September 2, 2022

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


Josh Clemente (00:00):

… go ahead and start. So welcome to Friday Forum, first one of September, 2022. This week, so some big stuff on product. We have solidified our in-app content framework, so lots of work to do to fill that framework in, but we’ve got a good plan ahead. Scoring V2 shipped to 100% of our members, so the stability ring, the new visuals, UI navigation, as well as the scoring concept, the spike detection behind it, so that’s super huge. Logging version 2 went live to a beta of 100 of our highly intent members, so we’re getting our first feedback on that. And then primarily the two of these efforts came together on time and on target across engineering and product, and that’s a huge validation of all the work that’s been done in the background to improve process, but also descoping and moving faster. So there are many things that could have been in scope for these shipments that we had to make prioritization decisions on, and that’s exactly what we’re here to do. So awesome work. Huge congrats to the team for getting those across the finish line.


On support, our SLAs are coming back very close to target at this point, even though we’re still experiencing obviously an entirely new learning process with the IRB and all of the new technology that we built into that launch. This is the biggest week for self-serve content, so our content leverage is at, like, 11 plus percent. Target’s 8%. We had 12,500 self-serve visits this week, which is an all time high. And the stability score rollout, which we just talked about in product, is going super well in terms of the overall support demand. And we’ve done a few rollouts before related to scoring and it’s been somewhat difficult at times because support will get hit with a lot of questions that we maybe did not anticipate upfront. So this is a really good indicator that we’ve learned from past experiences on score roll-outs and hoping to continue to see this trend.


On the insight side, so we launched 20 event-based insights this week to members. So these are about food swaps and alternatives and essentially just personalized recommendations and little tidbits of information related to what people are seeing in their dashboard UI. So this came along with a big tooling push, shout out Galit, to get the tooling framework so that we can build these insights and launch them to members without requiring engineering support. So that’s a key part of this project and I appreciate everybody’s efforts there.


We’re officially in UK Beta as of today, so the first order went through end-to-end. This is a huge moment, so congrats Karin and everyone who’s been working so diligently on the eCommerce. The happy path is live, member portal is now under construction. Lots of work still left to do, but this is a really big moment. Levels is internationally… We’ve transitioned from US Beta to UK Beta. That’s huge. In the US, we had our Levels trademark fully registered with the US PTO this week, which is obviously another huge moment. Shout out to Zach. Tons of work that went into this, just pushing back and continuing to navigate around… Levels is a term that we’ve heard many times and our use case is unique, which is what Stack was able to fully validate and we’re now registered. It’s awesome.


We had 10 whole new Level episodes released in August. 10% of all of our plays happened this month, which is awesome. So I think we had like 370,000 plays and 10% of those happened just this month, so huge growth there. Spotlight Video with Dave Phillips, Dave joined us last week, is live on YouTube and we’ve had some new YouTube affiliates join. Learn with Travis, for example, and some great new content from Austin McGuffie on Dawn Effect, in particular Alzheimer’s. And then Kevin [inaudible 00:03:49] launched a new video this week as well, so that’s happening on YouTube.


We had our best reels week ever on Instagram, which was primarily personalities driven. So featuring known personalities who have a high degree of informative content has become a new theme that we’re working towards and we’re going to really lean into this across product, social and community. So several of us have been working on or have been watching the experiments that are happening. There’s a lot more to do here and I’m very excited for it.


And then we’re experimenting with email personalization and using PDFs of our top performing articles on our blog to essentially develop email capture loops. So for people who are reading one article, we can surface an opportunity to see one of our ultimate guides, for example, in PDF form as a means of getting that email and allowing them to stay in the loop about our excellent content.


Sorry. Excuse me. And then lastly, we’re testing partner benefits for the first time. So we’ve got special content between Casey and Dr. Mark Hyman, which we are testing for people who use Dr. Hyman’s signup link. And then we’re also trying out two months of Levels membership for certain affiliate audiences. So we’re going to see how these sorts of, essentially sweetening the deal for our affiliates, for our partners who are working diligently to expand distribution. So we’re trying these experiments to see what really resonates and how we can better get our message about what we provide and what our products look like, what our membership looks like to people. A few other things here.


So Dom was on Model Health Show, which is amazing. Turtle Creek Lane, who we had, I think, our best order, one of our best order days of all time. She posted Casey’s Instagram live as a podcast. Lauren’s locked in on the Wellness Mama podcast. We got Dr. Terry Wahls on Pursuing Health with Julie Foucher and Be Well by Kelly. Casey had an amazing article with her father published in The Hill this week talking about really food policy in the US. Dr. Gottfried had her first research paper related to the sponsored research that we are working with her on published this week, which is just huge. This is actually the first publication of Levels-related research or sponsored research ever. Great stuff on content on food, as well as a feature with Laurel Touby. Patrick Malatack, who is head of product at Twilio, had a great episode with Maz on Whole New Level. And I think that kind of touches on most of it.


I’m going jump ahead. I want to welcome Adrienne Isaacs, Levels member, neonatal nurse practitioner, lives in Denver, Colorado. And Adrienne, I appreciate you taking some time to hang out with us this morning. We’d love to hear, from your perspective, your experience with Levels and specifically what you’re excited about and looking forward to on your metabolic health journey and in general in metabolic health technology.

Adrienne (06:34):

Well, thank you so much for having me. I started this journey with Levels a little over a year ago. It’s just, I’ve struggled with gut issues for years and years and years and pretty much when I turned 42 almost five years ago, my weight just kind of shot up. I’ve just gained 15 pounds for no reason, and so I thought maybe incorporating Levels and the CGM into my life would help me kind of figure out and pinpoint and nail down what was going on with my body. So it’s been super insightful and I’ve been wearing the monitor on and off for over a year and it’s just been really interesting to see how my body reacts to certain foods and to exercise, and interestingly, since March, I really haven’t been able to work out due to illness and injuries and it’s really been interesting to see how my glucoses have been impacted by not being able to work out.


