Creating a movement through community
Dorothy Kilroy: What was amazing to me was that everyone in this town somewhere or another became part of this overall drama festival that was like a competition and you traveled around the country. But whether you were making the costumes, whether you were making the sandwiches, or the food to supply the people who were part of the competition, whether you were on stage, whether you were in the band, whether you were doing makeup, that was just like small towns can be an amazing way to see how everybody pitches in on one thing. And I was really lucky to see that at an early age. And when you feel the power of community, it really is about feeling like you belong.
Ben Grynol: I’m Ben Grynol, part of the early startup team here at Levels. We’re building tech that helps people to understand their metabolic health. And this is your front-row seat to everything we do. This is a whole new level.
Ben Grynol: Communities are this really interesting thing. You start to feel it with small towns. You know when you’re in a quaint group of people who really get to know each other, they connect, they find a way to relate when they’re going through a similar experience, whether it’s through shared interests, or doing something like Levels. Communities are what changed the culture.
Ben Grynol: And what we’ve started to find at Levels is that community is such an important aspect of what we’re doing. And it’s something that means a lot to us, and it means a lot to our members. And so we make sure that there are opportunities for community members to connect with each other, and opportunities for our team to connect with the community. It’s a symbiotic relationship between members and the Levels team.
Ben Grynol: And this week, I sat down with Dorothy Kilroy. Dorothy is one of our advisors and she’s focused on community. She and I chatted about her background in community. Currently Dorothy oversees community at Airbnb. She’s been there for a long time. She’s seen a lot of change with the way that Airbnb has evolved its community, some of the things that they’ve done from a global perspective to really make sure that there are opportunities for their hosts to connect with each other.
Ben Grynol: And so we’re taking some insight from Dorothy, some of her experience in building communities and really engage groups of people, and saying, “How can we apply those learnings to Levels?” A lot of Dorothy’s background and her experience growing up in Ireland, well, that’s what’s influenced her lens on what it means to build a community and to be part of that. The conversation was really rich, and it’s something that will continue to evolve as we build community at Levels. Here’s Dorothy.
Dorothy Kilroy: Let me start with who I am. So I’m Dorothy, I lead a community at Airbnb, is my current day job. I am from Ireland originally. I’m a mom, first of all, of adorable identical twin daughters who make me so happy.
Dorothy Kilroy: But I am also just a biohacker for life is what I’d call it. I just enjoy so much finding ways to better myself, my life, and just anything that helps with any type of better enjoyment of life. So, I’ve always been interested in hacking different ways to get to your best self.
Dorothy Kilroy: I grew up in Ireland. I grew up in a wonderful, very rural upbringing in the middle of Ireland, and had just great parents who were really interested in health. We grew everything that we ate growing up, mostly because it was convenient. We lived very remotely away from a lot of people. And it was a convenient way to live.
Dorothy Kilroy: But what I didn’t realize was what a luxury it was to actually, really understand what you were eating. My mom was really anti-sugar from a very early age. She believed that we shouldn’t have any and she thought it was really bad for us. So I was just lucky to grow up with somebody who taught us that very early on.
Dorothy Kilroy: And then when I moved to the States, I was about 20, 23, 24 years old, I was right out of college, and I came here for a job. I was so excited to live in California. And I was really surprised when I got here, just how, from a country that I thought was so innovative on so many levels and was the land of opportunity, I was really surprised at how backwards the health system was here.
Dorothy Kilroy: It just was actually really difficult to go get to see a doctor. And then when you saw one, they really wanted to rush you through and didn’t really focus on your overall health, they just wanted to focus on your problem and fix that problem. I found that really strange. That was so different to what I had been used to.
Dorothy Kilroy: They were also very eager to give you prescription meds for basically anything, but just not a whole lot of opportunity to discuss, like, “Well, why have you got, whatever symptom it was? Why are you getting recurring colds? Or why are you getting recurring issues with X, Y, or Z?” And I found that really fascinating.
