Josh Clemente (00:00):
All right. Let’s go ahead and kick off. Welcome to October 23rd, 2020 Levels Friday Forum. I’m back on the East Coast. Somehow I’ve been on the road for almost a month already and it was really awesome, reinvigorated my love for the mountains especially the Rockies out west, but yeah, glad to be back. With that, I’ll jump into this week’s achievements.
Josh Clemente (00:30):
First off, I want to announce that our new head of growth has accepted their offer. He’ll be joining full-time January 1st. His name is Weiss. He’s joining us from Google where he was the global head of growth and performance marketing for their hardware organization inside Google. He’s got a real strong personal passion for this space. He’ll be joining us next Friday for the Friday Forum to introduce himself and to get to know everyone. I’ve been making a few connections inside the team. Those of you who haven’t spoken with him, please do. I’ll make that email connection. He’ll be basically ramping up from now through January in a part-time capacity so that he can really hit the ground running for our Q1 growth goals. So, that’s exciting.
Josh Clemente (01:17):
The next thing, Dr. Sara Gottfried, she’s the… First of all an exceptional MD and also multi-time New York Times bestseller author including the Brain Body Diet. She recently accepted a position at Jefferson University here in Philadelphia and is very excited to potentially partner with Levels on research there on metabolism. So, more to come on that. Casey is taking point on the communications with Dr. Gottfried, but an exciting potential addition to our research team for sure.
Josh Clemente (01:49):
The cohort four sign up for our wearable challenge. That process and the order fulfillment went largely without issue which was amazing because it was a very short period of time and also the largest group yet by far. I think we had something like 68 orders for that wearable challenge. So, this will be kicking off on Monday and we’re going to be doing a few new things, well a few old things in the sense that we’re going back to WhatsApp for the community there to test our chat assumptions for community engagement and adherence. We will also be adding in the Zero Plus integration so that everyone that participates in the wearable challenge will get an opportunity to try fasting and to learn from fasting experience means of controlling glucose and metabolic health. So, this will be a really interesting one to follow. The size of the cohort is going to mean lots of data for us. Thanks for the apps team for crushing through that, in addition, of course, to all of the crazy volume we’ve been doing lately.
Josh Clemente (02:48):
This week we had some really awesome user generated testimonial videos. A few examples of those are from [inaudible 00:02:53] and Dr. Cody [inaudible 00:02:54] down at the bottom there. But these are particularly well put together and thought out I thought. They were posted to large audience on YouTube. They’re of such quality that we can likely post them directly on our website or link to them from the app. That’s just amazing. I mean, they do such an awesome job of breaking down the value to them and to their specific audiences. So, not many products, I think, get the benefit of such engaged users and people willing to go through a long development process for testimonials. This is awesome. Huge positive signal.
Josh Clemente (03:30):
We also released event detection, which is really big. So, basically identifying where something likely happened due to the glucose response that the individual has on their curve history, and surfacing that with an icon and a prompt to get more information from the user. This is a great way for us to pull out low hanging fruit from people so that they can understand in their lifestyle what is causing blood sugar dysfunction.
Josh Clemente (03:57):
We averaged 350 sign ups per day this week, exceeding 4,200 on our wait list. Again, negligible marketing spend. This is pretty amazing. I would put a lot of this on these organic testimonials we’re getting. The videos that are being posted. The YouTube and Twitter testimonials people are sharing and just really exciting.
Josh Clemente (04:18):
Then finally Jack Taylor PR joined us. We’ve talked about this a bit in the past but they’re an extremely successful high end PR firm. They’ve worked with Loop to get tons of media placements for them in all areas that we also were interested in being placed. So, this will be interesting to see how well that goes.
Josh Clemente (04:34):
A few other items I want to bring up. We’ve been getting some really cool just organic cold messages, just common things like, “You and your team are on fire.” You don’t often here that, but these are just outreaches from veteran founders and investors in the space. And also, people saying things like, “The most compelling and accessible content I’ve ever read is coming from the Levels blog at least as it relates to metabolism.” We broke 7,000 on Twitter, 8,000 on Instagram. The CEO of Shopify is trying to get his hands on Levels as soon as possible. We’re going to make that happen.
Josh Clemente (05:12):
We’ve got a feature in TechCrunch, which is behind a pay wall but it links back to our website. We spoke with C-suite executives at UFC to get their fighters hooked up in the performance program with Levels. Well, the Entrepreneur organization posted a link to a podcast I did with Jennifer Cohen to their 3.6 million follower this week. We got a few folks from the LA Dodgers who are currently competing in the world series using the program. Besides that, [inaudible 00:05:39] had some good calls with Apple. We’re definitely keeping them aware of us and just keeping that line of community open. Many times we’ve been referred to them because people consider our quality of execution and the focus on premium product and software integration to be Apple quality.
Josh Clemente (05:58):
Then I want to make a little highlight here at the top. Ted Johnson who’s been a really awesome supporter of ours, he reached out. He was so impressed by the customer success program and with Mike in particular and the way that he has been helping him through the customer journey, that he wants to develop a similar role for customer success at his own organization. And he was asking Mike for some feedback on how to do that.
