[00:00:00] Josh Clemente: Right, here we go. Okay, so today I am thankful for another amazing weekend at the beach, I’m down at the Jersey shore and I as I get more familiar with the area, I look forward to it more and more. It’s a very peaceful section of the Jersey shore, south of Atlantic city, north of Stone Harbor, called Strathmere, that we come to and it’s a tiny little town, tons of flat roads. I brought my road bike down, I’m going to do a long ride tomorrow morning and get some, hopefully some surfing in this weekend actually. So I’m super excited to get in the water and I just really love the opportunity. So grateful for it.
All right. So our recent achievements this week – the screen is clearly just plastered with quotes right now. And that’s deliberate. I was overwhelmed by how positive and how much positive feedback we received this week. This was sort of a strenuous, certainly a strenuous month. We increased our customer load on the system by over a 100% for June. And a lot of these people started at the beginning of this week or the end of last week. And to see all of this super positive feedback on the product, the experience, the team, has been amazing. So I went back through all our different channels, Slack, Twitter, everywhere that we gathered feedback and was just kind of basking in it. So I posted some of the great quotes here. But overall I think it’s really important to highlight just how positive this has been and how the recent improvements we made, to the getting started flow I think in particular, have helped people just get ramped up into the program and start experiencing the benefits much faster. And that’s been a huge win.
Our waitlist is rapidly approaching 15,000. I think we’ll be there, I wouldn’t be surprised we’re there before the end of the weekend. We have the new type form flow, which is, I think, a significant improvement for people. And so we’ve been, despite no super high value events, like every once in a while we’ll get one of these Tweets that gives us a 1000 followers or something like that, despite none of that we’ve had a steady stream waitlist signups. And we are, I think I was hoping that today we’d be able to have an update that we sent our first newsletter out, but we are getting close. Nick’s going to send that out, I think beginning of next week to start gardening that waitlist. Our scoring exemptions are live for exercise, so thanks David and Jhon for implementing that. We have tons of questions about the, how we approach exercise and also some feedback that other companies don’t do very well in, interpreting correctly what’s happening with a wearable. So Whoop in particular, doesn’t really understand different exercise and they kind of just ignore it, it sounds like. And so taking steps to make sure that we have context for what people are actually experiencing is super important for them to feel like we know what’s going on. Nick put together a really cool combined tool for our podcast outreach strategy. And so Casey and I have been able to very quickly down select podcasts that have episodes with related content using this tool. Pardon me, I’m going to…
[00:03:23] David: You’re on mute now Josh.
[00:03:24] Josh Clemente: Okay. Can you hear me now?
[00:03:27] David: Yeah. Yep.
[00:03:28] Josh Clemente: Okay. Yeah, so that combine tool has been really awesome. It’s quite innovative I think because finding a podcast and a guest and a source of content that may be relevant for our audience and topics is really challenging. And we were able to bring thousands of individual episodes with their descriptions into this tool. And I think it’s gonna be super powerful, for Casey and I, to be able to quickly make relevant outreach to these different hosts and hopefully ramp up our exposure. So that’s exciting, we started that this week. The Program Guide and Getting Started Guide that David specked out are currently being circulated. There’s kind of some screenshots in the top right, here of the Getting Started Guide, which is a little bit of a more bare bones approach versus the Program Guide, which is certainly more, in-depth, more detailed. But these are to help the inbound customer understand what their expectations should be and how the program sort of flows. Starting off with exploration and finishing with optimization. So that’s exciting. We made a big step towards transitioning to our database as the source of truth. Thanks to Sam, Nick, and Andrew in particular for specking this out. And Sam’s colossal effort in the past 24 hours to crank out some dashboards for us to be able to finally move away from Close, which is a manual representation of what’s really happening to our database, which is actually showing us where a customer is in the flow. I’m excited to, I have not been able to dig in deeply there, but, hopefully Ops will be completely off of Close this week.
And then, big effort from Andrew in particular on the engineering recruitment side. So we’ve got some awesome candidates in the pipeline. I’ve been able to speak to two this week and I’m very excited by the enthusiasm we’re getting from these, definitely world-class engineering candidates. We’ll be adding a few positions in the coming weeks, so we’ll probably discuss that in just a few minutes. And then big content week, thanks Casey for cranking out a huge amount of blog content. All of it was really spectacular, a huge smile on my face from the metabolic fitness article in particular. So definitely recommend everybody check out our blog and catch up on those. And then David, on the help center articles, these are going to be huge for our customers. So Zendesk, the help center we have set up through Zendesk will help customers sort of self-serve their way through problems as they see them.
So yeah, that’s the main stuff. Allie Spinola, in the middle, I just want to highlight her, she’s got this sort of stealth social media campaign that she’s building for us. And so I’m looking forward to that dropping. She’s been having a killer time, she said on day 3 that she hasn’t actually lived before Levels before this.
