MasterHealth: A Founder’s Story

Hello world 👋

I am filled with excitement, as I take this opportunity to share what we are building at MasterHealth with the world.

Our first significant milestone will be to improve the health of 1 million people.

But first, I want to share my inspiration.

The problem hit close to home

Last summer I made a promise to my mother on her birthday that I would figure out a way to help her improve her health — waging a war against a number of health issues that she was battling. Only, I didn’t yet know what that meant.

In my efforts to help, I spent time with her to better understand her health issues, the treatment plans she’d received from her Medical Doctor and Naturopathic Doctor, the actions she took after receiving those treatment plans, as well as her current abilities, goals, and motivations to take action on improving her health.

I became fascinated by trying to solve her health puzzle – understanding her health conditions, and what changes would get her back to leading a vibrant life. Her doctors let her know what to do, and so what I needed to better understand next was: Why is her health not improving? After all, she had multiple plans over the preceding 5 years and access to good health information. Sometimes however, information alone is not enough.

A treatment plan is mostly a wish

The quote “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is one of my favourites.

Despite “treatment plan” or “health plan” sounding like a plan, I believe it more closely resembles a wish because most often these plans are not very tactical.

I don’t believe doctors and other health practitioners are at fault here. They are well trained to solve complex health problems.

Most treatment plans accurately detail what you need to do (eg. go on a Mediterranean diet, exercise 3x/week, take these 2 supplements), yet fail many patients because they don’t include the tools to integrate those new habits and behaviours into day-to-day life in a meaningful way, drive ongoing motivation, and accountability.

It’s a behaviour change problem

Eventually, I realized that it was a behaviour change problem, and not a treatment plan problem.

Solving a behaviour change problem is in my wheelhouse. It’s at the intersection of what I am passionate about – health sciences, longevity, psychology, mobile/technology, and helping people.

Over the last 5 years, I helped build Ritual from <10 to 400+ people, 40 to almost 10K restaurants, and <1K to millions of users. Ritual, is a mobile consumer technology company that helps people build new habits and behaviours around ordering food socially with coworkers from nearby restaurants.

I’m thrilled to take these past experiences forging strong partnerships, working with partners to provide their customers better mobile experiences, and building highly engaging products to MasterHealth.

Leveraging many similar principles, we will drive daily engagement for everyone on our programs, and help people lead healthier lives, get off medications, and have more energy to enjoy life.

Starting small

In late-Summer 2019, I built a minimum viable product (MVP) for my mother and we began testing behaviour change strategies. Her treatment plan was imported into this mobile experience, and we used it to track her activities and relevant biomarkers to her conditions.

After 6 months – she was still actively engaged with her program, the results were extremely positive across 3 key biomarkers, she was able to reduce and eventually eliminate 1 medication, and we were able to validate a number of the behaviour change strategies that led to her ongoing engagement.

Scaling-up

I explored a variety of go to market partnership, distribution, and revenue models.

I conducted scores of interviews with health practitioners as well as authors of health and lifestyle books and programs, as well as recipients of treatment plans. I sought to understand their pain points, the economics of their businesses, and the customer’s ability and willingness to pay for our service. Ultimately, there were merits to both approaches.

Ultimately, I found that our ability to unlock value and drive impact is an order of magnitude larger when partnering with authors and creators, and enabling immersive experiences for their readers.

Health books as treatment plans

While reading a health (or any non-fiction) book, how many times have you folded a corner or underlined a passage of text and said to yourself, “I’m going to implement this in my life!” and then closed the book and failed to take action. I’ve been guilty of this more times than I can count.

It’s the same sentiment that many patients have as soon as they leave their appointment with a practitioner who gives them a list of action items, and who fail to implement any one of them. Or who may for 1-2 weeks, and then fall off the wagon.

Practitioners give their patients 1:1 specific treatment plans, whereas health authors publish 1:many general treatment plans in their books. There are many analogs.

Health books as subscriptions: unlocking 10x value for authors

MasterHealth will be the next step people take when they complete a health book. Or maybe they’ll decide to subscribe after finishing chapter 3? (Let’s remember to put a call to action there.)

Working with authors, we tease out the lifestyle changes and recommendations enclosed within their books and programs, and we build actionable steps (using behaviour change science) that readers turned subscribers can use to implement those recommendations into their day-to-day lives and achieve their desired health goals.

Health programs developed by top authors and health experts will be tuned – in partnership with MasterHealth – and offered as a subscription service to individuals. Author partners will receive an ongoing revenue share for as long as their readers remain subscribed – engaging with their content, and working toward achieving their health goals on our platform.

For authors, earnings in most cases will exceed 10x the typical royalties that they receive from traditional book sales (on a per-reader/subscriber basis).

MasterHealth can also provide an extremely valuable data set back to authors – aggregate data (non-personally identifiable) detailing how subscribers are performing on their programs. This information can be used to glean insights and improve health programs over time, and help inspire better, more impactful second- and third-editions. Great for authors and publishers alike.

For publishers, our business model is complementary, not competitive. I believe that MasterHealth will drive an increase in book sales vs. any risk of cannibalization.

We are actively partnering with authors

We’ve already built a number of partnerships with health, nutrition and lifestyle authors. And I am so deeply encouraged by the excitement that I hear from them about the opportunity forward together.

For health authors interested in joining our platform, apply here.

There is currently no charge for authors to apply to transform their books and programs into an engaging mobile experience on the MasterHealth platform.

I encourage authors to reach out to us to discuss being part of our initial launch, which will be coupled with a larger marketing and media campaign, and ultimately more exposure for their books and programs.

Want to be part of our story?

I look forward to writing it together with so many of you.

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