#88 Spotlight: Eight Sleep – Sleep Fitness and Category Creation with Alexandra Zatarain

Alexandra Zatarain is Co-Founder and VP of Brand and Marketing at Eight Sleep, a sleep fitness brand. In this episode, Alexandra and Daniel discuss the benefits and pitfalls of working on a physical product, category creation, and sleep fitness as a brand and movement.
Last updated
August 13, 2023
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In addition to her work at Eight Sleep, Alexandra Zatarain is an angel investor and mentor for WE NYC.
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#88 Spotlight: Eight Sleep – Sleep Fitness and Category Creation with Alexandra Zatarain

“Sleep unlocks life, it unlocks health, it unlocks it longevity. It is the most important pillar of health.” – Alexandra Zatarain

Alexandra Zatarain (@a_zatarain) is Co-Founder and VP of Brand and Marketing at Eight Sleep, a sleep fitness brand. In 2017, Alexandra was named by Forbes to the 30 Under 30 list of young professionals making an impact in the Consumer Technology industry. The same year, she was a speaker at the Forbes Under 30 Summit on the topic of longevity, sleep and technology. Prior to Eight Sleep, Alexandra applied her marketing experience at various startups, academic institutions, and Wall Street organizations. She was raised in Tijuana, Mexico and now lives in New York City. She holds a B.S. in Communication Science from Tecnologico de Monterrey.

Topics discussed with Alexandra Zatarain

  • 00:02:06 - The Eight Sleep origin story
  • 00:09:32 - The Eight Sleep product
  • 00:14:02 - Sleep research and development
  • 00:18:29 - The importance of consistent data for innovation
  • 00:22:45 - Competition and category creation
  • 00:28:51 - Brand vs. category
  • 00:32:45 - Sleep fitness as a brand and movement
  • 00:43:05 - Benefits and pitfalls of working on a physical product
  • 00:49:55 - Eight Sleep's vision of the future

Alexandra Zatarain Resources

Terminology from This Episode

Books Recommended by Alexandra Zatarain

Learn More About This Topic

The Science of Sleep

This interactive page from Harvard gives a good background on all things sleep-related.

Sleep Hygiene

This article from the Sleep Foundation includes guidelines for a healthy night routine.

Talks to inspire you to go to bed and get a good night's sleep

These TED Talks cover everything from the brain benefits of deep sleep to natural sleep cycles.

A Masterclass on Metabolic Health, The Next Frontier in Real-Time Health Optimization with Josh Clemente of Levels

Check out our interview with Josh Clemente, Founder and President of Levels, a company that also falls in the category of data-driven health and fitness. Levels is a metabolic fitness company that helps people take control of their health using real-time data on their blood glucose levels.

Inventing the Future of Vitamins and Data Driven Health with Rachel Sanders of Rootine

Listen to our interview with Rachel Sanders, CEO of Rootine. Alexandra notes that Rootine’s philosophy as a data-driven, personalized micronutrient subscription service is similar to Eight Sleep’s.


Daniel Scrivner (00:06):

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Outlier Academy Spotlight series. Where every week, we sit down with the founder, operator or investor working at the edge of what's next. I'm Daniel Scrivner. And on the show today, I sit down with Alexandra Zatarain, founder and chief marketing officer at Eight Sleep to learn about how they created an entirely new category, coined the term sleep fitness, and took the smart mattress world by storm. Eight Sleep is famous for their Pod Pro mattress and Pod Pro mattress cover, which are used by everyone from three times NBA champion, Danny Green, to CrossFit games champion Justin Medeiros.

Daniel Scrivner (00:40):

Eight Sleep's Pod Pro mattress can heat and cool both sides of the bed separately while capturing incredibly high fidelity sleep data, and even waking you up with a subtle vibrational alarm each morning. Yet, if Eight Sleep didn't find a way to wrap all this technology in a bigger idea, creating an entirely new category in market around sleep fitness, they might be just another competitor in a crowded market. So in this episode, we're exploring category creation, including when to create a category, how to go about it, and why it's key to turning what might otherwise be seen as a commodity product into a prestige brand.