[00:06:00] Speaker 1: She’s been super engaged in my product emails too.
[00:06:01] Josh Clemente: Yeah, exactly.
[00:06:04] Speaker 1: I think she already responded to the scan reminders.
[00:06:06] Josh Clemente: Love it. All right, so there’s much changed here. The only thing I added is building team depth. So Sam is on Think Week right now and he has been able to get some deep strategy in and we’ve been following along with his thoughts over the past week. And one of the key, sort of criteria, is that we scale this year. And in order to do that, we really need to relieve some of our resource limitations on the engineering side. And it’s become clear that our marketing is almost on cruise control. We can put fuel on that fire, but it may not be the case that we have to build up a big marketing team right now and in fact, we can add resources on the engineering side and really unlock some growth in the short term. So more to come there as well. Other than that, pre-orders and get launch ready with our feature set and experience design. Any questions on this?
[00:07:00] Sam Corcos: Cool.
[00:07:01] Josh Clemente: The weekly beta trends, you’ll notice a significant dip, similar to last week. This is because we are holding until our July “cohort” starts. So we had 23 sign-ups, 5 console approvals, we actually have more than that but we let 5 people know that they were approved. David sent out 10 a-sync invites and all 10 of those people were able to easily get onboarded and then 18 people finished the program. Sam.
[00:07:26] Sam Corcos: Yeah. So we’ve raised a little bit of capital, we have 645,000 in cash, which is a pretty good spot. And we did hit a milestone, which is, I just realized in our conversation with Andrew this week that we’ve, to date, since we started the company, we’ve generated $106,000 in revenue. And our monthly burn is just under that. So we have hit the milestone of generating as much revenue, to date, as one month of burn. So it’s not quite profitability, but it’s a step in the right direction.
[00:08:06] Josh Clemente: Nice. Any questions on the finance and biz-dev side? All right. Casey.
[00:08:17] Dr. Casey Means: Hey, can you guys hear me?
[00:08:18] Josh Clemente: Yeah.
[00:08:19] Dr. Casey Means: Okay, awesome. So yeah, there was a good, big push on new blog posts this week. In the past two weeks we’ve had 7 new blog posts up, 4 this week, really focusing on in depth guides, help topics, and testimonials. So if you haven’t had a chance to check those out, please do, there’s 2 awesome interviews from our customers, Alex Hursin and Samiyok Pandya. Kind of looking at the professional sports angle and dietician angle from Alex Hursin, and then the weight loss angle from Samiyok. So yeah, there’s customers who are interested, particularly in those topics, these would be great ones to send them. Particularly with the Samiyok one, it’s got a nice angle of weight loss but also mindfulness, which is, I really, really appreciate it. As Josh mentioned, we have the new Ultimate Guide to metabolic fitness, it’s really in depth. And so I think that one, coupled with the normal glucose values and optimal diet, those 3 together kind of are a nice intro package for people just trying to learn about the technology. And then in terms of help topics, a new biphasic spike topic or post that’s up, a topic that we’ve gotten a lot of questions about in the past. Next slide.
[00:09:36] Dr. Casey Means: Yeah, just other small ones this week, so we had some press, we were in the Next Web yesterday. Just referencing me and the Forbes article we were interviewed for a couple of weeks ago and a nice picture of Josh with his patch on. Also recorded for Queen Cast this week and booked Biohacker Babes, which will be coming up soon. And as Josh mentioned, we’re just doing a really big, concerted push for podcasts. So hopefully a lot more info on that in the coming weeks. Next slide.
[00:10:20] Dr. Casey Means: Awesome. So just a little bit about SEO stuff, also Josh, can you, are you still able to hear me?
[00:10:28] Josh Clemente: Yes.
[00:10:30] Dr. Casey Means: Okay, awesome. My internet’s not great today. Sorry about that guys. So yeah, so overall, starting with the top left, our active users are continuing to slowly increase. We are getting more and more total clicks on our site, through Google, and then on the right, this is looking at top search terms in Google and organized by last week and this week. And you can see that for our, a big chunk of our top 25 terms that we’re following, we are going up for every single one. We’re in number 1 for a lot of ones that are kind of specific to our company. And for some more general, abroad topics, like fasting glucose levels, metabolic fitness, average glucose, we’re going up for all of them. So, nice to see organic traffic improving. That’s it for me.
[00:11:25] Mike: I believe we were number 4 for fasting glucose levels. These are some like serious terms for here.
[00:11:31] Dr. Casey Means: Yeah, I’m pretty pumped about that.
[00:11:33] Josh Clemente: Yeah, that’s wild. Awesome. David.
