Bisu CEO Daniel Maggs talks about the importance of capturing the highly-valuable data from our urine. Daniel explains the differences between ketones, tracking electrolytes and other biomarkers, and the advantages of looking at magnesium, sodium and potassium data. He shares his excitement for where home health and wellness is going in general.
Bisu CEO Daniel Maggs talks about the importance of capturing the highly-valuable data from our urine. Daniel explains the differences between ketones, tracking electrolytes and other biomarkers, and the advantages of looking at magnesium, sodium and potassium data. He shares his excitement for where home health and wellness is going in general.
Daniel Maggs is the Co-Founder and CEO of BISU. Bisu is a startup that helps people unlock the data in their urine to optimize their health and fitness and avoid chronic disease.
Daniel was previously a product manager, tech banker and lawyer. He is currently based in Japan and is fluent in Japanese.
Daniel spoke at the 2019 Biohacker Summit in Helsinki on theme of "biohacking in the bathroom".
Even though Daniel originally trained as a lawyer, he has worked super hard to understand the details around the health and wellness space. You will be surprised by his depth of knowledge and expertise, particularly as it relates to biomarker testing. He has built a pretty incredible team and works with some amazing advisors in the bio tracking industry.
[4:45] What is BISU
[6:46] Taking the leap from Investment Banking to Startups
[11:05] The idea behind BISU
[17:10] What urine can tell you about your health
[19:48] Biomarkers that are tracked with the device
[24:14] Dietary recommendations with BISU
[34:47] Feedback Loops and Integrations with other technologies
[40:13] Accuracy of collected data
[44:02] Winning Market Innovation Award
Everything Raw by Mike Snyder
The Second Bounce of the Ball by Ronald Cohen
Boomer Anderson 0:06
Welcome to decoding superhuman. This show is a deep dive into obsessions with health performance, and how to elevate the human experience. I explore the latest tools, science and technology with experts in various fields of human optimization. This is your host enjoy the journey
superhumans. It is Boomer. We are back with another episode, where we’re going to talk about one of my favorite subjects, measurement testing, and how to make that testing more accessible to you, frankly, at home in your own bathroom. But before we get into that, I want to shout out to another listener. This one goes out to Justin Furness for leaving a five star review on iTunes. His subject is just incredible. Which is funny because his name’s Justin, an incredible podcast if you’re interested in decoding your superhuman potential and looking into the tools, technology and people pushing the limits. Boomer is one of the best interviewers I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. His passion and his heart for these topics are so clear. Follow him in his podcast for all the juiciest and latest info. Justin Furness, thank you, my friend is an absolute pleasure to get reviews like that. And if you’re listening in saying, hey, I want to review this podcast, head on over to iTunes right now and just drop a little love. Maybe yours will be read next. Let’s move on with today’s show. My guest today is Daniel Maggs, who is the co founder and CEO at a very interesting company, which I came to know through the biohacker summit this past year and or 2019 in Helsinki, Finland, so be su is a Tokyo based startup and I say Tokyo base, but their headquarters is really in San Francisco. And they’ve got people all over the world, which has developed a smart urine analyzer which provides really personalized advice to optimizing your health and fitness. Daniel and I talk about the BISU device extensively today, in terms of what you can actually do with urine at home. I really pushed Daniel on the ability to read ketones and measure them at home using urine strips because there’s a lot of literature out there that suggests otherwise. And his answers were quite well researched and I was very impressed with that. You can check out Daniel’s device at the BISU website but also we’re going to link to everything in the show notes at decodingsuperhuman.com/bisu that’s B I S U. Enjoy my conversation with Daniel Maggs Alright, so you guys know, one of my favorite devices for just general relaxation. bringing me back to the present moment is of course meditation. But, and that’s not really a device that’s just frankly something I love doing. But one of the things that I use to enhance my meditation is the Vie light. And we’ve had Dr. Lew Lim on the show before, and Dr. Lim is a brilliant mind but also has put together this brilliant device that I love at home and I travel with it all the time. It’s called the neuro alpha and the neuro alpha allows me to enhance my meditations. So if you want to go and check that out, it’s transcranial, as well as intranasal photo bio modulation, but you can check that one out at Vielight.com that’s vi e Li gh T. It’s one of my favorite technological devices or purchases within the past year, and I continue to use it every other day. As Dr. Lew them Suggest on the episode. Again head on over to Vielight.com And you can use the code Boomer, that’s my name, BOOMER, and get a nice 10% discount.
Daniel, my man, welcome to the show. Boomer. Thanks so much for having me. Great. So you and I met originally in Helsinki, I think it was last November, had this fantastic conversation then bounced on various parts of the world opposite to each other. And now we’re finally having this call. So thank you for all your patience.
Daniel Maggs 4:40
I likewise made it eventually. So here I am in Tokyo and they are in the Netherlands, right?
Boomer Anderson 4:45
Yeah, exactly. And I think the fact that you bring up Tokyo begs a lot of questions because you know, your accent doesn’t make you sound Japanese. And so how did you end up in Tokyo of all places?
Daniel Maggs 4:58
Yeah, it’s a Good question. We’re technically an American company, run by Europeans, based in Tokyo with an Egyptian name. So go figure, right?
Boomer Anderson 5:09
Yeah. It’s pretty exotic story right there.
Daniel Maggs 5:13
So for my, For my part, you know, I was a language geek, I guess you could say back in high school. I did some of the dead languages, and then some French. And I always try something completely new. I started learning Japanese and just find it very new and exciting and challenging.
I decided I wanted to be a lawyer.