Daniel Scrivner (01:15):

To do that, Alexandra walks us through the origin story of Eight Sleep, how renowned investor, Keith Rabois told them that they need to create an entirely new category to be successful. And we learn how they did it with the help of Andy Cunningham and the book Get To Aha! This episode is our definitive guide to category creation. You can find the notes and transcript for this episode at outlieracademy.com/88, and you can learn more about Eight Sleep at eightsleep.com, that's E-I-G-H-Tsleep.com, or by following Eight Sleep on Twitter. With that, please enjoy my conversation with Alexandra Zatarain of Eight Sleep.

Daniel Scrivner (01:54):

Welcome to Outlier Academy, Alexandra. I'm really excited to have you on, and we're going to talk about sleep, sleep fitness, and how you created an entirely new category at Eight Sleep. Thank you so much for the time.

Alexandra Zatarain (02:04):

Yeah, of course. I'm excited to dive in.

Daniel Scrivner (02:06):

So I want to start a little bit by going back and talking about the origin story because I think something that was surprising to me in doing research for this episode is that the company was started, to be honest, quite a while ago, in 2014. You've been working on this problem for a long time. What attracted you, Matteo and Massimo to work on sleep?

Alexandra Zatarain (02:23):

Yeah. It was actually Matteo, my co-founder and my husband, our CEO, who started living into the space. So you're right, it's been a while. And it's a really, really big challenge that we're tackling that really came out of his own experience with sleep. And as he started struggling with sleep and started thinking, "Well, why aren't we actually leveraging technology to how people sleep better?" And so from there, we just build the company. What he figured very early on in his own struggles with sleep is, there is an opportunity to first understand more about how people sleep, there's not enough understanding the way sleep is studied nowadays. It's [inaudible 00:02:58] extra time, take people out of their normal environment.

Alexandra Zatarain (03:01):

And obviously, back in 2014, it was even harder because there were no wearables, so the technology was way, way behind. And also, to find a way to enable people to one day get the same level of recovery you would get in eight hours maybe in less time, that became his obsession, that's something he still talks a lot about today because we aren't really getting any closer to going back to the average American sleeping eight, nine hours a day. People sleep on average, I think six hours and 40 minutes a night. So how can we just make it possible for that to still be healthy? Because it's obviously not right now in the way that we sleep and the environment in which sleep.

Alexandra Zatarain (03:39):

So that's what we do still today. We started with that premise. And Massimo who's our co-founder and chief technology officer, built the first prototype of it. I got involved to launch the first product to consumers, and it's been a journey.

Daniel Scrivner (03:53):

Yeah, it's been quite a journey. So I want to ask now about you in particular. Was there something that attracted you to the problem of sleep? Obviously, you've done an enormous amount of testing. There's amazing photos of you on Twitter with all these nodes hooked up to your brain. So you've clearly been a Guinea Pig for this. Was there something there that was deeper that interested you or what attracted you?

Alexandra Zatarain (04:15):

Yeah. I've always been a great sleeper. Even nowadays, I think I live a much more stressful life than I did seven years ago, but I am still able to reconcile sleep pretty quickly anywhere, anytime, which is great. But there's something very interesting about our vision, where very early on when Matteo and Massimo, or Max, as we call him, started working on what the technology could look like that you could put in a bed. They realized that there was more that this technology was going to be able to do for us in the future than just tell us how we slept.

Alexandra Zatarain (04:48):

And that is something that's also part of our vision at Eight Sleep, is we believe that by bringing this technology into your bed and your bedroom, you aren't only improving your sleep and tracking your sleep, but as we do already, you're able to track certain biometrics that are indicators of your recovery, eventually more indicators of your health. And because you spend so much time in your bed and you spend so many years sleeping on the same bed or the same bed products, you could see your body age, you could see certain things developing around your health, health issues.

