Episode 6 | Extending Healthspan through Data & Science

Justin Guilder & Geoff Yang

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Episode Description

In this episode, Justin Guilder conducts an in-depth interview with Geoff Yang, Founder of Apeiron Life and Founding Partner of Redpoint Ventures. Geoff explains in detail his journey from being a leading venture capitalist to founding multiple companies, including a business with Matt Damon & Ben Affleck, another with LL Cool J, and Apeiron Life, a personalized health and wellness company. He shares the philosophy behind Apeiron Life, which assesses and helps its clients improve four distinct dimensions of health – cognitive, metabolic, emotional, and physical.

Episode Transcript

Justin Guilder [00:00:01] Hi and welcome to the Lumina Legacy Podcast. I'm your host, Justin Guilder. On this podcast, we'll explore how to achieve and plan for a long, healthy life, as well as how to prepare for the inevitable and unforeseen. Through estate planning, insurance, and end-of-life decisions. We'll talk candidly with experts who advise high and ultra-high-net-worth clients so you can learn how to apply their strategies and tactics to your own longevity and legacy planning. Jeff. Hello. So excited to have this conversation with you. Pleased that you're making some time right around the holidays. And I know it's a hectic time, but also a time of reflection and a time of preparation for the years ahead. And I know that what you are focused on these days is incredibly meaningful to me and our guests. People think about how to maximize their performance, understand where they are today and envisioning where they will be in the future. But before we get into the amazing things that you've done and up here in life, I want to get a little bit of background of how you started to appear in life because you have an incredible background. You've done so many things. Early investor and board member in things like TiVo, which is just an incredible early-stage venture investment. And decades later, you're still leading the front edge. You're launching more businesses than I can imagine, and you've got limitless energy. So I'm excited to hear how you have done so much, and would love to hear a little bit of your background to dive in and understand what brought you here, and then what led you to start up here on life.


