Bryan: Hey Jason, I’m excited to talk today about “why collective.”
Jason: Hey man, it’s good to be here.
Bryan: This is an interesting concept. People ask me all the time, and I know they ask you to like, “Huh, Korus is a collective. That’s interesting. Tell me more about that.” What’s your number one thought that comes to mind when you think about chorus as a collective? Why collective?
Jason: Two things: if you look out across who’s supporting people with various conditions or, various goals and objectives, you come across providers, you come across associations, you come across, in some cases government entities and in a lot of cases they don’t really have a stakeholder model in terms of the people that get services from these various types of organizations. You know, what it really boils down to is that it really boils down to not only having a stakeholder model, but each individual member of this collective having a sense of ownership and not even just a sense of ownership, but actually having ownership, in what happens in the collective, in this particular case, living, working and playing with autoimmune and then secondarily, based on a lot of the surveying that we’ve done and based on my own personal experience with autoimmune, there’s a huge emotional piece that really is overcome only through the group dynamic and in our particular case with the Korus collective. That’s really the ethos that we’re going after. That there’s other people in the world that are just like you, that have a shared experience. And if we come together in that shared experience that only positive great things can happen
Bryan: Supported by our tagline “Healthier Together” right? In a previous podcast episode where you talked about your own battles with figuring out your autoimmune conditions, it can feel very isolating and lonely to figure things out, and what’s going on, and I feel like the only person going through this, so the together the, the collective theme that goes throughout everything that we’re trying to do.
Jason: Yeah, absolutely. Because even if it’s setting an expectation, if you’ve got some symptom, if there’s other people in a private group as a part of this collective that have experienced the same symptom, you know what to expect, you know that you’re not a weirdo, you know, that there’s light at the end of the tunnel because other people have gone through this and they have the opportunity to share their personal experience inside of a digital experience that is safe and secure and really framed up around everyone having the same shared experience.
Bryan: This is going to be a strange metaphor, but imagine the mythological person that lives in Poughkeepsie and collects Russian nesting dolls made of Balsa wood or whatever. You don’t know anybody else collecting Russian nesting dolls made of Balsa wood, but you go on Ebay and oh man, there are hundreds of people that love these things, right? So I think it’s similar with many of these conditions that people are dealing with, especially those that live in more rural parts of the country. It can be feel very alone and that’s definitely something we’re trying to combat.
Jason: Yeah, that’s an interesting analog. I remember the story about the decoys ducks and, and Ebay, and if you’re right, it is very similar.
Bryan: Even though you feel alone, you’re really not alone. And it’s up to us to bring them together.
Jason: Right. And if you look at medical studies, you know, if you look at the incidence of certain conditions and diseases, super rare is considered 200,000 people having that disease and by technology standards, a community of 200,000 people, that’s a pretty robust and vibrant community. So when we start thinking about the crowdsourcing of say data, and we start thinking about maybe a unified subscription about what these 200,000 people would need that are all in a very fragmented way, desperately trying to figure this out. If they even know that nutrition is a huge component of it combined with supplements combined with personal care, hardware, software, etc, once you have a critical mass of say, you know, a mere thousand people, there’s a lot of learning that can happen there in the data that’s aggregated. We’ve talked a lot about that and that’s really, you know, you’ve been the bell cow of that from very early on when we made the decision, really the choice, not the decision, but we made the choice to create a collective as opposed to a syndicate.
Bryan: Our members can collectively come together to help to surface the best things that maybe have worked for them, but they can share with other people. “Oh my gosh, when I have a flare up of this type, I tried this and it’s amazing,” or “this is the greatest tasting or cleanest raw almonds or best gluten free biscuits” or whatever it is, right? Collectively we can surface lots of really great things and then those members can really share with people they’re very similar, what they found and what works for them. So there’s lots of collective sharing of knowledge and then from a data perspective, right, we’re trying to hook into all the data going on around somebody; their sleep and their hydration and their activity and all those sorts of things. Collectively it seems kind of exciting to be able to share, know actual data of what’s going on and have computers do all the work of sifting and sorting and those sorts of things that peo ple just don’t want to do in general. The collective data sharing element. It could be fascinating as we, as we get more data into our system.