And after practicing law, I found that was not what I want to be doing. So So mommy and daddy wanted and barrister and you decided NO? Well, I think now that things have kind of come around with a start up, they kind of got over it. But at first they’re like, you know, you invest so much in this career. Now, why would you change and so on. But during that time, I got very interested in business and I wanted to create something. I wanted to try to do something new and exciting with my life. So I switched into sort of technology, investment banking, also not very exciting in Tokyo, or back in London, in London, but these things really gave me the skills and experience that have helped what I’m doing now. And then the third jump was to move to Tokyo and join a Japanese company called DeNA, doing planning and marketing of new mobile services. And then during that time, I got into IoT and biosensing. And that’s really when I came to this whole area. But yeah, I based in Tokyo, but I traveled to the US a lot. I come to Europe quite a bit now. I’m going to the UK in June. And we see ourselves as global really, it’s just I happen to live in in Japan, but I’m not bound to it.
Boomer Anderson 6:46
I mean, Japan’s an amazing place. I used to live in Singapore and would go to Japan once every couple of months to visit some one of my favorite clients and so you and I can share stories about Niseko and All of these places later, but I want to. So the transition because you I didn’t know this beforehand, you were in investment banking, there’s a lure there of money, fame, riches, whatever you want to call it, then you jump the jump ship. And when the startup land, which I know that feeling as well. Is there any sort of pattern that you had when you went from transitioning these different fields? In terms of learning the new field, whether it be IoT, whether it be finance, law, excetra languages, any patterns? They’re
Daniel Maggs 7:37
Sure, I guess, it’s like why I made those specific transitions. So for the investment banking side, I actually, I want to do something in business, but especially in the UK, people are a little bit more conservative about career changes, and especially if you’re in law, you get a bit pigeonholed in that bracket. So I math wasn’t good enough at the time to do an MBA. I couldn’t get through it. matte sailing.
investment banking is something that was, had some math to it, but also had some of the transactional aspects I’ve done in my legal career. So it’s like a more natural bridge, an easier bridge thing going trying to go straight into a business role. I think it was more familiar to me at the tech bank I got into was pure technology. It wasn’t like oil and gas went like that. And it was more boutique. So go have hands on experience. And I was doing sector research. So it wasn’t, it wasn’t like modeling all day. And it was quite a bit of that. But really, that’s like, you know, Lord told me about how to write essentially, banking, talking about how to how to count and think in terms of numbers. And then the third company was really about thinking about markets and problems and customers so I’m not someone who had to unlearn love bad habits, like if you see my old slides, there’s so over detailed, but read it About I think, you know, finding my own passion and purpose, and putting, you know, thinking more about what other people want, what they’re looking for and what the customer wants, rather than, you know, this very detailed and trying to avoid mistakes and having very carefully planned perspective that kind of comes from that professional background, which can be a good thing sometimes, but often it is a handicap to
Boomer Anderson 9:28
every entrepreneur has that moment where they’re like, Hey, this is the idea. Let’s go forward with it. We’ll talk about the name here in a second and the product but that moment for you What did it look like? Because it seems very far from life as a lawyer. Right. And so how did the idea come about?
Daniel Maggs 9:52
Yeah, so I think the different parts of Genesis one is that I got really into health and fitness when I was in college. I really like working out thinking about food putting my body I feel that investing in our health is so important. My own father passed away quite young from prostate cancer after a very long career of working very, very hard support the family wonderful guy, but basically had no retirement he he got his prognosis of the metastasis on his retirement date. So that we think very hard about doing things for my life, while I still can. And also the importance of balance and prevention and taking care of ourselves, stress, good diet, smoking, alcohol, and so on. So that was a big part. I’m not saying Of course, this product would save his life. That’s not what I’m suggesting. The other part was that um, you know, I saw that we live in Asian society. and Japan is some ways his people still use fax machines in many places, but Other times, you can see some of the future superagent society. How can we help people to be healthy and productive as long as possible? It’s not even about us, you have more of an issue about just chronic disease in general, Japan, it’s more like longevity and productivity is particularly important. So, you know, how can we things like blood pressure or kidney function. Many people who are in their 60s or 70s have stage two kidney disease, it’s not at the stage of being treated. But if you’re living to 100, you know, as standard in the not too distant future, that’s going to become an issue, for example. So that would be think a lot. And then I saw that IoT is an area. I mean, there was a lot of hype about IoT was about like, AI and blockchain used to be a few years ago, if I was to go, but you had this, you know, Fitbit saturation of wearable devices, kind of generic wearables. You know, half of people say quitting off six months, but then you had this new little kind of wave of new products that really seemed to help people. So one was like this amazing cough that went on your arm. And it stimulates nerves to relieve pain, for example, like it’s a very simple idea, but there’s some people who desperately need that kind of product. And this was, you know, or several important factor. And then the idea I was actually looking at before I started, the company was remote monitoring for elderly care. And after looking this away, I realized that lots of people are looking at it. And it sounds really trite to say it, but I was reading the book zero to one. Peter teal says, What is the valuable business that no one’s building? And I start to think about, well, if it’s if it’s obvious that everyone’s doing it, but maybe it’s not the best opportunity, right if the guys in the US are very strong on this and so on. So I thought about something that was more widely applicable and eventually came to serve, you know, toilet and urine testing. This is not New ideas actually been around for about 20 years. So I’m not the first person think about it, and I’ll not be the last person. But the approach wind up bringing to it was definitely new. Really what we saw was that in this whole idea and testing, it’s an industry, it’s been around for decades, using conventional chemistry, strip testing methodology, very patient focused, very disease tection focused, and the people who really get that world are very focused on patients. And the people who are not in the medical world don’t necessarily get the science, or they’re super in love with the technology, like let’s make a whole toilet rather than user experience. So I think what we tried to do is, you know, bring that rigor from the medical world, to the consumer world, but have an approach it’s about lifestyle, changing enhancing health, rather than just checking for problems, but with a user experience that can be used everywhere, rather than just So um place and at a reasonable cost and that’s how we came to, you know this
Boomer Anderson 14:06
the name visa. Earlier you mentioned it’s Egyptian you’re gonna have to give a backstory there. What does B su actually mean?
