September 9, 2022

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

Ben Grynol (00:00):

Welcome to Friday Forum, September 9th, 2022. Here we go. So influencers continue to reach out. Very, very cool to see that Jay Shetty, whom many of us are familiar with, reached out to Casey. Jay has a very large following on Instagram, 11 million plus followers, and then the number 35 highest ranked podcast in the US. When we continue to have this, it’s just incredible. It shows that people are listening and paying attention and seeing what’s happening and interested in the space. So love seeing when those things happen, and especially when it’s sort of unknown and unexpected that it happens. Partners continue to drive conversion. So Bobby Parrish, FLAVCITY across many different platforms, posted his first YouTube video, which generated 185,000 views, 700 comments, and 27 conversions in four days. So as we have partners act as conversion leavers, it opens up new audiences, new opportunities and new channels to spread information about what we’re doing and some of the benefits around monitoring glucose.


Email experiments build engagement. So the first community newsletter went out, 58% open rate, and the monthly product email that Cosima was running point on 64% open rate. And the key is, it’s not that the open rates are high, it’s that the unsub rates are super low. So people, even though we’re putting out newsletter and putting out information about product features and community, people are interested in what’s being communicated. And the key is the value of the information that we put out so that people want to learn more about what we’re doing. Improving web infrastructure to drive demand capture. So Paul and JM are working on everything related to web and phase one of five is done for the website redesign. So that involved auditing the site, using a lot of the data that we have and some of the analytics, and then collecting feedback from both members and non-members to make sure that we’re not getting bias information where, oh, the site looks great and we love it, but taking all of these data points into account.


And then phase two is underway and that’s optimizing some of the key elements of the site, that being the header, the footer, the menus to make sure that where people are looking for information is clear and easy to find and easy to navigate. Startup infrastructure, this is something that Miz highlighted during the week and we should always revisit and reframe. We’re a startup and we work with a lot of startups, and part of that game is that the infrastructure can drive some low lights. So it was announced this week that Scarlet Health reduced coverage to five states, and Truepill ran out of boxes for each of the type of hardware that we offer for the course of one week. And this caused some delays in order. So the important thing is that this can happen and what makes it manageable is when you have a world-class support team that can work through some of these issues so that nothing is panic and nothing is overly reacted to, but it’s something that we all work together to help solve these problems when they arise.


Owned media experiments drive growth. So different formats across different platforms lead to increased traction. So we’ve been experimenting on Instagram with content with members, some video content and then also on YouTube content with thought leaders. And what we’re finding is that leaning into the specific audiences on each platform is helping us to get more impressions and engagement, which leads ultimately to a lot of audience growth. And then lastly, earned media drives organic awareness. We’ve got different people sharing user generated content. Dr. Lara Hyde posted a video on an apple cider vinegar experiment to see how ACV could offset glucose levels and the impact of it. And Melissa McAllister and Jen Brown, two other influencers on Instagram shared posts and continue to show Levels integrated into their lives. As far as other things though, Taylor was on What the Funk? Casey recorded for Jon’s podcast or released that for Jon’s podcast One Day. And then also on Honestly.


Lauren and Jackie did a podcast for A Whole New Level. And then Azure and Sissy and both around women’s health and how metabolic health pertains to women’s health and hormones. And so very interesting content there. And then lastly, what are we missing here? Oh, fat burning sweet spot. So there’s an experiment that’s being run between research and community, and this is internal to see if we can use CGMs to help detect zone two and when we are in zone two. So that is getting kicked off this week, and if that works, then we’ll scale that to the external community. It’s something that we did with a vinegar experiment, which was released this week, and we’ve already got 75 signups from the newsletter that went out, which is really cool to see. So other than that, one last tweet and, “never in a million years did I expect that a blood sugar tracking app would be something that I love so much.”


So it’s showing kudos to everyone who’s putting so much time and attention into building a product that really resonates with people and that they love. So with that on to Jon. So Jon Bier is our guest this week, and Jon is a founder and CEO of Jack Taylor, our press partner who many of us are familiar with. And Jon and his team have been instrumental in helping us to spread awareness about metabolic health. So with that said, Jon and the team work with a ton of different startups in the health tech space and it would be great to hear about not only your experience in using Levels, but also some of the things that you’re seeing in the space and how you’re thinking about wearables in the future of where things might be headed.

Jon Bier (05:33):

Yeah, I mean, thanks for having me guys. You guys are such good partners and just super grateful for you guys. I spotted the potential for you guys a couple of years ago from the perspective that we can’t do this for 98% of brands. There’s just, if you’re a brand that isn’t creating a story that is attached to the thing that you’re selling, if you’re not solving a big problem in culture, if there’s not an appetite for the story that you’re telling, then you should buy Super Bowl ads, you should… And I’m not poo-pooing it. A lot of the brands that I love most, I just can’t do authentic storytelling around because it’s not there. But they should do jingles. They should create emotional stories that are attached to things that they want the product to resonate with but aren’t actually in the product itself. And that’s dope and that’s true marketing, but that’s not what we do.