Alexandra Zatarain (05:20):

And that to me personally was what really calls me to do what we've been doing for the last seven years, which is this idea that we can completely change the perception and the function of those eight hours of sleep and of that bed to one day be a life-saving device. When I joined Matteo and Max, my father had just passed away, he passed away with colon cancer. It was a very quick thing between diagnosis and him passing, it was four months, like most people that get diagnosed too late. And so I was very sensitive to the topic of preventive health, and how do we make sure we identify as early as possible things that could be developing in our bodies?

Alexandra Zatarain (06:02):

And we truly believe that with the technologies Eight Sleep is building, the fact that it's non-wearable, you don't need to remember it, you don't need to wear it, we one day will be able to show you certain things happening in your health much earlier than anything else that you're doing right now on preventive health.

Daniel Scrivner (06:19):

Yeah. Well, it's fascinating. And it gets into the big ambitious vision of it truly being, not just your bed's slightly cooler, your bed adjusts to the temperature in the room, or adjusts to the weather, but to something that's much more profound, which is really cool. In the early days, something we're going to get to a little bit late during the episode is from my perspective, one of the most fascinating things about Eight Sleep is you guys have created literally an entirely new category. I still remember back to when you launched it. We'll talk about that in a second, but a lot has changed.

Daniel Scrivner (06:49):

One of the questions I want to ask early on is, did you see that opportunity from day one to create a new category? Or did it start out much more humbly of, we have some interesting ideas around technology, let's start with technology, and then things snowballed from there?

Alexandra Zatarain (07:03):

Yeah, no, not at all. I didn't even honestly know what a category was. And granted, I went to school to study communications, but I really do think most of what you learn in life, you learn it by doing and by failing. So when we started, we were mostly just looking around other companies were doing that we thought were speaking to our consumer and imitating. And I speak to this often because I think it's a mistake that a lot of us entrepreneurs do, and especially when you don't think you have the experience, and so you believe you don't know how to do things and you imitate.

Alexandra Zatarain (07:34):

And there's a lot of power in imitation in a lot of aspects, but I do believe now from what we've seen in our experience, that when we are building your brand, your brand is about your own belief of what the world should look like and where it should be and your position in it, and you need to have a really strong point of view. And I just don't think that you can build that out of imitation or A/B testing. There's a certain conviction and intuition that comes from it. When we started, there was no clarity on who we were necessarily, we knew what we were building, we knew the problem we wanted to solve, but from a brand perspective, we were much, much weaker.

Alexandra Zatarain (08:05):

So the category creation part came much later, much, much later. So we were definitely a few years in. It takes a while to develop hardware products, so we had been going through a lot of those iterations, launched the first product. And then as we raised our series B, I believe, the investor that came in at that time was like, "You guys need to change the positioning of this company or you're going to go nowhere and people are just going to think that you're like a mattress company with technology, which we certainly aren't." And that really hit me in the face because I was like, "What do you mean, change positioning? What is positioning? I don't even know what you're talking about."

Alexandra Zatarain (08:38):

And so I had to go down that process of figuring out what that meant and how do we do it. And we have enjoyed a lot, seeing it come to life and actually building the category day to day, but it wasn't the path we were taking originally.

Daniel Scrivner (08:52):

It's fascinating. Can you share who that investor is?

Alexandra Zatarain (08:55):

Yeah, it was Keith Rabois. He was very opinionated about this.

Daniel Scrivner (08:58):

It's amazing. Amazing. Because that seems to have been obviously super insightful, a key ingredient to the success that you guys have had.

Alexandra Zatarain (09:07):

Definitely. Yeah.

Daniel Scrivner (09:08):

I want to talk, before we go too much further, just to break down Eight Sleep. Because I think, partially to the push back on, I think, what you were just bringing up, that it's just a mattress company, because it's much more than that. Because there's also a lot of components. There's the Pod, the mattress, the app, all of these things work together. Can you just frame up for people the different elements of it, and then what the day-to-day experience of using Eight Sleep is like?