Geoff Yang [00:02:04] Great. It's a great time to be doing this because, in some respects, I know a lot of people look at the New Year as a kind of new beginning. And I think hopefully this discussion will, kind of put people in the mindset of, what they want to get out of life and how to get what they want to get out. So my background story is I've been in the venture capital business for that'll be my 39th year. So I've been doing it a long time. And it's been it' n really fun. I've enjoyed every step along the way. About 25 years ago, I started a firm called Red Ventures and, ended up, doing a lot there rms of, forming it helping manage it and getting it to where s. And, prior to firm Calliope, about four years ago, I stepped down. I stepped down as one of the managing partners, and I just went to kind of advise my partner, partially because I wanted to do some things. and, I love the process of starting companies. I love the process of working with entrepreneurs. But I kind of wanted to do it a little more, on my terms. And so I joined a few outside boards, like, I'm on the board of Warner Brothers Discovery and Franklin Templeton. I've been investing on my account, quite often with Redpoint, but sometimes with other firms or either entrepreneurs that I knew, over the years or people me, and I've invested in probably 55 or 60 companies, in the last four years. One of the things I wanted to do in this next was, work with my friends and be friends with people with whom I work. So it was, you know, that was kind of a unifying theme then, I've been involved with four any, from its founding, and I wanted to do that as well. You know, I always, as a venture capitalist, you know, I've been very involved in the early s, but, rarely have I ever really been the principal founder, and I did it. And, for areas with people that I like, you know me, I met LL Cool J and he had an idea for building a global platform for hip hop in its ure, which has a media component, a live events component, and a merchandise component. And he's just a remarkable son, and, and a complete workaholic and huge vision and passion. And so I enjoy working on that with him. It's called Rock and Bells. you mentioned that I have a little seed company that I star with, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and Sea ley, and we're trying to build an entertainment app, which allows you to, in summary, bet on anything with your friends. And that should be it's more of a social interaction app than is, a betting app, per se. And then the last thing is st g a, an alcohol company around soccer, you know, t  to, bring a modern approach to centuries-old tradition. And the one project is the one we're here to talk about, which is the pure of life. And so the story on that is, and let me take a quick, a quick snapshot. What we try to do is we try to use the latest in human performance science and human physiology and use that to improve your performance in life, not just athletic performance, but, you know, cognitive performance, metabolic performance, emotional performance so that you perform better in life to increase your healthspan which is not which is different from your life span lifespan, just the number of years you're alive, health spans, the number of years you're healthy and alive. And all of us want an excessively long health span. And, you know, none of us want our lifespan to exceed our health span. And then the final thing is to reduce your risk of injury. if you look at, traditional medicine, they come and they deal with problems after something breaks or something's about to break. Well, our whole perspective is that we, work on changing your lifestyle or improving your, you know, different parts of your of your life so that things don't break. So those are our three goals. And we try to use the latest in, in human performance science and human physiology. How I got to it was very related to, you know, I joined the board of the ski team in 2002, and I got involved with t h, with team USA, the h, Olympic Committee in 2000 a h, ten. And, you know, through that period of time, I was always really impressed with their use of human performance science. Right. And sure, they use it to, you know, dramatically improve the athletic performance on the field of pl h, of team USA athlete h, h, coordinating training, nutrition, sleep and recovery and all the bio hacks, you know, to combat jet lag and all these kinds of things. and I looked at the approach and I thought, this is this makes a lot of sense to me. You know, I'm from Silicon Valley. Why wouldn't I want to use science and technology to improve my life? I may not be an Olympian looking to win a gold medal, and it may not be to just improve my athletic performance, but. But I can use all these the same approach of coordinating, training, nutrition, sleep recovery, and hacks. Why can't I use it to kind of improve my life? Right. And I was I, I was always at that stage where I'd say in my 30s and 40s, I was driven toward, you know, my career and, and family and, and I'd always say, you know, you know, if I had the time, I'm going to focus on my health, but I'll do that later. I'll do that later. And at some point, you know, you start saying, hey, there aren't that many laters. And if I don't start focusing on it now, some of the things that you encounter may be too late. And I'm here to tell you that I don't think it's ever too late. But the closer you get to 70, it's starting to get late where you can't reverse some of the things. So if you step back for a second, I talk about this thing about decades of life where in your 20s nothing breaks. I mean, you know, you're yeah, even if you get injured, you recover rapidly and, you know, all your systems are right on and everything's great. In your 30s, you may get nicked, but you recover rapidly. In your 40s, you start realizing that actions have consequences, right? I mean,  very often people will go out and exercise all weekend. They'll come in Monday morning limping or stay up all night, and they can barely function the next day at work. Or they'll go days without sleep. And, you know, you can't understand a word that they're saying, right? They start putting those things together. In your 50s, you learn that life at full speed no longer works. You have to start making trade-offs, right, so if you're in an athletic competition, you probably need to rest kind of going into it. If you're going on a business trip overseas, you may have to go a day early to kind of get used to the time zone. And you may have to get a massage or work out or not go out, you know, every night while you're there and expect to function the next day. So similar things like that in your 60s. That's when I think, you know, all your debts on your body become deep. That's when everything starts. Like not the things that are close to breaking. They start breaking. And that's when the doctors say, hey, listen, if you don't get your act together by the time you're in your 70s, you're not going to like what the outcome is, because in your 70s, that's when, you know, function begins to decline. And what you'll live off the rest of your life is the entire reserve you bring into your 70s. So, you know, and the truth is, in your 70s, you're going to be worried less about improving and more about staying where you are. So the reserve you bring, whether the strength or whether it’s, metabolism or whether it’s, cognitive or what have you, that's what you're going to live off the rest of your life. And when you're 70 and beyond, you're going to be working like crazy, kind of staying where you are. And, because if you don't, your 80s and beyond are going to be are going to be tough. And I firmly believe that if I don't die stroke, a stroke, heart disease or cancer, I'm going to live into my mid to late 90s. I've got excellent medical care.   I'm on preventative, you know, early detection type stuff. And, if you look at kind of the people around you and how long they're living, I don't think it's at all. You don't need to squint to see that happen. David Sinclair has said that he thinks the person going to live to 120 has already been born. Right. And so, feel that if I don't, either of us, as I said earlier, none of us will want our life better. Consider healthspan. Because if you do, that's when you go to that person's memorial service. They go, wow, it's a shame. 80 great years. The last five are tough. You know, it's a good thing that he or she is gone. And when I talk about health, I mean,  physical health, I mean, anabolic health, I mean emotional health, I mean cognitive health. And you need all those things to be happy and healthy, right? You need to be able to be strong and be able to, you know, your trip, be able to catch yourself and, you know, be able to go hiking with your family or whatever you want to do, lift your grandkids. You need metabolic health. You want to be high energy. You don't want to be kind of, diabetic or pre-diabetic or any of those things. You want cognitive health. You know, all of us. We want to be bright and sharp and just process for a long time. And then you need emotional health, and those are things. All of that can be managed managed holistically. So that's what we do. We do this not for, high-performing athletes, but for what I call high-performing individuals. You know, every day, people that want to get the best out of life. The interesting thing is that most of our clients and we are based in Silicon Valley, primarily for the in-person, and vice. We also are starting to do, what we call powered by deals, where we're enabling partners to be able to perform, easements in remote geographic locations as well as the kind of take care of people. But what we do is we do a very detailed assessment of you. We'll look at your bloodwork, we'll look at your body composition, and we'll look at your movement and your flexibility. We'll look at your strength from different muscle groups. We'll look at your aerobics capacity VO2 max and lactate recovery. And then we'll talk to you about what your goals are and how you know what, what success looks like and then what you're willing to do and not what we do. We'll also talk to you about how you eat, how you think about eating sleep, and how you think about sleeping. And after we take that, all that, we kind of crunch the right information, a knowledge model and through our team of experts. And we will give you a set of we will tell you where you are. We'll tell you where you are relative to, you know, normative standards. And then we'll tell you what our recommendations would be and how to go about doing it. That's the assessment part. We also have an engagement part where we will help manage you achieve those things, and so will encourage you to wear wearables so that we can kind of see what's going on.  Encourage you to download the app so that, information from the wearables can go into our platform so that our team can essentially provide a remote mission control function by seeing kind of what's going on. And by that, I mean how you're sleeping. You know, what your weigh-ins are, what kind of workouts you're doing, you know, that type of thing. And then we'll give you an app that will also give you kind of recommendations on what you should be doing, as well as,  sing all your test results, and what we call nuggets of knowledge. You know, we do these drops, information drops every couple of times a week so that people get a better understanding of why this is important. You know, why is sleep important? You know, how does high-intensity interval training work? t's the importance of blood glucose? You know, those types of things. And so once you're on that program, we can also manage your services. So, you know, you're training services, massage services, acupuncture, yoga, Pilates. You know, all the different aspects to be kind of 360, including brain training and,  ep consults and you know, micro gut biome type stuff, even some sport specific, motion, stuff like we have, we have, programs and we can help people with hiking and tennis and stuff like that. So I'm sorry that that was so long-winded, but that's basically kind of in a nutshell, how we got here.