[00:11:41] David: Cool. So about 10 minutes before this meeting started we launched scan reminders. So this is one of the first things we’ve done to be proactive towards helping you. We want to be proactive in the future towards helping you become educated about the space, understand where you’re at, help you proactively identify improvement areas. So this is just a really nice thing that people have been asking for for a long time. Nice job on getting this one out Jhon, it’s been helpful, I think for me, in my trials. So yeah, try it out. Next slide.
Josh already mentioned this but I wanted to show the gif. So we also were able to modify the metabolic fitness score so that you don’t have a negative impact based on high intensity workouts. Again, awesome work on the core foundation for this Evan, and Jhon for getting this launched. Next slide. And just to highlight the gif here as well, easier editing. Sam got this out last week, it’s been confusing for a lot of our users, how to actually add an entry in zones. And Sam had an idea to add an edit entry button to the zone show page. And if there’s multiple entries in a zone you can select which one you want and then go directly to that editor. So it just makes it a little bit easier, when you’re thinking about editing, how to actually find that edit button. Next slide. One of the topics I’m still thinking about, and it’s coming up, is insights. And there’s a lot that goes into this, it’s an overloaded term. But one of the first things, it’s not true insight, but one of our first cards that’s queued up, it’s update your app. Just a proposal, it’s the (corrupt audio) on the left. But a lot of the key work remains on how we’re going to move to the inside based, card based interaction model that we proposed and talked about last fall. So I’ll going to be spending more time thinking about that. We want to have it be really intelligent about meeting you where you’re at and proactive about closing the education gap, introducing opportunities for you to, as Sam talked about in his strategy document, have a closed loop interaction where you see what’s happening and gain awareness and education and have a behavior change that comes from that. And I think inside card’s going to be really key component of how we do that going forward. Yeah, that is that. Next slide.
Okay. And then one final topic is right now, at this point in our company, and always, user feedback is really critical to figuring out what we should be doing and helping us move in the right direction. It’s been a challenge for us to consistently get feedback. So we’ve had some ongoing sessions on how we can improve that. And since that’s on my mind now, I have some out here – doubling down on the calls, which Mike has been doing, that have been getting some really great feedback to that. Changing up with some more structured questions to maximize amount of value we’re getting with those conversations. We also send out a debrief survey that has a lot of questions, I think it’s scaring people off from answering it. So considering simplifying that and then potentially adding some more interactive feedback mechanisms, that should people want to provide feedback, while they’re using the app. Sometimes they text Mike, sometimes they use the Apple test flight submission process. Andrew brought up a really cool tool, one of them called Kenny, that lets people log feature requests, vote on, comment on, things like that. And I’m exploring that to provide more visibility as well. So if you have any ideas on how we can improve this, I would love to hear your thoughts, but you may notice me sending out some slack messages as I collect user feedback. I’ll be putting in Kenny for now and then fanning that information out to the team, so you can comment on the slack or you can comment here, but just trying to raise visibility.
[00:15:44] Josh Clemente: Super cool. The insight stuff is exciting. I mean, there are very few companies out there that do insights well, I think. And the quality of the data that we have, I just cannot wait until we can start reaching out to people with prompts, to add logs when they’re missing one, or prompting them to potentially re-analyze what they may have missed about how they feel, or stress levels, anything that we can pull out of people is going to help drive our value gap and that’s going to be super exciting.
[00:16:13] Sam Corcos: Yeah, the push notifications would be great too. I forget to scan, probably 90% of mornings. So I look forward to having that
[00:16:26] Josh Clemente: That’s solved now. You’re good. All right, Andrew.
[00:16:33] Andrew: Yeah, so as we talked about before, candidate pipeline is going really well. We may even make some offers in this week or next week. So that’s really exciting. What is this, “Please move this window away.”? Do you guys see that?
[00:16:52] Josh Clemente: I thought that was just on my screen.
[00:16:54] Mike: Yeah, I saw it too. I tried moving the window.
[00:17:00] Sam Corcos: That’s a Josh’s 20-year-old computer problem.
[00:17:03] Andrew: Yeah, this is so funny. Okay. Sorry about that. I was like, “I didn’t add that to the slide.” Okay. So, yeah, so candidate pipeline went really well. Part of the hiring approach, which is different than a lot of companies, is I want everyone who comes in to be really aligned with what we’re doing, really excited to work on what we’re building. And so the candidates end up talking to a lot of people. So thank you everyone for these conversations, they’ll continue to happen. And trying to round robin so that the load doesn’t end on one person too much, but right now we’re tracking around 20 serious candidates. And so there’s a lot of people. So does that ops dashboards exist? This is fantastic. It was really great. Also the regularly scheduled emails are coming together, so that’s awesome. Yeah, everyone saw the reports. We ran the first production consults yesterday in the new EMR. So that’s really neat. The hilarious thing of this is, we have a test doctor that was apparently able to write a real prescription, so that’s kind of freaky, but yeah, it happens. I lost your slides, there you go.