Jason: Yeah, there’s, there’s two parts to that. You’re benefiting directly, but then you’re also benefiting indirectly and I’m not sure what it is about the human experience, but even from a very young age, what science has found is that people will empathize in order to learn and optimize around their own life. I mean, there are tens of thousands of people that are diagnosed annually with Hashimoto’s that don’t even know that there’s a nutrition protocol that all but ensures that if and when they do have a flare up that the flare up is very, very marginal in comparison to otherwise. So it’s interesting. It’s interesting in terms of being able to share your life in that way, which we’re going back to the empathy piece. That, that’s a big motivation for a lot of people. To know that optimizing around their own life, that it’s also going to impact other people in terms of what’s correlated and what’s expressed in the data.
Bryan: A small percentage of people that I talk to about our collective talk about that it has overtones of socialism or communist Russia or whatever. But then I ask them, “Are you a member of Sam’s club? Or Costco?” “Well, yeah.” Well, you’re part of a collective, right? You’re applying your collective buying power to get better prices on products. “Oh yeah, I guess so.” Maybe it’s not so crazy.
Jason: Right. You know, history has proven history true that communities and the communitarian nature of things, you know, whether you’re talking about communities that come together around a particular religion or communities that come together around a particular ethos or value system that they thrive and the reason that they thrive is because they have shared objectives and they have shared goals and they have a shared value hierarchy in terms of what’s important to them. So, yeah, this is nothing new. I think that there’s a lot of false equivalencies in terms of, you know, especially in the American consciousness, when you start talking about groups, right?
Bryan: We’ve seen it be successful in all kinds of other industries before.
Bryan: Why not for the benefit of our own health and wellness?
Jason: That’s exactly right. Because, you know, unless we’re coming together, not only for the benefit ourselves, but the benefit of others that have a similar condition and shared experience, really, at the end of the day, there’s not much left. You know, if you don’t have your health, if you don’t feel well, there’s not much else. This is really kind of the default community that we’ve created.
Bryan: The collective data that we all get together too, as part of this, is super interesting and fascinating because you and I have both looked for datasets around the type of data we collect from people in terms of their ambulatory lives, on their sleep and their nutrition and their activity and hydration, meditation, all sorts of things that the healthcare system doesn’t keep track of or track. It seems like a huge hole. And if we can collectively pull this data together, and look at it with some scale, it’s completely unstudied, right? We all have a chance to be part of this collective and contribute to this dataset, that does not exist today at all.
Jason: And if you look at it through the lens of say, like a clinical trial or a clinical study, the assumption is, is that all of the variables or all of the inputs that go into that study from what you eat, how you sleep, the sequence with which you eat and take medication or not take medication. The assumption is that all that’s accounted for and in many cases it absolutely is not. There’s a lack of scientific rigor in terms of accounting for variability and those trials, when you apply that to everyday life, you know, sensors are getting so good that there’s gonna come a terminus where the sensor is so good, where there’s going to be absolutely accounting for everything that you do throughout the day and how that correlates to optimizing around better outcomes for you over the course of a day or the course of a week regardless of whatever your condition is. You know, I think that that’s the, that this is a step in that direction by giving people the opportunity to volunteer their data. Whether it’s for other people in the collective or it’s towards clinical studies, clinical trials, participating in studies and trials, pharmacological solutions, or immunotherapies which are exploding right now. It’s very exciting. But like you said, there’s just a dearth of data in terms of lifestyle data coming together around the creation of that data and the organization and structuring of that data. I think that it’s going to have an absolute huge impact for providers, you know, and certainly payers or insurers or underwriters because it’s going to open up that hey, you know, nutrition is absolutely critical in terms of the impact in terms of the value based care or the outcome of a particular individual or a particular cohort or group. And so I think that, you know, through evidence once that case is made, I think that you’re going to see a lot of changes in terms of everything from something as simple as a prescribing a medical nutrition therapy or a meal, as we like to call it, as opposed to maybe a pill.