We do authentic storytelling around brands that are basically news and telling a conversation in culture and solving a really big problem in culture. And the interesting thing, or one of the many interesting things about you guys is that if I’m looking at the biggest problem to solve, it’s healthcare, that is the biggest problem. And the system is being taken down in the sense that we’re in the middle of a revolution. Healthcare has not really changed in our grandparents’ lifetimes from us really significantly in the terms that it was reactive and generic. And now healthcare is increasingly proactive and personal. And when you think of the power of that, it’s world changing. It’s literally the biggest thing that you could possibly be working on. And it’s not like, “Oh, maybe this is going to catch.” We’re in the middle of the revolution, but from a story perspective, we are at the beginning. Culture, pop culture has not really understood this on a mass level yet.


So as much momentum as we have had, the collective we, it’s just, just starting and every day it gets more and more interesting. And one of the things that is so cool and it is essential for us is if we were just selling a product, it’s very limiting. It’s limiting on hardware, it’s limiting on software, it’s limiting on a new software. If we’re telling a story about a problem, if we’re educating about metabolic health for example, it’s endless. And that’s the spot that we find ourselves in and that you guys are owning in the marketplace. And it is really, if you think about that stuff on a deep level and you compare it to other brands and things like that, you are really just at the beginning of this conversation.

Ben Grynol (08:49):

Love it. Very, very cool. Would also love to hear just about your experience in using Levels. I know posts will pop up now and again on your feet as far as you wearing it. But yeah, just some of the thoughts you have around how the product… I mean, you’ve been here since the beginning and seeing the iterations of product and some of the changes that you’ve made in your life based on using it would be very cool for the team to hear.

Jon Bier (09:11):

I’m really weird because I am more level than anyone else on my team, just naturally, no matter what I eat, it’s fairly level. And if there is a spike, it tends to spike down, it tends to go hypo more than hyper. But for me, and I know that it is a serious problem that we’re solving, but I find it fun more than anything else. And if I’m looking at what I’m most excited about from a growth perspective, for Levels is actually creating that community with those things that are actually interesting and fun and informative that, I don’t want to say gamify, but kind of. And like a vinegar experiment for example. That’s an interesting way to draw in community.


And other thing is I like wearing my Levels. What I mean is I like my Levels to be visible. It’s like to me wearing an accessory that creates a conversation that I’m excited to have. And it used to be like, “What’s that?” And then people are like, “Oh, are you diabetic? What’s the deal with that thing?” And now they’re like, “Oh, shit, that’s Levels. How is it? I heard it’s awesome.” And that’s great.

Ben Grynol (10:49):

Amazing. Well, thank you so much truly for all the work that you and the team are doing and sharing your anecdotes about where things are headed in the space, experience with the product. We do have a full meeting. You’re very welcome to stay, pipe in, join in, or if you have to hop off, whenever that is, totally cool too. But appreciate you carving out the time and it’s great to have you and the JTPR team on our side.

Jon Bier (11:13):

Yeah, appreciate your guys. Thank you very much. And I’ll stick around for a while.

Ben Grynol (11:17):

Cool. Thanks, Jon. All right, onto Taylor. So welcome Taylor Maniscalchi. Taylor has joined the ops team and very exciting to watch the team grow. So Taylor, you can take it away.

Taylor Maniscalchi (11:30):

Excellent pronunciation on my last name, by the way. Well, it’s great to be here. I’ve gotten a chance to meet like a dozen people already this week, which for a short week at a company our size and async, I’d say that’s pretty good. It’s been a long time coming. I interviewed back in the spring and that’s actually when I became a Levels customer too. That was around I think April and I got to see firsthand what it was really like. And honestly I cannot say it better than Jon just did. We are really at the beginning of this complete revolution in healthcare and where people are really taking charge of their health and I’ve had my own experience with that. And so I really wanted to be a part of something that allows people to do that and champions just putting information back in the hands of the patient so they can do what they need to do about their health. So really excited to be here, stoked on the culture, stoked on the team, just really, really happy to be here.

Ben Grynol (12:34):

Amazing. Well, we are very excited to have you two and to lean into everything remote and async and every new person that we bring on adds to the culture. So super stoked to have you here as well.

Taylor Maniscalchi (12:44):


Ben Grynol (12:47):

All right. Culture and kudos. So Banff is not only the hotspot in Canada, but it is apparently the hotspot of Levels meetups these days. I think Paul is there right now. Ryley and Chris had a meetup this week. Matt was there recently. Banff is truly beautiful if you haven’t been there but hat tip to Ryley and Chris, Chris made the, I think it’s a five hour drive and made it up north, so it’s always great seeing those. Jhon has been digging into everything around logging and he does what he does so well, which is continuing to test, iterate, test, iterate, and just build it out incrementally. And so appreciate all the work that Jhon has been putting into building out logging and making it better. Scott did a very important thing this week, which we all need to keep doing, and that is around the idea of descoping and deprioritizing projects where we don’t necessarily need things.


