How to use Intuition and Perseverance to Realize Your Dreams with Whoop Founder Will Ahmed [Episode #783]
This week’s topic is: How to use Intuition and Perseverance to Realize Your Dreams with Whoop Founder Will Ahmed
I am so excited to have my very special guest, Will Ahmed, who is the Founder and CEO of WHOOP, which has developed next generation wearable technology for optimizing human performance and health. Listen in as Will shares how to stay grounded as a busy entrepreneur, intuition and the balance with external measurements, making better lifestyle decisions, and so much more!
The genesis of WHOOP…
Staying grounded as a busy entrepreneur…
Intuition and the balance with external measurements…
Making better lifestyle decisions…
Will’s morning meditation routine…
Harnessing and accessing your deepest intuition…
About Will Ahmed
Will Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of WHOOP, which has developed next generation wearable technology for optimizing human performance and health. WHOOP members include professional athletes, Fortune 500 CEOs, fitness enthusiasts, military personnel, frontline workers and a broad range of people looking to improve their performance. Ahmed has recruited an active advisory board that consists of some of the world’s most notable cardiologists, technologists, marketers, and designers. Ahmed founded WHOOP as a student at Harvard, where he captained the Men’s Varsity Squash Team and graduated with an A.B. in government.
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00:01): Loves and welcome back to our Monday interview show where I am very excited to bring on a very special and very inspiring guest today to share with you. His name is Will Ahmed and he is the founder and CEO of Whoop, which has developed next generation wearable technology for optimizing human performance and health. So you may see people wearing their whoop straps all over the place, which measures h r v, heart rate variability and sleep stats, and that is incredible. We get into some of that usefulness and practicality today. But also I was interested in hearing about how Will was able to bring forth his dream into reality. I think he’s only 10 years out of Harvard, out of graduating from college, and he’s been able to create this $4 billion company. He’s raised 400 million. He’s been on every you know list. Shout out accolade award, including Forbes 30 under 30, um, the 2020 Fortune 40 under 40. It goes on and on. But as we get into today, it was so much of Will’s vision and his ability to tap into intuition that led to his success. So he is such a fascinating, inspiring person to talk to and I very much think you will enjoy our chat today.
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(01:09): Before we get into it though, wanted to give a quick shout out to our fan of the week. Her name is saraJeanBee and she writes, inspiring Love this podcast. It’s a great listen and creates an enriching and useful time out of my commute. So saraJeanBee, thank you so much for being part of our community. Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review. I’m not sure where you live in the world, but wherever you are, I’m sending you so much love and so much gratitude and a huge virtual hug. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart and for your chance to also be shouted out as our fan of the week. Please just take a moment to leave us a review on Apple, Spotify, wherever you happen to listen to our show. It’s a great way to support and to connect, so thank you in advance. Please also give yourself a gift by subscribing so you don’t have to think, you can just stay in the flow with these incredible interviews, just amazing people we are blessed to have on this show and also our Thursday q and a podcast show, which is, um, all the questions that come in from our amazing, vibrant community. And chances are you may have the same question because we often do. And so subscription is just a great way to stay in the flow. Please also share this podcast with anyone that you think would benefit. This is a pure act of abundance sharing and sending love and resources without any expectation in return. So if you’ve benefited in some way, chances are someone close to you will probably as well. So be sure to share the show as well.
Get Your Copy Of YOU ARE MORE
And our last little announcement is that the latest book, baby You Are More More Than You Think You Are – Practical Enlightenment For Everyday Life, is now newly out in paperback. Um, it’s a great gift, especially as we get closer to Mother’s Day and spring and just this time where, you know, many of us are thinking about resetting our intentions, our vitality, our purpose. We’re looking for ways to nourish that and reconnect back in. So really that’s what this practical guide, this book is about. All right, all that being said, let’s get into our show today with the incredibly inspiring Will Ahmed.
Interview with Will Ahmed
Kimberly: 00:15 Will, I’m so excited to chat with you today. Thank you so much for taking the time,
Will: 00:20 Kimberly. Thanks for having me.
Kimberly: 00:22 So imagine your days are quite full, or do you like to space out your appointments? Do you let yourself breathe running this ginormous brand that you’ve built? <laugh>?
Will: 00:34 Well, breathe is a good word. I do. Uh, I do think about breathing a lot. I think my, from a schedule scam standpoint, though, my day’s pretty, pretty slammed kind of back to back to back.
Kimberly: 00:45 Yes. Well, I’m really excited to talk about, whoop, it’s something that came into my personal life when I was pregnant with our second son, so I started using it. Well, it was really interesting to see what was happening to my sleep while I was pregnant. So I’m not always drawn to quantitative data, but I have to say that the whoop has been very eye-opening for me, which is why I’m really excited to share it today with the community. Um, but we’ll get into that in a minute. First, you know, you’ve, you’ve built this incredible just universe Will and what’s really, you know, as a, as a founder, as an entrepreneur, myself, I’m really interested, um, in the genesis of Whoop, when it was a, a little baby, like a little seed, and you had this creative idea. A lot of people have creative ideas, but to be able to implement it and get other people on board and other people excited about it, how did you start to water your seed? How did you start to bring it to life in the beginning? I think you started it when you were a student at Harvard. You were 21 years old. Yeah.