Dorothy Kilroy: I also found the marketing of food just amazing here. I remember our first time moving and seeing fat-free foods and seeing it everywhere. I’d never seen that kind of marketing so overtly before. I think it was Twizzlers, I think you call them, those red vine that tastes really good sort of candy and just seeing fat-free plastered all over them and being so confused of like, “Wait, what? Why is this candy talking about fat?” That was just the most bizarre thing, I’d never seen marketing like that before.
Dorothy Kilroy: And just questioning a lot of that. One of the things that I think I’ve been so drawn to Levels is just the ability to give people data themselves to be proactive about their health. There’s just not a lot of that in the healthcare system here. It’s all very reactionary.
Dorothy Kilroy: Food here has, thankfully, I think the conversation has moved to how much you’re eating to a conversation more about what you’re eating. I’ve really seen that shift even in just the 15 years that I’ve been here. So that’s why I’m passionate about Levels.
Dorothy Kilroy: But what I’m also passionate about, and Ben you know this is, I really think that we, as a society, when we find other people who share the same values as ourselves, we really want to help each other. And so data is one thing, but finding a community or a tribe of people who share those values and who want to support each other and who want to be better and who wants to inspire each other and compete against each other at times, but also just to help just overall become better, then just magical things happen.
Dorothy Kilroy: And I think some of my backgrounds working at Airbnb and other work before that around community has really shown me why that’s so important. And I think that that’s an insane opportunity for Levels. So, a bit of a rant, but-
Ben Grynol: No, it’s good. So where you came from was, we got to paint the picture, Tullamore, Ireland.
Dorothy Kilroy: Yes.
Ben Grynol: Digression, great set for one of the best films of all time Waking Ned Devine. Anyway, Ireland, so 15 years ago, so we’ll call it 2004/2005-
Dorothy Kilroy: It was, yeah, exactly, 2005.
Ben Grynol: … when you would have left. That was actually the… Gosh, that was the last time that I was there, the only time I was there.
Dorothy Kilroy: [crosstalk 00:08:02]
Ben Grynol: But food was so different. When I visited Ireland, food was so different there than it was here. And granted, I’m sure it changes when you’re in major cities versus smaller, we’ll call it smaller towns. Food was so different in the fact that things were still made. There weren’t a lot of restaurants that would serve food full of preservatives, it was still like these meals that were made. Whereas in North America, the outlook was always fast, heavily preserved, long shelf life. It was just a very different outlook.
Ben Grynol: And so for you to recognize that when you came as such a big difference, it shows how the system, how the outlook has not only evolved globally, I think we’ve really gone deeper on a global perspective where preservatives, fast, quick, convenient, that this global lens that many countries seem to have now. But 15 years ago in Ireland, it didn’t feel like that.
Dorothy Kilroy: No, gosh, not at all. Something so interesting is the other big shocking thing when I moved here was how cheap food was. I was so surprised at how cheap food was because unhealthy foods, let’s just call high packaged, highly processed, long shelf, full of preservatives is cheap. And that is really a big problem.
Dorothy Kilroy: Because when you were in Ireland, and you didn’t have access to that cheap food, it was economically convenient to cook everything yourself. So the fact that here it’s almost like the inverse, it’s like, “Hey, if you don’t have the money, eat unhealthy because it’s cheaper.” Which is just crazy.
Ben Grynol: Yeah. And people feel that they don’t have the option or they don’t know they don’t have the foundation of knowledge of why something isn’t as good or as healthy option for them.
Ben Grynol: And so, you had this interesting path into Levels and the fact that you were one of the earliest members to come on board, like very, very early. You’ve been a member since I believe, January of ’20. Right?
Dorothy Kilroy: That’s right. Yeah, I heard about what you guys were doing, totally under the radar found out about it. I don’t think you were even in beta mode. And I was already tracking down the website, putting my name in that. “We’re not launched yet but sign up here, put your email address, and we’ll let you know when we’re ready.” And I just stocked that box until somebody responded.