Alexandra Zatarain (09:32):

Yes, definitely. Well, Eight Sleep is a health and wellness company focused on sleep fitness. We use technology to help people sleep better. So what we do day in and day out is develop those technology products, whether they are hardware products, software, anything that's going to help you sleep better through that innovation. And because we use technology, we're able to build these products to be personalized to what you need. You were talking about our product, the Pod, the mattress and the cover. That is our signature product, that's what people know is for the best, it's the Pod.

Alexandra Zatarain (10:01):

The Pod is a technology that you can use on the surface of any mattress, or you can buy the mattress from us. And that technology allows us to track how you're sleeping, which is at the core of the technology doing its job. It needs to understand how you sleep and your habits. It also tracks other aspects of your recovery, your HRV, your heart rate at rest, your respiratory rate. And with that information, it doesn't just deliver that information to you and coach you and give you insights and everything, but it also uses that information in real time to create the perfect environment for sleep, starting with temperature relation, which is the number one factor that affects people's ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Alexandra Zatarain (10:41):

So that is the core technology, really, really powered by a lot of intelligence that took many years to gather, to be able to build algorithms that can do to detection with non-wearables, for two people in bed at the same time. Over time, we have layered other sorts of, let's call them services, on top of that intelligence. So you have a mobile application that delivers those metrics, gives you the reports, gives you insights, it has some layer of sleep tools. So do you need to unwind? Do you need to meditate? Do you need some relaxing sounds to help you fall asleep?

Alexandra Zatarain (11:13):

Obviously, the world of sleep is very personal, different people need different products and solutions. And so that's what we're building at Eight Sleep, everything's just innovation driven and personalized based on your own biometrics.

Daniel Scrivner (11:25):

Yeah. And I'm guessing from that description, you guys have much bigger ambitions than just the Pod. It seems like the Pod's maybe the tip of the iceberg.

Alexandra Zatarain (11:32):

Definitely, it is. And the reason is because there's many more problems to solve. We're not inventing these problems. Just the fascinating thing is, yep, some people struggle with temperature, most of us actually struggle with temperature issues. And so we can control that, people can sleep better. And we see that in the data. Recently, Matteo just tweeted something around some of the effects of what we're seeing in temperature control and people's increase in their HRV, which means they're recovering better.

Alexandra Zatarain (11:54):

It's been scientifically proven for a very long time. We just build a product that brings it into your home and through machine learning is actually adjusting to what you need. But you're right, there's many more things we can build, and we're working on those already. And I sleep in some crazy contraptions already that are going to be coming soon to be homes. So that's what makes our jobs exciting.

Daniel Scrivner (12:13):

That's exciting. In your mind, is there a single most important aspect or piece of that technology? Because just from what you just described, I guess my perspective would be, it's likely the Pod, because when I think about the landscape, I think of a lot of mattresses and yours looks very different. There's something that sits next to the mattress. But it could also be the algorithm. What would be the secret sauce or the most important aspect of technology you guys have?

Alexandra Zatarain (12:39):

It's the intelligence, you're right. So it's definitely that algorithm. We define it as the whole intelligence. We recently launched the newest version of what we call like Sleep OS. Sleep has its own operating system. And what our intelligence just sleep wise does is that it really builds a profile of every user. So we're not just running the same sleep algorithm on everyone. Everyone is different, as you sleep on the product, the product understands what you need as a sleeper, and it is making recommendations and adjustments right now on temperature to help you sleep better.

Alexandra Zatarain (13:11):

But as your environment changes, it learns like my Pod is able to tell me as the temperature in my bedroom drops or increases, "Hey, your room is colder than usual," because it knows what the usual is. And so the intelligence is the most important piece of it. And over that intelligence, we can layer a lot of other solutions for other factors that may get in the way of a good night's sleep.