Josh Clemente (06:21):
And I just think that’s a really strong testament to the quality of the customer communications that we have built inside Levels, even with the pace of progress. So I just want to shout that out and say, keep doing what you’re doing to everyone. Inside and outside the customer success team, we’re getting just really good feedback, and it’s awesome. Any questions on anything on the page?
Josh Clemente (06:46):
Cool. The beta trends this week, you’ll notice that the revenue generated from partner codes is roughly the same in terms of order there. We’re still still climbing week after week. Many of these have very long tails on them. We’re still getting conversions from Kevin Rose, which is amazing to me. I can’t believe that. The weekly beta trends, we pushed out over 400 shipments last week, and so 500 prior to that. And this is we’re starting to taper down. If you look at the week starting, October 19th and then October 26th, the scheduled shipments are dropping off.
Josh Clemente (07:21):
And the reason for that is that we rapidly accelerated everyone on our beta list in order to make way for some of the promotions. We wanted to be sure that we could commit to short delivery schedules for the promotions we had upcoming with Ben Greenfield, and [Asprey 00:07:34], et cetera. So we’re now seeing that taper off this is to be expected, and this will give us a really nice opportunity to pause and make some implement, or implement some changes to operations and product and copy, for example, the onboarding page, et cetera. So this will be nice to taper back down in terms of volume and make some upgrades. Any questions on the weekly beta trends? [Miz 00:08:01] will have more on this, on the ops update, Sam.
Sam Corcos (08:08):
I condensed a couple of these slides. So we’re still up 2.6 in cash. Diligence is still ongoing for the fundraise. We are set to roughly double our revenue goal in October, which is pretty wild and that doesn’t even include the wearable challenges, which I think is another what 70 people? What are we up to now, Josh?
Josh Clemente (08:32):
Close to 70, yeah.
Sam Corcos (08:34):
So things are coming along on the projections. Next slide. And then we had a pretty strong week as well, or last week we almost set a new record again, even without these promotions. So it’s been interesting. I think somebody commented on how the diversity of inbound has been really interesting. We seem to be getting a pretty consistent flow of customers even without active effort, mostly on Tom’s part. It seems there’s just a lot of different sources that are lead to conversion, so it’s, the flywheels pick it up, which is really great.
Josh Clemente (09:17):
Yeah, it was, if you look at the orders page inside Slack, you’ll see the diversity of the partner codes that are converting constantly. Some of them are our investors, some of them are just friends, some of them are influencers and some of them are on the research team like [Derm 00:09:30]. I just saw Derm has joined us again this morning. Thanks Derm. Cool. Any questions on revenue stuff? All right. Meg for Twitter.
Josh, you already covered some of this, but just wanted to highlight… I’m sorry, there’s some construction going on in my apartment if you can hear some of that, but we have a lot of heavy hitters on Twitter this week, so I just wanted to call some of them out. Beth Kanter with 350,000 followers posted a screenshot of her level’s experience. And we’ve got lots of other people. Someone with 40,000 followers. Toby of course, the CEO of Spotify. Matt with 25K. So just a lot of big time heavy hitters, which is really exciting to see. Some of them quite organically.
The other thing I wanted to call out, not all, I’ll explain on this slide, there’s just a ton of community education and questions being asked and a lot of community driven moderation. So it’s just like mini community forum. I think in the future, there’s maybe an opportunity for Levels to play a more active role in helping moderate some of that conversation. And next week I can highlight a little bit more of those questions. But I thought that was really the two biggest highlights on Twitter. And you can go to the next slide.
And on Instagram, we hit over 8K followers this week. So we’re doing over 1000 followers every two weeks. Josh, you already hit on some of this as well, but we have that great post from entrepreneur. They have 3.6 million followers. And as of last night, that one, video, audio, 20,000 views. [Wellness Mama 00:11:07] posts, she has 213,000 followers, and this is big when people post in their feed versus just their story. That’s a more permanent placement for us. And that we don’t often see as much. We see a lot of stories sharing, but when people post to the feed, that’s a big deal.
I also wanted to highlight the next post, an influencer who got Levels on her own volition kind of specifically makes the point of saying like, “This isn’t a sponsored post, I paid for this.” And that again just brings a lot of authenticity to what we’re doing, regarding our influencer reach. And the other thing I wanted to highlight some shares, a lot more posts about, we always see the diet post, but there’s a lot more to that people are exploring with respect to exercise as well, which is a great way for us to just make sure we’re covering all four facets of fitness and recovery.
So some great posts on that. One of them from Columbus [Foodie 00:12:04] who has 40,000 followers, and of course Tom’s infamous posts about the energy bar. Thank you so much for posting that I think on Twitter as well, that got some great engagement, so highly encourage folks to… In the community or in the company to continue sharing those screenshots, so we can re share and we can retweet.
Josh Clemente (12:24):
Awesome. Great. Any questions on the Twitter Instagram action this week? Cool, Tom.
