it’s really sensitive, the topic of analytics, and we want to do it in a way that is very privacy forward. This suite, Jim can probably tell us more about this later after we’re done experimenting with it, but it’s self hosted, so we can host it in our own secure HIPAA compliant manners so that that data is never being broadcast at third parties. And we can implement this in a way such that it is very, very privacy forward with users opting in things like that. I’m excited to learn more about this, but it’s very early days. Jim, you just pushed out the first coaching just for this yesterday. And once it does go live, we’ll start experimenting with it internally for people who are comfortable with that, to see how it works before we decide on a route forward to potentially using it more broadly. Thank you, Jim there for that. Next slide. David Finner: And John is putting up the final finishing touches on the new ad log flow, which is looking really great. Thanks, Alan, for some awesome designs for this and John for diligence and getting this across the line. I think it really preserved a lot of the friction free magic we have while opening a new canvas where we can add things like the meal insights or macros or other things, there’s now a lot more room for that, that we can play around with once this goes live. Next slide. And Josh keyed up also that a lot of the information architecture projects that we’ve been working on for many weeks are launching this week, or ready for work. So the Bottom Nav bar, the Learn page, and the Me page are… Well, the Bottom Nav bar and the Learn page are launching. The Me page is getting there. And the My data page is ready for engineering work, so that one can be picked up. And then Alan is going to be starting working on the new dashboard. That today page, that’s focused on today, what should I be doing next? How should I think about now? David Finner: And it’s going to lay the foundation for guided journeys, guided programs that will, once we define a bit more out what the program market is going to be, help our members understand where they’re at, maybe connect with other people at that point in the social layer, but certainly on the guided journey. So next slide. Oh yeah, just another preview of the Me page that Gabriel’s working on. Next slide. And the Learn page, which you’ve seen if you’ve tried it out. The remaining parts here is still pulling in the challenges into this area, and then we can get rid of the hamburger menu. Next slide. And I think those are the major issues. David Finner: Short week, but we still made a substantial amount of progress. We also had a few major bugs that cropped up this week, so thanks to the Eng team for scrambling to fix those related to the health, Apple health, and Google fit, failing to import things for our members and glucose imports. So really appreciate the member support team for flagging those and for the Eng team for rallying on that. And that’s it. Josh Clemente: Great work. Thank you, product and Eng team. All right, quick hiring update. So you’ll notice that the head of legal position is no longer showing up in the open positions. So more to come on that. We’re going to make an announcement I think in the next few days, when we finalize a few details. A huge number of candidates processing right now across a number of open positions. And I think we have a few more offers that have gone out and been accepted in the last week as well, which I’m not going to give specifics because I don’t want to jump the gun, but lots of great progress on the team. And we continue to have openings. So for people who know someone or who are personally interested, partnership specialists, head of clinical product, and of course software are still open. And you can see those at levels.links/careers. JM. Josh Mohrer: As Josh mentioned, Ben and I sent out a subscription email this week, we tested to about 500 folks who have gone through the program, didn’t give us a low NPS score, but are not yet subscribers. We tried a couple of different images here. The sample size was a little bit small for a definitive answer, but the one with the box on the right did a little bit better. We have another couple thousand people that’ll get this in the next couple of weeks as we focus more on subscriptions. And then I have one more slide after this. These graphs are right out of Stripe. I had actually never seen these before yesterday, so I just wanted to highlight a couple of things. First of all, our recurring revenue from subscriptions is on the top left. The bottom left, Jeremy implemented in mid-May a subscription option where you can get a delivery, not just every month, but every other or every third month. And actually, about a third of our orders are now using those options. I think that’s really interesting. Potentially we wouldn’t have gotten those orders otherwise. So, that’s nice. Josh Mohrer: On the right side, the retention numbers. Again, right out of Stripe. This basically represents how sticky the subscription is. And lifetime value nuts out from there. If anyone wants