Daniel Maggs 14:15
Sure. So b su is the name of the Egyptian god of home and health protection. So you’ve probably heard of the island AB sir. Yeah. Ibiza is an old Phoenician word means dedicated to be sued. So the reason is that, you know, abuse is a place to think about being a party Island good times and having fun right enjoying life. And be sued was a God who made evil and disease go away. And because of that people associate him with good things coming in, in return. So happiness having fun. People would tattoo his mark in their bodies, put it in their homes. So he’s someone who keeps you safe and makes life enjoyable. We want people to live healthy happy lives right? But other things interesting about B Sue is in Egypt all the gods except be Sue had a temple like a place you would go to worship that God. So you’ll go out of your home and then you would visit and you’ll be like you got up to see the god right. But be su is different. He actually had no temple he lived in the home, he was very close people’s lives. So he was very popular. People really felt that he was someone that was there for them and accessible and trustworthy, right? He even has a raffle in his hand to like amuse babies and keep them happy. But the third aspect is that he’s the only God in Egypt who is portrayed facing forwards like this right? All the rest of sideways. So he was actually a foreigner he was kind of an imported God into Egypt. So why did we choose this name? Well, this is a company that exists to help people live healthier, happier lives. Our product is a device that lives in the home part of your daily life to try and stop you from getting sick to optimize your health, and we bring a new approach to this very conventional area of urine diagnostics that hasn’t changed for a very long time. So that’s why we chose the name. He’s also actually he’s kind of both male and female as well. He’s both God and demon. He’s a slightly curious person, but we felt that this name was the best representation of what we were trying to do.
Boomer Anderson 16:35
And what I love about how you presented this biohacker summit is that you presented with a level of passion that I just didn’t expect. And normally I don’t like to have technology companies on the show necessarily, but I wanted to talk to you specifically because it was new and it was innovative. But how would you actually describe the device itself or maybe break down the device and the testing strips so that people listening who may have not seen you presented before? can do so.
Daniel Maggs 17:10
Sure. So it comes in three parts. It comes with a stick reader. It comes with a test IQ, and it comes with an app as well. Okay. So, the test IQ is what you do, you perform your test right, so normally it comes flat like this. When you use it, you pop it to a triangle shape like this. And then you extend it. So on the end here is a pad, which absorbs the urine sample. The reason why this is triangular is when it absorbs a sample it swells up to about five times the size so enables you to extend, collect the sample, close it without having to put a cap on the end or anything else like very simple experience. And then afterwards, you place the stick on the reader so device is recognizing the stick doing the test for you sending the information to the phone. And it’s using a technology called micro fluidics. It’s like a small chip in which the chemistry is happening to give you a high accuracy result with a very small amount of sample and to enable conventional tests be read in new way. So what the app is doing is giving you a result general overwhelming score recommendations, detailed data on each of the biomarkers, and then obviously, you’ve got your trend data
and then you’ll know how content and so on so we’re gonna go into these now a question
Boomer Anderson 18:41
for you on the stick is the stick of one time use or is it multiple use stick
Daniel Maggs 18:48
is the single use stick so you could test typically we say twice a week is a good frequency to test first thing in the morning it correlates well with the last three days two to three days. If you want To test daily, the evening is the best time we generally don’t recommend during the day. So we’re actually working on making the chip inside completely from paper as well. We care a lot about keeping things environmentally friendly. The device itself, you should never have to replace this as a very long lifetime. The batteries are very long lifetime as well. But yes, the stick itself is a single use. And it’s designed in a way that no urine ever actually goes inside the read it all stays in the chip, the chip just sucks the sample in from the pad to the chip does the test, but it’s isolated. So a family can use the same reader. a sports team can use the same reader. You know, this could be mouth to a wall, for example in a company or a gym. So it makes it quite flexible.
Boomer Anderson 19:48
Let’s get into some of the biomarkers that you monitor because I know you have the initial biomarkers and you and I have discussed the longer term plan, but in terms of initially, what what are some of the things that you’re planning To track through urine.
Daniel Maggs 20:02
Sure. So the first set, which is a diet test stick is electrolytes. So sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, Ph samarco, have essentially a proxy for fruit and vegetable intake. And also it’s useful for physical performance because it exercise creates a metabolic acidosis which slows down performance with some basic terms, hydration and also uric acid. And lastly, two types of ketone. So normal urine test should be testing one ketone, and we’re testing two types of ketone in urine. So it’s a higher quality urine ketone test.
Boomer Anderson 20:49
So let’s go into the ketone part because I told you before, I’m going to ask this question. ketone urinary test sticks after the first month, historically have become quite useless homos. So why is this different?