The genesis of WHOOP
Will: 01:52 <laugh>. Yeah. Well, I mean, I think that the ideas come in sort of two different flavors. You know, the, the first is that sort of, um, Hollywood esque, uh, it hits you all at once. Where were you when you had the idea sort of idea? And then the second, um, which is much more in line with Whoop, is is it just sort of gradually nas at you and evolves and you go deeper and deeper and deeper. And, and for me, building whoop, or even committing to the idea of building Whoop was, uh, really like a years in progress, uh, development. I, I was always into sports and exercise growing up. I, uh, played squash at Harvard. And really from the age of like 18 or 19 years old, I just got this sense that it was weird how little I knew about my body. Hmm. It didn’t make sense to me that I would spend hours training and really have no quantification on what I was doing. And so much of training back then. But I would even argue still today, like was based on feelings. It was based on what a coach could see. Mm-hmm.
Kimberly: 03:03 <affirmative>,
Will: 03:04 It, you know, it felt, uh, very flimsy in, in a certain sense. And this was also at a time where computers were clearly just getting smaller and smaller and smarter. And, and so for, for me, it seemed obvious that there would be technology that could measure your body and give you deeper insights. And so I pointed a lot of my studies at that, at that question of how could you measure the human body? And I didn’t realize out of the gates that I was starting a business. I mostly was, was, uh, you know, kind of pulled in by this idea or this problem in my life, which was, I don’t know what I do to my body while I train. And, um, and you know, over time, I mean, I think it’s worth paying attention to the things that you think about in the shower, or you think about in traffic, or you think about in sort of these quiet moments of life. And for me as a student, like a lot of what I was thinking about in those quiet moments was this idea. And it kept, it kept developing and developing. And, you know, I also, I had no idea what it meant to start a company, Kimberly. And so I was really, uh, I think I, I was really doing a lot of research and work almost to, to build the confidence to do it.
Kimberly: 04:21 Mm.
Will: 04:22 You know, if you’re, if you’re nervous, be prepared. I spent years like really studying everything about the human body to build the confidence to, to one day start. Whoop.
Kimberly: 04:35 I mean, the, but the truth is, well, you were so young, right? So to get people, get investors, get people to, you know, put dollars towards your idea, which at the time was unproven. Right. And their, you know, H r V wasn’t even a thing back then. Do you think it was this, um, you were prepared, you had the facts, but this translation of this, this passion, you know, you were able to get people on board the very beginning when you didn’t really have any funding yet. What do you think it was that got the seed up towards the, you know, when the soil is, the seed’s kind of moving in the dark right? For a while, we don’t know. And then it starts to hit the, the surface, and then the sun comes that dark period. What do you think moved you from that into, you know, the birth of whoop?
What moved Will towards the birth of Whoop
Will: 05:22 Well, it’s worth noting that most people, you know, said no in one form or another, whether those
Kimberly: 05:28 Were people. I’d love to hear that. Yeah. <laugh> the struggle part, right. Which we don’t always get to hear about.
Will: 05:33 No, I mean, it was very painful in a sense. I, I, I spent a lot of times just like wondering if I was crazy. Hmm. Uh, cause so many people I spoke to were like, this is a bad idea, or You’re not an engineer, or you’re not a doctor, or Why isn’t Nike gonna do this? Why isn’t Apple gonna do this? Actually Nike, Nike and Apple are doing this. You know? So there was, there was a lot of, um, yeah, I’d say there was a lot of critical feedback in that process. And it, it really tested my, uh, resilience, uh, in building the company. And I think I had a certain, I had a certain stubbornness at that age that was valuable to getting it off the ground. Uh, it was a sub, it was a stubbornness that I needed to learn to, uh, sort of massage over time.
06:23 Because as you go from being an individual contributor to more of a manager or a leader, you obviously need to be able to bring in all sorts of different type of feedback and wrestle with it. But that was a period of my life of saying ages 21 to 23 or 24, where I, I completely put up a, uh, like a brick wall to negative feedback. Wow. And I just, you know, I just kept going. I just kept going. I just did not listen to it. Didn’t matter who it was coming from, didn’t matter what brilliant c e o or investor told me I was gonna fail, or the business didn’t make sense, I just kept going. And, you know, it’s hard to, to know, looking back on it, like, where did that level of conviction come from? Um, I talked a lot about sort of the years, even before starting the company, just the amount of work I put into it. And so I think that I had developed like a, you know, I had, I had wrestled with a lot of those questions for years and, and built up a confidence towards why, why I thought they were solvable. Uh, and, uh, and so I was able to push through that period. I, I, I’ll reiterate though, it was a very painful period, and there were certain things I had to evolve out of once the company got some success.
Kimberly: 07:48 Do you think there was, oh, there must have been some sort of influence in your early childhood ra, you know, the way you were raised by your family, or perhaps your inclination towards sports and team sports. And I bring this up. Well, because I, we have a six year old actually just turned seven, who’s doing his Legos. And he got really frustrated bag three, I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten into Legos. And he threw his, like, partial creation on the ground into a million pieces. And he said, I quit. And I said, you know, let’s calm down. We don’t quit. We just need to rest and restart. So he picked him up again and he did rebuild them, right? So I was like, yes. Like as a mom, these were big lessons. So do you think, you know, is there anything you can recall, like in the way you were parented perhaps, or maybe you just sort of came in with a certain personality of persistence and it wasn’t, you know, it was just in your makeup or maybe as you started to get into sports and you, you know, you really wanted to improve that, you know, there’s a, there’s a grittiness and you know, John, uh, my husband and I always talk about, you know, some people are born entrepreneurs, some aren’t.
08:47 Some learn it, some don’t, but can do, do you think you were a gritty child? <laugh>?