And this can be hard sometimes because it can feel like we might cause tension by questioning whether or not certain parts of projects should be there. But he reached out and he said, “What are the thoughts around removing this one part, gift cards, any work pertaining to that in engineering so that we can expedite the other parts of the project that actually matter?” And just by doing that, it leads to conversation where we might make assumptions where parts of projects need to be included and sometimes they don’t and sometimes it’s a matter of just reducing the project scope immensely so we can iterate faster. So hat tip to Scott on that.


And then lastly, Galit had organized a virtual, we’ll call it a virtual event or meetup for the engineering team. But the reason this is important is sometimes I think it’s easy to wait for companies to organize things and informally when we start to do this, this could be like a virtual, “Hey, should we have lunch with four or five of us?” Or whatever it is. And so she organized this event and everyone on the engineering team was super excited and the general sentiment and feedback was everyone had so much fun just carving out time in the day. So hat tip to Galit for taking this on and just doing it, not asking for permission, and these are all the little cultural things that as we grow are super important, so kudos to everyone.


New slide. So revisiting a slide. Miz presented this last week and it’s a number of values and principles that we have, but what we’re going to try and experiment with is taking one of these values and highlighting it. Maybe we do this on a rotating basis where somebody can talk about one of the values, but this week it’s all written in pencil. This is a reminder that almost every decision we make is probably a two-way door and it’s probably not a sink the ship decision. And so knowing that we can work on things, we can erase them at any time, we can revisit them and we can scrap them because essentially things add up to project debt and sunk costs very quickly if we don’t think about things always being written in pencil. So we’ll revisit this and if it lands every week, any feedback on this is great, but if it lands, we’ll keep doing it. If it doesn’t, it’s all written in pencil.


Company objectives. Levels shows you how food affects your health. If you’re not working on this as a priority, make sure you flag it. As far as objectives, member retention, improving health metrics and new member acquisition, those are the three things we should be working towards. OKRs when those get finalized. That will also help us to get alignment on the overall company objectives and how our functional objectives tie into each of these.


Sam, are you here? I’m guessing no. Okay, so Sam said if he’s not here, I’ll take this. So we are doing an org structure update and what we’re doing is we are splitting growth into demand gen and demand capture. And the easiest framework, the way Sam likes to discuss it is demand gen is building a media company and demand capture is around acquisition and capturing all the members that we do so much to generate awareness around whether it’s JTPR or anyone that’s driving traffic to our website. And so in this JM’s taking on Paul, Jackie and Tom on his team to have resourcing and then we’ve got everyone else that is part of the growth org being under demand capture. So if you think of it more as media, content, awareness and then capture is more on the acquisition side of things. So it’s still a growth umbrella and the idea is that growth has a very wide footprint as do functions like ops or engineering.


And so the more that we can double down and say how can we break these things apart, knowing that, not to be cliche about it, but everything is written in pencil. The more we can revisit and say how do we make more impact with a wider footprint as opposed to siloing things into some function because we named it a certain function at one time. So super exciting to have that and to have more resourcing for JM and everyone working on his team to be able to make more impact, so. Oh and Sam is hosting an A&A next week. So if anyone has questions around this and how the company will evolve, that’s the most important thing is a lot of our functions will continue to evolve. And so having that lens that nothing’s set in stone and if you want to do the A&A with Sam next week, that will be on the calendar. Demand capture. Here we go. Okay, JM, I have to spotlight you.

Josh Mohrer (18:02):

All right.

Ben Grynol (18:03):

Give me a sec here.

Josh Mohrer (18:05):

I think you’d want to first stop the… Thanks. You did it.

Ben Grynol (18:08):

We’re good.

Josh Mohrer (18:09):

Okay. We’re doing a live JM show. I’ll be talking roughly 20% slower. Okay. Ben and I have a theme that we talk about now a lot called eyeballs, emails and orders. Everyone who… Well, so something that I highlighted in a memo I wrote last month was that many of the people who bought historically were already on the wait list. They were getting our emails, maybe they found us through natural search, they found the blog, they liked what they saw, they heard us on a podcast, all the different ways they might come and sign up for the wait list, which was essentially joining our email list, which got you a beautiful email every week with new content. And that sort of engagement was really important as folks made their way to buying. And even upstream of that is the eyeballs, which is all the great stuff we do on the blog and on YouTube and podcasts and all the media stuff that Ben and folk are working on.


So we get their eyeballs and then we want to get their email address so that they’ll see what we do and then eventually buy. I wanted to highlight natural search has been extremely good to us. This is the algorithms in the sky saying those folks at Levels have some authority on this topic. We should send them a lot of traffic. And they’ve been doing that. The Google line is going up in to the right. This is the daily search traffic. So right now you see we’re getting about 3,000 visitors a day. That is no joke. And about half is going to our main site and about half going to the blog, maybe a little more than half going to the blog and it’s really wonderful. Something that I noticed last month or a couple months ago is that the waitlist shutting off really reduced the number of email addresses that we were able to capture.