So another awesome week for podcasts, it was actually record setting. So we recorded eight shows this week, which is a new record. Shout out to Casey and Josh. Good news is they never ever get sick of talking about metabolic health. So, we don’t need to worry about their stamina at all.
Casey Means (12:56):
Exactly. Habits and Hustle is that awesome one that is run by entrepreneur which is why they posted it to their 3.6 million followers. And then I’ll call attention to the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, which is what Casey recorded on Monday of this week. Melanie is really like a rising star in the biohacking community issues, very well connected. She has a large audience, she runs two podcasts, both have a very large following, and she’s also onboard as an affiliate. So that’s huge and hopefully more to come on Melanie in the coming weeks.
Next slide. Awesome. So I just want to periodically do like an affiliate or brand ambassador spotlight so the team can get to know some of the faces and names behind some of these podcasts we’re releasing or partner code redemptions that we’re seeing coming in on Slack. So Katie Wells is one… Katie runs a podcast and online community and website blog called Wellness Mama. Some people might be familiar with her. She’s just one of these super humans who has launched an enormous online platform, written multiple books, best-selling books, has a podcast with millions of listeners all while raising six kids. Her podcast is number four and alternative health right behind Bulletproof and ahead of a bunch of other shows that we know like Broken Brain. So she’s a big deal. She is officially on board as a partner and an affiliate.
She posted on social media, and mentioned in her newsletter both this week and we saw some good action on that in terms of partner code redemptions. And then she’s working on a long form blog article and she’s recording an interview on our podcast with Casey, I believe next week. So lots more to come for Katie. A lot of people refer to her as sort of like Dave Asprey or Ben Greenfield, but focused more on women and more on moms. So really excited to just see this as a channel test to see how well it converts. It’s going to tell a lot about our market.
Josh Clemente (15:03):
Nice. Awesome questions on podcast, strategy, affiliations, et cetera? Great.
Josh Clemente (15:13):
Yeah, just quick miscellaneous partnerships update. Josh already mentioned Jack Taylor has officially started. We had our first tactical meeting with them and really what they’re going to be focused on over the next couple of weeks is executing on a funding announcement press strategy. So hopefully lots more to come exciting updates over the next few weeks. And then, Meg and I had a great call with Zero. That partnership is progressing very quickly. They’re interested in both product integration, as well as content collaborations. Internally we’re still talking about what a product integration would look like. We’ll likely have to push that to Q1, but in the meantime, hopefully we’re going to do some content with them. We got verbal confirmation that they want high production video with Casey in their app by January. And they also said no brainer that we’ll do an interview with Peter Attia for their Ask Zero series, as well as a cross posting on each other’s blogs.
So all of that is very exciting. And then, yeah, UFC things are moving along. They’re going to be joining our early access program. Had a great call with them, with their CFO, COO and head of performance. The fact that those people were even on the call says a lot. And then, yeah, Josh mentioned that we’ve had two partners or individuals or influencers release really high production YouTube review videos. More to come on these, we’re going to focus on this more in the coming months and there are a couple more in the pipeline, but these are critically important for our marketing strategy when Weiss comes on, we’re going to be doing a lot more testing in terms of more sophisticated email marketing and paid marketing on Facebook and Instagram. And really this type of organic video content is the best content to fuel that marketing funnel. So this is evergreen content and every piece we get like this, becomes incredibly valuable really over the next 12 to 24 months. So excited about these videos.
Josh Clemente (17:09):
Awesome, great, nice updates.
David Flinner (17:14):
Tom. I’m just wondering, do we have other upcoming things with Dave Asprey and Ben Greenfield as well?
Yeah, the only concrete things right now with Asprey are a couple of ads that are coming up in the next few weeks. So nothing that we need to plan for too much on the ops side. And then we are going to be doing a blog post on their blog. I’m waiting to get an update on when that will be. And then the actual podcast interview with Asprey will be in January, and then Greenfield TBD on dates of next activations with them.
David Flinner (17:52):
Josh Clemente (17:54):
Okay. [Miz 00:17:55] ops.
Cool. Pretty happening week on the ops side. So before [inaudible 00:17:59] specific updates, just a huge shout out and kudos to Laurie, to [Bred 00:18:05] and to Mercy for keeping things moving. Each one of the things that we had going on. So obviously the increased volume led a ton of support coming in, the wearable challenge, Laurie wrangled Truepill fulfillment, like I’ve never, endless, endless follow-ups and emails to make sure all those packages got out on time. There was a moment where we thought we might lose 10 participants because we couldn’t get deliveries happening, but it looks like we made just about all of them. If not, we’ll by Sunday by the start date. So that is awesome to see so. Thanks Laurie on that.
And then Mercy has been keeping up on Twitter as well as all of our ongoing support. So we’re stepping up our game there. So a lot of exciting progress, and great work for everyone. Some quick note issues that I wanted to run down just so that the team is aware, we’ve made fixes of progress on all of these. So thanks to a bunch of people who’ve done that. As we’ve been automating things, we’ve also lost some of the manual processes that we had along the way.
So a great example of this was previously every single order we would manually fill, and then Mike would capture the ones that were Android and add them to our Google Play testers list. We automated that process. And so that little link broke, which was totally fine. We learned quickly, we got all the inbound from customers saying that they couldn’t download the app.