Bryan: The cool thing about data, too, is that as we pull it all together from all of our members, you know, assuming we had 500 members, that data is perhaps interesting. You get to 50,000 members like, now it’s much more valuable, you know, imagine as we get to 100,000, or half a million million people contributing their data to this ecosystem collectively. It gets super exciting and interestingly beyond probably the grasp of our power as an early stage company to sift through, analyze and derive insights.
Jason: Perhaps maybe that’s where another of our stakeholders or a partner comes in, you know, if you think about, you know, lifestyle data, ambulatory data, like you think about genomic data, say Ancestry.com and the explosion of, you know, people that have become interested in that, especially on the Internet and online, you know, things get really interesting. You can reverse engineer out from a condition or a diagnosis. You know, you can look at genomic data, and then suddenly, you know, you can realize that, genetically, you’re in a group of people that say maybe Jewish, you know, or say maybe from this particular part of the country, there can be direct correlations made to everything from environment to genomics. And I think it just really unlocks, you know, has, we’ve been basically staring at and it’s been, you know, invisible right in front of us all along. So that’s certainly really exciting.
Bryan: It’d be really cool or for me personally be great if I’m feeding my data into the system to then to tell me, hey, by the way, based on millions of other data points, here’s something that would be useful for you. Right? In looking at your data and other people who look just like you, what they’ve done to be successful. Here’s some things that are gonna help you. It’s like, wow, that’s actual data-based benchmarking of something that can help me, not just mythology or I read an article that this sounds like it might be good. It could be very personalized.
Jason: And personalized across the entire experience.
Bryan: Any final thoughts on why collective Jason?
Jason: Well, you know, I think that everybody has an interest to help. I think everybody wants to belong. I think that there certainly when you have a specific condition or disease or even if you’re an optimizer, when I say an optimizer, think of a lot of younger people, their enthusiasm around crossfit, you know, it looks like church, you know, it’s like, I mean people are extraordinarily evangelical about that. I think when you’re a part of that group, that dynamic, that momentum, that enthusiasm, in order to make better, not only for yourself but for everybody else, that that’s really kind of the pulse and that’s, that’s really the heartbeat and that’s, you know what I mean? This is just saying it in a different way, but I think that applies to everybody. And so, you know, really the underlying message is, hey, you’re not alone, that we’re in this together and coming together and in doing so voluntarily, that we’re actually going to move the needle on actual solutions, you know, and then at the very least, it’s going to be a heck of a lot more cost effective. It’s gonna be a heck of a lot more emotionally healthy in order to live your life a day, every day, do whatever you want to accomplish.
Bryan: I think there’s an interesting misconception about the value of this collective data to people thinking that because they’re only getting five hours of sleep at night or they’re not doing any sort of activity or their diet is terrible and you know, full of fast food, that for those reasons, their data’s not valuable to what we’re doing. But really the exact opposite is true. We want as much data as possible and as many different varieties and conditions as possible. Because that feeds the collective.
Jason: Absolutely. And if you look at it right now, the data is more or less static, you know, then it goes to descriptive, you know, as you start to kind of structure it and organize it and eventually that data is predictive and you know, you can filter it a lot of different ways. So basically answering the question, “How am I doing, and what do I do next?” Once we have a large enough sample size of data, you know, as you said, from across a lot of different types of people and a lot of different types of consumption things are going to get really, really interesting. Really, really quickly.
Bryan: It’s an interesting philosophical question to ponder what will happen in a day when the AI knows more about me than I do and what to recommend, what I should be doing.
Jason: So this was fun. You know, I think based on this conversation and some of the conversations that we’ve had that it’s going to be interesting to do a deep dive and interview some of the stakeholders in the collective, whether they’re suppliers, whether they’re providers, whether they’re members with specific conditions or diseases where they think that this is going to go not only to broaden their perspective, but also enrich the experience. So I’m looking forward to that podcast and having those conversations as quickly as possible.
Bryan: It’s going to be an interesting journey.