Dorothy Kilroy: And it was amazing. That was back in January of 2020. And I remember Josh, one of the founders, doing my onboarding call with me. And I was just like, “Whoa, look at this, the founder wants to take the time to actually get me set up.” And I thought, “Wow, is there any better White Glove version than this?” Little did I know, it was just Josh, and probably about two or three other folks at that time, who were just doing everything. So there was no choice.
Dorothy Kilroy: But I remember just being so impressed with not only helping me get set up, but the feedback that Josh and Mike and others really wanted to hear and understand, like, why, what was helpful about this feature? What was unhelpful? How do we make it better? They were so interested and curious on making sure that they were getting that feedback early on. And I just really appreciated that discipline to be just staying really close to the customer, if you will, to the Levels member. I just thought that that was incredible.
Ben Grynol: Yeah, that’s been thematic from January until now. So we’re recording and it is June of 2021. That’s been thematic over the course of the past 18 months where member feedback isn’t hearsay, it’s not something that we do to check a box. We actually take all of these data points into account and really value them and try to action them when they’re things that are feasible to action.
Ben Grynol: So there are certain things in our roadmap, where it might be great and we might agree and say, “From a vision standpoint, yes, we want to get to point X, Y, Z. But we need to hit these first stepping stones to get there.” Another feedback we can take into account where we can say, “If we just make this one little tweak, one change to the product, this feature might become more valuable because we’ve heard this from Dorothy and three other members.”
Ben Grynol: It’s really cool to move with that kind of speed but to take that feedback into account, and then be able to close the loop with members after and say, “Hey, thanks for your feedback. This is what we did with it.” And it feels, it’s like there have been times where I’m trying to think of the fastest one like, there’s one piece of feedback we actioned and within three days, it wasn’t just fixed, but the person had a book in their hand, and a swag kit that said thank you. The person was like, “What?”
Dorothy Kilroy: Amazing.
Ben Grynol: It’s funny because it is stuff that we really do value.
Dorothy Kilroy: I think as well, I think that’s what makes Levels unique, that was that staying that close to its members, not just in the beginning, but right through. How much you’ve scaled and still how close Sam, Josh, all of you just stay so close to listening. You’re so curious to hear that feedback. I think that discipline has really served you well to date. And it’s unusual. It’s really hard to keep that discipline. But I think you’ve done a great job in that.
Ben Grynol: Well, part of that was in March of this year. So, a couple months ago. I guess that would be what? Three months ago now. You officially came on board as our advisor or one of our advisors with a focus or a lens on community because you’ve had such deep experience with Airbnb and just such a cool lens on Levels as a company where it was pretty seamless to marry the two together and say, “Hey, Dorothy can really help us to engage members as a community on a deeper level.”
Dorothy Kilroy: Right. That’s what… I started sending Josh, I had to look at my emails, but I started sending Josh emails probably in about February of 2020, I’d probably done about a month of Levels and I was hooked. I remember having conversations with him and him asking me, “Okay what’s your biggest feedback?” And my biggest feedback was like, “Don’t take the product away from me. Don’t tell me I can’t just keep going after my trial period.” I was hooked on it. And I found there was still so much to learn.
Dorothy Kilroy: I started sending him feedback. I was like, “I really think the way to approach this is to think about unlocking the ability for other members to connect with each other. And I think that that’s what Levels needs.” And about a year later, we connected again on this. And I was still using the product every day. And I said, “Josh, I’d love to support you guys come on and help you really think about making this a reality.”
Dorothy Kilroy: And I think that’s right around the time you joined, Ben, and you and I quickly became fast friends on this. One of the things I remember after probably one of our first calls, I said to you, “Hey, I think you should be spending more time listening to your members, but also letting them hear from each other and see what happens.” And within a week or two at most, you’d set up these calls, which was amazing. And we held a community call, I think Gabe was one of the first people who joined [inaudible 00:15:50].