And then new app’s out and then the new Getting Started is available now. It is live right now. We’ll be adding more image assets to it. But it’s kind of a step-by-step journey for customers of getting all the correct apps installed, the sensor installed correctly, and then thinking about how do you start to use Levels. And so these will just completely morph over time, they’ll just be used to help people get going on the program. So those are the biggest things that’ve been going on lately.
[00:18:57] Josh Clemente: Huge. The production consultation system is, hard to overstate how important that is. It’s going to completely unblock a new sort of approach to ops. Where we can process customers in a structured fashion as opposed to the gates are open as soon as someone signs up. And it’s just been a challenge with our existing consultation sheets, you edit and update and keep physicians aware of when edits have happened, and it’s just going to be, I think, a significantly better queuing system and flow management when we can get that set up. And not to mention, we will be able to relieve Lori of her e-faxing prescriptions tasks that she currently spends, I’d say 70% of her life doing right now. So that’ll be nice for her.
[00:19:48] David: I’m gonna e-fax. What a great tool.
[00:19:50] Josh Clemente: This company is built on e-fax’s shoulders. That will change soon. All right, this is a new list. Sam, you’re kicking us off for the individual part.
[00:20:01] Sam Corcos: Yeah. For me it’s pretty straightforward. I decided I would test out a sync week, which is a, for many of you who’ve seen my calendar know that I’m pretty much on phone calls all day, every day. And that sort of leads you to miss the forest for the trees sometimes. So I blocked off an entire week for, basically just deep work and deep thought. And it’s been incredibly positive. I think I’m probably going to make this a quarterly ritual. There’s some learnings from it, I think broadly, this is definitely something I’m very excited about, something I want to keep doing.
[00:20:51] Josh Clemente: Yeah, it seems to have been quite valuable. Casey.
[00:20:55] Dr. Casey Means: Yeah, so I think this week I’m super excited about, podcasts certainly, that outreach and it’s pretty incredible. Having people on board who can build the tools that need to make things more efficient is pretty incredible. So that was awesome. And then just, recording a podcast yesterday. It’s, you get to sit there and talk about Levels for an hour and it’s pretty exciting and just really fun to share about what we’re doing with others. Who, seeing them light up and get excited is, yeah, it’s pretty, certainly gets me amped up. More personally, just started a book that Sam had recommended on our 1-on-1, Godel, Escher, and Bach in Eternal Golden Braid, and it’s really good and I’m really excited about it. And super grateful for the amazing book recommendations from this entire group, it’s a pretty awesome part of our company culture. And yeah, I’m going to do a big bike ride tomorrow, from Portland towards the coast. So super pumped about that as well. And I guess last thing, I think you guys all saw my email earlier this week about content marketing strategy and the, “They ask, You answer” type philosophy. But that also, definitely is, that is exciting. And I think, just pumping things out on the blog is a lot of fun and I’m excited to get feedback on that from customers and see how it’s working for people.
[00:22:31] Josh Clemente: Evan’s contribution.
[00:22:32] Evan: Yeah. So I’m really excited, I’ve been really just inspired by Sam and like his think week. So I’ve been doing a little bit of think week myself, writing about how to think about, how do we get people to change their behaviors based on some of the limitations we have, in the constraints of the sensor. And it’s been really great to, rather than look at individual points of data and trying to think like, “Why does this jump so much?”, and actually zoom out and think like, “How do we make it better for people?”. And it’s just been really great talking to the candidate that Andrew sent me, I think she’s quite smart and it’s going to be great to have another person to work with on some of the data science stuff. So that’s what I’m really jazzed about this week.
[00:23:24] Josh Clemente: All right, that’s me. Yeah, two things I’m excited about right now. One, the candidates that are coming through are just awesome. I’ve had several great conversations with them, we’ve got ski instructors and coffee enthusiasts, and just people who I’m personally excited to bring into the network. Not to mention are clearly just, top of their game, in the technical side. I’m enthusiastic about growing a world-class team and Andrew’s put together a really awesome process for making that happen. And I think keeping it fairly low stress, none of the candidates seem to be, thrown off or unhappy with the hiring process, which is actually really hard to do. I remember the way that we used to hire people at SpaceX, many of them would be burned out before they got through the day’s interviews. And I think that that’s kind of a, not the right approach. Maybe it’s preparation, but you certainly want people to be enthusiastic about joining. So excited about that.
And then yeah, the other big thing for me this week is, looking forward to the, I suppose there’s a couple big things. But the way that the podcast outreach thing has come together, I spent most of my day yesterday doing it and I was just super engaged by it because our network has gotten so strong, so quickly. And going, I would say, from six months ago to now, I was seeing all these podcasts coming up that were on the ConBan board as good fits for our audience. And I would check out the host and have multiple connections to them, either through existing customers, through Twitter followers, or through LinkedIn. And so I had multiple ways to reach out to these people and start a conversation. And it’s just really interesting that that’s something that happened organically, It wasn’t, at least on my side, I was not actively fostering these relationships. It’s just people who sought us out and who are now really strong proponents of us and happy to make connections. So I’m really looking forward to amplifying our podcast approach. And yeah, it’s just cool how that happens. How suddenly, we’re deeply involved in the metabolic health space as a group. So yeah, that’s just some stuff for me. So Mike, you wanna jump in?