Daniel Scrivner (13:32):

Sure. It sounds like, one, that's the thing that holds it all together, and it's also where all the logic resides, which obviously makes a lot of sense. Even that example of obviously how useful is it to know the average temperature in your room so then you can benchmark and change and be able to adjust. I want to talk a little bit about the early days, because I guess my guess would be that that algorithm has been a long time coming. You guys have been working on that for years and years and years. My experience with that sort of technology is it takes a long time of compounding to get to a place that's really interesting.

Daniel Scrivner (14:02):

So in the early days, where were you focusing most of your efforts on R&D? Was it around temperature control? What was, I guess the first area that you felt like was difficult to try and solve?

Alexandra Zatarain (14:15):

I would say it is the data, because you're right, it takes a long time to gather enough of it in order to train your algorithms. Then you need to compare them to what could be considered a gold standard, which in our spaces, like a PSG, what they would use at a sleep clinic, but then you also compare your heart rate metrics, which you need in order for sleep phases. So it's very complicated and it's not the part of the company I oversee or I take care of, and I'm sure my co-founder, Max, can speak to it in much more detailed, but it is really complex.

Alexandra Zatarain (14:46):

And that is one of the moats of the company. We've been doing this, like you described at the beginning of our conversation, for a few years because it takes years just to be able to build that intelligence. And so that is pretty complex. Then as we started reaching a certain level with that, the complexity started coming from some parts of the comfort. So how do we make these sensors that are on your bed disappear, be very seamless? We introduced the cooling technology on the Pod. Then how do you make it disappear, be more seamless?

Alexandra Zatarain (15:17):

So even from an original Pod in 2019 to the Pod Pro in 2020, there was a huge jump to how that feels and the design of it and how we're able to still cool and heat without you feeling maybe like some of what we call the active gray below you. And so people who have been sleeping in the products and have upgraded from version to versions can definitely speak to it. So you're designing something physical and you want to make sure in our case, because we're in your bedroom, it's such a private space and it needs to be comfortable, that those values and our design rank really high up.

Daniel Scrivner (15:49):

Yeah. That's something that I didn't even really intuit that obviously a big part of it would be you packing all these sensors into a bed. A bed's something that you want to lie in and relax. You don't want to feel like you're lying on a bunch of sensors and straps and feeling things vibrating and rumbling. It's really interesting. So you talked a little bit about the number of versions. How many iterations have you guys gone through? And I'm sure at some level, it's like it's infinite, we're always releasing new versions.

Daniel Scrivner (16:14):

But talk a little bit about, I guess, the major leaps or expand on those major leaps you were just sharing of the first one in 2019, the newer model in 2020. And give us a sense for where you are now.

Alexandra Zatarain (16:25):

Oh my God. It's a great question because I ballpark it and I probably going to go and ask this question after I interview to our team, but I'm sure we've done over 20 versions of our product. And the reason is our team has adopted a model for hardware that's closer to software releases. If we know that there's something we could do better, we're not going to wait for our next public facing model of the product to release this, we're going to bring it into the next batch manufacturing immediately. We want things to get better, just like any startup where you need to iterate really, really quickly and traditionally hardware is not something that moves at that pace or with that style, but we do it at Eight Sleep. So we've built tons of models.

Alexandra Zatarain (16:59):

The biggest leaps that we've launched to consumers are our very first product, which was what we call the Smart Mattress Cover that had a very similar architecture to what we have today. So you have sensors that track your sleep for two people at the same time on the same bed. And it uses that information to change the temperature, but it was only heating, it wasn't cooling. The number one request that we got when we launched that product in crowdfunding in 2015, which is very long ago, was that people wanted to cool. And cooling and building a product that cools and cools, but still comfortable is pretty complex problem. So we took a few years to build that, or at least a year on a real focus on R&D to develop what then became the Pod that we introduced in 2019. And so that was the biggest jump that we made.