Ben Grynol: Gabe Mendoza.
Dorothy Kilroy: That’s right. He’s phenomenal. The knowledge that he was able to spin was just, blew me away. And I was like, “Wow, there’s something powerful here. It isn’t just about Levels being the expert on everything. Look at what their community already knows, and what they figured out.”
Dorothy Kilroy: And then we had a series of more calls each week, and I know you’re still continuing them. But what was fascinating was how alike the members were, even though they all had different backgrounds, different goals, different experiences, some of them were seeking weight loss, some of them were seeking overall, just controlling blood glucose levels for whatever health goal they were after. Gabe was more interested in muscle gains than he was in weight loss.
Dorothy Kilroy: I recall other ladies were just very interested in how to age more gracefully. There was some of it around energy levels. There was a whole slew of goals, it didn’t matter what the goal was. But they were all so alike in terms of just overall betterment for themselves.
Dorothy Kilroy: And I thought it was fascinating watching them give feedback to the Levels team but also advice to each other. And they started to build on each other’s ideas. I think there was magic unlocked in some of those calls. It was just really powerful to hear that.
Ben Grynol: Yeah, they’re almost these micro-communities within the macro community, which we’re still building. But what I wonder is, you seem to have this inherent draw towards community, if you want to call it that. I don’t know if you’ve thought about this. But I wonder if it stems from being from Tullamore. How many people are in Tullamore? I say it with a grin in a positive way because I think it’s such a quaint and special place, but it’s small.
Dorothy Kilroy: Yeah, really small. Yeah. And I actually grew up just right outside Tullamore. I love how you say it, by the way, Tullamore. It sounds so much more-
Ben Grynol: [crosstalk 00:18:03]
Dorothy Kilroy: No, it sounds very lyrical, the way that you say it, which is nicer than my thick, Irish bogger accent. But I grew up at this village outside of Tullamore, with about 12,000 people total. And so, it didn’t matter what you were into, whether it was your religion, whether it was local sports, whether it was local politics, it was a very small town.
Dorothy Kilroy: And there was a great drama society, part of the town that I was really lucky at a very early age to be part of. And what was amazing to me was that everyone in this town, some way or another, became part of this overall drama festival that was like a competition and you traveled around the country.
Dorothy Kilroy: But whether you were making the costumes, whether you were making the sandwiches, or the food to supply the people who were part of the competition, whether you were on stage, whether you were in the band, whether you were doing makeup, that was just like small towns can be an amazing way to see how everybody pitches in on one thing. Yeah, I was really lucky to see that at an early age.
Dorothy Kilroy: And when you feel the power of community, it really is about feeling like you belong. You feel that you have found a group or a tribe, whatever you want to call it, that shares the same values that you do. And that feeling is just very powerful. It makes you feel part of something bigger, and that you belong to that. So yeah, I certainly was lucky to feel it at an early age growing up in a small town.
Dorothy Kilroy: But I think the other thing is if you think about how society has evolved, you could, cynical view could say, “We have moved away from maybe bigger religious groups or labor organizations or even maybe nonprofits.” A very cynical way to look at that is that maybe we’ve moved away from that.
Dorothy Kilroy: But I think the reality is that communities are actually booming. They’re just different to how they looked maybe 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago. They’re now much more led by businesses and brands. And I think that that has played out in lots of different companies. And I think tech has probably really inspired a shift in that quickly.
Dorothy Kilroy: I think the way that we now connect, there’s lots of ways that we could be cynical and say how negative the communication tools we have are. But you can have people in any part of the world with any background connecting on social platforms at all times a day. And I think that those social platforms can connect to not only just through digital means, but they can allow you to find ways to connect in person.