So new processes in place of those kinds of individual things, in this case where we’re [inaudible 00:19:25] uploading Google Play testers, in a way that hopefully works and will drive down that support interaction that is pretty unpleasant. You get the app, you’re really excited to get going and then kind of hit a wall. And then we’re seeing the impacts of some old performance covers that were shipped by Truepill, end of two weeks ago, and early last week, we quickly caught it, got those off the floor out of the stockpile, but there’s a long tail of customers getting those patches now. So these are the three pain adhesives. They don’t stick as well and they don’t have the cutout in the center. So our instructions don’t line up and it’s just a detail that we don’t want to miss.
So that should be fixed moving forward, but the customers are still getting those. Any customer that gets that we’re immediately replacing those very quickly. And so we’re shipping replacement covers out from Truepill, which is great and a support thing that were handling pretty nicely. Otherwise we covered wearable challenge, which is exciting. It’s nice to be close to the customer experience with those numbers, get the feedback at the insights and just see people using the product. And then on the coming soon side, expanding fulfillment with Truepill to the New York City facility. They’ve got a bunch of pharmacy licenses there and a lot more capacity there. So it will kind of level out… Oops, level out our distribution and get rid of the spikes.
Same with the position that we’re plugging in there to increase our state coverage and add capacity, and as mentioned slash [inaudible 00:20:50] copy, now that we have a little bit of an exhale, we’ve made some quick changes there, we’ve made changes to our help documentation, more descriptive copy, but we have a video coming and hopefully a little bit more of an overhaul so that’s on deck. That’s it for now.
Josh Clemente (21:03):
Awesome. I can only say that it’s been invigorating to watch what it’s basically evolution happening in fast forward with the ops stuff and the pace of progress. Just like handling the spike that we just saw, it’s been awesome. So thanks everyone for keeping the crush on. Any questions on ops and or any of the items Miz brought up?
Mike Mizrahi (21:27):
Awesome. Cool. So, it was another great week for engagement and communication with our users. After today, we will have done over 25 calls with our customers in addition to our other communication channels. Really quickly areas to focus, remain largely unchanged, [inaudible 00:21:51] common questions. We’re seeing consistent trends. The good thing is if we take a quick look, we have either it on the roadmap to solve most of these things or they’ve already been solved. So that’s really awesome to see David and engineering team really anticipating these needs. And then if we move over to excitement, it’s another awesome week. I’ll just read a couple interesting one. I’ve used CGM before. I wish I had Levels with my first experience. The UI is consumer friendly and actually helps me make sense of my raw [inaudible 00:22:29].
Mike Mizrahi (22:28):
And then the one on the bottom, there’s more context to this and I’ll share it in the weekly write-up, but this person’s a pretty well known and accomplished entrepreneur, “Since starting Levels I’ve changed my schedule to add some fun activities instead of work, work, work. I now meditate every day, practice yoga and I’m exercising more. If I see a rise in my blood sugar, I go for a walk.” It’s pretty awesome. And just a reminder, full call notes can be found in notion and on the user feedback channel in Slack. That’s all I have.
Josh Clemente (23:10):
Great. Questions on customer success stuff or any of the specific feedback we got this week? As always definitely a push to read the round Roundup that Mike pushes out every week, and also the specific notes, even if you could only choose a few per week to make time for it’s. It’s really good to hear the on the ground reports from customers. Thanks, Mike. David.
David Flinner (23:35):
Cool. Yes. So, two things to call out, we had an app push last, last Friday after the meeting, so I just want to reiterate that customers got a much speedier app last week on Friday and the in-app help center. So, big thanks to John and Rio for getting those out last week. Miz it’ll be interesting to see how the in-app help centers going, and especially after we get the chat one going as well. This week we launched a few things internally, which are looking really promising. The event detection work that Gabriel’s been working on has made significant progress as well. I think we’re just about ready to launch that. We’ve been iterating internally on what is the right experience for, like do we show it only for really high spikes or for areas of variability?
David Flinner (24:21):
So we’re getting very close to launching that. And then a complimentary feature that we released just internally this morning is retroactive logging. So [Jinu 00:24:34], who’s actually visiting in person now, and I talked about this yesterday, it looks like over a majority, like on average, most of the logs that people create are actually in the past. It’s very common, very human to forget to log.
David Flinner (24:47):
And so whether you’re touching that 10 minutes after you start the [inaudible 00:24:50] or two hours later, a majority of the logs actually look like on average. We’re seeing people log things later. So, with combination of the event detection, plus something around easier retroactive logging, which is the [inaudible 00:25:04] you see on the right, we’re hoping to continually pick off some of the friction points here and smooth it out, make it really easy for people to capture their events and in turn help them close the loop on what that means for them. So give that a test, super excited to get that out. And great work on that Gabriel and John.