So I’m super anxious to get into working out again and hopefully seeing an improvement in how my glucose levels are reflected on the CGM. And I have loved having access to the app through Levels. When I first got involved with Levels or, yeah, got on the Beta testing, I couldn’t stop reading the articles. All I wanted to do was just fill my brain with all of the information that you guys had to offer, and I still do that, not to the extent that I used to, and I’m constantly telling other people about it because I really have had such a positive experience and just have learned so much and it’s just been great.

Josh Clemente (08:29):

That’s awesome to hear. And in particular, love the love for the content. That’s something that I think we are all super proud to be able to distribute that information in a way that people like yourself will come and talk about your addiction to the content. That’s exactly what we want is to have people spreading that information, and typically it’s hidden behind journal paywalls and hard to interpret and getting it out into the mainstream is really important to us.


But also on your personal journey, the connection between exercise and glucose levels, that’s something that we all care quite a bit about and we’re currently developing an experimentation framework for one of our next real deep dives, which will be explicitly that connection between, well, we’re going to look at fat burn and exercise, but really it’s about the relationship between mobility, movement, exercise of various modalities, whether high intensity or low intensity, and glucose dynamics and how that might correspond to weight loss or fat mobilization. So I’m curious. Features like this, and maybe this is not explicitly the one that you would like to see, but what are some functions or features that you feel are missing from our product today or that you would love to see us develop, whether it’s inside the CGM framework or an entirely new product line related to metabolic health subject matter?

Adrienne (09:49):

I really like the idea that you just were talking about with the more information regarding the exercise. That’s something that is super interesting to me, and honestly I don’t know or I can’t think of off the top of my head something that I feel like needs to be added, really. I really think that the content like getting the meal scores, and I haven’t been tracking my food in it since I first started, I did that the first few months. But I found that to be super, super helpful. And what else?


I will say, one comment I do have is I know that there was an update, like an integration to a new screen on the app and I never used the new screen because the old one appealed to me so much that I looked at it for like a day and then I reverted immediately back to the old screen. So I don’t even know if you took that away or not, but that was one thing that was not appealing to me. And I would say that’s pretty much the only thing that I have constructive comment on that. And I can’t tell you what my feedback is because I really didn’t, I used it for such a short period of time, I just realized that it didn’t… Visually or user-friendliness or something like that, I prefer the original screen on that. Yeah, I’m sorry. I don’t have much input for what I want to see because I really, I think that the content that you have right now has been super helpful to me, but I love the exercise component.

Josh Clemente (11:24):

Well, that’s all great feedback. I mean, hearing the content, this is supported by the insights framework that we’re working on right now to surface that content in a more timely fashion I think is most important. And then doing some filtering for people because we do have so much of it, but being able to surface that, it’s really great to hear that you love the content, that you’re interested in the exercise experimentation that we’re working on, and then also that the dashboard didn’t resonate. This is the sort of thing that we needed to experiment with to understand, and we did roll back that dashboard, which I think you’re referring to sort of what we call the now screen, and we’ve incorporated elements of it, including our new scoring methodology, which I would be curious if you’ve used the new stability ring. It’s sort of the colored ring, which essentially does spike detection and that has replaced our metabolic score. Have you seen that one yet?

Adrienne (12:11):

No, I haven’t. I guess I should start tracking my food again to determine that.

Josh Clemente (12:19):

So it’s rolling out right now. It’s very recent that it’s gone out to all members, so it may just not have been pushed to your app just yet, but I will be, we would love to hear more feedback like this specifically. Sometimes it’s one of these intangibles where it just doesn’t hit the right notes and other times it really works for people, and so we’d love to hear continued feedback. It’s super valuable to us. And just this format, just hearing the topics that you bring up related to your experience, it’s tremendously valuable to us. So really appreciate not only your year long support for Levels, being a member, being able to work with us through some of those less exciting feature rollouts and some of the very exciting feature rollouts, just really appreciate your support and thanks for joining us this morning and sharing your experience so far.

Adrienne (13:03):

Thank you.

Josh Clemente (13:03):

We have a long meeting, which we’d love to have you stick around for if you’re open to it as well.

Adrienne (13:09):

I might stick around for a little bit. Thank you, I appreciate that. And I also just want to give real quick other feedback. I get the emails and I frequently read the content in the emails too and revisit content that I’ve already read before. So I just really think the information is so valuable and so informative. So thank you very much.

Josh Clemente (13:28):

Well, that’s also amazing feedback. We’re continuing to iterate on email and it’s good to hear that that is something that maybe you would even like to see more of, maybe even more personalized feeds through email. Amazing.

Adrienne (13:40):

Yeah. Yeah.

Josh Clemente (13:42):

That’s super helpful. Adrienne, thank you again and on behalf of the team, really appreciate you taking some time this morning on a Friday, Labor Day weekend, to spend time with the team. It’s super valuable to us.

Adrienne (13:52):

Thank you.

Josh Clemente (13:54):

Thank you. All right, culture and kudos. So firstly, three year shout out for both Andrew and Casey. The two of them, this is not entirely reflective of when they came into the Levels orbit necessarily. Andrew was at the very first assemblage even before Levels was incorporated and Casey was working with us only weeks thereafter, but let’s just say they’ve been certainly with the team full-time for more than three years now and it’s been an incredible journey. Looking forward to much more.