Dorothy Kilroy: So take a brand, for example, like Harley-Davidson. That’s like a great community-driven brand. And they have thousands of chapters around the world, and they get together in person, in real life. But they’ve used tools like social forums and social channels to connect with each other more easily, and then find each other in real life and go and meet, discuss bikes, ride together. That’s just incredible. I think that’s where we’ve gotten to now.
Ben Grynol: Yeah, digital really allows, it really allows us unlock with people being given the ability to be part of many tribes. So, traditionally, like in person, let’s use Tullamore, you can only be part of and we’ll generalize for this. You can only be part of one tribe. And that’s the tribe of Tullamore.
Ben Grynol: It’s like everything that goes on there, whether it’s the drama group, or whatever it is, and there will be these micro pockets. But everybody feels a sense of tribalism, again, generalizing on this a sense of tribalism that they all have a relatively similar shared interest of being part of this community, where a lot of people know each other.
Ben Grynol: But now with remote and things being done digitally, and the brands being the tribes, or the tribe leaders, the things that people follow, it’s okay to be part of many different tribes, and be digital about it. So you can be part of the Irish boring drum tribe and you can be part of the-
Dorothy Kilroy: Sure.
Ben Grynol: … I love Levels tribe, and you can be part of the Harley Davidson tribe. And there’s this overlap in the Venn diagram. But it’s this central connection point that people are connecting through digital platforms to form these micro-communities.
Ben Grynol: But then, as you mentioned, use those channels for connection to actually have in-person meetups. And it’s really neat how community has evolved in that way. And it’ll be interesting to see how it evolves moving forward in the next 1, 2, 5, 10 years, in the way that communities evolve based on technology.
Dorothy Kilroy: I think so. And I think some things that have happened through the pandemic in the last year is that we’ve definitely seen as a society that we need each other, we need people. We’re starved of it. It really socially and mentally hurts people.
Dorothy Kilroy: I really do believe in real-life meetings and conversations are so meaningful. But when we were restricted from that, we still found ways to connect with each other, whether it was just people getting better about using video calling through work settings, but also through social settings. There was a way for people to still connect. And that social engagement, I think, with other people, it’s a human need.
Dorothy Kilroy: We need water, food, shelter, but we need community. And you can see any health expert spends a lot of time talking about the different tenants of what you need. But one thing you definitely need is other people and the effect that has on your overall health. They’ve done incredible studies on this in the different Blue Zones in the world.
Dorothy Kilroy: And they look at what are the common traits that happen in those areas, and they talk about the foods, they talk about maybe the small glass of wine, they talk about the different culture habits, different things. But what they all find that is common is that all of the Blue Zones share is that there is a great sense of community, and people connect with each other. And the joy and the value they get from that is probably a bigger, profound effect on their health than maybe anything else.
Ben Grynol: Yeah, it really is interesting. When you started building community at Airbnb, I guess you were working with Brian, you’re working with Joe, you’re working with Nate, all the co-founders, and then the greater team to build out community from the ground up. And so what were some of the core principles that you started thinking about when you, I guess, not realize, it’s really been a core part of Airbnb’s business model since day one, but when you started to put more diligence behind actually addressing it and putting platforms to it.
Dorothy Kilroy: Yeah, I think that from a very early stage, the Airbnb founders, just like we talked about with Levels, they were very, very close with the community. Very early on, Brian and Joe literally went door to door taking photographs of the listings of their hosts themselves.
Dorothy Kilroy: And they would take those photographs, they would send them back to Nate in San Francisco, and they would get them uploaded. And while they were taking the photographs, they really talked to the hosts. And they understood what the hosts needed, they understood their pain points, they understood what would make the overall platform and experience better for guests.
Dorothy Kilroy: And so, that was a very foundational value in Airbnb very on was to really champion the mission and connect directly with the community members. And that very early on was the start of new meetups that would happen. This is back really early on, like 2008, when Meetups was just a very early tool that people were using to connect. And Airbnb built its first tool to be able to allow hosts to find each other in local chapters and connect with each other.