David Flinner (25:28):
There are a couple of interesting cards underway. One of the common… There’s a high error rate on bad sensors. And we want to make sure we capture that and make sure we replace this as fast as possible for customers. So [inaudible 00:25:41] worked on an automatic dud sensor insight card that we can surface. So that’s going to be… We’ll work on that internally before we release it as well, and then [Ethan’s 00:25:51] been working on a targeted variability hours. So if we see that you’re consistently having like problem hotspots throughout the day for a certain set of users where that’s really significant, we can highlight that and show back to what you’ve been eating in those outfits for a chance to improve it.
David Flinner (26:09):
We’re also taking feedback we’re hearing from customers to change the metabolic score, make it more understandable, make it more, I don’t know, [inaudible 00:26:18] to them. There’s some longer-term things we have in the roadmap. [inaudible 00:26:20] short term tweaks that we’re working on, like making the distribution appear less bi-modal like less clusters around 50 and clusters around 90.
David Flinner (26:29):
Seeing if we can spread that up a bit more, and taking off the clipping at 50 and in 95, so you can actually go below or higher on that site. And then persisting zones project is still uncovering some really good edge cases and it’s making a lot of progress, but we’re seeing a lot of hidden things that we didn’t expect to start, but it’s making great progress and, yeah, excited about that too. So I think that’s about it for this week. Any question?
Josh Clemente (27:06):
Anybody have questions on design product engineering this week? Great. I really appreciated the event detection. It caught me being lazy with coffee.
David Flinner (27:20):
Okay, maybe we’ll mention one more thing too. I didn’t mention, it’s not a launch, but I guess as a growing up company we had our first major production fire drill, [inaudible 00:27:29] yesterday. As we were taking on all these users, it uncovered some issues and we were down for a few hours. Do you want to talk about it [Jennie 00:27:36] or?
I mean, if you can look at Slack’s where a lot of detail, there’s like 100 threats [inaudible 00:27:41] discussion on Slack on how to resolve that without putting too much technical detail, we are definitely getting a lot more data. So we have to be a lot more careful about how we pull the data and how we’re monitoring this. This is kind of an engineering version of the up-scaling, getting data.
David Flinner (27:58):
Yeah. We took on so many users that we hit a certain threshold where it was, what our customers saw was that data wasn’t sinking anymore. And on the backend, we had to deal with this scaling issue and discovered the fix over a period of several hours and rolled it out and things are stable now, but we’ll have these growing pains as we continue to scale exponentially hopefully.
Josh Clemente (28:21):
Yeah, it was good to follow along, and we should do like a little follow up on this maybe next week with a few lessons learned from that or something small like that. That’d be cool for the rest of us to get the context.
Sam Corcos (28:33):
Josh Clemente (28:34):
Good problems, yeah. All right. Awesome. Moving on to individual contributions. So 10 seconds each, Sam, go ahead and kick us off.
Sam Corcos (28:45):
I mean, personally, I’m most excited that Weiss’s joining the team. We’ve had a lot of success on the marketing and growth side without a whole ton of effort which has been really great. And I think putting some more intent behind it will really kick things off to the next level. So that’s what I’m most excited about.
Josh Clemente (29:08):
Casey Means (29:10):
Yeah. So personally, I was sent these things called digit cards in the mail, which are for zoom meetings. And so I might start using these next week, but they’re like 20 different cards that you can use to cheer people on during meetings. So get ready for those. But that was fun. Professionally there’s so much I’m excited about right now. Plus one, on Weiss coming on board, that’s huge. I research conversations with Sara Gottfried. She’s amped about helping us with specifically what she calls metabolic phenotyping. So understanding essentially patterns and CGM curves and how they relate to underlying metabolic health, that is what she’s planning on studying with her new position at Jefferson University. I think that’s going to be a great collaboration. And then, also some great conversations with head of content candidates this week, and just seeing the really high caliber people who are interested in helping us with our editorial operation. So lots of exciting stuff.
Josh Clemente (30:09):
Cool. Yeah, for me this week it was… Or maybe it was end of last week, but either way Toby from Shopify tweeted out that he wanted to get Levels. And that was cool. I’ve been following Toby pretty closely for a long time. I’ve always loved the Shopify model and I like that it’s kind of a David to the Amazon Goliath. And so it was awesome to have him just directly say, “Please help me get this.” And then follow up and get us his a dress. And we’re going to get them hooked up with Levels. So that was really sweet to just see really big names and successful companies and business, Derm.
Yeah. I’m really excited personally with all this stuff going on on the farm with our cows and we’re working on the ponds to do a fish farm and going horseback riding this weekend. I did four podcasts, or five podcasts actually with Zach Bitter. He’s very excited. I think he’s using Levels. And one just came in for Sean Baker. So I guess I’m setting one up with him and BiOptimizers. And so I’ll be releasing these and then tagging Levels when I release them on social media.
Josh Clemente (31:16):
Nice. Yeah, we’ve spoken with Matt and Brian, very excited to keep those conversations moving. Mercy.
I’m excited about the starting the process of identifying when there’s a bad sensor, that’ll save a lot of time in the future and really help a lot of people who are not sure about the results kind of clarify that, “Oh, it’s not you it’s the sensor itself.” So that’ll be interesting once it actually does roll out. And then personally my sister and my nephew just got here, so I’m excited to spend some time with them because he’s still tiny and quiet, so [inaudible 00:31:58].