We discuss the influence of childhood examples of persistence
Will: 08:53 I, so, so my parents are, are pretty interesting in that I’m an only child, and my mom and dad are very different. And my dad’s an Egyptian immigrant and came to this country with very little, uh, 22 years old, you know, you know, high level of charisma and, uh, persistence, uh, you know, made it in America, right? American dream. And my mom deeply analytical, much more introspective, uh, you know, book Smart Reads, you know, a few books a week, like, you know, so I, I grew up, um, and, and by the way, both of them in extremes, like my dad, very street smart, my mom, very book smart. And, and so I grew up observing, I think, like two ends of the extreme of how to solve a problem.
Kimberly: 09:47 Interesting.
Will: 09:48 And so I think that I, I’ve learned to borrow each end of that spectrum at various points in time. And I think that that’s, that’s probably been quite helpful in building a business. I think it’s also been helpful in assessing talent. Mm-hmm. Cause, uh, y you know, because humans come in all different shapes and sizes in terms of how they’re, how they’re great. But you can be great in a lot of different ways. And, uh, and so in, in a sense, I think seeing how different my parents were and how differently they approach problems, both in their own way and both in, in ver you know, varying degrees of success, I think that was quite helpful. I think being an only child kind of lends yourself to being around adults a little bit more <laugh>.
Kimberly: 10:36 Yeah. Um,
Will: 10:38 You know, because for the first, I don’t know, like first five years of the company, I was often the, you the youngest person in the room or one of them. Um, and even as the company’s, you know, grown and matured, I’m often one of the youngest people in the room. So it’s, I love it. You know, you have to get comfortable with that.
Kimberly: 10:58 Yeah. Well, I love that you mentioned that about your dad, because there’s so much with emotional intelligence being tied to success, right? It’s not just iq, but also this, you know, the human part of understanding and reading between the lines. And you said like assessment and feeling. Who would, you know, work on your team and who would really help su to support your vision and your dream?
Quest of entrepreneurship
Will: 11:22 Yeah, absolutely. And I, I think the, the quest of entrepreneurship is really one of, of learning to understand yourself and, and where you have strengths and weaknesses and how you, you, you play to your strengths. I think it’s also, uh, it’s a, a path of finding the believers. You’re not gonna convince everyone. In fact, if you’re lucky, you’ll convince about five or 10% of people you meet
Kimberly: 11:50 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.
Will: 11:51 Um, and you know, when I look back on it and like how hard it was to get it off the ground, I wonder in part if that spoke to the potential too, because the more people who think what you’re doing is crazy or shouldn’t exist or doesn’t make sense, well if you’re right. Right. Like, the more surprising, the bigger the outcome. Right. And so, um, there, there is like a, there is a glass half full to that. The problem is like a great crazy idea, and a crazy, crazy idea may look very similar in the early days. So,
Kimberly: 12:28 So yeah, there was like a lot of nos. And then you started to get the seed going. And then was it a snowball after that? You know, I think you raised, you know, to date 400 million, right? So I imagine there’s, there’s always gonna be the ups and downs in the, in the journey, and you just kept, kept going.
Will: 12:49 Yeah. I mean, for your audience, whoop, whoop builds, uh, in a wearable technology, it’s a big focus on health monitoring, health improvement. Uh, I think we’ve had strong points of view on what, what it is that we, we try to measure and why,
13:09 You know, whoop isn’t, um, a product for everyone. It’s not also, uh, gonna do a thousand different things. Right? I think whoop created all the things that it does for all the things that it doesn’t do. So, you know, there’s a, it doesn’t have a screen on it, it doesn’t do a bunch of push notifications and emails and phone calls, and you’re not gonna call an Uber with your whoop. But, um, when it comes to health monitoring, uh, you know, we’re the best game in town. And, and that’s our goal. And, and so I just bring that up because that, that as an orientation, um, from the early days of the company, that was pretty helpful. Cuz you’re gonna have to say no to a lot of things, to, to build an identity and to be successful in the hardware space. Especially cuz hardware is really hard. And, and, um, every deviation that you make from that core competency, all of a sudden tears at, at your success. And in the first few years of the company, it was really two goals, build the most accurate, uh, health monitor and work with the world’s best athletes.
Kimberly: 14:24 Hmm.
Will: 14:25 And, uh, you know, we were, we were pretty successful at both of those things, but it, it was also a period of time where I think the skeptics grew. They didn’t shrink. So we talked about how hard it was even in the first year or two. Um, you mentioned, I’ve raised 400 million. I mean, the first $400,000 that I raised for this business was much harder and took much longer than our last round of financing, which was 200 million, which took me a few weeks to raise. Yeah. So it’s just, it’s important, uh, for people listening to us who are aspiring entrepreneurs. You know, when you first get started, you’re, everyone’s trying to figure it out. Everyone’s trying to figure out, um, how to get the thing off the ground, how to raise capital. I don’t think anyone’s that good at it. Uh, I made the mistake of comparing myself to, to, you know, very successful entrepreneurs at a young stage and thinking to yourself, oh, you know, fill in the blank. Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, whatever. They didn’t have trouble hiring this person or Right.
Kimberly: 15:37 <laugh>,
Will: 15:37 You know, and it’s a totally unproductive mindset. One because, uh, if you keep getting a little better every day, who knows how great you’ll become? And two, because I think even the great entrepreneurs when they first started, um, didn’t know that much more than you do.
Kimberly: 15:54 Hmm. You know, well, one thing that really strikes me about you is your voice and energy. There’s a, there’s a real calmness and groundedness to you. And sometimes I talk to CEOs and, you know, big entrepreneurs and there’s almost this frenetic hurry pace. So I’m interested in how you keep yourself and, you know, and, um, there’s a lot and so much of the technology w which we’ll get into in the minute about the obsessive health driven person, but it seems like you can, um, balance this obsessiveness with calmness, which we know is where we, we come from this place of better equanimity, emotional intelligence, making better decisions. Right. So how are you, how are you so grounded with everything coming at you with these huge staff, all these decisions you have to make? What are some of the ways in which you don’t, uh, get into that over hurry, that pushing this, which, you know, better than anyone, creates more strain, inflammation, stress in the body, because it’s easy to slip into that, you know?