Dorothy Kilroy: And now, you fast forward to 2021, we have hundreds of clubs around the world where we let hosts find each other, connect with each other with their local chapters, in their local zip codes, in their local towns and cities. And it’s incredible. They have this rich experience of having the same purpose as a host. And they share the same values with each other.
Dorothy Kilroy: And being able to come together and solve each other’s problems, inspire each other, has just been a way for us to not only find more value for our hosts. So I think there’s transactional value and then there’s something bigger, which is what is meaningful for you to connect with others. And that’s just been a really, I think, foundational piece of Airbnb since it was built. That’s just part of the DNA of who we are.
Dorothy Kilroy: And you mentioned earlier, we’ve found through time, different technologies and tools to make that easier. But despite the way the tools and the technology changes, the core principles remain the same. And I think that that’s key in any community building a group of people, it’s just a group of people. They can get together over any shared thing.
Dorothy Kilroy: But a community is a group that shares purpose and values. And I think that’s that like, why are we coming together as a community? I think those values are what really makes a change of why people want to connect.
Ben Grynol: Yeah, and there are all these ways that it can be done. And I know that we’ve riffed on this a number of times, but there can be a macro community, like there’s one giant community and everyone’s a part of it, and they can find their own subgroups and go off. That’s the university model. Everyone shows up at this institution, and you form your own little pockets.
Ben Grynol: Or there’s another model that is more of like an ambassador model where there’s a macro community. Lululemon does it really well, where they’ve got this macro community that everyone’s a part of, but it’s really broken out into these subgroups of ambassadors. So you get geographic density, where these pockets of 100 or less people all know each other really well.
Ben Grynol: And they do the same community activities together. And it starts to feel like they’re really a tight-knit group. But they feel like they’re part of this greater movement, that is this macro community. They’re all stepping, putting one foot in front of the other at the same time, and moving towards the same vision.
Ben Grynol: And that’s a really interesting model because I don’t think there’s a right or a wrong way to do it. It just depends on the nature of the business model and the way in which the members of the community as they pertain to that, that brand or that business, the way they think about community.
Ben Grynol: So, I think we’re still figuring it out. But there’s a lot of charm, if you want to call it that, a lot of charm to this ambassador model where you can have these smaller local meetups. And you can have these smaller cohorts in an analogous way that Airbnb has these smaller geographic cohorts of hosts that would know each other from Tullamore. It’s really interesting.
Dorothy Kilroy: Exactly. Yeah.
Ben Grynol: It’s really interesting.
Dorothy Kilroy: And they’re all sharing the same experience at the same time, whether that’s how do we face local law restrictions on Airbnb? What are the types of guests that want to come to Tullamore? What are the reasons they come here? What are their interests? How do we help them have a better experience?
Dorothy Kilroy: There’s so much to learn from each other. Your Lululemon example is a perfect example. So, if you think back to when Lululemon got started, it was all about yoga. It was a yoga brand. Well, actually, even before that, I think there was a surf component to it.
Dorothy Kilroy: But their big early, big mass movement was around yoga. And they really decided to do this guerrilla-type marketing, which was, let’s just inspire all these local yoga instructors. And they had relationships with them, they connected with them, they would bring all those yoga instructors that were their ambassadors every year to the most sought-after remote yoga retreat.
Dorothy Kilroy: They treated them like gold. And in turn, those yoga instructors wore proudly their Lululemon clothing. And they were these tribe masters at the front of a yoga class dawned and beautiful Lululemon gear and all their followers would say, “Well, what are you wearing? That’s just beautiful clothing, I want to be part of that.” And it was a really smart way to get started.
Dorothy Kilroy: But what they then found was that their customers wanted to connect with running. And then they wanted to connect with cycling and surfing and all the other sports. And so, in some ways, the next generations of clothing for Lululemon were inspired by their customers. Their customers didn’t want to just wear it for yoga, they wanted to do so much more.