[00:25:46] Mike: I am really excited about the changes that are happening with ops. Sam and I spent a little, we had a call last night doing some debugging and just exciting to see this happening. I think changed in the beginning can be a little bit painful, but at least from my own personal experience, a little bit of pain is okay. And on the other side, there’s usually good things, especially when you know why you’re doing it. Right, it’s going to be better for our company and most importantly, it’s going to be better for our customers and their experience. So just really, really excited about that and happy to see how quickly it’s moving. Separately, I guess it’s kind of Levels related, well it is, after I shut down later last night, a little bit after midnight, I was like, “Okay, I want to go re-watch the Allie Spinola podcasts.” And I was just so excited, I was so as I like to say, hype. I couldn’t really fall asleep, I didn’t go to sleep until a little bit later and it was just like, “This is awesome.” And I’m just so excited that we’re getting more intentional and being more public and seeing why it’s so important to do it.
And then the other thing, I was talking to Casey on our call yesterday, the interviews are awesome. Like Allison’s is amazing. Alex’s is amazing. Samiyok’s is amazing. And then also, just to see how open and people were like, “Yeah, sure. I would love to. I would love to do that.”, and it’s pretty, lack of better words, awesome. And then personally, I am back home for the first time in 5 months. Had an interesting conversation with Sam on our call this week in it, just thinking a little bit more about my living situation and where it is that I want to live as well. So that’s it.
[00:27:54] Josh Clemente: So when are you moving to California? The obvious question there.
[00:28:06] Mike: TBD. We’ll see where I end up.
[00:28:08] Josh Clemente: Jhon?
[00:28:13] Jhon: Yeah, Levels related, I’m excited about the hiring process for engineers. There are some good candidates and I have chatted with a couple of them this week. Paul, for example, he’s a great guy with lots of experience and he’s very excited about Levels. So, I can’t wait to have new people on the team and learn new stuff from them. Non Levels related, but this is not something that I am excited about, but today is the day we have VAT Columbia, value added tax. This is the first time we did this. And it’s an effort from the government to reactivate the economy. VAT Columbia is 19% and it’s really attractive for most people. However, what some people don’t know is that, maybe most of the stores having raised the prices in 20 or 30% in the last week. I have been tracking some prices and I was able to confirm that. So yeah, people will not pay for VAT, but they will end up paying more, even more at the end of the day. Well, that’s funny but that’s not the problem, people who can spend their money on whatever they want. The real problem here is that Columbia has been one of the countries in Latin America with the most restrictive rules regarding quarantine since almost the beginning of the pandemic. But today there is no quarantine and no restrictions, so anyone can get outside.
Now, if you check the news you will see very long lines of people in front of the stores. No social distancing, there’s even people with no face masks. So yeah, that’s a little bit sad. That’s my exotic country. Foreign people living here say that every time we try to make something good, we make a step forward and two steps backwards. So that’s funny.
[00:30:36] Josh Clemente: Well, if it makes you feel any better, I think that’s somewhat shared emotion across basically every country that I’ve heard of. I think everyone kind of feels that way about where they live – One step forward, two steps back. But yeah, hopefully things get better. That tax is wild. Sorry to hear about that.
[00:30:53] Sam Corcos: One thing I wanted to also bring up, which is something that I’m excited about because I’m not excited about it. Which is that the onboarding process that used to be top of mind for me all the time, as a source of concern and frustration. And we had so few issues with onboarding that I haven’t even thought about it in probably 2 weeks. So it was a big push from Mike and Jhon and David, to really iron out that flow and make it really easy for people. It’s funny how when you, after you solve a problem, you often forget that you ever had the problem. So it’s good to know that one just, it feels like a solved problem now. So good job with that one.
[00:31:41] Josh Clemente: Yeah, anecdote on the onboarding, I have a friend who’s been using CGM for almost as long as I have, about a year and a half. And he saw a screenshot of the app, he knew I was working on this project, he saw screenshot of the app and he was like, “I gotta get in there. Can you, can you hook me up with the app?”, I sent him the a-sync email and he, literally within 2 minutes, it was within 2 minutes, I got the notification that he had logged his first data. And it was shocking to me how quickly that process happened. I literally reached out to him, I was like, “Are you set up already?”, He’s like, “Yeah, it’s effortless. And I can scan my glucose data. This is amazing. I can like see the actual data points.” And it was just so instantaneous that it was shocking to me.