to chat through that, we can, but I thought it was interesting. And that’s all for me. Thanks. Josh Clemente: Amazing updates. Yeah, I hadn’t seen these subscription charts either from Stripe, so thank you for surfacing this and diving deeper. We should chat about this in the cafe actually. Cool. Ben. Ben Grynol: So financials weekly. Really strong week, $132,000 of recognized revenue. Some of those conversions were driven from Dhru. A good portion were Casey’s appearance on Dhru, which is a great podcast. And then DexCom Beta, so having that email go out and seeing, I don’t remember the exact number, 132X or something like that, 130X, we’ll call it. There are just so many conversions over the course of 24 to 48 hours that we saw a significant surge. So really strong week in that respect. Monthly, we are at $187,000 on our way to our goal of 300. So doing really well there. And then no changes to cash or debt or runway. Next slide please. So mission patches. This is something that everyone has a bit of a lens on, but I see Josh has a big smirk on his face because he loves this project. Ben Grynol: So we’re getting a limited edition sticker made for anybody who participated in the Coke challenge. There are 33 people in the community who have done at least one trial and some have completed two. And then a number of people on our team. So the idea is that eventually we want to turn these into things like embroidered patches, but there’s a significant lead time involved in doing something like that. And so with a sticker, we have a hundred percent confidence that it’s going to look exactly like the illustration and that is has a two to three day lead time to turn it around. So it’s just boom, we can ship it really quickly. The idea is that we’re going to create, we’ll call it 60 stickers, that are limited edition that will go out to anybody who participated in this challenge with a note card that supports it and we’ll manage it through Sweg so that when people receive this package that says, “You were part of this thing, and this is limited edition Sweg, keep this in a special place. It’s to commemorate your involvement in this mission.” Ben Grynol: So it gives us the opportunity to create a lot of brand affinity, which is the idea of building a movement through a cult brand in community. And so it should be a special touchpoint for everybody who’s involved. Next slide, please. Tom Griffin: Ben, can you remind us who did those designs? Ben Grynol: Yeah, Neil Smalley, Groundwork Creative. So Neil is, he’s an excellent illustrator, but he’s somebody that I worked with at Skip and we have a handful of great illustrators in our back pocket, so we can create illustrations in perpetuity for anything we want. So it’s pretty cool. Website updates. So Josh talked a little bit about this, but the current problem we’re trying to solve is that You’re Invited page is the purchase page. So when people land on that, they’re confused because they think that it’s the actual website. Ben Grynol: So we’re trying to mitigate any support tickets or any text messages that come in personally, where people say, “I already signed up for the wait list.” That’s that image on the right where the shipment has called out. And it will give people a little bit of a lens and get them excited on what they are about to receive. As far as the next it’s the product. So when you scroll down the site, it’s the second or third section. But right now we’ve got a pretty long vertical image where it breaks out the product and screenshots, and it doesn’t get people a quick lens on here are the 1, 2, 3, value prop points of what we’re seeing. The other thing is that we’ve got mixed rendering, which is the phone in the graph images with a photo. And so it’s mismatched aesthetically. Ben Grynol: And so the idea is to create something that’s horizontal or landscape in its aspect ratio, whether even if somebody is on mobile, it’s still going to respond properly. But the idea is to have a tighter shot on the product, have a concrete headline, and then have only three instead of five bullet points that give you very decisive value prop of what you are getting as opposed to the five that we have now, because when there’s too much information, there’s cognitive overload and people go, they scroll past. So that’s what we’re working on now. And that is growth for the week. Josh Clemente: Awesome. Love these updates. And yes, I love that illustration. Mike D. Mike Didonato: Going to review a insight research product last week, but first wanted to quickly review why we’re tracking and statusing this qualitative feedback with the appropriate team. It’s primarily for two reasons. One, we want to share the feedback that we’re getting from members with the teams that we can turn it into quick wins, whether that’s a product feature or content, and or surface this information for the teams that we can track and status it for longer term product features or needs that our members are telling us. This one, we heard it previously so it was about our month end report. So a lot of members love our