Dorothy Kilroy: And I think that’s what’s interesting to think about with Levels too. I think there’s this opportunity for the next stages of Levels to be guided by its members. I know that you find so much community already from the keto groups or the CrossFit groups or whatever. I know Casey is a vegan, vegetarian guru at this point in the industry. And there’s so many people who follow her just for that. But I think that in some ways, your members are going to rise up and tell you, what are those subgroups that they want to be part of, and how those change and shift.
Ben Grynol: Yeah, and to get everybody feeling like they’re part of a movement, I think there’s a lot of insight behind having a strong brand and having a cult brand and having a following versus a community.
Ben Grynol: So, let’s take examples. You can argue that Supreme is a good brand to use where Supreme definitely has a cult brand. And Starbucks might have… Maybe Starbucks does have a bit, I wouldn’t call it a cult brand, I would argue it’s more of just a strong brand. It really has a strong brand. But it doesn’t have the same cult following that Supreme does where people line up for hours and they… You don’t hear about people or at least maybe I’m naive and have not heard of it, but you don’t hear about people trading Starbucks merchandise that is of a certain vintage and has a certain value. I’m sure there are collectors but it doesn’t have the same aura around the brand that something like Supreme does.
Ben Grynol: Even Boring Co, that’s taken a chapter out of the book of Supreme, I think where it’s like create these limited runs of products and people will go bonkers for them. But that’s when you start to get these cult brands and they get really deep falling. So you can have brands that have good followings, but they’re not necessarily a cult brand.
Ben Grynol: And then you can have people who have a following, but they don’t have a community. So let’s say Jerry Seinfeld has a very good following but he doesn’t have a community. Whereas Gary Vaynerchuk has a community. He has a following and a community.
Ben Grynol: And so, in order to actually build this movement, I think it’s this equation of cult brand plus community equals movement. And without both of those parts being part of the equation, I think it’s really hard to build a really meaningful movement that people feel connected to, and they feel they want to be a part of it.
Dorothy Kilroy: I totally agree. And I love that you’re using those examples of the difference between a true cult community following. To me, I look at it as just as simple as this. Does joining this community, when I engage in this community, once I join it, once I engage in it, and I share or I niche or I connect, does it get better? So does the experience get better? Does that brand, does that product, does that just opportunity with ever and whatever it is get better by being part of the community? And that’s when you know that it really works.
Dorothy Kilroy: And so, for example, like use our Airbnb hosts, for example, those that connect with each other, they have a much more meaningful, richer experience, they become better hosts, which in turn leads to becoming a better entrepreneur, if you will, and being more successful. And then they are more fulfilled, they enjoy that more, and they do more [inaudible 00:36:16].
Dorothy Kilroy: So it’s this just incredible flywheel. So the more you engage, the more you share, the better it becomes. And I think about cult-like brands or community-like brands in the same way.
Ben Grynol: Yeah. So if we pull that into the lens of Levels, how do you foresee, what’s your vision for community at Levels? How do you foresee it unfolding in where we’re headed with the way that you think about it?
Dorothy Kilroy: So I think that it’s easy to draw inspiration from other, let’s call them technologies that had started with wearable devices. So let’s take Fitbit, for example. I was a really early user of Fitbit. I was one of those people who clicked on the Fitbit, this was before you actually wore it on your wrist. And the number of times I lost it was just ridiculous. But that’s another story.
Dorothy Kilroy: But what was incredible was the first time you used it, and you were like, “Goodness, I don’t get very many steps. I thought I was getting a lot more. Okay, I’m going to go for a run. Wow, look at my steps explode. This is cool.” And you started to get this data on everyday activities that suddenly was measurable. And then once it’s measurable, you can improve it.
Dorothy Kilroy: Then what was really smart was Fitbit decided to let you connect with others, and challenge each other, and share your steps. And suddenly, your data became a lot more interesting. And the challenges you did became a lot more interesting. And the way that you bettered yourself, your goals, whatever it is you were interested in doing, that suddenly got richer and better.