This is emails that we get every month. Waitlist is a big part of this as was obviously if you bought or if you tried to buy and you entered email in the first step, you were on our email list there too. And with liftoff and the wait list ending, we started collecting way fewer email addresses. And so being that if we get your email address, you start getting all the content from us, that increases your likelihood of buying. Not collecting email addresses is a problem. So over the last month or two, we’ve put some things into place including this modal here. Again, I don’t think you can… I’ll just sit on top of Brittany’s shoulder here. You might see this on the blog, sign up and start getting your email there. And that’s been live for about five weeks. We’ve collected about 3,600 email addresses and over 400 of them have bought.


It makes sense. They sign up, they start getting our amazing emails, the nurture series from Haney, the blog, the updates every week, the different flavors of emails that we send. They’re incredibly good and incredibly effective. And so absent that, we saw the dip. And so now we’re collecting emails again and we’re going to try to get that going to hopefully get something like a hundred thousand email addresses in October, November, December of this year with some other things in the hopper, including getting email again at step one, a PDF version of one of our ultimate guides that Ben and Haney are working on. Very cool idea here that maybe you’ll sign up and get this in your email. A lot of good stuff in the works, but I wanted to kind of share some of that just surface level some of the things that we’re working on on the demand and capture side. And so that’s all for me. Thanks, guys.

Ben Grynol (22:02):

Amazing. Thank you, JM. Now, I have to un-spotlight you. Or did you do it?

Josh Mohrer (22:09):

I think yeah, I’ll remove spotlight and then you can just go back to sharing.

Ben Grynol (22:14):

Good show. There we go. I think we’re back. Before moving on to product. Love it though. That’s the framework that eyeballs, emails, orders is exactly what we’re working on. So every week between demand gen and demand capture, we’ll do some type of update but continuing to iterate and tweak on all these little things saying how can we keep driving more eyeballs as top of funnel? And then what can we do from a lead gen or lead capture standpoint. So very cool. Love the recap and all the data associated. Maz, are you taking product or is Cosima?

Maziar Brumand (22:49):

Okay, so we’re going to talk about the product. And our product, we’re thinking about it in layers. If you think about it, we want people to have the best experience when they come in. There is this entry moment. We know that everybody eats and our product is focused on helping people see how food affects their health. So we want people to come in and have a wonderful magical 30 day experience. And that’s all around understanding how food affects your health, and really want that experience to be the experience that builds trust, that people see us as a guide for their metabolic health. And through that experience then we go into an experience that we keep them for a long time. And the characteristics of products that are retentive are products that have a continuous value, meaning value doesn’t ebb and flow. It is always there. They are also typically low effort. To be able to be in something, it is very hard to maintain high effort for a long time. And also it has to be a manageable cost.


So really the first experience is people come in, learn about how food affects their health, get a magical experience, build that trust with the brand and see us really as a partner in their journey. The second layer is really something that they can continue to get value at low effort and low additional costs. And then there are growth accelerators where it is effectively magical experience for a soft set of our members that really feels personal, really feels magical and really helps them achieve their goal in a personalized way. And those things could be things like focusing on a subgroup, for example, women’s health. So if you think about the product, it certainly through the three layers. It is getting people in, having a magical experience, build trust, have a continuous experience that they’re getting value at low effort and low additional cost and then really boost it for when people really need something in their life and drive the value and drive the magic.


So it’s really that and we think about those in those terms. And if you think about our features, our features are laid out like that, like the great content that we’re working on will be a retention layer. The great Labs that we’re working on will be a retention layer. The scoring and seeing how the CGM and the biofeedback that is providing to you is a little bit more effort and you will come in and out of that as especially in the beginning and throughout the life of the product. Going to the next slide. Also, when we think about products, we want it to be scalable. So just like a great cake, we want the ingredients, we want to double down on ingredients that are sustainable and scalable. So if you think about our world, the things that we can continue to scale infinitely is continue to make our software better, creating great content that people want to use and interact with and learn from, a community that’s rich, that encourages, motivates, rewards, provides learning, and really tapping into that and building that lattice of connection.


And then our great advisors, we have some of the best advisors in the world and really tapping into that knowledge base to make everything better and stronger. And then finally, teaser. There are other stuff we can do that we’re not going to talk about today, but there are a lot more things that we can bring that are going to create a sustainable experience and scaling. And we want to try to stay away from things that are not sustainable, things that are scarce, things that are highly difficult to manage and are costly. An example could be a big workforce of people that for example, provide like doctors. If we decided to employ a thousand doctors or 10,000 doctors tomorrow, that would not be a scalable thing compared to the other thing. So we’re going to continue to double down on things that are scalable and we may use things that are unscalable, but we will use them in a very deliberate way and always think about scalability and how that will play out for us as we want to go towards affecting a billion people and their health.