Daniel Maggs 21:06
Of course, I mean, some people will find that after one to two weeks depending on how adapted they are, but there are three ketones there’s bhB, ACC, and acetone. And acetone. You measure on the breath essentially it’s a product of acetoacetate and breaks down on bhp you measure from the blood and ACC, you measure from the urine. But the reality is that in your blood, there is both bhp and ACC and a new urine there is both bhp and ACC. What happens is that the longer you’re in ketosis bhp as a share of all ketones increases. So ACC is actually reduced to form bhp is converted. So this PHP shifts and ACC goes down. And that’s the same in the urine. So Over time, the amount of ACC that’s circulating, and therefore excreted declines. And that’s why after a certain period of time you see less ACC in your urine, less heat or acetate. That’s why the strips seem to stop working. Also, the classic urine strips have a very got a high detection point. So without would get too technical. It’s not point five millimoles per liter, and the thresholds but naught point one, one. So, the tests we have is a bhp test, a threshold of naught point one millimoles. So the same as the renal threshold, and then the ACC test what what you see is in Prague ketosis, that bhp goes up and ACC goes down. So that’s a long short of it is you can test earlier than you can the normal urine ketone test and longer than you normally can as well. There are some factors that can affect things so for example the ratio between the two key sounds changes consistently whether an early or late ketosis but the topes principle, there are some studies that show in people in prolonged ketosis they actually oxidized or used up fewer ketones as a potential total total ketones in long term ketosis. One thing people say often is that, oh, you have fewer ketones in the urine, because you’re using more ketones, your body’s using the ketones up, so therefore they’re less. And that may or may not be true. So there’s some situations in which it’s true. And some situations, which is not one factor that affects this is the availability of carbohydrate in the body. But what always remains consistent is the ratio between these two ketones based on the stage of ketosis. So long story short. Yeah, we want to give people a non invasive, high quality alternative to the blood test. The blood test is fantastic. The breath test is great, but we also want to give you other things at the same time. Because trying kids is important, but doesn’t tell you that where I’m where my electrolytes are, where’s my hydration? Not, with one test getting as much of the picture as possible.
Boomer Anderson 24:11
And we’ll link if it’s okay with you to some of these output screens in the show notes. But on the on the output screens, do you also make dietary? What are the dietary recommendations look like? Because if you’re tracking something like pH, that could give you a hint as to how much for instance, either how much somebody is working out, it doesn’t give you the full picture. But it also can give you hints as to what types of are they overeating on protein, for instance?
Daniel Maggs 24:40
Yeah, so say, you know, we look at the urine data, but we can also look at the non urine data, so we’re going to provide an Apple Health integrationist standard, and some of the data you can get from that is your exercise data, right? So if you’re physically active, we will interpret your pH and how you ration readings differently, even your sodium, but if you’re not, so if you’re going to be exercising a lot, you will be losing a lot of sodium through a sweat for example, right? So the recommendations for the intake and also the ratio of sodium to water are going to be different than if you’re more sedentary, like quite a few young versus if you’re older, like to have more blood pressure issues, and so on. So we look at the urine data, we look at the activity data, body weight as well. We’re looking at the weather data as well. So if you’re hydrated, that could be a number of reasons, right? We try to understand right? So have you been hired physical active, has the weather been hot? Are there signs for example, they’ve been drinking alcohol. So if your pH drops very quickly in response to alcohol intake, and typically urine Starker are more concentrated. So if we’re not sure, we’ll also ask questions in the app. So that we can train the app to understand your particular patterns. So that’s the idea is to Yeah, we look at the test results, but we want to look at things in context. Drinking alcohol can also increase magnesium excretion, for example, regardless of intake. So there’s a matrix of different factors that come together, but we present these things in the simplest way possible.
Boomer Anderson 26:20
Now, the future, I mean, when I think about the amount of urinary biomarkers out there that you could potentially do some hormone related, some not. But talk us through kind of where the sort of path is from here. Because, I mean, you’ve got a great, great device, potentially coming out later this year. But you can add biomarkers over time. Where do you want to add first?
Daniel Maggs 26:51
Yeah, so this series just starting with a diet test stick, so it’s the electrolytes ketones, pH, hydration uric acid, so this can Use for athletes for endurance improving their endurance performance. The keto dieters, also people who want to take better care of their health. And that we aim to go and sail around October. So we’ll be doing some public beta before then we do some private beta so far.
Boomer Anderson 27:18
If you need a private, I’m throwing myself out there.
Daniel Maggs 27:22
Absolutely. So, I mean, without going into too much detail, the challenge for us is getting batch production. So we’re validating the mass manufacturing method at the chips. And as soon as it’s finished, and we’ve done we can move a lot faster. So we’re getting closer and closer. We’re very excited. But that’s the main challenge we’re getting through at the moment. In terms of the roadmap, so diet test this year, and then this is going to expand from you know, more of an early adopter device to something for the whole family. So we have a number of extra tests that we’ve got in the pipeline. One is a pet urine test. One is is a baby diaper with an embedded removable plastic so people have tried doing diaper testing before but it doesn’t work because when you embed the chemicals directly Firstly, any heat and humidity will damage them or cause an early reaction and they cannot control. They do not know when the baby actually peed. So they cannot take the measurement at the correct time. So this overcomes that. And then the third one is a saliva test for oral health. So you’re looking at markers like pH, calcium, phosphate and blood, essentially the risk of cavities and erosion and also signs of gum disease, and then pregnancy and ovulation. And then you know, those are bits of the five new test sticks. And then based on this data you can have you know, consultation with the doctor a dentist of that person. trainer. And if you want to purchasing gradients or medicine or supplements, I’ll also have some community features around that as well. So that’s really the plan to go from diet testing this year to arrange a test the whole family next year. And ultimately we’d love to things like cortisol, testosterone, estrogen. Those are pretty complex tested. Yeah. It’s pretty hard to do it based on on the classic measurement method. But
yeah, eventually, that’s that’s the aim.
Boomer Anderson 29:32
So there’s, um, there’s a number of companies out there right now, who are doing is you see this quite often and kind of, for instance, genetic testing, or some variant of microbiome testing, whereby they are taking all of that information and quote, unquote, prescribing a diet, if you will. Hmm. Well, let’s walk through the differences between BISU And what those classical approaches are, because I think that what you have here is pretty interesting in comparison.