month end reports, but at the end, there are a bunch of pages that say, “Coming soon and beta.” And previously we’ve heard people say, “Why is that even there? It’s a little bit frustrating.” Mike Didonato: We heard it with multiple people in our interactions last week, sent an email to David and Alan and very quickly, David and Alan jumped in. And then on the right here, you can see, I’m pretty sure that these pages have already been removed from the month end report. So again, velocity. And I think that’s it. Josh Clemente: Love it. Yeah, it’s cool to see Dovetail continuing to help solve frustration points for people, friction points. It’s a funny angle so thank you. All right, Tom. Tom Griffin: All right. Some weekly highlights, mostly on the influencer partnerships front. So as Josh mentioned, Casey’s second episode on the Dhru Purohit Podcast dropped yesterday. So far our performance has been really strong, 32 conversions, probably more than that now, but in the first 24 hours. And yeah, I really recommend listening to this one. Casey’s just so good at these, these days. So it’s just awesome and I learn something new every single time. But also, I think this one’s particularly interesting because it represents the evolution of the podcast tour in that we are going to need to come up with new topics and narratives to hit on these podcasts as we continue to do new circuits in the future. So likely, every major company milestone, we’ll try to do a concerted push on podcasts. So probably when we get to product launch, then we’re going to do another big blitz. And we’re going to need to have new topics. Tom Griffin: So it was cool listening to this, it was like an aha moment where I was like, “Oh yeah, totally. We could send Casey on 50 to 100 podcasts just to talk about what we’ve learned from amassing the largest database of non diabetic glycemic responses out there.” So I think this represents the future of the podcast store, which is cool. And then just a couple of other updates. So, Ben Greenfield’s newsletter went out this morning and these are just really helpful for us, not only to get more orders through the door, but we’re continuing, Ben and I, to build a model of how these different types of promotions across different types of partners and platforms are performing for us so that we can better forecast and plan and budget for the future when we really press go on growth mode. So over on the right there, we’ve been doing more forecasting and budgeting for 2022 and starting to have a lot of conversations with partners about planning across the next six to 12 months. Next slide. Tom Griffin: All right. And then quick update on a conversation that we had internally over the last couple of weeks about an opportunity that arose to partner in a paid capacity with a professional endurance athlete. And ultimately we decided to not move forward with this partnership. And I wanted to just quickly surface some of the takeaways and themes that arose. Now over here on the right side of the screen. One was just around how we approach experimentation. So specifically, experiments where we’re testing new market segments. And we decided that if we’re going to run a test, it needs to be a sufficiently thorough test where we’re going to adequately get learnings and a signal from that market. So in this case, a one off partnership with one endurance athlete would not be an example of this, we’d likely need to be prepared to do a mini blitz with athletes, influencers, maybe content, podcasts, etcetera, to really learn about a market. Moving to the second bullet there. Tom Griffin: While this might be interesting to us in the future, it’s not our number one priority right now, relative to some of the other markets and personas like bio-hackers, wellness optimizers, discouraged dieters, et cetera. And then as always, some of these opportunities seem relatively low cost, all things considered, but ultimately there would be a large time suck for our teams. So it’s just really important to take into account full costs right now. And then lastly, thanks for the shout out guys, we will continue to see product to some of these communities like professional athletes and build these relationships, but they most likely will be in an organic capacity versus notching these types of paid partnerships right now. That’s it. Josh Clemente: Awesome. Love the takeaways. Yeah, it’s tricky to, I don’t know. It feels a little bit tough to pass up on opportunities like this and what seem like very shiny markets, but I think this is definitely exactly as you mentioned, prioritization and just recognizing who our core group is, and who’s going to take this to the multiple orders of magnitude growth. So it’s a great document by the way for anyone who wants to catch up on that in Notion. Thanks, Tom. Haney. Mike Haney: Yeah, so in content, I want to call to a couple of things. We just put a piece up very late last night called micronutrients essential for metabolic health. Big shout out to Casey, this was a really tough piece to wrangle. I think this is the longest