Next slide. All right, so we’re going to talk about the projects that are in flight. These are not the ones that are in production. These are somewhere between getting concept, in shipping and starting to be in production. So healthier food choices get handed off to engineering. So really excited to see that. Cosima and Victor are going to talk about Labs. We’re really excited how that work is shaping and I think it’s going to be a core part of the experience and we hope that people will love it. And we’re going to talk about app content, which Mike D is going to talk about. With that, I’ll turn it over to Cosima.

Cosima Travis (27:38):

Thanks. So on the next slide basically I’ll give a little bit of background on sort of what we see the value of Labs long-term, some of the goals that we’ve chosen to focus on for 2.0 and then what’s been going into shaping the panel. So if you go to the next slide. So we definitely see Labs as a retention feature in the long-term, but I think it’s important to also remember that this is also going to be a way for us to measure efficacy. So we’ve had articles about this in the blog and it’s very much an important thing for us to all remember that even though the CGM is our sort of great tool for real time insight, there is more going on in tracking metabolic health than just glucose alone. So having Labs is something that is used regularly by our members, is going to improve our ability to help members understand their metabolic health in a more holistic way.


And then from the retention side, what we really want to get to is a place where Labs becomes something that members use regularly to check in on their trajectory. So it might even be something that a member is not regularly wearing a CGM and they’re using Labs as a way to sort of check in on progress long-term. And when they start to veer off course, they might once again resume a CGM to kind of see how their daily habits are relating to their glucose spikes. If you go to the next slide. So a couple of things that we noticed in feedback that we got, and this was from a survey back in June from members who’d taken the panel. So what were kind of the main pain points? And this became our anchor for what we decided to focus on in 2.0. So one of the main ones was, “Hey, I’m not getting enough value for the price that I’m paying.”


And this we see as a really important kind of fundamental thing that we can change by looking at the levers, both the value and then of price as well. So on the value side, something that we’ve been exploring is how can we make the lab actually feel more personalized? There’s obviously tons of different nuance and details in every possible analyte combination, but what can we actually do to simplify and understand different patterns and explain that in a semi-personalized way to members. Another piece is that members were feeling, “What now? I don’t actually really know how to improve.” And so how can we bring them not only insights about the relationship between different analytes but also an actionable plan of what they can do to improve their metabolic health? And this kind of comes twofold. One is the actual panel itself. When you’re done seeing your results, we want members to feel that they actually are empowered and know what to do next, but also we shouldn’t just drop them out of the panel and sort of back into their everyday levels experience with no context.


We want them to feel that we are now aware and helping them manage these markers that maybe are not in the optimal range. Just going back to the idea of cost and value. So one thing we’re also trying to do in the spirit of building skateboards and scaling up is trying to find ways to simplify the panel so that we can focus on the number of analytes that we need to still get a really good pulse on someone’s metabolic health but not have such a large panel that it’s not only costly but filled with potential confounders in the data. So we want something that members can come back to and take regularly in order to see how they’re progressing over time. Another thing that has been missing and feedback we’ve gotten from Labs is, “Hey, I don’t know when to retake the test.” And part of why I put re in parentheses is obviously no one who took the test was saying that they don’t know when to take the test, but this is an implicit problem we have just by the number of how few of our members have actually taken Labs.


So something we want to do is make Labs not feel like this thing that’s kind of floating off in space as a separate experience, but something that’s really integrated into the whole journey. So making it much clearer how Labs gets introduced to a member, the reasons why it’s valuable, how their results get integrated into their daily journey. And then recommendations around when to come back and take another lab. If you go to the next slide. So a couple of things that we’ve been focused on, Victor is going to talk later about a lot of what we’ve been exploring around the experience at large, but focusing specifically on the panel, what we’ve been working on is trying to decide, okay, what analytes make sense to include in this panel and how can we make the panel feel actionable?


So some of the things that we’ve done so far, we ran some UXR. Taylor was the person talking in the video to the member and we sent this out to I think several hundred members and got back some feedback around what they found impactful about having video, what they found impactful about the explanations of energy systems and what felt actionable in terms of what to do next to improve your markers. We also have been working a lot kind of getting Lipidology 101 and learning about apoB. So apoB is something that we’re going to need to produce a lot more content around, but this is something that is really on the cutting edge as a much better way to track bad cholesterol rather than using LDL. And we’ve also been running mock panels, so both Rob Lustig and Casey ran some mock panels with internal team members and that gave us some great insights. If you go to the next slide.


So lots in progress. A lot of what’s in progress is us now trying to figure out, okay, there are going to be somewhere I think in the realm of 160 possible combinations of people’s results. How can we start to abstract these different sets of results into meaningful explanations for people that feel personal but are not down to the granular level? And one thing we’re also doing is trying to focus on the most common cases. Another thing we need to figure out is the information hierarchy. So we know we want to incorporate video, but what content is best, as video is something that we’re going to be working on. And then if you go to the next slide. Some of the things that are still upcoming. So getting tons more feedback and collaboration with research and more advisors on explaining the results and what the best interventions are depending on the results.