[00:32:16] Sam Corcos: Yeah, similarly with the David Hauser, who wrote a book in this space. He and I had a conversation, I don’t know, six months ago, and we picked up again recently, maybe last week. And he was curious to hear the state of the company. So I shared some resources about feedback that we’ve been getting from about a month ago. And most of the feedback a month ago was how we really need to improve onboarding. And he already has his own hardware, so we just gave him access to the software and he was super confused. He was like, “I don’t understand how this is hard. Like the onboarding, it took me less than 2 minutes to get up to speed.” I was like, “Yeah, that was a month ago. We move pretty quickly.” It feels like it was six months ago, but it was actually only a few weeks ago that this was a huge problem.
[00:33:02] Josh Clemente: Yup. Very cool. All right, so story of the day, this is an exciting one. Sam’s time management strategies. I think this is a highly requested topic.
[00:33:14] Sam Corcos: Yeah, so I figured I would just jump into it. It’s been sort of a long journey for me, there was really a singular moment that I remember, when I came to the realization that I needed to take my time more seriously. I think this was 2013, I, at the suggestion of a friend, installed an app called Rescue Time, which tracks on your phone and on your computer, how you spend your time. But not how you think you spend your time, how you actually spend your time. And the curious thing about it, my assumption is that it would largely be the same as my expectation. There’s one of the core principles of theory for behavior change is that the, “It is almost impossible to get people to change behavior. The only thing you can do is get them to want to change behavior.” That is really the leverage point. And one of the most effective ways to do that is by having people set their own expectations of themselves in advance and then showing them, with some kind of data, that their expectations of what they are doing and how the actual reality does not reflect their expectation. So if you show that there’s a gap there, it can lead to people to want to change the behavior. So for me, I was doing a lot of programming, I would have assumed that I was spending many hours per day programming. And if you had asked me how much time I was spending on social media, specifically Facebook, I would have said probably about 20 minutes a day, more than I would like, but not that much. I got my first weekly report back from Rescue Time and I was shocked to discover that I was spending an average of 3 hours per day, that week on Facebook. And when I was confronted with this, and also many hours per day consuming news as well. It was actually the majority of my time was spent consuming, sort of ephemeral meaningless content.
And it was pretty eye opening. And I started to, once I had that awareness, I started to see in my own habits. As I was walking somewhere to go get a cup of coffee, I’d pull out my phone and I’d scroll the newsfeed for a couple of minutes. Just a couple of minutes here, a couple of minutes there. I noticed I have this weird tick, every time I would get to my computer and open up Chrome, I would do command T F A return and open up Facebook without, literally without even realizing that I had done it. It was just a habit. It was like, basically it was, it was the habit of an addict. I started blocking these sites, I deleted my Facebook account, I started to gain a lot more control over my own calendar. And these are sort of the things that have come out of that. So we can go to the next slide.
The first thing that, the probably biggest change that I made in my, the way that I manage my time, is I deleted my to-do list. I just completely got rid of it. I found that to-do lists are, to-do lists lead to unrealistic optimism. There’s no constraint on a to-do list. So you can add things like “Build a spaceship” on your to-do list, “Create an art car for Burning Man.”, “Write a book.” You can just like add whatever you want onto your to do list. And it can end up, I have a friend who has a to-do list that he’s been keeping up to date since college, and it’s, the amount of work that he has on that to-do list is like 25 lifetimes of effort. And he finds himself constantly anxious and frustrated. He’s like, “Man, I just have all these things I want to do and I just don’t have time.” It’s like, you literally don’t have time. The human life is finite. A day is finite. So I found that using constraints, specifically a day calendaring, has been an incredibly useful tool for me to come to a more realistic understanding of what can be accomplished.
And it helps in many ways to synthesize what is important. Because it’s easy to say, like when people, one of the problems I’ve had historically, is I will massively over commit myself to things. I’ll say yes to everything. And I say, “Yeah, I’ll have it done by Friday.” And then Friday rolls along and I only did 1 of the 5 things I was supposed to do because I was optimistic. Each of those things only takes 2 days, but it had not occurred to me that days happen chronologically, I can’t overlap these days onto each other. So by having it in a calendar, when somebody says, “Hey, can you do this by Friday?”, I can look at my calendar and say, I have exactly 2 hours open this week. So, if this is going to take more than 2 hours, I either have to change something, which is a helpful feedback loop as well. Like this has happened with David, for example, David asks me to do something and something comes up and I know that I’m not going to be able to finish the thing that David asked. It’s a nice feedback loop to be able to say to David, like, “Hey, I know I said I was going to have this done by Thursday, but I just moved this block to Sunday. So I’ll have it to you by Sunday.” Having that feedback loop of knowing when things are getting bumped is a very helpful thing, in terms of just team communication as well.