Alexandra Zatarain (17:48):

From then on we focused on the Pod. So the Pod is a technology that comes, like I mentioned earlier, as a mattress or just as a cover, which you can put on any mattress. Then the Pod went through another version, which is the Pod Pro, which had improvements. Then we added a wake up experience with vibration, which is usually combined with the temperature wake up as well, so people can wake up without the jarring noise, something a bit more subtle, people love it. And so that was another big jump. And then we'll do another jump hopefully soon. We're always just looking to innovate, the Pod for us is a line like you think like the iPhone, we're always thinking, what other problem can we solve for our members in their sleep? Or what should we do better that we're doing today that we think we can deliver better experience on?

Daniel Scrivner (18:29):

Yeah. I want to ask two final questions then we can move on and talk about the competitive landscape. And the first one is, it's interesting to me just thinking about, so we live in a world where people can use Whoop and Aura and Apple Watch, and there's increasingly a large landscape of devices that you can wear that contract different data points. One thing that's obviously interesting to think about is it would seem somewhat intuitive and obvious that the best place to track your sleep would be in the mattress and probably not something that you're wearing on your finger. Is that accurate? And then why is that the case? And talk about how much better the data is around sleep from Eight Sleep versus something you would just wear on your wrist or your finger?

Alexandra Zatarain (19:08):

The most important thing to think about here is not just the accuracy, but what matters the most is to build trends of any metric. This is true, not just for sleep, but like your weight. Does it matter much if it's one kilo less or one kilo, more one pound less or one pound more today, tomorrow? Not really. Does it matter if your Fitbit scale versus your width scale is telling you different grams? No, it doesn't matter, but it's the trend. Are you suddenly losing weight or gaining weight? That can be indication of not just habit changes, but potentially health problems. So that's the way we think about it at Eight Sleep.

Alexandra Zatarain (19:43):

So we want you to be able to capture data consistently, and that's why we believe you need to have something you don't wear, because as much as you can have long lasting batteries, there will be some nights where you're not going to wear those devices to bed. And so if you can have the sensors in the bed, because they're always plugged, they're always there, you're going to be able to build an amazing trend view of your sleeping metrics, your heart rate variability, your heart rate at rest, your respiratory rate, the power of that is tremendous. So we don't see the wearables as competitors, they serve their own role. We love that people use them during the day.

Alexandra Zatarain (20:18):

We as a team, use them all the time. But at night we do think you'd want to rely on something that you don't have to wear and build that profile for yourself and look back at it and be able to tell if something has changed recently. We've had of our members detect really interesting things out of that information because they have come to almost understand their bodies really deeply because they've been tracking it for a few years now with the same product consistently every single night. So that's where it gets really fascinating.

Daniel Scrivner (20:46):

Yeah. It seems like another way to think about that is you guys effectively make the data collection and temperature control and all the other amazing things, basically invisible. Someone just gets into bed and it all happens, which is really cool because it feels like things obviously need to move in that direction over time.

Alexandra Zatarain (21:02):

Yeah. And then accuracy is important. It definitely accuracy is important, so don't get me wrong. Every single company that's tracking needs to be working on that constantly. But we see a lot of people get stuck and like, "Well, this device is telling me like 100 HRV and this other one's telling me 102, which one's accurate? Look at the trend. That's where we need to educate the consumer what really matters and how do we truly understand the power of the data and use it for interpreting what's happening with our bodies?

Daniel Scrivner (21:33):

Last question would be around, how do you frame up the pros and cons and help someone make a decision of whether just to use the mattress cover or use the full mattress. Because I would guess that the full mattress probably has all sorts of amazing technology in it that's not visible from the outside. So talk a little bit about some of the differences there between those two.

Alexandra Zatarain (21:51):

Yeah. The full mattress system is thought of that, it's a system. So the cover and the mattress are designed to blend perfectly together. Comfort is an important part of people sleeping well. So it is not the only factor, you buy the most comfortable bed in the world and you still have horrible sleep because it's not the only thing that might matters, but it is important that you're comfortable. And so when we designed the cover to go with the mattress and we think about how do they come together? How do they blend? How do they feel together? You could grab the Pod Pro cover, put it on your mattress and feel like it's too firm or it's too soft.