I want to shout out or highlight a couple people here. So Lynette this week. First of all, Lynette’s been super diligent since starting in testing product features and providing feedback, and it’s so valuable, I’ve heard it from a number of people on product and engineering, and this week she caught a bug in the logging experience before it rolled out and it was a big one. It would’ve been preventing people from logging meals. So this is why we do what we do. So thank you Lynette for setting the standard, for just getting in there and not being afraid to share feedback. I know that it’s difficult sometimes because it doesn’t always land, but honestly, it’s amazing to see how deep you’ve jumped in already and the team really appreciates it.


I want to highlight Lauren for really quite an impressive approach to handling the difficult project of functional OKRs. It’s coming together so nicely and there’s so much synthesizing of difficult information to make sure that we’re sort of disentangling all the individual functional OKRs such that they stack up to the main company OKRs. So this has been mentioned again by many people to me and just appreciate all the work that’s gone into this project. It’s huge. And also to everyone who’s worked on the OKRs and for those of you that haven’t yet, appreciate you working with us on making this a really important part of continuing to, with data, drive towards the objectives that we all have aligned on.


And finally, Sonja. She’s just done an amazing job rallying to get us aligned with key people in the UK. So this UK rollout, it’s really important that we align ourselves with thought leaders who can help us replicate what we’ve done here in the US and we’ve had a couple big wins, more to come on that once it’s, I think, ready for public discussion. But just suffice to say, we’re having really great conversations and it all comes down to the slickness of the operation, just having our ducks in a row before we reach out, and that has really come across to people, so shout out to Sonja for that work.


All right, company objectives. So Level shows you how food affects your health. No changes here. Everyone’s working towards it. This is the main thing. And that stacks up or these stack up to that which are the top Level objectives: member attention, member health improvement, and new member acquisition. These are the company Level objectives and the OKRs stack up through those from each function. All right, Miz, it’s over to you.

Michael Mizrahi (16:44):

All right. So we’ve got a ton of axioms, of cultural axioms, and so I took an exercise to put them all down on paper and I think it’s really important. We’ve all onboarded at different points in time and so many of these different kind of cultural touchpoints have come from different book clubs, from different things people have said in passing that have kind of stuck from the stories that we’ve told. All these kinds of things come together, and so going to focus on these more often just so we keep them top of mind. And two to focus on today that are just kind of worth refreshing on and they go hand-in-hand somewhat, but all of these really create a nice lattice and it’s really fun kind of watching us refine them down.


So the two to focus on as short refreshers. The first one is assume positive intent. It goes for what someone said, for what they did, and really goes hand-in-hand with treating one another like adults. It’s very, very easy to tell ourselves stories and interpret situations that aren’t really rooted in the facts of a situation or the intent that was there. And so those interpretations can be dangerous and it’s also very easy to assume that something will happen in a certain way, that it’s going to play out in some way and make assumptions about a situation. In either of those cases, the interpretation, the assumption, it’s really, really helpful to assume positive intent for two reasons. One, if you’re right and the person didn’t have any mal-intent, you didn’t raise the temperature. You didn’t add tea to the situation that’s potentially derailing it even further. And if you’re wrong, which is possible, not everyone is perfectly positive and [inaudible 00:18:18] all the time, we can’t assume that, but even if you’re wrong, it still helps you lift the overall situation and lower the temperature because you’re now not coming in with assumptions and interpretations.


And so the key here in assuming positive intent and what it leads to is working together on these situations to find a solution versus approaching it adversarially. So in summary, avoid jumping to conclusion. Be curious and assume positive intent whenever you can. It’s really, really hard to do this, but it’s a practice that builds over time and that we really want to build into the culture, and I think we’ve done an exceptional job of doing, but it is a good reminder.


The second one, this one is a little bit of a new phrasing but it’s something that I’ve heard Josh say, and so starting to introduce a little bit. Sunlight’s the best disinfectant. There’s an alternate version about this, which is interesting, around inflammation, which isn’t a bad thing, right? When something’s inflamed, it’s the body reacting to some sort of issue and we want to lean into that and kind of address those things quickly and solve those problems versus when something is wrong or potentially wrong or you sense there might be a question, brushing that under the rug leads to issues later on and then that’s not the answer. And so the inflammation in the moment is okay. It feels uncomfortable, it might hurt a little bit, but it’s better to lean into that very quickly and address those issues directly and early. And this applies to all issues, interpersonal communications, roadblocks in a project, if you misprint a few thousand Levels patches and they end up with a J on them, all of these situations, address them quickly and we can get to better solutions. And so sunlight’s the best disinfectant. That’s it for here.


Bleach is pretty good. I see that in the comments. [inaudible 00:20:01].

Josh Clemente (20:00):

Love it. Yeah, maybe some t-shirts in the making here. The Levels Manifesto coming together. Thanks, Miz. All right, Maz.

Maziar Brumand (20:10):

All right, welcome to the Friday Forum product update. Lots of fun stuff. By the way, I loved that last slide. I think I saved it in my photos. Nice job. It’s actually designed really beautifully too. All right, let’s get into it. So we launched the new scoring, which is basically spec detection and stability ring to 100% of our members and David will give an update on what we’ve heard. It’s been encouraging. We’ve heard a lot of things and we’re already thinking about the next version. And by next version, I mean building on top and creating what members want and really doubling down on what we already see that they love. So David’s going to talk about that a little bit, but this idea of really building in iterations has really paid off. We’ve really changed the way that design products and engineering are working together to do this in skateboard fashion and build on top and really learn what’s working and what’s not working and being able to do the next rep, so expect that we’ll continue to invest on the scoring platform.