piece we posted, certainly since I’ve been here. The blog says it takes 16 minutes to read, and that usually undershoots. So a lot of content here, but what’s cool is it’s broken into, each one of the micronutrients has its own section so you can jump in and out. It’s really a reference piece. And Casey and I talked about, “Boys, is this too long to even put up?” But this is the kind of piece I think it’s really helpful for us to have on the site for people to be able to refer to, for us to be able to refer back to, and then we’ll find lots of ways to chop this up and make smaller, shorter, more digestible pieces out of this. Mike Haney: But this is one that will really be part of the Levels can. And I think of content, we’ve got some other ones like that coming up that’ll jus help establish how we think about food. And then a really good profile from Glen Murphy went up this week as well. Next slide. Just wanted to quickly show some stats. I mean to do this every month, and I think I actually forgot in May, so a little bit of a catch up here just to what’s going on traffic wise. The headline to this is that really since I started about, whatever, seven, eight months ago, we’ve been relatively flat in terms of organic growth. Traffic has been pretty good, organic search has been up and down. And even since we’ve engaged an SEO firm to help us with this, the takeaway really seems to be, it’s tough to play the organic game. A lot depends on the algorithms, a lot depends on changes Google makes that we can’t really count on, but the trend that seems to be happening in the background, if we look at the new keywords box down in the lower right, is that a lot of the things we were ranking for early on from some of our early content, we’ve started to fall as other sites tackle those topics, or as those searches just become less relevant. Mike Haney: But a lot of the new stuff we’ve been doing, which is pretty SEO optimized is starting to climb up the ranking. So they’re not quite at the position where they’re driving a ton of traffic yet, or as much as we might have had before, but they are starting to climb. And ultimately, this is going to pay off because we’ll have a much broader universe of keywords and much more aligned to our mission that we will rank for. So, as an example, we did a piece called, “What is sucrose?” that was based on an SEO content brief that our agency gave us, basically said, “Look, if you guys write this article and you follow this structure, you got a really good chance to rank.” So we executed it. We took their structure. We put in all the Levels take on it, lots of deep research, lots of good scientific backing to it. And the day after it posted, it was on page one. The SEO agency said, “Look, don’t expect this to continue, that’s pretty anomalous.” But it is a good, I think, signal that when we tick the boxes, we can start to rank for more of these topics. Mike Haney: And the last thing I just want to briefly call out, email, even as organic has gone flat, email has really increased as a traffic source, basically from our newsletters just generally as an overall trend being a lot more open to engagement, which feeds into a whole newsletter 2.0 effort that we’re deeply engaged in now and really doubling down an email as a content source and distribution channel over the coming months. So that’s it for content. Josh Clemente: Amazing. Love those insights, thank you for sharing, Haney. I thought we had a social update. Mercy, do we have a monthly social update this today? Mercy Clemente: Not today. Josh Clemente: Okay. Mercy Clemente: We’re going to try to only do them on the monthly occurrence, rather than weekly and see how that goes. Josh Clemente: Cool. Alrighty. Miz, you’re on deck. Michael Mizrahi: Ooh, on the spot. I think really awesome week to see a lot of the progress pushed across all the email experimentation that Ben and JM have been partnering up on. So, thrilled about that. And then also a fan and happy to see just saying no to a lot of things. I think there’s been the Iron Man athlete example, but there’s other examples along the way and I think that discipline of just prioritizing what we’re working on is great to see. So yeah, exciting week for that. Josh Clemente: Casey, on the treadmill. Casey Means: Yes, that’ll be my personal share. I set up a janky treadmill desk with an old treadmill we had in the house and I’m totally hooked now, so big fan. But yeah, Levels wise, a lot of exciting stuff happening with content. We’re working, Mike has set up an amazing relationship with a content agency called Revel that I had my first call with this week and they’re really awesome. But just seeing how many directions the content operation is going in and how just amazingly Haney is executing the content strategy that he’s put together. And then last thing, I’m going to be in Kauai next week for vacation so I’ll be offline, but I hope everyone has a great week. Josh Clemente: Love Kauai, enjoy. Stacie. Stacie Flinner: From a personal perspective, we are just looking for our next place to live, because coming