So using a calendar to block off time, it’s also something that you get better at over time. So I have 4 hours blocked off every week for writing these investor updates and I found that it takes me somewhere between 3 and 4 hours every week to write them. I originally only blocked off an hour and I overshot that a couple of times and I started expanding it until I have a better understanding of what these things take. So having these time blocks is really helpful. Similar, you can see in my calendar here, this is actually from, I think, Monday of this week, there are repeating tasks. In fact, we can go to the next slide for that, I think I have it in there, yeah. There are certain tasks that I know every day I have to do. Email processing is one. I get a lot of emails and I have to process a lot of emails. So I block off multiple hours every day to do emails. This is helpful when adding things to the calendar, like if somebody says they want to do a call at, let’s say my calendar on this Monday the 11th here is full, and somebody says they want to do a call at 12, which conflicts with my email processing time. The fact of the matter is, I need to do the emails. And this is helpful for me as a way of saying like, technically I don’t have a synchronous obligation during that time but those emails need to get done that day. So I know that the constraint is just really helpful in being able to accomplish everything that needs to be done for that day. So I push it to a following day.
Similarly, one of the things that’s been surprising to me, there’s a good book on this, which is really about relationships, but it’s a book called Boundaries. Which is about setting boundaries in different aspects of your life and I found that it’s useful across a whole variety of experiences. One is that, as I think I have historically overestimated how urgent things are. A phrase that I wrote down here is, “Don’t let recency determine priority.” Just because somebody pings you and says, “Hey, I need this thing done.” That doesn’t mean that you should drop everything, you should communicate and say, “Hey, I actually don’t have time to do this until Thursday. Is that okay?” And the answer, probably 99% of the time, is yes. And I think we have this implicit assumption that the answer is no. And that setting these boundaries is a problem. Like while I’m on think week I’ve had a lot of investors reach out, cause I sent out the investor update last week, and in a past life, I would have like changed everything in my calendar. I would have dropped think week and I would have made these people priority and I’d take the calls today. But I sent them an email, I said, “Hey, really great to be in touch. I’m actually on think week now in Yosemite and I’m not available. Here’s my calendar, you can pick a time sometime next week or the week after.” And almost every one of them said, “Wow, that’s such a cool idea. I love Yosemite. Think week sounds awesome. I hope it’s really productive. I just picked a spot.” So making fewer assumptions about that and blocking off time in advance to do things that you know you need to do has been incredibly helpful for me. The next slide.
This was a pretty crazy week when I was doing a lot of calls. The thing that’s helpful for me is doing the retroactive time management. So like you can see on this Saturday here, my schedule is actually, I changed my calendar to start on Mondays, just because I found that one of the nice things about it is it gives you a more cohesive weekend. Which is weird how changing it from Sunday-Saturday to Monday-Sunday, is like a subtle change, but it actually has pretty significant implications for the way that I think about weekends and the way that I plan these things. So if you haven’t done that, I would definitely recommend that. It’s a pretty easy challenge in it. It takes some getting used to, but it definitely affects the way that you think about weekends and time. So things like content strategy, growth strategy, those are things that I did on that Saturday. Just thinking about ways that I manage that time. I might block off 2 hours for it and it ends up taking 4. And then I retroactively update the amount of time that it took. And I’ve, since I’ve been doing this for, I don’t know, several years now, I’ve become pretty darn good at projecting how long things will take. And that really goes a long way when you’re planning out your future weeks. And I find that I have very, very few times that I’m substantially off on how long something will take. Next slide.
This is another really big one, which is to control your information intake. There’s this implicit assumption that all information is good and that the more information the better. I think that is an incorrect assumption. Something that not a lot of people know about me, I have not consumed the news in any form, whether it’s written, spoken, visual on television, I have not consumed any form of news in about 7 years. And it started out just as an experiment. I did a month of no news and I switched to just reading books for that month. And I ended up reading more books in that month than I probably had in the previous 5 years. And I had all this new knowledge depths, it felt more substantial. It wasn’t this ephemeral content where the, I started to realize that the news is really like, it’s just talking about the weather. Almost nobody can remember a news story from 2 months ago and they might’ve spent 6 hours researching it and it just doesn’t matter. Whereas things that tend to make it into books are, really provide the long-term value. Sort of by nature of being in a book means that they have enduring value. So I would definitely encourage people to reconsider how much information they’re taking in and from what sources, these things are not zero costs. If you had all of the information that is a gross benefit, but it is not necessarily a net benefit. It might take you 10 hours to get a piece of information that provides only minimal value. And that 10 hours probably could have been spent doing something much more productive. Not just for work stuff, but also for life stuff. I noticed that one of the biggest implications for me of removing myself from the news cycle, is that my personal stress and anxiety levels completely changed. I felt like I was a different person. I didn’t feel anxious anymore about the state of the world. And I realized that I was feeling anxiety about things that were largely not even real to begin with. So it was kind of a strange realization that I’ve been worrying myself about things that I have no control over, that aren’t real. So I would definitely encourage reconsidering information sources. I think there might be one more slide or is that it?