The second thing is, as Josh mentioned, logging went to 100 members, 5%. Again, we took the same approach of incrementally launching it and we already have new ideas for the next versions. We have a 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 thought out already, which will make it faster, better, and I’ll give you a little sneak peek. There will be a feature where you can hold down the logging button and you will log with two clicks, so it should be cool, with a photo included. So just keep an eye on that. Again, taking the skateboard approach of building, building, building after we get feedback and not really just trying to solve every single problem in one release, so really excited about that. Team has just done a fantastic job and really thank you for everybody to contributing and also funneling feedback. So thanks a lot on that.


On the stuff that’s in the pipe, healthier food choices is ready for engineering and we’ve done design reviews, we’ve socialized it and we’re excited to do that. Again, we’re taking the approach of skateboard and we will build on top, test and test, and get user research. So really exciting stuff. On Labs 2.0, big, big shout out and thank you to Rob Lustig. He has been just phenomenal and fantastic and really pressure tests our thinking and he’s just really enjoyed their interactions. He’s done mocks with us. He’s really pressure tested our thinking, so thank you for that, and really there’s a lot of exciting stuff coming there. We will give you an update very soon, not only on what we’re thinking in terms of the panel, but also the whole experience. We are building into the Levels experience. Well, it will not feel like something you do, but it’s really the core of measuring how you’re doing and showing it back to you and really having a really high impact and efficacy for our members. So really excited about that and Victor and Cosima and the team has really been pushing the envelope on that, so a big thank you to all of them.


In-app content. So thank you to Adrienne really talking about how content is so important to her, and we’ve heard this all over the place. This is not something new. The content is the lifeblood of our app and we’re really trying to boost that. There’s a lot of experimentation going on there. Mike D has been killing it with the event-based insights really, really enabling the pipeline. We have 20 new event-based insights that we’ve heard really great feedback. It’s really magical when you put in, for example, smoothie in your log and then boom, you get a actionable content with video of how to make one right there and then. We’ve got really good feedback from internal and externally. So we’ll continue to invest in that. We’re accelerating it and we’re going to try to hit between 10 and 20 event-based insights a month, so we’ll make it our mission, and we’re designing it to be actionable, so there’s a lot of thought going into not only using behavior change frameworks, but also making matchable that the number doesn’t have to wonder what this means or what they can do, but they will either see a recipe they can build in short video format or something that they can go buy instead of having to then navigate the complexities of the real world. So really excited about that.


The personality-based content, David’s going to talk about that. We’ve tested now two videos and we have some feedback in. We’re going to continue to invest in that. And then obviously healthier food choices is coming. So big, big investment into the app content and we plan to, once we have a really clear framework, work with the content team to really boost this. Right now we’re in the very, very beginning of this and we have a lot of great stuff to use, so it’s not like we’re starting from scratch. We have a lot of great content that we’ll use and also we have the best advisors in the world, so really, really bullish on [inaudible 00:24:53] the app. The other things on here are being worked on at different stages and we’re really pushing the envelope on personalization, Levels levels and rewards. We will see some of these start to pop up and we’ll do more reviews for you all. With that, I’ll turn it over to David.

David Flinner (25:09):

Okay, so kicking it off, Maz just mentioned that one of the things we’re doing is taking our principles and the behavior change framework and we’re making it dead simple for people to understand in a way that matters to them, what that means for them, so that it’s really a layup for them to do the thing that we’re suggesting and see why it’s relevant and hook into their goals. So we’ve been working on an in-app content architecture framework that is going to be the bedrock, kind of the way we think about the high level strategy for our content in the app, and it’s getting ready. You can check out the memo here, but the high level way to think about this is we’re pairing effective interventions with the right delivery style for effective change and retention.


And interventions are the way we package up what we talk about with the behavior change framework. So this is things like in a space of food, activity, sleep or stress, what are the things we can do to hook into there, as a trigger, as a motivation, making that better, easier for them with their ability and then rewarding them for that. But then not everyone is really going to resonate with a long form scientific article. Not everyone’s going to resonate with a popular chef delivering a simple video with the same principle. It’s the same principles delivered in a different style that really resonates with that member. So the reason content is the lifeblood of our in-app experience is that quality content translates the abstract principles into the actionable, relatable and engaging formats that are going to drive behavior change and are going to drive re-engagement and retention.


This delivery style makes it so that we’re tailoring to our members, meeting them where they’re at because our members come from diverse levels of comprehension on metabolic health, different stages of their journey, different capabilities, different motivations and what they value in life, and so finding different ways to relate to them is really important here. You can see here there’s different, we broadly think about the styles and buckets of the level’s default experience. Experts, you can think of things like nutritionists, providers, personalities who are more like influencers like the Mallory or Janets that we’re experimenting with, and then community. How can we elevate the one-to-one connection? The community is that horizontal layer. The experts are more of the vertical layer layering into this.


Now we have three experiments in flight tying into some of the projects Maz just mentioned. Event-based insights, this is a reactive moment. It’s really powerful because it’s a just in time trigger. You just did something that is very relevant to you so we can hook into that and then pair contextually relevant content for that. Right now, we’re just doing this with the Levels default, but even yesterday Mike was emailing with some of our nutritionist experts to see if we can take their content and pair it in that same way to see if that does better. What we’re seeing in our social and in our Levels Instagram is that when we pair the same principle with a person, we get three times more engagement on that. So we’re going to see if that replicates in the in-app context.