down to the wire. So we’re looking at apartments this weekend. Josh Clemente: Best of luck. Scott. Scott Klein: Let’s see, professional, I feel like I’m getting my footing under me, which is good. So I’m starting to hammer out first kind of feature-ish stuff. Everyone’s been super helpful and back filling a lot of the onboarding. So hopefully the people that come behind me are going to have it a little bit easier. Personal, I’m going to get this bird cut off my head today in a couple hours. So it’s been a while it’s getting a haircut. I’m excited for that. Josh Clemente: Very nice. Lukas. Lukas Linemayr: Yeah, professionally, really excited how much I’m learning my first month at Streamline. And then personally, my family’s here from Austria for the weekend, so can have some fun and enjoy seeing them again for the first time in a while. Josh Clemente: That’s awesome, enjoy. Mercy. Mercy Clemente: Personally and professionally, I got a standing desk, so this is really changing the game and changing the way I work. So, excited for that. Josh Clemente: Nice. It’s a game changer for sure. Marillo. Marillo: Personally, Amanda just got her first shot on Thursday and I’m getting mine on Monday, so excited about that. Josh Clemente: That’s great. Let’s see. I think Gabriel is out. Yeah. And Rob is also not with us. Hao. Hao Li: Yeah. Actually, I’m super excited about a new UI update. I think I download one version of the beta app and I got a new UI, but it’s gone now. So I missed that. Josh Clemente: Yeah, me too. John. Jhon Cruz: Personally, my sister who lives in Chile is coming to Columbia for a few weeks in September, so I’m excited to have her here. Josh Clemente: Very nice. Enjoy it. Alan. Alan: Hey, yeah starting to dig into the dashboard. So excited to do that. The very first thing I did when I joined was make a gradient on day one or two, and now I get to a chance to revisit that. So I’m excited about that. Personal side, I’m going to go for a big ride this weekend, took the bike out of the shed so I’m excited to get out there and go for a long ride again. Josh Clemente: Nice. Crush it. Justin, I believe is out. Mike D. Mike Didonato: Casey being on Dhru’s podcast again, broken brain was a pretty wild time when she was first on. So it’s super exciting. Personally, a lot of things have been happening personally in the last few weeks. So it’ll be nice to have, I think a low key weekend, hopefully at home. And then my sister and her family are coming in town for a couple weeks from California. Josh Clemente: Awesome. I will probably see them. Let’s see, Haney. Mike Haney: Professionally, I’m most excited about Justin’s new dog. I think that’s a big win for the team. Personally, I will echo Mercy, I also just got a standing desk this week. Actually, Josh, the one that you recommended in your Notion workspace doc, and it is phenomenal and has completely changed my life. Josh Clemente: Awesome. I actually went through three or four to get to that final product, so I saved you a lot of wrist pain, I hope. Yeah, I’m a big promoter of standing desks. They’re great. And Jesse. Jesse Lavine: Yeah, I want to circle back and give a shout out to Braden for some real time edits, helping that member on last Friday evening, giving them the best response possible and also really cool to see the teams act very quickly to give them flowers and a nice note. And I’m going to go plant shopping this weekend for my new apartment. So I’m in my new office closet right now, it’s great. Josh Clemente: Nice. Plant shopping, you must be in your thirties, man. Let’s see, Tom. Tom Griffin: Yeah, professionally it’s been cool to start having just a ton of conversations with partnerships, specialists, candidates, and just learn a lot more about how people find out about Levels and how passionate they are about we’re working on. Yeah, people say that listening to Casey on a podcast was life changing. I heard that twice this week, probably should have Slacked that out. So it’s just incredible. It makes it really hard to reject people though, it gives me way too much anxiety to send a simple email that we’re moving forward with other candidates. And then personally, I’m reluctant to admit this, but I’m a pretty big fan of the UFC, and so I’m excited for these fights that are happening tomorrow night, including Conor McGregor and then there’s a guy that I used to work with at Bit, Stephen Wonderboy Thompson, who’s fighting. And I’m really excited for that one. Josh Clemente: Don’t be ashamed. You’ve got supporters and others on the team. Ben. Ben Grynol: Yeah. Hat tip, JM, all the DexCom stuff, all the email, the wait list drip stuff, the subscription stuff, double locked in. There’s all these cool things that he’s been leading and jamming out, so it’s been just awesome to be able to work with him on some of those and watch it all come together. Personally, I just found out this week that my best friend who I haven’t seen in two years now, and we’re very, very close, he’s booked a trip to come in from Nashville and he’s got his fingers crossed that he can get over