Staying grounded as a busy entrepreneur
Will: 17:01 Totally. And it’s easy in talking to you to tell that you’re a meditator. You’re someone who thinks about these things too. I
Kimberly: 17:08 Feel like you’re a meditator, <laugh>. I can, you can tell each other, right? We’re meditators.
Will: 17:13 Yeah. There’s interesting tells for it. One tell is pausing the, uh, you know, I think it’s worth noting, like, when I first was starting whoop, I was, I was much more, uh, in that kind of, I dunno, frantic is the right word, but in, in a, in a place of go, go, go. And you’re almost trying to keep up with yourself. You’ll, you’ll be in a meeting and all of a sudden you’ll be saying things or you’ll be getting angry or anxious or whatever, and you’re, you’re catching up to the fact. Yes. Oh wow. Like, what did I just blurred out? Right. And, and so I realized around the age of, I don’t know, 24 or 25, that, uh, the way I felt running this company was not sustainable. Mm. Both for the company and for me. And, you know, at that point I had raised, I don’t know, maybe tens of millions of dollars, which felt like an enormous amount of money.
18:14 And I had, uh, you know, maybe a team of 30 people or so, uh, which felt like an enormous number of people. And yeah, I was, I was kind of spinning out of control. I was constantly stressed. And, you know, you kind of drink a cup of coffee after a cup of coffee. It almost doesn’t feel like it works. And, um, I had a panic attack around that time. Anyway, I, uh, it made me just realize that I needed to, to have some kind of a, uh, a reset. And I, you know, I found meditation and it, it really changed my life. And I’ve been doing it every single day since this would’ve been 2014, so, you know, nine years now. And the thing that meditation did for me is, um, well, there’s a lot of things, but one of them is it, it helped me, uh, see myself in the third person, uh, throughout the day. Hmm. So not just in, you know, the act of meditating, but, uh, you know, in the rest of my life. And we talked before about how you’re in a meeting and all of a sudden you realize that you’ve said all these things, or you’re angry or whatever, you’re like catching up to yourself. You know, meditating’s helped me almost, um, be a step ahead of myself where if I want to get angry, it becomes more of a choice. Right. It’s
Kimberly: 19:43 Right.
Will: 19:44 You know, I can, I can hear in my, I can hear my, my uh, head, oh, will’s about to get angry.
Kimberly: 19:50 Wow.
Will: 19:51 And so you can decide, well, is that the right emotion for the moment or not? And, uh, and so that becomes what feels like a superpower actually. The, the other aspect of meditating, which I’m sure you’ve experienced Kimberly, is just how much more in touch it makes you with intuition. And, and where, you know, where do great ideas come from? How do you know something? How do you make decisions? Like how do you know something? And, uh, it’s, it’s a very interesting question that I think people don’t actually ask themselves enough. But meditating for me has helped me understand that
Kimberly: 20:34 I was gonna ask you about intuition, the balance to the quantitative, which is one of my favorite topics, will, and there’s a whole chapter in my newest book on intuition. And if you look at these, um, interviews with Nobel Prize Laureates and all these amazing scientists, they talk about, there’s this intuitive part of the work. Like, why am I picking this part to research? Or why am I, you know, really pulling this part out? And so there is this really important part that has to come from deep inside of us. And, you know, I think three books ago, will, I wrote a book with Deepak Chopra who at the time was doing the study with Scripps and Duke and Harvard on a blood marker for meditators. Like, you also wanted to quantify it. And he said to me when we were writing the book, he said, Kimberly happiness cannot be a moving target.
21:22 Which is really interesting. It was saying, you know, if we put our worth into this, like how many books am I gonna sell or what, you know, what’s gonna happen outside of me? We don’t really get there. Right. So as a med from this meditative perspective, and you’re building this big brand, how do you balance this? Yes, there’s numbers and there’s all of this, but at the same time, inside of Will is this groundedness and this, you know, the, the, the, the steadiness, the self-validation self-worth that comes from inside the, the, the joy, the, the happiness sharing with your family versus it’s all, you know, these external measurements. Cuz it, I, you know, I’ve struggled with that too. When I look at how many times do I make the New York Times bestseller list or how many sales, right. There’s that versus I feel really good about what I put out, you know, and I’m a kind person. And like you said, emotional mastery is a superpower, you know, inside of yourself. Do you find that those two voices battling themselves a little bit?
Intuition and the balance with external measurements
Will: 22:28 Well, yeah, and I mean, there’s, there’s a lot, there’s a lot there that comes to mind. I think the, uh, I think that the amazing thing about, uh, intuition is how, how often you can access it and how often you actually have pretty strong inclinations about things. And it’s, it’s worth keeping a scorecard on those things for a variety of categories of your life. Uh, could be your career, could be relationships, friendships, could be, uh, finances, all sorts of different components of your life. You, you feel intuition towards mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, and so in building, whoop, I’ve had pretty strong intuition about, um, the product and its design and certain people and, and bringing them into the organization. And so it’s, it’s been valuable for me to, to acknowledge that and not, not pretend like it didn’t play a big role in, in any success that I’ve had. And in, in turn also to figure out how to harness it and how to, how to use it for, you know, in terms of the human body, I know that I can tap into that intuition much better if I’m well rested. If I get a lot of rem and slow wave sleep, if I meditate in the morning, if mm-hmm.