Josh Clemente (31:58):
[inaudible 00:31:58] related. I’m so excited about the new ways to [inaudible 00:32:02]. I think that, that’s going to be huge for our customers. Personally this is something that is happening in my country, [inaudible 00:32:12] has been trying to build a Metro or train system for 50 years, this is a city of 10 million people without that decent transportation system. And every time the Government trying to start this project, the money just disappear, or even funnier, we took almost 10 years discussing if it should be an underground or elevated system, for example. So today I am excited because these project officially started this week and hopefully we will have the first line working in five years, which in Colombia time could be like seven years. But anyways, this is a good start. It will improve the lives of the people living here.
Josh Clemente (32:58):
It’s been a crazy week with filling orders and replacements and Truepill. And I woke up at 3:00 A.M. a couple of nights ago, “Oh my gosh, I forgot to follow up on XYZ. So I got up, worked for an hour, went back to bed.” But I mean, apparently it’s even in my head at night and I just have this little bit over here. It’s just, it’s so exciting to hear everything that’s going on. Personally, I’m looking forward to boots and sweaters and scarves. So it’s finally cooler here in California.
Josh Clemente (33:34):
Nice. And thank you for all that effort. And please do not wake up at 3:00 A.M. to fill orders though.
Josh Clemente (33:40):
But thank you, Miz.
That came up quick. I wasn’t prepared. Excited about a lot of the app progress that’s being made. I think the more we doubled down there on the product, on event detection, on logging, on just score improvements, excited to see all of that in the works. And so I think that’s going to make a huge improvement in the coming weeks and months. So, excited for the progress there. And also wearable challenges, excited me more than I thought it would. I kind of knew about the program, saw it from the outside, but very cool to see the participants, getting excited there and excited to see the outcomes of it.
Josh Clemente (34:17):
Yeah, it’s fun. Tom.
Personally, maybe along the lines of part of Laurie’s update, I’ve been trying to experiment with more ways to wind down my brain before sleep. So I got back into fiction, and I started reading a book this week called The Silent Patient, which I just found out is a popular book, number one New York Times bestseller. So maybe someone’s read it, but psychological thriller really liking it. And then professionally so much. But I had a funny email thread going last night where the founder of Organifi reached out. Who is a big health and fitness influencer. He’s got like a half million followers on Instagram and he’s in Arizona. And he was with one influencer person last night or two nights ago who is wearing Levels and was talking up. And then the following night, he had Ben Greenfield over for dinner who also had his Levels patch on. And he was just like, “Dude, I’m in. I want to be an affiliate, and let’s go.”
Sam Corcos (35:18):
There’s like an insider’s retreat happening in Arizona, and it sounds Levels is in the mix. Awesome.
Josh Clemente (35:24):
Yeah, personally, I’m really excited because I discovered that eggnog does not spike my blood sugar. We’re about to hit eggnog season. Preliminary results. It’s safe. I can drink eggnog every meal. It’s good for me. And then two, more professionally is that with metabolic fitness score changes previously when we started, everybody was really healthy, and so the distribution very flat, and now we have a bunch of super athletes and a bunch of normal people. So we have this bi-modal distribution and I’m looking forward to bringing that back. So this way people are being less punished and the super athletes, they have a little bit more headroom to really earn that 100% they still crave. So looking forward to the good comments on that.
Josh Clemente (36:07):
Love it. Meg.
Professionally, I am excited about the… Stacy and I are planning a photo shoot next weekend in New York. So it’ll just be really good to get a lot more assets and content that we can use to promote Levels across all our channels. I’m having a really hard time with [inaudible 00:36:28] personal, but one day I’m looking forward [inaudible 00:36:30] most perfectly ripe avocado I’m about to dive into, so that will bring me lots of joy.
Josh Clemente (36:36):
Nice, enjoy that. Mike.
Mike Mizrahi (36:40):
So, Derm really quickly I can confirm it that Zach Bitter is using the product, we’re actually emailing last night. And for anybody that doesn’t know who’s Zach is, he is an amazing endurance athlete. He broke the world record for 100 miles in the fastest time. It was in a sub seven minute mile pace, which is absolutely insane. On the professional side, just excited with the app development. And in my conversations with our customers, it’s a very rare occurrence that the feedback we get that we’re not already planning some kind of update to our experience. So it’s pretty awesome. And then personally really quick, although I’ve been taking Sam’s words at heart to try and reduce my possessions, I did buy an espresso. So I’m pretty excited about that.
Josh Clemente (37:34):
Enjoy it. I’ll have to tap into some of that. We are on to story of the day. Miz, would you like me to share… Stop sharing so you can jump in?
Yeah, I’ll take over on the share.