the border. So we’re going to go camping in three weeks and I’m just so stoked for it. Every day I can’t wait. So, that’s it Josh Clemente: Love it. For me, seeing another, this is an entirely new product basically. We can leverage all the work we’ve done on the app and backend, et cetera, but just really cool to feel scrappy again and watch a new product taking life. We’re going to learn a lot from this. And then a lot of great visual stuff happening. Ben, thanks for pushing that. But the renderings, for example, just seeing those proliferate throughout everything from our partnerships and marketing side, through to the website, into our communications on new things like subscription outreach, it’s very awesome to see an asset pay dividends so quickly and resonate visually with how I feel about the company. Love the mission patch project. Got a number of cool projects on the sides that I think are, it seems simple today, but I can really see it being a tangible benefit to being a part of what is otherwise a virtual experience in community. So cool stuff. Josh Clemente: And then personally, I’m down at the beach right now, and we had a tropical storm last night, but it’s beautiful out there and I’m hoping to be able to get in the water before the day is over. That’s it. I’m going to, because we’ve got some extra time here, I’m going to continue the campaign of sharing technology stuff that I’m learning about. So, before we go into the cafe, I’m going to share a little more about infrared spectroscopy. Stop me if you don’t want to hear about these types of things, but this is something that I think it goes into the future of the technology. And this is specifically the number one tech that is referenced when you hear about non-invasive CGM potentially coming to life. So with that, I’m going to jump in real quick. Josh Clemente: So this is all part of the state of bio wearables work that I’ve been working on the background research. And a quick high level. So, the way that spectroscopy works or infrared spectroscopy works specifically is, this is like what molecules look like. They have atoms, atoms are bonded together in interesting ways. And because of the actual structural properties of the atomic bonds, molecules can vibrate at certain frequencies. Just like if you take your fork and tap a glass, it will resonate, it’ll sing. That’s the glass actually vibrating at its harmonic frequency. And molecules have the same thing. So at certain frequencies of vibration, they’ll resonate. All that to say, if you shine light at a specific molecule at a specific frequency that that molecule resonates at, that light, the energy from it will vibrate the molecule and the energy will be lost from the light sample. And so if you then pick up the light that transmits through the sample, you’ll see something that looks like this. And basically, this is the intensity of the light at the different frequencies in the spectrum. Josh Clemente: And you’ll see these big drop offs at specific points. and those drop offs correlate to the frequencies that that molecule vibrates at. So basically, when you get a chart like this from a spectroscopy sample, this is the fingerprint of the molecules that that light interacted with. So basically no two samples of different material would produce the same chart. And when you start to pattern match these, you can tell which frequencies that sample vibrates at, and that tells you what’s in the sample. So spectroscopy, it’s prolifically used in research, it’s a lab tool that is really effective at figuring out what molecules, what different materials could be in a sample or for investigating known samples. So if you know the material and you want to know the concentration, or there’s a whole number of different use cases for it because it is very effective. And because of that, it is the number one technology that’s been touted as a non-invasive CGM candidate. The problems, however, are unfortunately significant. Josh Clemente: So I’m going to scroll past the implications of the tech for right now and just dig into the status. So infrared spectroscopy has been explored for probably three decades as a CGM potential candidate. And the benefits would be incredible because it is truly just exactly the same technology, essentially as the, it’s not exactly the same, but it would use the same sensor systems that you have in your risk-based heart rate monitor. So it would be truly non-invasive. You wouldn’t have to break this skin. There’d be no pain. It would be a durable good as opposed to a disposable. A lot of really interesting potential opportunities. The problem is it probably won’t work. And so most of what’s been done in the lab is not translatable into the real world. And that’s because what’s happening is spurious correlations, where you can make a specific sample, the measurements that you get from a specific sample, correlate very nicely. But then when you add another real world sample, they no longer correlate. Josh Clemente: And this is due to minor fluctuations of how the light interacts with water particularly. So