Justin Guilder [00:15:11] No, that's an incredible overview. Many areas. I want to dive in. You talked about this dividing health into four distinct dimensions cognitive, metabolic, emotional, and physical. Could you talk through each one of those from the intake perspective? So it's easier, I guess, for me personally to understand the physical assessment. How do you work through those four dimensions from an intake assessment perspective to help clients know this is where I am today in these dimensions? Yeah.


Geoff Yang [00:15:48] So, some of it is through blood work. So we do a very detailed lipid metabolic panel. We'll examine all your cardiac markers, assess your body's production and regulation of glucose and insulin, and evaluate fundamental minerals. You need to know that we'll conduct a comprehensive metabolic panel, involving around 13 vials of blood. Additionally, we'll assess your aerobic capacity using an exercise mask and a treadmill. The treadmill evaluates your ability to clear CO2 from your blood, providing a figure known as VO2 max. There's a significant correlation between VO2 max and longevity, as one might expect VO2 max tends to also be correlated with fitter people, but there's a high correlation between VO2 max and longevity. And we also do it with something called lactate recovery, which is looking at your lactic acid, you know, in your blood and how, your body, your body's ability to clear lactic acid from your muscles because your lactic acid starts filling all your muscles and your body can't clear your muscles will shut down. So it's a measure of aerobic capacity, and it's something we can work on. About cognitive, we have these, headsets, goggles where you do a whole bunch of, you know, eye tracking type stuff and reflex type stuff to get a baseline. It's hard to look at it really in an absolute sense because almost all of our clients will score above, normal. You're kind of doing it as a baseline to kind of see how things change as you age. And there are ways to work on some things.  And, so as you probably know, there are all sorts there are brain training things you can do to improve eye tracking, to improve memory, to even create new neural pathways, you know, that kind of stuff. Then and then emotional is more a gauge of how you feel and how happy you are. And, our hope is when you do some of the physical stuff. Not only will you feel better about yourself, but you'll also get, you know, endorphins, released. We also do stuff like, iver cold exposure or, or sort, you know, heat exposure, you know, type stuff, which also encourages, the flow of endorphins. And I think if people are happier, they can be happier from things like, you know, stuff you can do physically. You can be happier by the type of foods that you eat and when you eat them, because, you know, certain foods or kind of will bring you down or, raise your energy level or what have you, and sleep. Right. You know, sleep has a huge impact on your emotional both, your cognitive, your emotional, and your physical, you know, kind of well-being. And so we will we're big advocates of sleep, you know, and natural for sleep, not pharmaceutical grade sleep.   that's a longer discussion. But natural sleep has these things called sleep spindles, cycles, that that's how your body works. Right. And it does things like clear,  in plaque from your brain and it increases cell production to fight, you know, help your immune system. It does a whole bunch of stuff in terms of muscle repair. It lets your heart kind of, you know, calm down. Sleep is maybe one of the maybe. It's hard to say, but it's maybe the most important thing, you know, that we can do. And so that'll put it in as well. The final thing on emotional is we also will help people do things to calm their parasympathetic system, you know, meditation, breathing exercises. Right. And those it's not just people who do it swear by it, but there's a lot of research that supports, you know, what happens when you calm your parasympathetic system and what that does, how that impacts your, rest of your, your body, you know, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep quality, all these things.


Justin Guilder [00:20:34] Okay. So very comprehensive initial assessment in helping people say, okay, this is where I am. I'm a huge fan of understanding that.  s year I did my first Dexa scan ever I started to say to myself, all right, I'm in that this decade. So I've got to start, you know, contributing to the bank before I have to withdraw from it in my 70s, and easier now than later. So I wanted to get a baseline of where I was. Yeah. And, a lot of these things are things that are on my list of, okay, I need to start doing these assessments once somebody has that assessment you talked about, kind of like helping them get to their goals, whatever those goals may be. How does one think about that next from a time scale perspective? Are you mapping out things in a year? Are you mapping out things for a decade? Multiple decades? How does a client think through that next phase?