Alexandra Zatarain (22:26):

And so that's why we offer this solution that's just the system that we have rated to be a perfect medium firm that we know is going to be supportive, it's going to match perfectly with the topper that's integrated in the cover too. But a lot of people will just buy the cover and put it in the bed because maybe they love their bed or they bought it recently and we don't want to force you to have to make the big expense.

Daniel Scrivner (22:45):

Yeah. Which is really important even just from a value's perspective of you want to help people improve their sleep fitness and improve their health, make it as easy as possible for them to do it, whether it's a big decision or a small one. So I want to talk about the competitive landscape a little bit, because it's really unique. And I think what I mean by that is, I jump back to 2014, 20 15, it felt like that time Casper owned the world, Casper was the company everybody knew, there was this whole batch of direct to consumer mattress companies that were around. Now flash forward, it feels like Casper's almost defunct, the direct to consumer mattress companies are still around, but I don't hear anyone talking about them, I don't really hear anyone using them.

Daniel Scrivner (23:27):

And then just in the sleep side I think we've gone on from sleeping, something that wasn't really talked about, wasn't really optimized to obviously a world now where it's incredibly common. And I think Eight Sleep is really obvious. How do you think about the competitive landscape and what has it been like to be at Eight Sleep during that shift?

Alexandra Zatarain (23:48):

That's one of the things that when you build your own category, you may find yourself with few competitors initially, but eventually, things will catch up. And if you're building a category, you want people to come into it. So it's actually something you care about, you want for it to become a thing. And so then there are more companies that want to build in that space. So we're certainly excited to see that there is a shift, and that shift comes from not just that there's more businesses building in it, but there's more companies approaching it from different perspectives. So not everyone may be talking about sleep fitness, but certainly this idea that you can use data and you can use technology to how people sleep better. So that's really cool because you're right, back in 2013, 2014 when we started, there wasn't really much of it at the time.

Alexandra Zatarain (24:29):

I remember when Matteo started looking into the space before we started the company, it was like Jawbone, it was Fitbit, hey started doing sleep tracking with their wearables, but this seems like pretty stark times now. So it was very, very different. I do think companies like HOUSEWORK did an amazing job at building interest in the sleep category. And that's why I really appreciate, especially as a marketer to see that there was the power of the brand being put into a space that honestly wasn't asleep until then. It was very old school. It was very traditional, it was mainly going through pretty retailers and no one was making it exciting to talk about sleep in a fun way.

Alexandra Zatarain (25:04):

And they did a tremendous job at that and I think that paved the way for brand to keep sleep even though we have a very different perspective on sleep. For us, sleep is not just real relaxation and coziness and sleep as much as you want, but it's really about performance, it's about innovation, it's about harnessing the power of sleep to achieve what you want to achieve during the day. So our positioning may be different, but we benefit from what they build in those early years. And now as you mentioned, it's a bit of a shift, I think people may not be so proudly speaking about adopting the more affordable online mattresses that have nothing but comfort because there's been more of that adoption of, "I'm going to invest my health." That is what has shifted too.

Alexandra Zatarain (25:50):

And I think the generation that adopted some of these bed in a box companies, we were in a different moment in our careers and our lives when we did so back in the day, but now, maybe your income has increased, you're starting to have kids, and you think differently, you want to prevent health issues, you and invest in yourself. And that has become more of a priority for that generation, and I think that's why the consumer habits are shifting and benefiting companies like Eight Sleep and many others.

Daniel Scrivner (26:16):

Yeah. And you talked about obviously when you create a category that you want people to get into it, it's interesting as I started preparing for this interview, just reflecting on the fact also now that it feels like everyone's largely moved towards Eight Sleep. It's like the generic mattress companies are now advertising things like cooling sheets or a cooling mattress or a cooling pillow. You have major players like Sleep Number who I can't help, but think is very inspired by what you're doing at Eight Sleep. So I guess one question with that is, do you guys focus at all on competition? And if so, how do you talk about that internally? How do you think about that?