Also a lot more storyboarding and work with the content team around what we want to produce as videos. And this is something that we can slot into the experience in phases. So it doesn’t all need to be there right away, but we’ll probably do a Labs 2.1, 2.2, et cetera where we slot in more video content as we go. And then lastly, and this will be substantial as well, is collaborating with the content team to figure out what content we really need to support both in blog form but also potentially podcasts that help explore and explain the new analytes. In particular, we’ll be introducing apoB and uric acid and these are going to be important for us to have a perspective about and help our members understand. They’re sort of newer in the space and less common to see on a panel, which is exciting, but that means the job is on us to help our members understand. And that’s it.

Ben Grynol (35:21):

Awesome. Love seeing all the iteration and the work coming. Labs is such a great product and getting it to a new place it is even more valuable for members is great, so awesome work there. We are on to event-based insights. Here we go.

Mike DiDonato (35:37):

Perfect. Cool. So I just wanted to give a quick state of event-based insights update. It will include what the pipeline is now, how things are doing, and then a couple of fun demos to share with the team. So right now if you don’t know we have 20 live that have been launched to our members, seven that are in development and just about over the finish line, it should be ready within the next few days. And then right now we have an additional 14 that we can get started on in our database, but realistically we have a lot more. They just haven’t made it into the database yet. Next slide, Ben, please. So we receive strong qualitative feedback both internally and from members, but as with most things at Levels, we want to make sure even though it’s early, we want to capture that quantitative data to make sure that we’re not relying on intuition and making more data-driven decisions.


And for context, this data was pulled from July 25th onward and about 90-ish plus percent of the insights were not live yet. Why we chose that number, it was right around the time that our first oatmeal based insight went live to members. And what’s interesting, more than half of these have only been live for about seven to 10 days. Specifically our cauliflower swap and the salad dressing swap are performing pretty well with members. And going forward as we work cross-functionally with Haney, Sissy and community, Lauren and Stacy, and then obviously Sonja and Casey to develop new content, we’ll make sure that we’re leveraging the data to make sure that we’re creating insights that are resonating with our members. And one more slide, Ben. So I had a couple issues embedding the video, Ben, but I have two insight demos here. So if you can click on either one, so if you want to go to smoothie or low carb, it should take you to Loom.


I can’t hear the audio but there is audio to this. But anyway, so one of the biggest things about our event-based insights, we want to increase the ability and make it motivational. So as opposed to telling someone to make a smoothie, we want to show them the recipes, we want to make it fun and rewarding. And we have one other one, Ben, I don’t know if you want to show that? There’s a guest appearance from a familiar face. If you click on the low carb dessert swap one.


And then this is just more of a plug. So I’m not sure if everybody knows this, but… Oh cool. So the audio’s coming, but our own Lauren is creating some amazing content. I think Stacy is helping. And it’s a great example of using our behavioral design framework. So it’s got a trigger, it’s also increasing the ability, it’s super simple, all the ingredients are outlined and then it’s motivational and fun. And then you can jump back to the slide, Ben. And then that’s it. The only other thing, if you want to follow along and see all of what’s in flight,

Ben Grynol (39:20):

There we go. That is a good slug there, Mike D. Great update. Design. Here we go. I believe Alan or Viktor.

Viktor Engborg (39:31):

It’s me this time. I was just going to say great segue there from Cosima and Moz, but to start with a bit of a brief background and summary from their presentations. So a quick reminder of the key objectives we set out to solve for this product were. Next please. So one, we want to improve the efficacy by giving people a more comprehensive and holistic picture of the blood panel results, what it means, why you should care and how you can improve based on that. Number two is focus on retention by improving the value and guidance people find in each panel so that our members want to come back periodically for follow-up panels, not as a one-off test, but for long-term health. So to drive retention for Labs, we first have to make sure that people even know that it exists and how to find it. So next please.


At the other end of this we have the results page itself, which obviously will be key for Labs 2.0. This is very much a work in progress right now as we’re still finalizing details of what analytes to focus on and how to break those down and what’s important as a part of that. That’s why we started with what we’ve been calling Labs 1.1, which focuses on the last bullet that I mentioned, which is discovery and retention. So building the framework that supports the results page. Next please. So there are a few interesting paths and formats we want to try out here, and pretty low hanging fruit that should make this pretty easy for us to do. One is this kind of takeover treatment of the stability ring itself on the home screen to let people know about these important moments. For example, the first time I want to tell people about the panel, when you receive your results or for example three months after your results to remind people that it could be helpful to take another panel to track your progress and trends again for the long-term results. Next please.