Kimberly: 24:05 <affirmative>
Will: 24:06 Hot and cold therapy, if I exercise often and hard, you know, um, if my relationships with my wife or my parents are close friends are strong, like all of those components I think help your, whatever you wanna call it, your intuition, your inner child, the, the voice that speaks to you be stronger.
Kimberly: 24:37 It’s true because I am that extreme intuitive person will like intuitive eating and I don’t count calories and things like that. I used to, I used to be obsessive. But what I really like about wearing the whoop, and especially as a busy mom, it reinforces some of the intuition that I have. Like, I really need to get to bed a half hour earlier. Look at how little rem sleep I got, or the strain part of the technology, which isn’t just for athletes, honestly. It’s, you know, I can see when I’m taking on too much as a parent, running around too much, packing too much in that’s really useful. I can do something with that data. And intuitively I feel that. But when sometimes when you see the numbers, and especially as women, you know, cuz we take on and take on in the family and at home, it’s, the data can really help us to make better lifestyle decisions that are empowering. So I love that this combination of the intuition and the data aren’t actually fighting each other, but actually supportive in building a truly holistic, healthy lifestyle.
Making better lifestyle decisions
Will: 25:44 Oh, absolutely. I mean, it, it’s worth saying it like, we think of whoop as a tool, right? Yeah. And, um, it can be a great reminder. I mean, look, hard charging people also can lose sight of what the next best thing is for them. Right. And I, I’ve been this at various points in my life where you’re operating predominantly on the dopamine system of next best seller, next valuation, next capital next sales quarter. You know, oh, when I get to this thing, it’s gonna be great.
Kimberly: 26:23 Exactly. Future based, which isn’t really real.
Will: 26:26 No. Uh, but it can be a great motivator, right? Yes. Dopamine systems work. If I tell you we’re gonna go to the greatest restaurant in the world tonight, like you gotta come with me to this, you never have better food in your life. Right. The anticipation of that stuff is gonna be great and it’s gonna get you to come to the restaurant. Inevitably, you’re gonna be let down by the restaurant. Right? So dopamine systems work, it’s just, uh, you can’t only operate on one. And, you know, I think a lot about, I’ve tried to, you know, get more grateful over time and incorporate serotonin into that chemical balance, right? Because if the more grateful you are, the more serotonin you release and, and, uh, that makes you happier in a different way.
Kimberly: 27:16 Well, what’s your relationship with nature? Because, you know, there’s technology, your meetings, computers inside. I see you in your beautiful office inside. How does being outside or you play sports, you play golf, how does that inspire you or how does that help you reset, if any? You know, some people don’t really have a relationship with nature. I ask because I have a very strong relationship and it really does help, I think with my stress levels and strain and meditation. I like to meditate outside. I’m interested. What is your relationship?
How does being outside help you reset
Will: 27:52 Well, I’ll, I’ll answer your question directly, but I’ll I’m gonna take it in a slightly different way too.
Kimberly: 27:57 Yeah.
Will: 28:00 For, for someone who has spent the last 10, 11 years building technology and technology, frankly that’s on the cutting edge. I am, uh, I am skeptical of how much technology in our lives is good and, and so there’s a lot of design decisions related to whoop that tie back to that. Hmm. For example, whoop doesn’t have a screen on it.
Kimberly: 28:28 I love that.
Will: 28:30 Yeah,
Kimberly: 28:31 I love that.
Will: 28:32 I think there’s enough screens in your life.
Kimberly: 28:35 Thank you. <laugh>.
Will: 28:38 The, even the, the design with it being mostly material, you know, it’s not intended to look all that much like technology. A lot of our design process has been to try to remove the technology, uh, from health monitoring and to make it sort of just disappear on your body. You’ll notice we also don’t send you a million push notifications throughout the day.
Kimberly: 29:03 Thank you. <laugh>. That’s nice.
Will: 29:06 Yeah. Obviously there’s a lot of things we could say. Yeah. But the, the, the purpose is not to see how many times we can get you to open the app. The purpose is to improve your health.
Kimberly: 29:18 Yes.
Will: 29:19 And so, um, having that, I would say orientation, um, I think has helped us build a predator product and one that’s been able to exist in people’s lives. I, I think that, you know, the amount of time people are spending on their phones and spending, um, looking at each other through screens is, uh, problematic. I think, I mean, I’m a little old school in the sense that like, I come to the office every day. I like meeting people in person. I really like interviewing people in person. Uh, so, uh, I think a lot of really good creative work happens in person and being around people. Uh, so this isn’t exactly tied to nature, but, but anyway, you get a sense for
Kimberly: 30:11 Oh it is. Yeah. I get it.
Will: 30:13 Yeah. And, and I like being outside a lot. I really get a lot of value of being in the sun.
Kimberly: 30:20 Yes.
Will: 30:21 Which I think is probably the thing we all take for granted the most. <laugh> sort of an amazing, uh, source of energy.
Kimberly: 30:29 Hmm. The giver of all life. Right. You know, the plants are pulling the chlorophyl and the photosynthesis and really taking the sun energy, whether we’re plant-based eaters or we eat the meat, the animals are eating the plants, it’s coming. And so, um, I wear a hat, but you know, there’s people that are scared to get even like one little drop of sun. And I think this nourishment, you could feel it intuitively, right? And the vitamin D and the activation of enzymes and all sorts of things happening. But back, back to the design, well, I wouldn’t wear the whoop if it had a screen. I’ve borrowed my friend’s Tesla once and I couldn’t do it cuz the screen in the car and the cloth if it was rubber or like, you know, some of the other technologies. So it is very organic and high end technology at the same time. So then I feel like it can blend into your life instead of be the being this obstruction. Like here’s this big screen. It’s almost like this, um, wall between me and something else. So, um, I applaud you for that design. I like it very much.