Then we have healthier food choices where last week I mentioned that this is the proactive first version of the Levels programs. You can think of it as the Google Maps directions. We’re not just showing you the map, but we’re giving you the direction on how to get to your destination. And so how can we drop in things that are either a Levels provided recipe or a more organic version of Mallory discussing her breakfast and how she went to optimize it, different things we can do here. And then finally the personality-driven content experiment. This one’s largely around validating that the delivery style of a person, of a relatable person, is going to replicate that kind of 3x engagement boost in the app context. So very exciting to see this. It’s still a draft but would love people’s thoughts coming up soon on this and this is how we’re going to think about the in-app architecture for the content experience.


Next slide. Yeah, so scoring V2 launched. Woohoo. Next step is the important part though, the learnings and takeaways in retrospective. I just first of all want to call out that huge thanks. There’s so many people that worked on this and this is the first major project that we’ve had as a team where we had to deal with lots of cross-functional handoffs across the engineering team. This was the first time where we really worked together prepping with the member experience team, gathering lots of content ahead of time. It was a huge team effort and there were some expected road bumps on this. Every time we do something new there’s going to be road bumps, but we got it off the ground. We got this launched and it’s doing well. So we expanded the survey content from a sample of 30 to up to 90 over the last week and we’re hearing similar themes to what we heard last week. There wasn’t anything radically new.


Lots of encouragement. People are saying that they really understand how their day’s doing. The ring is helping them to do that. The glucose text underneath, it’s helping them do that. People especially love the spike tracking because it’s helping them identify exactly what parts of their day were causing their stability to drop. And you can remember back in the past how one of the most frustrating things that people told us was that the metabolic score, they couldn’t understand it and didn’t know why they were dropping and it was just discouraging all day. So this is really a stable foundation that we can build on top of and I’m really glad that it’s starting to resonate well with our members.


Where we have some opportunities to move this is that there are some members, actually not as many as I thought based on the internal feedback, some members are saying that they want more help understanding their overall goal progress and that the stability ring isn’t quite tracking what they need for difficulty adjustments. So we’re looking into things like personalization so you can set your threshold lower than 30 if you’d like or higher if you need it. This is really going to play into Levels levels as well where we hook into helping you progress through the system. And one thing we did that was very quick based on this feedback was pulling in the spike count onto the today page. So now in that text where you see nicely down on the screen, you’ll see your spike count first, like three spikes today plus 12 stable hours, so kind of balancing the full encouragement with the other reality of the spike counts. A lot more we can do here. We just went live to 100% today, so we’re going to be gathering even more feedback and then queuing off some of those personalization efforts.


Next slide. Yeah, so it’s too early to actually get some of the quantitative data for this, but we are going to be measuring not just the survey, but are we going to be reducing finding our people who are most in need of reducing their spikes actually making some measurable changes in that? That’s the main one. And then is this system increasing app engagement through opens essentially?


Next slide. And logging v5 is also rolled out to trusted testers. The thing I really wanted to highlight about this was that this is another major project that, just like scoring, required massive coordination across all the teams and it was really encouraging to see how we internally iterated on our process. So the handoffs between and amongst the front-end, backend, data teams, product design, they were more smooth this iteration, and so I think we’re starting to get into a rhythm where now that we’re not five employees, we’re up to 50, 60, and we have new operating models, this is starting to resonate well and we’re starting to get our feet under our legs to run faster.


Huge thanks to John for very timely updates and for the whole team to cut scope back to hit the timeline. One of the things that really worked well here was that towards the end we realized that there were some gaps on the tagging and ranking for the new suggestions and Andrew jumped in, helped out a lot. We massively improved the tagging system. Sorry, the suggestions that come back, and if you try it out, you should be pleasantly surprised. So what we’re seeing in the feedback so far is, well, we’ve made logging much faster and the suggestions much better. There’s room for even faster suggestions and even faster UI opening. I think one of the key things here is that, it’s counterintuitive, but speed is one of the biggest features we can have on an experience like this. Getting in and getting out and on with your life, reducing any amount of friction reduction will go a long way in driving engagement with the app.


So we’re looking into… Next slide. This is just a quick demo of the hold the button at the bottom to quickly take a photo and then log a meal with just two taps. So that’s one of the ways we’re going to be working on in 5.2. And then the other one, there’s no demo of it here in 5.1. We’re going to be moving in the log type selector into the main logging experience so that you have one fewer step to access that fast log. So that’s based on some of the feedback that we’ve been hearing over the last few days, but great work to the team on this one.


And next slide. Final thought here. We are doing some really scrappy personality driven content experiments in the app. You can see here on the right, this is a user feed card that we injected with the personality of Mallory exploring her breakfast and how she found a way to experiment with a very carby breakfast and then pairing that with fats and protein to reduce her glucose spike. So we pushed this out and we pushed another version out with another personality and we’re gathering feedback. It’s a small sample size right now, hopefully much more next week, but we’ve had four responses so far, three of those where universally like, “Wow, this is great. I love seeing this and I had an actionable takeaway.” They really emphasized that they loved how it was just normal. It was like a normal meal and a normal thing that they could do to tweak their experience.


And what I like about this is that I think people want ways to customize their everyday meals. They’re not looking for let’s switch to keto powder and all this kind of stuff. They’re living their life. What can they do now as a practical takeaway to make a baby step in the right direction and over time, they’ll get there to baby steps to an optimized diet, but I think this is going to go a long way. The one thing we did here negatively was someone said that, “If this is going to resonate with me, I really need a more diverse set of people that I relate to.” And we totally knew that going in. This is a smoke test with one influencer, but we need to find people who resonate. Diet is very tribal and we need to find people who speak to each individual. And it goes back to that original content framework I said. We need all sorts of delivery styles and spokespeople to meet the people where they’re at in the way that resonates with them.