Josh Clemente (37:46):
Cool. So, after the [Laken 00:37:50] presentation, I was trying to figure out what the right topic would be. So I’ll [inaudible 00:37:56]. Perfect. I’ve got a crazy contraption with speaker notes here, so happy to hear it’s working. All right. So, in my last role at Uber, one of my favorite things was just the kind of people that we brought in from different industries. We had a lot of urban planners, a lot of transportation planners, designers, architects backgrounds. And so I got a lot of exposure to that and didn’t realize I was as interested in it as I was. So this is a little bit of a crash course in the next few minutes on a particular character. Her name is Jane Jacobs. She wrote the book, on American city planning called The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
The argument there is that the places that people live should reflect the identity of the people who live there, there should be diversity, it should have these fundamental core design principles. A lot of these seem really, really obvious today. And I think that’s what’s most interesting about it. But in the moment, these are pretty contrarian, unorthodox beliefs. And so, we’re going to walk through a few of those, a little bit of the background and a few of her principles, and it just changes the way you look at things in terms of top down versus bottom up, grassroots planning versus master planning. And it’s kind of a fun thing. So at least for me, and hope you guys find it interesting too. So a little bit of background on the time. This guy here, his name is Robert Moses.
If you live in New York, if you’ve ever been to New York, you’ve had a result of his planning. He started as a parks commissioner. He actually never had an elected position, but he had a pretty long multi-decade run as a pretty big authority in New York chairman of a bunch of public works commissions, power authorities, parks authorities. And New York at the time was a very crowded place, a lot of like bladed areas, places that needed “urban renewal” and so his plan was to say, the way to address crowded urban areas is to make it impossible for people to cluster. And so today that sounds crazy in terms of what we know about cities, but a lot of his plan was building highway systems. And there’s kind of two versions of Moses.
There’s the pre-war Robert Moses, which started out building parks, building public life access beaches, and increasing access to those beaches. So if you’ve ever driven across Long Island, there’s the Northern state, the Southern state, the [inaudible 00:40:16], the Robert Moses, all these different highways that connect the shores and the beaches, and actually get you into the city pretty quickly. So all of that planning was a result of a lot of Robert Moses work. And then there’s the post-war Moses, which really transitioned it to housing, industrial projects and a lot more city projects. And so he has this pretty famous quote, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.” Obviously as you’re putting down these highways, you’re plowing through a lot of homes and neighborhoods and areas, and so he wasn’t a very well-liked character for a bunch of audiences.
A few quick snapshots here, if you’ve ever been on the Triborough Bridge, that’s one of the Robert Moses projects. So you can see the opening day in the top right. And then this bottom left, this is something called LOMEX. This was the Lower mid Manhattan Expressway. And so where the tunnel comes in today on 495, the Midtown tunnel was supposed to actually be a highway that cuts directly across Manhattan and hits a few pretty big neighborhoods that we know today. So [inaudible 00:41:15], Greenwich Village, and so that was kind of his plan. Some of them worked, some of them didn’t, but a lot of the plans today with New York with highways around the edges were Robert Moses products. He has a famous quote, “Cities are created by and for traffic, a city without traffic is a ghost town.”
So this was the industrial age people [inaudible 00:41:35] the automobile age, people were really excited about cars and they needed to be accommodated on a large scale. And so his agenda was largely formed around this. At the same time you have design changing around the world. And so you have this Swiss designer, his name was [inaudible 00:41:51], excuse my French pronunciation. So he was in Paris and this building on the left is kind of the pinnacle of his design, was very modern focused on clean lines, very little decoration, kind of a response to Victorian design. So I have some San Francisco Victorians here which are neat and over done. You have the British royalty design. And so he tried to get away from that. And so you have projects that look like this residential building, and then you have this bottom right very modernistic… Sorry, modern clean lines, edges, very sleek designs that he was pushing.
This building on the left was part of his imagination to have these villages of these identical 60 story buildings, where you can fit millions of people. He had this one plan to demolish downtown Paris and just have all these cruciform buildings built in. Robert Moses took a lot of his ideas. He’s were very invoke at the time, but what’s missing from a lot of them are the streets, or the sidewalks. And so what you ended up with in practice in cities across the US and elsewhere, or projects that look like this, right? These are commonly known as public housing projects where we built these big buildings that could house a ton of people, but they don’t live on the street, they don’t interact with the environment.
And so many of these are still standing and like do some interesting things to neighborhoods today. But fundamentally they’re kind of, we know they’re lacking for a bunch of different reasons. So into Jane Jacobs, she lives in Greenwich Village. She’s a journalist, she’s a mother, and she just loves her neighborhood, has no background in city planning whatsoever compared to these architects and designers that are coming in. And she sees that this highway plan is going to come through her neighborhood. And so she gets pretty worked up very quickly. Starts attacking the planners, writes this book with just her basic observations, and it becomes the first articulation of what a city should look like and how they’re built from the ground up. She took an issue with these projects, she took an issue with these big buildings.
And she had a bunch of different principles that she laid out. But ultimately what she believed is like, what these guys were doing is not rebuilding cities. It’s not bringing it into the modern age. It’s completely sacking it, it’s completely destroying it. And so very much like a woman of the people who believed in building from the ground. That logic superimposed from above, even though it makes sense on a map might not make sense to the people living in that city. And so a few quick photos of some of the protests that she ran trying to stop some of those highways coming through the expressways. Washington Square Park was supposed to have a highway running through it. And so there was a full plan for that, and she effectively stopped it, which is kind of her claim to fame. But her lives on and her principles live on.