Will: 31:32 Well, thank you. We uh, we’re honored to have you on Whoop
Kimberly: 31:36 <laugh>. So, um, back back to your, your rhythms will, as you know, we start to wrap up here. You mentioned meditating in the morning. Is that an essential practice for you? Do you do it before you get into your emails and you know, the day starts? Or do you kind of feel like you have to get some of that out of the way and then you can settle in? And I ask that from personal experience because to be honest, I do a little check and then I sit up in bed, you know, my husband’s still sleeping, my kids are, um, sleeping. But I do a little check, but then I drop right in. Otherwise it gets too busy.
Will’s morning meditation routine
Will: 32:10 Hmm. Well, my routine is I get outta bed, I go straight to uh, taking a shower, I end freezing cold, I get dressed. Hmm. I get my wife some kisses who’s still asleep, <laugh>. And I don’t sleep.
Kimberly: 32:29 What time do you wake up?
Will: 32:32 It varies. Uh, if I’m working out with my, uh, trainer, I’ll, I’ll wake up around six 30 if I’m, um, if I’m not working out with my trailer, I’ll wake up around 7, 7 30. Nice. And, and so I, you know, meditate for 20 minutes and then I’m out the door.
Kimberly: 32:51 And what time do you go to bed?
Will: 32:54 Also varies depending on, on what I just said, but probably sometime between 11 and 12.
Kimberly: 33:00 Oh wow. You’re, you’re a late, a late sleeper.
Will: 33:03 Yeah.
Kimberly: 33:04 You know, for me, while I have my shower after work and my kids are taking a bath and that means boom, I’m done with working for the day. Do you have some sort of practice or ritual to sort of turn off? Or do you feel like you’re kind of on but you are managing it?
Our nightly ritual practice
Will: 33:23 I’m pretty on. I have not, if, if I were trying to optimize solely for being a human, my relationship with my phone would be pretty different. Yeah. But I’m still primarily optimized to be like a great c e o or trying to be a great c e o. And so I just think in this day and age you gotta be on for that. And, and stuff’s coming in, you know, at all hours. We’re manufacturing around the world, we’re shipping around the world, supply chain, different time zones. So, uh, you know, I’ll be looking at my phone right up until when I go to bed, but I’ve figured out ways to hack it a little bit. Like, for example, I wear blue light blocking glasses, which are amazing. Yes.
Kimberly: 34:08 I wear them too <laugh>.
Will: 34:09 They’re so good. Uh, I got introduced to them years ago and I found that they were so helpful for improving my rem and slow wave sleep that we said let’s design our own, let’s make the best ones. And I think now we must be one of the largest sellers of blue light blocking glasses. Cuz we, every time we come out with one, they sell out.
Kimberly: 34:32 Wow.
Will: 34:33 Yeah. So, uh, for folks listening to like, what the hell are blue light blocking glasses? Blue lighting glasses are like tinted glasses. You can actually get clear ones. But the tinted ones, like they have a little bit of a red tint, uh, they’re a little stronger. And if you wear them, you know, 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed, they block all of the blue light that you’re exposed to. So if you’re looking at a television set, a cell phone, anything that it’s gonna block that blue light and blue light is what’s triggering your, your mind to stay awake. So it’s a bit of a get outta jail free card for I
Kimberly: 35:08 Love that. Yes.
Will: 35:09 Both like me who are still looking at their phones.
Kimberly: 35:12 Right. Cuz it’s activating different parts of your brain. It’s not natural as we know, but it’s, it’s the way, like you said, we’re on and we need, and now I’m starting to write another book, and so I am gonna be writing at night after the kids go to bed, and there’s no way to get around it sometimes. So I like that there’s that technology. Um, yeah. So last, lastly, will, I mean, you are, you are a fascinating human to talk to now, besides even whoop, just the, the energy, the groundedness. And so, um, I’m interested, just last, last question. You know, with my husband, he’s very masculine and I’ve very feminine. So when we came together, it felt like this balance a little bit where he could let me, you know, see things in more linear way. There was this balance of energies. And I know you mentioned you have a wife, you’re married. How has, you know, this feminine energy partnership sort of helped to balance your life or to help you feel, you know, peaceful in your heart or, you know, just how that comes out into work or life or, you know, taking a break from whoop or all the ways <laugh> Well,
Feminine energy partnership in balancing your life
Will: 36:16 My wife lately is, uh, is very loving, very, uh, supportive.
Kimberly: 36:23 Hmm.
Will: 36:25 Has high intuition herself. Uh, and and to your point about bringing out the feminine, definitely does that, uh, for me and helps balance me out. Yeah. She’s also, we’ve been together for maybe, let’s see, close to 10 years now. So she’s seen, oh, she’s seen the whole evolution, both of, of who I am and how I’ve evolved, but also of whoop. Yeah. And so it’s been valuable to have someone, uh, you know, be a guide and a partner through a lot of that and the highs and lows and, you know, kind of also understands there’s times that you’re there, but you’re not quite there. And there’s times where, uh, you’re there and you really need to be there. And, you know, the, the, there’s, there’s all of that that comes with obsessing about something for a long time. And so having a partner who’s also very creative, entrepreneurial, um, she’s a fashion designer, all of that really helps.
Kimberly: 37:26 Mm-hmm. <affirmative> w was she a student with you? Did you meet at school together?