We definitely also want to make better use of the notifications panel, which it exists today, but it’s very underutilized. This could work with and simultaneously to the home screen takeover treatment for these big moments. But we assume that people might dismiss the takeover treatment for various reasons and they should still be able to find the notifications for these big moments afterwards when it might fit their own schedule a bit better. Next please. Third, and this is still kind of a screen in progress as well, but we do want to utilize the test results screen to build excitement and anticipation by guiding people through this process. We want to let members know what to expect and how they can prepare both for the test itself and for the test results. And if we can, we’re not a hundred percent sure whether this is technical limits still, but even being able to tell people when they can expect the results back. Next please.


So one of the last things for this demo, we have an opportunity to rebrand our signup flow here to be a bit more in line with the experience that we want to provide people throughout, but also be more in line with our evolving brand. So if you click next here, it’s kind of a follow up to this. So the flow today works fine, but the UI is quickly becoming very outdated and we want to provide a better experience than just fine, right? So in this case, we simply apply the new design system that we’ve developed these last couple of weeks so that our purchase experience feels more like a natural part and extension of the app and not redirect it into something that feels very different. Next please. So looking forward, we’re exploring how to surface and provide the best experience for the test results page itself. I mentioned that. And if we can design and provide a better delivery system around push notifications that build excitement around test results and other big moments. So I’m looking forward to share more around that as we progress. Thank you.

Ben Grynol (43:53):

Awesome. Love seeing these design updates. I’m going to push along to Miz in an update about roles and performance feedback.

Michael Mizrahi (44:03):

Awesome. I’ll try to keep this to five or so minutes so that we have time for some shares, but might be a little quick, but I’ll move slowly. So I want to give an update on our people processes. We’ve been introducing a lot of concepts as the company has grown individually one by one, and we’re reaching a point where these are all starting to come together quite nicely and really are all necessary together to create a whole system. So we’ve learned a few things along the way, I’m going to share some of those learnings and how they’ve impacted these programs and processes that we’re introducing. And each line here, each gray line role expectations, levels, feedback, et cetera, each one of these has a supporting memo. And so there’s a lot of different content behind this. This is just the high level overview, but if you’re looking for the depth and understanding the philosophy and the thought process and the debate that went into each one of these, there are memos associated in true Levels fashion.


Cool. So let’s go to the next slide here. So learnings to date. Similarly to how we define ownership within areas and why we realized that that’s important. We’ve realized over time that defining responsibilities for each role is helpful. This isn’t meant to define and limit the role, but it’s just a foundation from which to grow and develop the role and the position from. This sounds kind of obvious, but if you rewind a year and a half, two years to a much smaller company, areas of ownership were really obvious and it wasn’t really necessary to delineate what someone was responsible for, where it ended, where it began, what was expected. It was just a different time. And so as we’ve grown, we need to start working differently. As much as we might wish we don’t or wish it would work differently, it’s kind of necessary to adjust to the size of team that we have.


And so that’s this first one. And this has come directly from a lot of feedback from managers, from performance reviews, from individuals, from the culture survey. It all responds to a lot of those comments. Second thing here, people want to know where they stand. It’s not possible to just kind of will this into existence and trust that everyone knows where they are. People want feedback from the folks they work with and not only do they want feedback, they want to know where they stand. And there’s a difference there. And I think we’ve learned that lesson. It’s not just about feedback but also being really clear with people. Second on that one, we don’t just want to know where we stand. We want to know how to get to where we’re going. What does it take? People have aspirations at Levels, beyond Levels. We’re a bunch of optimizers and we want to know how to kind of work the system. And so making sure that we play to that and meeting those expectations where they exist.


And on these notes, it’s not possible to do any of these in isolation. All of the programs support one another. And so a few more learnings really helpful and kind to be explicit and clear both when someone’s performing well and when they’re not meeting expectations. Clarity and directness and honesty as a part of the culture and we want to make sure that’s built in here. And then similarly to the lattice of cultural values, each of these really come together. All right, so onto the next slide. I’ll kind of run through a few of these memos and what each one entails. So the role expectations and levels, there’s a bunch of different pieces to this. In the top left you have roles that exist within the company. These are true, independent of anyone’s individual level or function.


Someone can be an IC, they can be a group leader, a people manager. And these also overlap quite a bit. But across each role there are levels as well which are beneath. These are now defined by the impact level that they have. So someone in a level three role has impact on their function. Versus level one where there’s impact on a project. And so there’s a lot more depth in the memo there. I won’t spend it here. The functions. Each of the function leaders over the last month came together and laid out the expectations for each level within each of their areas with a ton of definition that’s really graspable. So that’s strong work and I’ll encourage everyone to point to that. And within that, this came from some conversations with Moz and some of the culture conversations. Expectations of company values, expectations on core capabilities for the role and expectation of functional skills and the difference between all of those.