Daniel Maggs 30:08
Yeah, so just to be very clear, we don’t prescribe the actual meals that you should get. This is a very complex area, and people have different preferences. You know, we’re actually more interested in helping diet apps to give you better advice, rather than telling you exactly what to eat. So we make recommendations. We don’t recommend meals, we recommend ingredients, then go away and make what you like with it. So I won’t name the name right now. But there’s one particular app we’re hoping to have an API integration with, whereby you can enter your diet information, the app, how it passed through to be sued, you know, recommend based on the data and then pass you back to the diet. So the diet app space is very, very crowded, that recommendation space very, very crowded. What we’re really saying is, these are the things that your body is lacking. To reach your, you know, health, weight loss and performance goals, let’s make a note of those. And now you can tune your diet better than you were doing before, but we’re not going to tell you exactly what to eat, just hear the raw materials. Now go and you know, go and tweak your diet. That’s kind of our approach. The other thing is that we also were, we’re moving into a multi device, multi data world, right? So our data could be combined, not just with activity, sleep, heart rate, and so on, or glucose monitor data. But there are also companies providing other really good blood testing, microbiome testing genetic testing services. I think the current state of microbiome internet testing data, or at least for recommendations is a bit shaky. I agree with you so very much testing. Yeah, I think when we have more advanced epigenetic testing, that’s going to be a lot more robust. Tim specter professor in UK has done some very good research showing that genetic factors has some influence, but it was pretty small compared to the gut biome. And even the gut biome space. One really interesting site called biome sense is trying to do toilet based microbiome analysis. And the reason they saw this, the founder is a 20 years plus microbiome researcher is in the gut health space, it’s really hard to get enough clinical data for your study, because compliance is really bad people do not want to keep collecting their poo and sending it in, right. But the gut biome is changing daily. So he made this up to get continuous data. So when people are, say taking a sample 20 studies subjects provide one or two samples, and then trying to tell you what the baseline is like. Yeah, but no, yeah. So I think in three or so years time, when I think the epigenetics field has matured, and guys like biome sense have matured. I think there could be a Really exciting potential to combine some of these services together to have deep insights. Like, there was one company in Seattle called our Laval who sadly closed down last year that was, but they were really huge pioneers in that space of like multi device multi data, deep health analysis.
Boomer Anderson 33:17
And ARAVEL like a very interesting company to me live on many different fronts, and I agree with you genetic testing, unless you get one of these ones where you’re analyzing multi snips as some rant here. what pisses me off about it go for is when you have when you have like a dietary fat recommendation and your low, medium or high and it’s based on one snip. That to me seems very asinine in terms of a recommendation and unless that snip, maybe a pui, but it still needs to encompass a lot more to me, and I’m looking Looking forward to the day where we’re able to not just stack genetics and epigenetics, but also, I mean, some of the stuff going on in metabolomics. And what you’re doing right now, it’s very interesting. It’s fascinating.
Daniel Maggs 34:13
omics is an amazing field. There’s one person, I’d highly recommend people to look at Professor Mike Snyder, at Stanford. He’s, he’s a machine He’s like, not only he’s the head of the Center for, I think genomics and personalized medicine. He’s not only a really advanced, multi omics researcher, so that means like genomics, metabolomics, proteomics, all that stuff together. But he’s also like a legit bio hacker who applies his own science. I think he diagnosed his own Lyme disease. Like by strapping seven wearables to his body for like six months. Yeah, he’s got this fascinating, quantified
Boomer Anderson 34:48
self story. It’s just, he. It’s funny, because usually when people say a name two or three times I’ll reach out and I think this is the third time where Mike Snyder has come up in conversation, so Hopefully I’ll try and get him on the podcast soon. But this is this is fascinating. Now when we look at your device and just kind of integrations we were talking earlier about feedback loops. First, I would love to hear how the bee suit makes that feedback loop shorter, but plans for integrating with other you mentioned some of the technologies like Apple Health, for instance, but like other wearables Alright, so combining the Vielight which I mentioned in today’s intro with another favorite of mine is a good way to really put yourself on the path to a good night’s sleep. There’s a lot of discussion around blue light out there in the light world in the biohacking space in the health optimization space in general, and all of us who are high performers Rumors tend to be on our technological devices until very late in the evening. Well, now there’s a hedge for that. One of my favorite hedges are actually pieces of anything that I bought in the past several years has been blue light blockers, but the realm or spectrum of blue light blockers, pardon the pun there is very, very broad, you have a lot of garbage, but you also have a lot of very good, just really good companies putting stuff together. My favorite in this space happens to be any man in his wife’s company blue blocks, and blue blocks ensures that I block the right spectrums of both blue and green light and he tests this absolutely rigorously. So if you head on over to blublocks.com it’s blu bl o x.com. Use the code DS15 and you’re going to get yourself 15% off your next pair of blue blockers. Let’s get back to the show.
Daniel Maggs 37:01
Yeah, so with wearable devices, I mean, I use an earring myself, for example.