Will: 37:30 So I, I went to Harvard and then, uh, lately went to Wellesley. She was a Wow.
Kimberly: 37:37 Well, you know, in yoga they say having a partner you can go deepest because it’s this constant mirror. You know, when you’re on your own, sometimes you can just kind of continue the patterns, you know, you’re, you know, the, the vices and the things that we don’t see. But then when you have this partner, you can start to see shadows. You can start to see things that we need to work on or, you know, correct. A little bit. It can be very powerful.
Will: 38:00 Yeah. Well, you’ve got a great, uh, a great partner yourself and, and John Deere. We, we share a love for John Deere
Kimberly: 38:07 <laugh>. Exactly. We definitely helped each other grow and, um, see each other more clearly. And I think, again, that’s such a beautiful, um, such a beautiful gift to have that as well. Well, is there anything
Will: 38:22 For you?
Kimberly: 38:24 Oh yes, please.
Will: 38:25 So obviously you think a lot about this, you’re a big meditator. Yes. What are ways that you find you can, uh, you know, harness or access your deepest intuition?
Harnessing and accessing your deepest intuition
Kimberly: 38:38 So I, I really go into the, um, I’m a huge reader will, and I love the scriptures. I love the ancient, and then it also pairs with the science and the quantitative and what the yogis and the bagga aita, the Opana shot some of the ancient texts of India they teach is that that real zero point field that’s stillness. We can access it in the little gaps between the inhales and the exhales. Right. If you just, if you pay attention to your breath right now, and you kind of go into that gap and then you go down and then heart, Matt, there’s some institutions I’ve actually studied that we can actually experience this coherence between our heart, brain and our nervous system. Right. And it just starts to recalibrate everything. So I do a meditation in the morning. I do one in the evening, but during the day when I’m in the, you know, the busyness and the flow, I’ll just pay attention <laugh>, even if I’m on a zoom to those little gaps.
39:38 And it just sort of makes me very centered and it takes me back to this place where I can hear the intuition versus like, you were talking about comparing or the pushiness or the ego or the excessive thoughts. Um, so I, I, I reset into that real stillness throughout the day and it really helps it, you know, it’s a quick practice. I even do it for 20 seconds here and there because I find that, you know, when I started meditating, well, it was like I had the morning meditation and it was amazing. But then I get into this hurry and then there’s the end to kind of calm down. But it’s like this huge part of my life, the middle of the day. How do we keep that going? So I like to do mini practices and you know, I’m really busy too, but even, um, my office has a door directly outside. I’ll go outside and breathe for a couple minutes. I’ll get the sun on me. Nature helps reset me. And it’s not gonna be, I don’t have time to do a 10 minute meditation, but it can be a few breaths, you know?
Will: 40:37 Yeah, totally. You’re, you’re your description of, uh, of that gap reminds, reminds me of like a quote I think about a lot. It’s a Miles Davis quote, but it’s, uh, music is the time between beats.
Kimberly: 40:51 Yes, yes, exactly. And, you know, I didn’t used to understand, have you read the Dow Latz, the Dow de g? You know, when I read it years ago, I didn’t understand what he was talking about when he was saying stop thinking or do nothing and nothing gets on. You know, nothing is left undone. I didn’t understand it. But now I understand there’s a place of inspired action where it’s coming from this intuitive place like, okay, do this and do this. Versus the heady over heady. You know, that’s coming from a place of lack and pushing and the mind too much.
Will: 41:27 There’s a great, uh, book that just came out by Rick Rubin. Have you read that?
Kimberly: 41:33 Not yet. I’ve heard of, yeah,
Will: 41:35 It’s called, uh, I think it’s called The Creative Act. Anyway, it’s Rick Ruben’s book. He’s a famous, uh, music producer. But it, uh, it reminds me of some of the themes we talked about.
Kimberly: 41:48 Yeah. Well, I’ll have to check it out. I know he’s a big meditator as well. He’s a yogi meditator.
Will: 41:53 Yeah, totally.
Kimberly: 41:54 Well, and I love that it’s coming together, like you were saying, with whoop the technology, but no screens. There’s an organic intuitiveness to it. And now so much of yoga and our uve is being studied in Western medicine and seeing the benefits and how it can really be more accessible and useful and practical for the mainstream, which is, you know, what we’re talking about, whoop, is really as a health monitor, it helps us prevent a lot of these issues versus trying to backtrack when we’re depleted or sick. It gives us touchpoints that I think a lot of the time reinforce the intuit, the intuitive part of us that we already know. But sometimes we don’t take action unless you see it
Will: 42:34 And look every once in a while, uh, it’ll tell you things that you can’t feel at all or you don’t know. I
Kimberly: 42:41 Mean, yeah. Yeah.
Will: 42:42 It was amazing to me during Covid to see how many people realized they had covid from whoop, and many, many folks were asymptomatic. And it, it came back to sort of one of the early principles of founding group, which is that, you know, feelings can be overrated as it comes to understanding your body.
Kimberly: 43:00 Mm-hmm. <affirmative> interesting. Yeah, I think that, you know, back to, we said the balance of the masculine, the feminine <laugh>. We have a lot of women in our community. It’s very feel, you know, and I can go that way, but then it’s almost like this balance of, we need sometimes the linear, the directedness that keeps us, you know, in check and balance. It’s all about balance of energies, <laugh>. So thank you so much, will, for being here with me today. It’s been amazing to talk to you. And I have to say that, you know, I’ve read all about Whoop and the incredible achievements you have and you know, the 30 under 30 lists, I’m really struck by one of the most powerful super powers I think a human can have in you, which is humility.