So all of these come together and they kind of build a nice map. And if you follow that, you reach the pot of gold at the end. Onto the next slide here. Performance management agreements. This is both for positive performance and areas where people need to improve, but the structure of this memo is we promised that you’ll know where you stand. Promise that in the event of underperformance, we’ll make a serious good faith effort to come up with a plan to get things back on track and promise to support everyone in their career goals at Levels, outside of Levels, whatever it is. These aren’t the easiest things to talk about, but talking about them explicitly and having clear documentation and plans and programs is really important, and that’s what this one does. Onto the next. Performance feedback and ratings. These are built on those role expectations I just laid out, powered by 360 feedback, by peer feedback, by manager feedback, by feedback from those you’re accountable with.


And we’ve laid out a rating system, one star through five stars. Most people are going to be in that three to four star range. The one and the five are really exceptions. And the two is a correction zone. And so giving clear results is helpful. People want to know where they stand and we’ve heard that feedback continually. And we develop this framework and we’ll try it, written in pencil. If it doesn’t work, we’ll make adjustments. But along with this came really clear expectations for how we’re going to handle role changes, promotions, transfers, level adjustments, all of that is standardized and the cycle on which we handle that, it’s standardized. The feedback process still runs ongoing. So it’s not a company wide season that kind of stops everyone in their tracks. It’s still meant to be lightweight, easy to run through, but there’s now a program in place then that started rolling out end of last month, so folks who are going through feedback now should be interfacing with that process. And we’ll update it along the way from feedback.


I’m past my five minutes. So we’ll jump through the last two really fast. Here slide. So development. Straightforward. If you’re in each one of those scores, there’s associated processes with it. It’s not just like you’re doing a great job, keep going or you’re exceptional, you’re promo. There’s opportunities for coaching, for leadership development, for taking courses, whatever you want to do. Take on different responsibilities. Each of those is now associated with a rating. Next slide here, Ben.


Comp philosophy everyone’s familiar with but now has more to stand on and more foundation, our proactive adjustments for cost of labor, aligned on benefits, all these kinds of things. And one more slide is the titles memo that came out two months ago in the spring where we focus on ownership and responsibility, not titles. Now that we have a framework for what’s expected within each role and how we define responsibility, we can really lean into this a little bit more. And so we’ve been inching in this direction, really testing it out because it feels like a big change, but we now have some good framework and systems that all support it. All right, sorry for the fire round. Three minutes for personal shares. More detail on this with a fireside next Thursday.

Ben Grynol (51:06):

Perfect. Thanks, Miz. Hiring updates. We will hammer through this. So we’ve got Priya joining the ops team October 17th. And then Evan is our first R&D intern starting September 19th. So very exciting to see that come together. Open roles. We’ve got software engineering, mobile eng, backend, generalist, software engineers, and then people ops generalists. If anyone knows of any people that would be a good fit for that role, we’ve got lots in the pipeline and always interested in meeting more candidates. And then R&D engineer, that role is still open. If there’s something else or we have to always remember, a lot of the best hires in any companies come from internal network referrals. So if you do know someone who’d be great for any role or specifically the ones we’ve got posted, make sure to flag it. Individual contributions. We have two minutes. Let’s try the hand raising feature here. Here we go. Mike D, kick it off.

Mike DiDonato (52:05):

Cool. So yeah, it’s been a ton going on in the company. I won’t talk about that. So it’s been a lot of fun to work on event-based insights and work with more people. And I just want to give a quick shout out to Cosima who’s been super helpful and super willing to help me navigate some things specifically post op and some of the analytics stuff. And then, yeah, personally I had a week of straight headaches. I’ve had 36 hours of none, so I’m pretty pump.

Ben Grynol (52:38):

Glad you’re back and feeling better now. Rob.

Robert Lustig (52:41):

I just got back last night from a two day workshop in Racine, Wisconsin trying to solidify the data on the Obesogen hypothesis, that is chemicals in the environment that promote weight gain unrelated to calories. And what I can say is, it all, the whole meeting could be summed down to one word, insulin. Okay? We are the best proxy for insulin there is. So we’re going to be playing a very big role in this issue and going on in the future. And the day when we have some form of insulin in real time monitoring, this place is just going to explode.

Ben Grynol (53:28):

Amazing. Love hearing the updates about insulin and all the awareness around it. Sonja.

Sonja Manning (53:35):

I just want to give a brief shout out to Lauren. It’s been so fun to watch her grow content on her Instagram and on podcasts. And Lauren, you’re just a natural storyteller and it’s so fun to see everything that you’re doing. So I just wanted to give a brief shout out to Lauren.

Ben Grynol (53:52):

Amazing. Plus one. Azure.

Azure Grant (53:57):

Hey, I’m super excited about Labs 2.0 and the stuff that Cosima and Moz and in product are doing right now as well as about the experiments that we’re doing. So good job, Cas.

Ben Grynol (54:08):

Amazing. Well, we are right at time. There we go. Appreciate everyone carving out time. And anyone, if there’s any last shares, we can do it right at the tail end or we can say salutations and have a great weekend.