So if you’re looking, let’s take, for example, someone who’s running marathons. So you want to set up your lifestyle and diet formula bet. So you need to make sure getting the right quality of sleep. You need the right amount of water and electrolytes in the right ratio. You also want to make sure that you have enough written both fruit and vegetables in your diet so that how can I say there is acidity from your diet. And there’s acidity generated through exercise. So there’s a dietary acidosis and a metabolic acidosis. Just to be clear, I’m not saying there has to be alkaline diet. I don’t sell alkaline diet products. I’m not from that school. What I’m saying is, your body uses the same substance to buffer or deal without acidity is caused by carbonates. There’s a limited supply in the body The more thirsty there is in your diet, the less bicarbonate is available to deal with it in the muscles, that means muscle firing is impaired more quickly. So long short of it is having a good amount of fruit vegetables in your diet, especially relative to your dietary protein is going to maximize your physical endurance. So that’s another reason to look at having that biomarker in the right range. And then of course, you know, how long and how intense is the exercise as well also be a factor. So I think we can also buy weapons when we’re customizing the setup. We’re thinking more about also how to improve the onboarding experience about Okay, yes, you run but what kind of training do you do? Do you do sprints Do you do long distance, medium distance and so on. Those can be tailored but just to be clear on this. All the biomarkers we’re testing are all known from clinical practice. We’re not claiming to discover to anybody Microsoft previously known some of those were taking to the wellness side. Some of those are making available in a home context where previously they are not available like electrolytes, you can’t test them with a conventional urine test, right. But one thing we don’t have right now is like thousands of people’s data to build, like really intricate models like that will have to come through the beta testing and through the initial launch. So one person we do have a good relationship with his name’s Mike Bergeron. He’s the leading expert in the hydration sports performance field. And one of the things we will do in the second half of this year is not only doing the beta testing, but actually doing studies together, build better data data models, so we have enough good research and data to to give good key recommendations. But we want to take that to the next level. So just to be clear about where we’re at. Now, of course,
Boomer Anderson 39:53
of course. Have you guys looked at coefficient of variation for instance of some of the the returns of your On your data points, I’m just kind of curious if that’s something you guys are actively tracking.
Daniel Maggs 40:06
So I think you’re asking me about the objectively verified outcomes of tracking and acting on this data.
Boomer Anderson 40:13
Yeah, exactly. So well, I guess making sure that first the data itself as it as you collect it, how accurate is that? Like, maybe you have days and stuff like that?
Daniel Maggs 40:24
Absolutely. So, for the measurement itself, a classic urine test strip is using a pretty crude measurement where essentially you have the strip, and light is reflecting from the surface of the strip, and you’re measuring the color of that light. So you do it with a smartphone, for example, or a reader. And that gives you a what’s called a qualitative or a semi quantitative measurement. One of the issues with this is that the reaction starts from the exact point in time that the urine comes into contact with a test strip and then it has to Measured an arbitrary cutoff point. So you’re basically relying on the user, whether they’re being busy or tired or whatever, to every single time, get it on point. And the reality has not happened. So it’s kind of more or less accurate. It’s roundabout, but it’s not totally precise. What we do is, we don’t take pictures of the reaction, we actually take a movie. So with this chip, the sample is collected on the pad, no reaction actually starts. And when it sucked inside the chip, we look at the sensors in real time, so we can see that it can get wet. And for each one, we can track the progress of the reaction over time. So it gives you a lot more resolution, it gives you a lot more data points per test. I don’t have the final accuracy data of all the biomarkers right now, because we’re doing the calibration with this production device. I can tell you that will be at least as good as a clinical grade analyze if not better, so we’re not writing about the accuracy. The accuracy part basically, you can’t mess up the test, for example, put it on the reader. You can’t get the timing wrong, you can’t do it too early. You can’t do too late. It’s basically taken off your hands. So that’s that’s the list of
Boomer Anderson 42:14
traditional tests, may they may have a certain amount of variance that taking this movie may eliminate. Is that right?
Daniel Maggs 42:24
Yeah, so the important thing to understand is the chemistry itself is not perfect, right? So it’s not like wet lab chemistry region a region B. This is something that is good enough to get good quality data in a home context. But when you’re using this crude measurement approach, the classic one, it’s very, it’s very, it’s quite a wide margin of error. So we reduce that margin of error. But for traditional urine testing, it’s not really an issue because generally speaking, you want to see if something is there or not. Do I have blue prism mirror? Okay, I need my doctor checked me. Do I have protamine? Okay, I might have kidney issues. Do I have white blood cells or nitrates? Okay, I might have a urinary tract infection, it’s enough to know that something’s basically there and roughly how much if you want to make adjustments to your diet, or your training, and then see even small changes the next day, you need a finer level of detail. And that’s why we spent so much time working on making the technology more accurate. I love the fact that the feedback loops are really short. If you’re doing this twice a week, you’re already knowing if the changes you can start to see some of these things. Right. That’s
Boomer Anderson 43:38
the whole point. Amazing. Let’s go on to see because you’ve had a big year so far, my friend. In fact, it’s quite a quite an way to launch off the year. You were there. You received some awards. What was it like what was the feedback you’re getting? What was the award itself?
Daniel Maggs 43:59
Yeah. It was great.
It was great recognition. The award was called the the HS market Innovation Award. Basically, you went to a media event called showstoppers, where we had a booth, lots of press contacts, and then they had judges going around evaluating the products that were there, they had some parameters as material materials as well. And they chose us in the health and fitness category as the best product in that category. You know, there obviously there are, you know, people different opinions, but I think it’s really important for us to raise awareness and kind of get on people’s map. And that was a great first step. And having done that, it’s made it a lot easier, easier for other people to then cover us talk about us share us as well. So that was huge for us. Seeing it also covered us one of the top five health tracking device, CES that makes it easier to approach other media. And I also have some really good meetings with companies that we’re hoping to do some collaboration With on some of the new tactics I mentioned. So, and then lastly, we met the guys at beta. And we’re now actually going into beta stores this month in SF LA, New York, Austin and Seattle. So give it about two weeks. We had some delays in China due to the virus, but you’ll be able to actually interact the device in person and see it so awesome.
Boomer Anderson 45:23
Daniel, I want to just you know, because you’ve mentioned obviously, it’s not just up so you mentioned your team, how big is the team right now?
Daniel Maggs 45:33
So right now we have I say about six people. Myself, CTO, Polish guy with a Danish mechanical engineer, Japanese design American software engineer, a content marketer, and now a digital marketer. So about six, seven, excellent summer contractors but regarding and yeah, we’re just having a lot of fun right now. So and the design of the device is quite beautiful. So shout out to designer on that one. Definitely is a great.