Will: 43:53 Well, thank you, Kimberly. That’s very nice of you to say. And, uh, I’ve really enjoyed this. You’ve got a, you’ve got a glow to you that comes through over, uh, over Zoom.
Kimberly: 44:05 Thank you so much. Is there anything else as we wrap up we could share about, uh, the stress monitor just came out and whoop some new exciting, um, personal goals and, you know, whoop goals that we can be on the lookout for.
Whoops upcoming launches
Will: 44:20 We just launched the stress monitor, which, uh, gives folks the ability to see their stress at any point during the day. Again, it’s a, it’s an interesting one on, on managing those tiny moments. Mm.
Kimberly: 44:32 But,
Will: 44:33 You know, why did that moment trigger such a high level of stress? Did I want to be that stressed in that moment? And it’s also worth noting stress isn’t exclusively a bad thing. It can be a great thing, uh, but it often depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. You mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you’re about to exercise. Maybe you want to have a, a degree of stress or alertness. If you’re about to give a speech, maybe you want to have some degree of alertness, but maybe you don’t want to be so stressed that it’s gonna affect your performance. Right. So, yes. You know, whereas if you’re getting ready for bed, you wanna have low stress. So it’s an interesting feature. Uh, our members seem to be loving it, depending on when this podcast comes out. We’ll, uh, we’ll potentially have launched the Strength Trainer, which is a new, uh, feature all around measuring muscular load. Historically, group is focused on cardiovascular load, and now we’re the first wearable to actually quantify weightlifting. So we measure reps and the weight that you put on your body off of 500 different exercises, you can build workout Wow. Do celebrity workouts and it’ll, it’ll give you a much higher strain score that’s reflective both of cardiovascular load and muscular load. So that’s, that’s a pretty exciting feature, Kimberly, that’s the first time we’ve ever come out with something related to, uh, exclusively weightlifting.
Kimberly: 46:02 That is amazing. And I have to say, well, I’m not per, you know, I wasn’t drawn to weightlifting, but now, you know, all the data about keeping your bones strong, you know, I’m, I’m more yoga and walking, but I have actually started to lift some weights, much smaller weight to the John. And so I’m gonna be using that feature just to, just to track and keep me motivated.
Will: 46:24 <laugh>. Totally. And, and to your theme of, of balance, it feels like, you know, men should be stretching more and, and lifting more weights, like both
Kimberly: 46:34 Sides. It’s
Will: 46:36 A little too one-sided.
Kimberly: 46:38 It’s true. And we think about osteoporosis, bone health, all these really important, um, health issues to be aware of is women. So that balance comes in, which doesn’t, I’m not always drawn to the things that we’re not always drawn to the things that we need for the balance. So the data does help support that.
Will: 46:54 Yeah. Well, I’ll say this, you know, and, and I know your communities, um, has a lot of women in it. You know, we we’re very excited about growing in the women’s market. We’re coming out, uh, or we’ve recently released a number of features that are really focusing on women. We’ve got a whole pregnancy coach now in the
Kimberly: 47:12 Yes. I love that. Yeah. So I wasn’t there when I was pregnant with Moses, and I said to John, this would be amazing, and now it’s there, which is so amazing.
Will: 47:23 Yeah. I’m, I’m really excited about it. We’ve gotten great messages from, uh, pregnant women on it. They’ve, they’ve also joined teams based on their delivery date,
Kimberly: 47:32 So, wow. One
Will: 47:34 Delivering in October. Uh, you know, you can join a team with other women who are going through the same, uh, experiences you are and chat with them. So that’s a cool, it’s kind of a cool community aspect too. Uh, we’ve got menstrual cycle coaching. We’re working on some things related to fertility, uh, and we’ve got more coming. So it’s, uh, it’s a big focus.
Kimberly: 47:57 Wow. You know, we have a big fertility and pregnancy course coming out in a few months, will with, you know, 13 big experts and it’s just become this monster. So I’ll be sure to share that, um, that the tools, the, the, the whoop tools with the community there, because it is nice to pair with other women and also to see what’s going on in your body. Like I said, I was drawn to whoop when I was pregnant with Moses, so it’s wonderful.
Will: 48:23 Uh, well, amazing. Very grateful to have you on Whoop, and, and for all that you do for the health and fitness community and everything else.
Kimberly: 48:32 Well, thank you so much. Will. And you know, it’s, it’s very impressive your, um, your bio, but what’s even more impressive to me is who you are as a human, your character and humility, and your calmness and your generosity. So thank you so much. It’s, it’s wonderful speaking to you.
Will: 48:49 Okay. Thank you, Kimberly. So nice speaking to you too.
Kimberly: 48:53 Thank you so much.
(03:58): I hope you enjoyed my interview today with Will, who is so inspiring. I keep using this word because really that’s what comes top of mind to me and calm and brilliant of course. And you know, if you’re curious at all about the whoop, I encourage you to check it out. The whoop strap, which you can wear and get this, you know, this data, this information that can really give you some, um, you know, quantitative look at your lifestyle that can create some, some potentially really powerful shifts. So the great news as well, I’ll just say on a personal note is that they come in all different sorts of colors and styles. The one I wear is the green because it looks like a bracelet and it sort of blends in. So check it all out. We’ll have direct links in our show notes email@example.com as well as other shows, other podcasts. I think you would enjoy articles, meditations, recipes and more. There is so much support for you over on our website, so please take advantage of it. We will be back here Thursday for our next q and A show. So till then, take great care of yourself. Remember, you can always seek me out and connect with me on social as well at underscore Kimberly Snyder. Till then, sending you lots of love and lots of gratitude. Namaste.