Big thanks also to Stacy on this one for working with our influencers, getting the contents to a really excellent point. Take a look at the videos if you haven’t. They look pretty good. That’s it.

Josh Clemente (35:34):

Super awesome. So much to get excited about there. Yeah, thanks David. Thanks, product team, eng team. Lots of progress. Amazing. All right, Lauren is going to dive into user personas this week.

Lauren Kelley-Chew (35:46):

All right, I think this is a good segue from the previous product updates, which are very exciting. So this is an update on the recent user persona work, and thanks so much to everyone who helped, especially Alan and Brett, and also Mike D on all of his earlier work on user personas.


Next slide. So let’s just start with what are user personas, since we have a lot of new team members. A user persona is a fictional character created to represent and bring to life a certain segment of our users. So you can think of this person as a representative of his or her segment personifying the goals, the motivations, the behaviors, and the circumstances of those real users. And some companies even go so far as to create cardboard cutouts of their personas and put them in the office so that all day when people are working, they feel like those personas are really with them and they can always remember who those people are.


Next slide. So why do we need personas? The first thing is that well-defined personas bring focus and clarity to the product development process, but they also filter into other aspects of company decision-making. For example, you could imagine using a persona to think about what kinds of audiences we might want to target in our podcasts. They force us to understand more deeply who we’re voting for and what stops those people that we’re building for from achieving their goals. And I think if we agree as a team on who these people are, and you’ll see there’s only four of them, so we try to keep the overall number small, if we agree on who that small group of people are, then it’s much more likely that we’ll all be on the same page as we build the product and the company.


Next slide. But equally importantly, and almost more importantly in my mind, personas promote empathy. There’s a lot of research that demonstrates that our brains are just wired to empathize more with individuals than with groups. So when we’re designing a product for someone who has a name, who has a personal story, we remind ourselves that we’re building for real people. And of course, as we all know from our own lives, real people have limitations in their abilities and in their resources, they have needs that are informed by personal beliefs and their behaviors, like all of ours, exist within a very complex emotional, psychological, cultural and familial context. And I think it’s important to also note that one of the things about having personas that we get to know is that ultimately we may be building, we probably will be building from people that are different from ourselves or maybe aren’t even represented by actual people on the team. And so we have to get to know our users separately from our own experiences.


Next slide. And so there’s really a power in transitioning our thinking into our persona framework. And these are just some examples that I think are helpful to understand the differences in the way that we think when we use personas. So let’s say that we’re starting with a product question of something like, “What should we recommend as a food swap for oatmeal?” We can reframe that in terms of a persona by saying, “What foods does Maureen, one of our personas, have access to?” When we ask it like that, it makes it much easier for us to narrow the world of possibility of how we might answer that product question because we can get in the mindset of how Maureen actually functions and what makes her tick.


Likewise, let’s say we’re trying to decide how scientific should the blood panel result explanations be, and then we might ask ourselves instead, “Well, how much does Maureen know about metabolic health?” So what kind of explanation would be meaningful to her? And then finally, maybe a question like, “Should we ask our users to walk after meals?” We might ask ourselves, “Well, does Maureen live in a neighborhood that is safe and walkable?” So this is the kind of reframing that I think you can see really helps with alignment and clarity and just simplifies the product development process.


Next slide. And just briefly here, and there’s an entire memo on this and also decks, you can dive much more deeply into this, but just wanted to touch on how these personas were created. Personas are informed by research and they’re brought to life through imagination. So it’s kind of an art and a science where you’re taking quantitative and qualitative data, for example, user demographics that we track or demographics that we know about who our social audiences are, and we combine that with qualitative data like the community calls that we do, the comments that we see in our Facebook group, and we take that whole picture of research and data and then we essentially use our imaginations to create as much of a real and realistic person as possible.


And I think one thing that I want to make sure that we touch on is that the personas are not aspirational. So this is not us saying, “Who would we like to serve? Who are we even trying to serve?” It’s much more meant to be a realistic reflection of our current users and the people who might become our users in the next six to 12 months. And this means two things. One is that we have to be constantly thinking about who these people are, but also who our personas might be in the future. And also as you, I’m going to introduce to you who the personas are, but just know that we will be readdressing and reevaluating these personas every six months so that we make sure that we are continuing to reflect our users in those personas. So you can expect changes, but this is where we are so far.


Next slide. So now onto introducing our personas and the goal is that these will all start to feel like good friends of ours. So we have four, Maureen, Jessica, Andrew, and Kevin, and I’m going to just quickly give you a brief intro to each one. Next slide. So this is Maureen Fisher. She is a retired therapist in her mid-fifties. She lives in Marin, California. She’s been married for 25 years. Her husband is a business executive and she lives in her home with a golden retriever and she has two kids in college. So Maureen’s main health focus is around menopause and the low quality sleep and weight gain that came with it. In terms of her engagement with Levels, she tends to score in the 70s to 80s. She loves trying new metabolically healthy recipes and she’s super active in the Levels Facebook group. If she wasn’t using Levels, she would probably try a personal trainer or a dietician.


Next slide. Our second persona is Jessica. Jessica is a business development professional at Google. She’s a high earner, she’s in her early 30s, she lives in Brooklyn. She’s been in a relationship for about six months and she got her bachelor’s right there in New York City at NYU. For Jessica, her focus is on weight loss, acne and hormonal balance. She’s been told by doctors that she has borderline PCOS and she’s tried conventional restriction diets in the past, but they haven’t really worked for her. So she’s recently joined Levels and she essentially cycles between what she calls good days and bad days. So on her good days, she scores more in the 70s. On her bad days where she’s snacking a lot in the Google Cafe, she’s scoring more in the 50s. If she wasn’t using levels, she would probably use or try Whole30 or Noom or maybe MyFitnessPal.