Boomer Anderson 46:05
I’m dating a Korean designer, and she’s wonderful with All Things design. So I wanted to just transition now into a final few questions. And this has been an absolute pleasure and really a good education on the testing market in general. For you, what do you do to enhance your focus? Because it seems like you bounced from a few different jobs, and now have landed in this area and you have this hyper focus on a very specific goal. What do you do to do that and to enhance it?
Daniel Maggs 46:41
I’m really glad you asked. And it’s something I’ve been thinking about myself more, but when I was in my 20s, I think I was really trying to do everything. I tried to fill all my time to be productive all the time. To know at my job, I was working out I was doing like sort of a semi startup in the evenings and stuff. I got a lot done, but I think I was particularly happy. And now I actually do less. You know, I still go to the gym. I have my startup at my wife, she’s wonderful. And I see my friends. So, you know, I think I’m focusing on quality rather than quantity of life. And, you know, my sleep is important, but also like, every so often I have a cigar, right? It’s something I keep in moderation, like once a month, but in terms of like stress, relaxation, how a massage. I think health should be something that is, you know, honest, and natural, not neurotic. Yeah. There are some things where striving perfection is good, but there are some parts where it doesn’t bring happiness. So I think you know, humans are a bit ying and yang we’re good and my bad, but overall human. So I try and keep the balance in my life. About how How I behave and I try not to be politically correct, no to politically correct, but else try to pretend to at the same time. I feel really it’s about balance. And I was talking to Molly Maloof, actually yesterday on a podcast. And she’s someone who started out as a medical doctor and then move to being a biohacker. And now is really focusing on a wider message for just healthy, healthy living. You know, biohacking being more about more than just performance but being about, you know, holistic approach to life. I, one of the things I like most at the biohacker summit is it really had this feeling that it was more than just killing it was like, we’re physical, mental, social, and a little bit spiritual, too. And now I think is a really good way to look at life. So I feel slightly more chill about it. But I think it’s actually helped me perform better as a result.
Boomer Anderson 48:58
Well said and You know, I couldn’t agree more about the biohacker summit or have it spelled differently than the company. But like just that essence of working in the spirituality, the nature, all of that stuff is very subtle, because I came into it probably like most people with all these ideas of technology and things and just pushing myself harder and harder, but how to just enjoy is very interesting to me. What book has significantly changed your way of thinking?
Daniel Maggs 49:34
Oh, that’s a great question. So it’s not a recent book, but it was the book that actually got me started on this whole journey. And it’s called the second bounce of the ball by a guy called Ronald Cohen. And Ronald Cohen is the father of the private equity industry. So not what you associate with being innovative and he’s quite how can I say blue blood? No. But he, people often write books about entrepreneurship, and they talk about, this is what you need to do to start a startup. And, you know, here’s like, here’s your Lean Startup methodology. But he doesn’t talk about that. He says, what kind of people are entrepreneurs? What is the kind of person you to be? And it’s like a mirror, like reading that book is like, do I see things of myself in here? I mean, he’s slightly more How can I say, of the charismatic leader type, but he doesn’t overstressed that. But when I read this book, my friend gave it to me. It gave me this duck first feeling of belief that maybe I could do this too. And then so the qualities right like a person and then the second bounce of the ball is about it’s easy to see where the ball is first gonna bounce, but it’s hard to know where it’s gonna bounce next. And I think this is really the skill. Entrepreneurship is you want to be early But not too early, right? You want to be the second bounce? Not necessarily the third bounce. And you know, I think some things I’ve had to learn to be, you know, keep things simple and, and tomorrow sales and marketing and engaging. But one thing I always felt is that I could see some kind of trend ahead and, and, you know, try and find that path isn’t obvious, right? Like if something’s obvious, it’s probably not an opportunity. Yeah. I feel the same thing about Japan. Like, some people say to me, oh, go to Silicon Valley. This is where the innovation happens. No, you should pursue conducting a solid brand. I’m thinking Well, yeah, yeah. But if it’s so obvious that you should have a certain value, is it really an opportunity more like it’s very expensive, it’s very competitive. It’s its own bubble, but like this high, try to think about things. And that book for me was, you know, worker says anyone is like, Just about doing a startup, it’s very easy to get busy with doing, or even to think about, what’s my idea, like looking at ideas. And it’s true that you should look at problems rather than ideas. But I think the most important thing is to start by looking at yourself because all a company is, is a group of people who decided to get together to solve a problem. And how that turns out is really based on who you are. So you should really know yourself, be honest with yourself but here as a person, are your flaws and your strengths and and then take it from there and the company is really it’s an expression of who you are as a person like we express ourselves through our work. So I feel this is a really great book to examine yourself and look at the areas that may be a strong the areas that might need work.
Boomer Anderson 52:50
Really, my friend, that was extremely well said. You may be biased to this next question, but what about the health World really excites you right now.
Daniel Maggs 53:04
I thought about to ask about Brexit.