I’m going to, let’s see, my first quote, two quotes that I think are interesting, I’ve had a lot of conversations with experts about this sort of space right now. And right now, the state of the art is trying to take infrared spectroscopy and use algorithms to correct all of those errors. And that’s being called the search for the best wrench to hammer in the screw. Another quote that I thought was really interesting was, “Optical detection of glucose is something that your great-grandchildren will be working on.” And this is from someone who has spent about 45 years working in detection using light. And so just not very confident that this is going to happen. Josh Clemente: The reason for this is that glucose is colorless. It doesn’t fluoresce, meaning it doesn’t give off light when it vibrates. And it has about the exact same fingerprint as water. So the problem there is that about 80% of the tissue in the light path is water. And minor fluctuations in your hydration can completely dominate minor fluctuations in glucose by about 6,000 times. So, some very small fluctuations in your hydration level will look like fluctuations in your glucose and it’s nearly impossible to separate these factors out. Another problem is that spectroscopy looks at transmission, so it looks at light that goes completely through a sample and you pick it up on the other side. And unfortunately, the wavelengths of light that carry the most information about glucose can’t transmit all the way through the body. So if you’ve ever put a flashlight against your finger, you can see the red glow on the other side of your fingertip. That is very close to infrared light. It not the mid length light, which carries all the information. Josh Clemente: And so unfortunately transmission doesn’t work through the body because the water absorbs all of that information. So it’s more of a bulk measurement device. So it gives you a lot of information about everything that’s in the sample, but very little information about specifically the glucose in the sample. So let me think, are there any other major drawbacks? Oh yeah, and then the other thing is any glucose like metabolites, so there’s a lot of molecules that are very similar to glucose and this even includes the glucose that is bound to other molecules in your tissue. So for example, hemoglobin that has glucose already bound to it, so glycated hemoglobin that’s in our blood, the advanced glycation end products, AGEs, which are in your skin, all of that is going to look like glucose in the bloodstream, even though it actually is not, it’s not circulating glucose. Josh Clemente: And so that will further complicate the measurement. So everything the light is interacting with will change the absorption properties of that light. So at the end of the day, the significant changes due to very small physiologic variations within a person, and then person to person make this one of the most challenging technologies that is currently being explored for non-invasive. And this is, I would say that it’s possible that there is a product that could come out that could bucket glucose levels by, for example, low, normal, and high, and that may be useful for certain people who maybe want a backup for maybe hyperglycemia alerts to their CGM, for example. But it’s very unlikely that it would be able to hit significant adoption for the user group that we’re interested in. Josh Clemente: And then beyond that, this spectroscopy has hard limitation on the minimum concentrations of molecules it can measure. So it’s very unlikely that something like this could then be used for say insulin in the future. And so for Levels, when we’re thinking about where does the technology go long term, it’s just something that we probably have to think about, these light-based non-invasive modalities probably not solving the problem to the extent that we need to make the feedback loops we need to make in order to give holistic understanding of health. So this is the state today. Obviously, there could be a major breakthrough that would make me look dumb, but from our current understanding of the tech, it’s unlikely that we would get anything at all within three to five years, and less likely that we will get something that is as good as a CGM at detecting exactly glucose in the bloodstream. Josh Clemente: You’ll probably hear over the rumors that Apple is looking into this. They certainly are. They’re looking into a lot of technology related to glucose, non-invasively. And so, yeah we’re going to continue hearing rumors. The rumors have been going on for 30 plus years, and I will be surprised and excited if this one is cracked. And now we’re in our next five to 10 year time frame. Okay, that went longer than I expected, but this is all going to come out. This is already available in Notion if you guys want to read through it, but I’m going to put all this into a state of bio wearable’s final research document. I’ll probably continue doing these on this call for the next few weeks, just to cover the state of the tech. And with that, we can move into the cafe.