Next slide. Persona number three is Mr. Andrew. He is a 35-year-old living in Austin, Texas. He is an attorney at a law firm, also a high earner. He’s single right now. He has a law degree from Duke. And his health focus is really performance and longevity, and he’s been trying to optimize his health for about two years. So when it comes to Levels for him, he scores in the 80s to 90s. He’s done our metabolic panel twice and plans to do it several times in the future. He listens to all of the Whole New Levels episodes among other podcasts. And for him, if he wasn’t doing levels, he would probably go to Nutrisense, Signos, or would just try to find a physician who is willing to prescribe him a CGM.


And finally, next slide. Our final persona is Kevin. Kevin is a father of two young kids. He’s in his early 40s living in Redwood City. He is a software engineer at LinkedIn. His partner is also a software engineer, but at a startup. And for Kevin, really his focus is on getting his health to be a priority again after having kids. He has very little time, but he’d really like to lose some of the weight that he gained after becoming a parent and just really put his own health back as a high priority in his life, which has fallen off. When it comes to Levels, he tends to score in the 50s to 60s, and the alternative for him for Levels is if he wasn’t using us, he would probably just do nothing simply because of the time constraints and how busy his life is. But he’s also thought about maybe doing Weight Watchers or Noom.


So these are our four personas. Next slide. And the ask for our team is one, to check out the resources, which is the user personas memo where it goes into all of this, and you will find all kinds of interesting information about these people. The podcasts they listen to, the workouts that they focus on, what their daily schedule is like, so you can really figure out what it’s like to be in the head of Maureen or of Andrew. And the second thing is the persona’s deck. Again, all the information is there and the link is in the memo.


And then the real request for everybody is that we just, like I said at the beginning, we just really try to become friends with these personas. We should all know their names, we should all understand who they are. They should feel very familiar to us. So that one, we have a common language when we’re making decisions where we can say things like, “Well, I don’t know. I don’t think that Andrew would actually do that, right?” So that we all know who we’re talking about, but also so that we can really get in the mindset of the people and the problems that we’re trying to solve for them. And that’s it. Thanks everybody.

Josh Clemente (45:38):

Amazing. Thank you, Lauren and everyone who contributed to these. I do highly recommend the deck. There’s a ton of details in there, including brands that they might affiliate with. It really helps you get in the mind and create that friendship. So thank you, Lauren. Looking forward to continuing to build on these personas. All right, Paul has an experimentation segment on mobile first.

Paul (45:58):

Yeah, I’ll try to go quickly on this. So a few learnings sparked while working on the website memo that I put together earlier this month and the main learning is that we should think mobile first. So here’s a quote that a wise man once said: “Does it look good on desktop?” rather than inverse, which we’d normally hear, would be, “Does it look good on mobile?” All this is in reference to when designing webpages. Mobile should not be an afterthought, but rather the main focus. And given that our app, the Levels app itself is available in mobile, so that’s kind of a given as well.


Next slide please. So the reasoning behind this is that about 65% of our web traffic visitors use the mobile devices to access it regardless if it’s on a blog or our main homepage. So I broke it down into different categories and also throughout the years, and you could see that the trend, even since we launched, has been mobile first.


Next slide. So if we look at a checkout stats, we see that mobile takes the lead again, but it has a slightly lower conversion rate than desktop users. From my past experience, desktop usage always dominated the checkout flow, but as you can see from our own data, we see that we need to be more mindful in ensuring that the checkout flow is seamless.


Next slide. Since we’re launching in the UK, we should treat the data that we have from each region separately as both member feedback and online behavior could be different. In this example, we see that the breakdown on device category is nearly identical apart from the 2% more tablet users you see in the UK than in the US.


Next slide. But if you look at the breakdown of the age and gender for these two regions, you’ll see that the audience spread is different. Right now, men aged between 25 and 34 dominate the UK market, while women aged 25 to 44 for the US. We can go into deeper analysis on this, but this is a quick high level view of our web traffic and it doesn’t reflect our sales or anything, it’s just the web traffic.


Next slide. When designing and QAing our website, it’s also important to test on different browsers. If you look quickly here, you could see that the data for both our desktop and mobile is slightly different. More mobile users use the Safari, while on desktop, they use Chrome. And we should also be mindful of Safari in-app for mobile for people visiting our website through Instagram or whatever other app there is.


Next slide. Then for site speed, I won’t stay too long in this one, but we found that our website takes a long time to load for users on mobile and this applies to all three main sections of our website, which is the homepage, the blog homepage, and our top articles. And I also had other slides, but it just shows that the site speed needs some work.


And then next slide. So I spoke mostly about behavioral feedback, which is the data that we get from Google Analytics, but member feedback is more important, or just as important. And this example here revolves around their post-purchase customer experience. Our support team has gotten feedback and requests around account management such as asking for options to kind of pause or advance recurring orders and other things. So it’s important to ensure that every touchpoint that we have throughout the customer journey is a positive one, and that our product and engineering team are actually working on this now.


Next slide. So what’s next? The website redesign is on its way and we have to make sure that we not only use the data that we have, but also make calculated decisions on what the design and copy should be. But it’s also important to kind of iterate as we go and not consider the website finished when we actually finish it. And I’m thinking mobile first might even go further than a website and it could extend to the content to recreate. For example, maybe at some point in the future, Tony can flip his camera sideways to record in portrait mode rather than landscape to better frame our content for social media, which is mainly consumed through mobile devices anyways. Thanks.