Dorothy Kilroy: So let’s just take that simple example to Levels. First time I used Levels, every day that I use it, I still learn something new about myself, whether it’s my sleep, whether it’s my monthly cycle, whether it’s my stress levels, whether I’m eating and I’m dialed in or I’m not dialed in, I learn something different every day on how my body responds to different things. And that’s fascinating.
Dorothy Kilroy: But what’s even more fascinating is that when you start to think about how others are having that shared experience, and then what could I learn from others? What could they learn for me? How could we inspire each other? And how could we connect on it?
Dorothy Kilroy: And so, simply, the vision I would have for Levels is that, unlocking your own personal truth, your own data is one step. But being able to share that and engage with others [inaudible 00:38:59], now that is a whole other powerful way to just connect.
Ben Grynol: Yeah, it’s funny, the magic moments that I think about are a lot of people will post in and I’m just using Facebook as one part of the scrappy community that we’re building right now. People say like, “I feel so defeated. I don’t know what to eat. All the things that I’ve enjoyed in life, I feel like I have to deprive myself.” And it’s like the first answer is like, “No, don’t do that. That’s not the answer.”
Ben Grynol: It’s, find what works for you because we all have things, like Pam, my wife can eat sweet potatoes just fine, cover them in butter or whatever it is. Make sure there’s fiber protein with whatever the meal is. I definitely cannot eat them. I do not bode well with them.
Ben Grynol: But I’ve seen people write in the Facebook group like, “I’m so defeated. I just want to eat pizza.” And one of the magic moments was like, “Oh, hey, I eat pizza literally once a week.” Just use this shell. And it’s something that’s zero net carbs, super high fiber, and protein in these thin flatbreads.” And you just take a picture of it, and you’re like, “Try these things.” And people are like, “Whoa, this is amazing. This worked really well for me.” And they’re like, “I can eat pizza again.”
Ben Grynol: So that with pizza, and then hamburger, there was some hamburger bun, and it was like a similar thing where the food that people feel like they want to enjoy, and they can no longer enjoy. You’re like, “Oh, you just have to make these small changes.”
Ben Grynol: And I think that’s the power of community, is like not knowing where to turn, and then it’s something as simple as like a crappy picture on your phone of a bag of ban sitting on a countertop. And that makes somebody’s day and they’re like, “Wow, that was an unlocker right there.”
Dorothy Kilroy: Right. And then what’s also interesting is just we’re so curious as individuals. And what is really amazing is that health is so unique. Instead of, “It’s very easy, especially with diets, the keto diet, it worked great for me,” and then you try it and you’re so defeated because you’re like, “It just didn’t work for me.” It’s so individual.
Dorothy Kilroy: What’s really cool, I think, especially when I see the content on your Facebook group, or even in some of the calls that I’ve heard, is how unique everyone’s experiences are. What you find one person or a few people who had a similar experience to you and they teach you kind of, “Hey, this is what I tried.”
Dorothy Kilroy: Like that example of the flatbread is great. “This is what I tried.” And suddenly it goes from, “I’m feeling alone, I’m confused, I’m maybe not very proud of the choices that I’ve been making.” And there’s nothing in the health world that is worse than shame. There’s just nothing. It does no good for anybody.
Dorothy Kilroy: But you suddenly get this feeling of like, “I’m not alone in this. There are others who are going through literally at the same time as me. They’re just like me. They’re not doctors. They are not PhDs in this. They too are figuring it out. And you get this sense of, “Okay, they figured it out. I can too.” And I think that’s what’s inspiring.
Dorothy Kilroy: We would come up with the most random places to list on Airbnb. You could rent the catacombs, you could rent a cage in the Great Barrier Reef like-
Ben Grynol: The Last Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon.
Dorothy Kilroy: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.