Some other quick pictures here. This photo on the left is what Paris would have looked like if [inaudible 00:44:49] plan went through. So you see a bunch of skyscrapers that are just a bunch of crosses that all look the same. And then on the right, we have Jane Jacobs, New York, which is, these buildings with a lot of different mixture and different character, different viewpoints for different people to be on the streets. And those end up looking pretty different when you have those mixed uses. So, it’s really obvious, quote something everyone already knows, “A well-used city is out to be a safe street, a deserted city street is out to be unsafe. But how does this work really?” And so four quick principles from Jane Jacobs, she has this great book but this is just one section of it.
Rule number one, there must be eyes upon the street or rather principle number one, she spends a lot of time on this. So eyes on the street, belonging to everyone, national proprietors. So that’s her word for it. She means merchants. She means students. She means families. The more people you have on the street, the safer it is. And so the security doesn’t come from an armed guard at the end letting in people and kind of checking people. It comes from just the natural activity with things that are busy. And she describes the ecosystem when the street is busy, the people… People in the windows have something to look at, and it creates this ecosystem that lives on. Again, very unorthodox at the time, very opposed from Robert Moses who believed kind of, “We want everything clean. We want everything organized. This kind of activity is dirty. It doesn’t reflect what we want our modern cities to look like.”
And so she pushed things forward there. So the four generators of diversity, number one, the need for primary mixed users. Something we know inherently, but diversity of different kinds of work, different kinds of people, different uses, keep a street busy and in turn safe. If there’s any one single purpose, the street goes dormant. So here you have a picture of San Francisco’s civic center, which is a few bucks away from where I live here. A lot of industrial buildings… A lot of municipal buildings, they all serve a similar purpose. So they might be busy during the day, but at night there’s not much activity going on there. And for 50 years still, cities are trying to figure out how to keep down-towns busy on a Saturday morning.
If you go to Friday in San Francisco, in New York and in Indianapolis, whatever city, it’s going to be dead on a weekend, because there’s no one there. And so mixed uses are what keep that moving. She also points out primary diversity, secondary diversity. So when you have a lot of different uses, you then have this whole separate ecosystem that pops up of laundromats, cafes, lunch spots, coffee shops, all these other kinds of things that follow.
The second one is interesting, the need for small blocks. Most blocks must be short. That is streets and opportunities to turn corners must be frequent. When you have long blocks, they become desolate. And so the more you can tighten things up and create more opportunities for interaction, the safer the city becomes, the more walkable it becomes, and those connections lead to interactions that are positive for the city.
This third one, the need for aged buildings, the district must mingle buildings that vary in age and condition including a good proportion of old ones. And so old doesn’t necessarily mean dilapidated and falling apart. It means different kinds of buildings that have different costs involved so that lower cost merchants can move in. If you end up building these massive buildings that are all these brand new modern storefronts, you don’t get a big variety of merchants that can be there in different use cases that can come in. And so over time, the high cost buildings of one generation become the bargains of the following generation and that promotes a healthy ecosystem as well. And then finally this fourth [inaudible 00:48:38], the need for concentration. There must be a sufficiently dense concentration of people for whatever purposes they may be there.
Similar to close proximity of different uses, the more you have different people traveling, different amounts of distances for daily use, whether they’re working or going to school or kids going to the park or sanitation workers working on the street, the more you can pack that in, the better the system will be. This doesn’t necessarily mean slums either. It means having mixed uses and different kinds of things. And so the example I think of this is when I lived in New York and I walked… I lived on the upper West side and walked to the subway station, a block away, in that one walk I was passing a coffee shop, a laundromat, a bookstore, a convenience store, and I hadn’t even crossed a single street yet. And so that concentrated activity, makes cities great.
She also has quite a bit about not overcrowding. And then also contrast this to suburbs where you don’t have mixed use or concentration, you have single use, and it kind of spread out in terms of concentration. And that this has to be a 24/7 use case. And then she has a ton of quotes. Her book is incredibly quotable, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody only because, and only when they’re created by everybody.” A few quick things that you can tap into, there’s this cool website, 1940s.nyc. Has nothing to do with Jane Jacobs, but every single building was cataloging for tax law purposes. So you can click into any places you’ve been, across all five boroughs over the course of these three, four years. So really cool resource. There’s a documentary if you want the light version called Citizen Jane, which runs through her life and history. And then her book is like 400 pages, pretty easy read. And if you have any interest in this space, it’ll do way better justice than I could do here, but a very enjoyable background on her.
Josh Clemente (50:34):
That was awesome. Thanks for putting that together Miz. That was above and beyond on delivery there. Awesome. Well, that was a great story of the day, and thank you everyone for contributing throughout this morning’s meeting. We’re right on time. So I’m going to go ahead and wrap while we’re on the hour. Have a great afternoon, have a great weekend. See you all this week.
Josh Clemente (50:57):