Yeah, so last one is just some recommendations on tools. Rescue Rime is a great one that just sort of gives you a weekly snapshot of how you performed on a given week. My friend Peter is an interesting case study in this because, Peter and I started programming at about the same time, within like 6 months of each other. And we were reflecting last year how, while we’ve been chronologically spent the same amount of time on it I am substantially better at it than he is. And he was lamenting his frustration at why that might be. And I told him basically this whole story about how I realized that when I thought I was programming, I was actually on Facebook. And so I challenged him to download Rescue Time and see how he was spending his time. And I showed him some examples of my weeks when I had like a really productive week, I was spending 10 hours per day actually coding. In terminal, in VS code, in documentation, really, really nailing it. And he got his first weekly report back and discovered to his dismay that he was only spending about 2 hours per day actually working. Which was a lot less than he thought because he was putting in 12 plus hours per day into what he thought of as work. And he realized that he was actually watching Netflix, he was actually on Twitter, he was actually sending text messages. He was actually doing all these things that he didn’t realize that he was doing. And his initial reaction was just utter horror at how much time he’s wasted. But at the same time it was also really encouraging. He said that, “It’s encouraging to think that just by changing my habits, and by removing things that aren’t adding value, I can actually 5X my own personal productivity without finding more time in the day. All I have to do is just reprioritize.”
The second is there’s a Chrome extension and it also has an app it’s called BlockSite. It’s a pretty simple thing, basically it just adds friction to doing things that you don’t want to do. So like I have, when I want to be in focus mode, I have email blocked. I have Twitter blocked. I have all of these things that I find distracting blocked. Anything that is sort of my default, when I have a gap in time, that I want to jump to, it just adds a little bit of friction. And you have to click on a button, you have to go to a thing, you got to click a few more things, and then you can disable it. And it just adds enough friction for me to where I don’t engage in behavior that’s not productive when I don’t want it to be. And on my phone, I only have like 6 apps in total on my phone, which is, it’s very strange to a lot of people, but I removed email from my phone. I removed all social apps from my phone. I’ve blocked most websites from my phone. And I found that by just allowing myself that freedom of thought has really added a lot of value to my life. There’s also another one, Focus Goggles, which is a pretty nerdy thing that I put together. I’m going to pull these out just to show everyone, this is version 3 of Focus Goggles.
[00:50:49] Josh Clemente: Prepare yourselves. Here it comes.
[00:50:52] Sam Corcos: Yeah. One of the challenges that I have is, I have a really hard time focusing, especially on airplanes. If somebody is watching Transformers next to me, I’m just going to watch Transformers without the sound. I can’t, I can’t not watch it. It’s like I have a real problem. So I created these focus goggles, which are basically just safety glasses that I spray painted with a line across the front so all I can see is this zone, right here. They’re like horse blinders. And I keep them, it’s one of the novelty items that I keep in my bag at all times, so that when I really need to stay focused on something I’m able to do.
[00:51:36] Josh Clemente: Sam calls them a novelty. I think it’s the next unicorn startup.
[00:51:45] Sam Corcos: Anyway, that’s uh, that’s it for me.
[00:51:50] Josh Clemente: Awesome.
[00:51:51] David: You don’t answer any emails on your phone?
[00:51:54] Sam Corcos: No.
[00:51:57] David: And that’s, can you explain why?
[00:52:01] Sam Corcos: Yeah. So the biggest one, I think is that I found that I was checking it sort of impulsively or sorry, compulsively. It became sort of like an addiction and it it also was not an efficient way of doing email. The email is an a-synchronous tool and I was treating it on my phone as if it was a synchronous tool. Batching is one of the things that I left off of here, just for the sake of time, but I try to batch my activity. So you noticed on the calendar that I showed that I have an hour blocked off for email processing, and that is the hour that I do email. And all I’m doing is email during that time. And in the time that I don’t have email processing there, I’m not doing email. In fact, I have my email blocked and I don’t have access to it during that time. I found that it allows me to process a lot more email in a much more efficient use of time.
[00:53:14] David: Cool. Thanks.
[00:53:17] Josh Clemente: Cool. Well, we got a few minutes, we started a little late so we’re not really over, but any last questions on this? I think it’s super useful, but I think Sam should teach a whole class on this stuff, so maybe not the best time to take all the questions. Any major pressing questions before we close out?
All right. Well, I just want to throw one last thing in there. I was also super enthusiastic this week, just reflecting on our team and always enjoy engaging with all of you. And I’m super blessed and appreciative of the opportunity to work with this killer team on this killer project. So just want to throw that in there at the end here. This is fun.
Anyway, enjoy your weekends. And we will wrap right now.