Josh Clemente (50:24):

Awesome. Thank you, Paul. The insights on mobile versus desktop are not necessarily something that someone like me would think about, but it’s pretty obvious that it’s a huge factor, and I love that camera rig there, Tony. We’ve got to get you set up. Right, we’re going to dive through the rest here. Hiring updates. So we’ve got Taylor starting this week on support, and then we’ve got Priya who has joined the team and she’ll be starting in October, October 17th, also on support. Very excited for both of them to join and continue to help us on the amazing support team. And then open roles, software engineering, backend, mobile, people operations generalists, which Miz is going to talk to in just a second, and the research and development engineering role is still open. And then generally, anyone interested in joining the Levels culture, Levels mission, Miz.

Michael Mizrahi (51:17):

Cool. Yeah, just wanted to give a quick update on the people operations generalist role that we posted. Thanks Tom for the nudge last week to explain the new roles that we’re posting just for awareness for everyone. So this one posted earlier in the week, looking for someone with past people, culture, operations experience in a growth environment, a startup or other tech company really to help us in four big areas: people, programs, things like compensation, benefits, adjustments, all those kinds of processes that we run. As the team has gotten larger, we’re 55 people now, the complexity of running these is increased, and so we’re looking for some help there. We’re looking for help on the people admin side. So likewise, with 55 people, insurance questions, enrollment questions, HR benefits, guidance, internal support, there’s a lot of hands that need to touch this and having a dedicated owner there will go a very long way to lead to a better employee experience and as well as just company efficiency.


People developments or training resources, culture guidance, L&D, career development. These are things that are really important to start thinking about and planning for and programming. It doesn’t happen on its own and so a lot of people have great experience in this space and we’re looking to bring some of that in-house. And finally, the team rituals that we all kind of run collaboratively. Sissy and Matt, thanks for help on the deep work sessions this week, Mike’s running assemblage, which is coming up in three weeks, everyone. Mark your calendars and make sure you’re ready. Meetups, forums like this one, Friday Fireside, AMA, Donut chats, there’s so much that we need to do to keep the team connected and make sure everyone has the right outlet, and so this will be part of that role.


So posted earlier in the week, we have a ton of really, really great candidates, starting to meet with some of them. And if you know anyone who might be a fit, feel free to point them to that job description Internal referrals have helped with a lot of our hires. A lot of you are here because of someone that referred you in from our network or existing employees. So that’s a plug for internal referrals and network referrals. That’s it for this one. Thanks guys.

Josh Clemente (53:19):

Awesome. Thanks, Miz. Excited for that role. All right. Made it through. Got a few minutes here. We want to do a few individual contributions, if anyone would like to raise your hand to share something, and we’ll just go down list. Riley.

Ryley Walker (53:35):

It’s been really good. I wanted to shout out, it’s been really amazing working with Karen on the UK launch stuff. She is such a good operator, keeps projects moving and everyone on their toes, so really, really enjoyed working with her and her pushing through that result. So that’s great to see the UK side. Personally, really looking forward to a bunch of meetups this month. So I think Chris is in [inaudible 00:54:04] this weekend going to SF in a couple weeks and then assemblage at the end of the month. So busy month for meetups and excited for it.

Josh Clemente (54:13):

Love it. Enjoy those. Rebecca.

Rebecca Breske (54:16):

So this weekend I’m visiting my future in-laws and we’re doing our wedding showers. So I’m in Missouri and so I also got to test out, this is my first time traveling since starting this job, so it’s been kind of fun to test out the whole remote and traveling.

Josh Clemente (54:31):

Very nice. Congratulations. It’s a big day. Enjoy. Hui.

Hui Lu (54:35):

Yeah, so this forum is really a packed full of really exciting updates on the user persona one, and I definitely want to shout out to the whole product design engineering team on the really hard work on scoring v2 and logging v2. Yeah, I think it’s just a very good teamwork. Everyone’s really shown ownership mindset, hard work, diligence, and I’m just so proud of being part of the team. Yeah.

Josh Clemente (55:08):

Love it. Miz.

Michael Mizrahi (55:11):

Yeah, professional side. Shout out to Lauren. I’m usually salty on O K R process and this really pulled together nicely, so excited for the alignment that comes from it and thanks everyone for all the work on that. And then on the personal gratitude side, Braden, you’ve inspired us, you’ve defined the culture in so, so many ways and we’ll have a little café afterwards, but thank you so much. We couldn’t have asked for a better early support hire and partner for the whole company. So yeah, we’ll miss you.

Josh Clemente (55:38):

Yes, Braden, we will miss you. Ian.

Ian Schumann (55:43):

On the work side, just hit a big milestone in the UK project this morning UK time. Kind of got there by the skin of our teeth, but super psyched to see a real sympathetic, tolerant [inaudible 00:55:57] kind of customer get end-to-end through that flow. On the personal side, just looking forward to some travel this fall, two or three trips in the works.

Josh Clemente (56:06):

Nice, and congrats on that flow. Tom.

Tom Griffin (56:11):

Yeah, I think one of the themes that emerged this week for me was just a lot of external validation about levels. So a couple of calls this week. I had a call with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and they just said that they’re waiting to partner with us because we’re obviously not only the leader in the metabolic health space, but clearly the leader in the consumer health space, broadly speaking. So just amazing to hear these words. And also had three different friends reach out to me this week with people in their network who have been trying through every way they can to connect with someone on the Levels team, so it just seems like we’re perceived in such a positive light from the outside world, which is amazing.

Josh Clemente (56:52):

Love to hear it all. It’s exciting. Huge week this week. Action packed, a minute over here. Thanks everyone for all the work, sharing here on the forum, and have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. We’ll see you all next week.