I was just in London two weeks ago, and it just seemed like nothing changed to be there. But we can talk about Brexit if you want. We haven’t really talked about it that good. Let’s, um, let’s come back to the healthcare industry. So I want to stress first that I’m originally from Britain. I live in Japan. I love living there. But I also love doing business with the US. So anything I say that sounds less than positive about the US is no judgement at all American people. You guys are fantastic. I would be doing my startup if it wasn’t for us, most likely that whole culture so I’m supremely grateful but I really feel Firstly, we feel very strongly that our product must be as cheap as possible. Because the people who most need our products are not the biohackers they’re not the athletes. They’re not the performance enhancers that The poor, the sick, the people who don’t know how to take care of themselves, who don’t have the means. So I think if we made a part of that was expensive or was just stuck in that kind of bubble, we would have failed on what we were trying to achieve. So that’s something it’s very important, but I feel that you know, probably the most important innovation that people need in the UK, in the US is access to healthcare. I often go to medical events where I especially when I go to med tech events, people talk about improving the quality of care, you know, improving outcomes for patients, but patients for them are the people who are able to pay for the treatment. They’re not the people who can’t pay. And I very rarely hear people talking about access to health care. So I feel that, you know, single payer health care is is is cheaper. I mean, it’s even Yale study showed that people obviously should have a chance to have private health cars? Well, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t destroy that. But that’s extremely important. And then I think, you know, one such opportunity for technology could be, could we have telemedicine driven health care, right? Like, could we have an insurance program where you pay a monthly premium and I get a visa device, I get a CGM. I get a toilet gut biome sensor, I get, you know, HIV monitor. And, you know, I might lack some, some coverage in other areas, but the focus is really on prevention. And there’s a constant stream of data that’s going to a doctor’s or call center and so on. Like, I thought that could be a really exciting opportunity to make a change right now, again, it shouldn’t be something where people are going crazy monitoring the data, but that’s really, really what I feel. I mean, I don’t claim to be a deep expert in the healthcare field. It’s a complex area. One thing I can say is that there’s a very good reason that we’re not going to the diabetes market. First one, of course, is that we want to get people before they get to patients. Yeah. Right. But the second is that if you want to build a startup, on something that’s going to prevent or treat diabetes or other current disease, you basically have to show that over at least a year. People who use your product and service have significantly better outcomes, compared people who don’t, so you have to make your product. And then you have to do like a year of clinical trials, at least to validate it. That’s like a very high risk proposition. So and even if you do that, the guys who are like software only like other health, for example, they’re charging like 15 $20 a month and that’s software only and they’re just not making margin, right. So I feel that the promise of these devices is great, but the reality for business in the diabetes era is very Different Yeah. And I believe that will happen eventually. I think we also have a great part to play in like extending healthy life expectancy healthy aging. But that diabetes, healthcare market is very challenging. But the really sad thing is just, I had a chat with a wonderful doctor. He’s a lovely man. He’s highly experienced, and he’s doing great work. But like, he, the idea of prevention just didn’t seem to register with him. I was like, well, this device, he’s like, Yeah, but you could pair it with this drug and like, Yeah, why don’t we just stop them taking the drugs like no, but you can have this and this and it wasn’t he was. He wasn’t he was stupid at all. But I think his framework was so much like, you have patients we prescribed them drugs, how can we help them take drugs better, like, that’s that generation, right. So really, I probably finished by quoting what Molly said is that the hope is that doctors can start to provide prescribe food And lifestyle advice as medicine right.
But most doctors are not, are not dieticians The one thing I would say is, I also feel very strongly that people in the wellness industry really should not bash doctors. Like I see it quite light. It’s like, they lie to us. You know what your doctor hasn’t told you. And it’s a bit of sensationalism to sell programs and books and all that stuff. And like, I kind of get it. And there’s definitely some truth in that. But people become doctors journey, because they want to help you like they really do care about helping. So what I most want to see is a marriage between wellness and the medical industry. The medical industry needs more compassion, it needs to look more at prevention. It needs to look more, you know, before we get to the drug stage, right? The wellness industry needs more rigor. It needs more science. But I think if these two combined, it will be a wonderful, it’ll be a wonderful thing. So those are kind of my current Thought
Boomer Anderson 59:00
I love it in some of those things, you kind of hear it somewhat being played out maybe not as, as fully as we would like. But Singapore giving access to Fitbit to citizens. I don’t necessarily like the prices that they’re charging, but it’s a step in the right direction or some of the things that are going around on community health care that like James maskel and others are leading in California. You know, it’s it’s certainly an exciting time to be alive for an industry that probably needed innovation about 30 years ago. So it’s good. Daniel, where can people find out more about you the device, get in touch excetera?
Daniel Maggs 59:43
Sure. So you can go to our website @www.bisu.bio that’s B I S U dot bio. You can also send me an email at Daniel@bisu.bio very happy to talk answering your questions. People to beta test they can let me know I can put you on a priority list. And then we have a Facebook page you can set up soon as well. So we have regular progress updates. We have a priority list for the beta. And we’ll also be launching a new blog by the end of this month with podcasts some great content as well. And yeah, we’re super excited to connect with people who are in the space and and want to make the most of their health and, and try out some cool new tech beautiful.
Boomer Anderson 1:00:30
The show notes for this one are decodingsuperhuman.com/bisu that’s B I S U as Daniel just laid out. But Daniel, this has been an absolute pleasure man that like you took us through the testing industry. You gave us a lot of information here. And I really appreciate your thoughts and candor, frankly. So thank you.
Daniel Maggs 1:00:49
Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure
Boomer Anderson 1:00:51
to all the superhumans listening out there have an epic day. Two as you can tell Daniel is really well received searched and I love the way he organizes his thought. The way he articulates his position and how much evidence he has to back his position. BISU’s a very cool company that is going to launch their first product I believe later this year, and I’m hoping to get my hands on one before it goes to Market. But Daniel, I’ll call you when that happens. This is a very exciting space measurement in general and being able to measure more frequently to obtain more information about oneself is just so so useful. So if you enjoyed this episode, please share whatever you learned on the social medias, Instagram, LinkedIn tend to be my two most active ones Instagram a little bit more social than LinkedIn. But share what you learned and if you are compelled, add on over to iTunes and leave a five star review. All these reviews really, really help. Thank you so much superhumans have an absolutely epic day.
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