Alexandra Zatarain (26:52):

Yeah. We obviously see what the world's building around sleep, we have to, that's our job to stay aware of what people are building, but we have something very clear, which is if we can use technology to help people sleep better, we win. So that's what we need to focus on. Just build the best products possible, and it takes time. So we're also very aware that there's no shortcut. A lot of the products you mentioned are shortcuts and they don't work cool sheets, they don't work. They will be cooler, they will feel cooler, but we would never at Eight Sleep tell you that's only thing you should use if you want to feel cooler, because we know it doesn't work. It doesn't deliver what you're actually thinking when you think about sleeping in a cool space. And that's what we focus on is real results.

Alexandra Zatarain (27:33):

When we look at the landscape, when we started working in Eight Sleep, one of the things that we noticed we got frustrated with was exactly the fact that none of these companies makes it their mission to help people sleep better. They're selling you products, they don't care how well you sleep. For us, it's really personal. We will be there on Twitter answering to you, and we are. And we will always be because we care about how you are sleeping. That is how we measure our success as a company is our ability to help people sleep better.

Alexandra Zatarain (27:58):

It's not just how many Pods are we selling. And that is what I think could differentiate us in the long run because we're really obsessed by solving the problem and hopefully the consumers and people who are out there making their purchase decisions will notice that and we'll gravitate towards companies that are actually delivering on their promise.

Daniel Scrivner (28:13):

Yeah. I love what you said there around one, actually focus on delivering what people are really after because I think that's really profound. Then the second one, some competitors, because you can also generally is this is way more common than just in mattresses or in sleep fitness. But people selling something that in your mind you're thinking that this is a solution when you know that it's not. It's selling you a first order outcome instead of a second or third order outcome, I think what you guys are focused on. I want to shift for a second and talk about creating a new category because obviously, one, that data point around Keith obviously coming in and investing and saying, "I think you guys really need to invest in a new category."

Daniel Scrivner (28:51):

But to me it's also maybe one of the most interesting things of when I go to Eightsleep.com, one, I can tell you've invested an enormous amount in the brand. And what that means is in the photography, in the aesthetics and the way that it shows up. So I guess where I wanted to start is brand versus category. In your mind, because I think, one, and we can take for a second and talk about those terms because I think both of those terms are probably a little over generalized at this point, but in your mind, just to start there, do you separate brand and category? Are they the same thing? How do you think about the difference there?

Alexandra Zatarain (29:22):

In our case we don't separate them and I actually, I will break down for you how we think about building the brand, and I think that goes hand in hand with the category and I think it's a playbook that's applicable to any business, but I don't get cut up in the formalities and theory of it because we just don't have time for it. I don't even think at Eight Sleep, we actually have a full on beautiful brand book with all of our... We just you have to keep going. You don't have time to look back and document everything, but we have documented the most important parts of it.

Alexandra Zatarain (29:58):

And when we think of Eight Sleep, and if you remember how I just described it earlier, we are a health and wellness company focused on sleep fitness, so ultimately, the brand, the brand promise is sleep fitness. So that's our category because no one else right now is selling sleep fitness. If someone else comes in and sells sleep fitness, they will be part of our category. So it's hard for us to take away and split the category from the brand because the brand promise is essentially sleeping, which is our category. And as we are building the brand, which really what it means is, the brand exists. So it's more, I would say creating awareness about the brand and getting people to engage with our brand, we think about it as a movement.

Alexandra Zatarain (30:41):

Because we are a mission-driven company, we measure our success in our ability to deliver on that promise to how people sleep better. And so we have to get people to embrace this as a lifestyle. So what we're really building here more than a brand, we're building a movement, we need to change people's perception of sleep. For some people, they really have a perception that aligns with how we think about it and so we just need to bring them into our world, have them adopt our community, our principles, our language, buy our products hopefully, but ultimately, from the brand building perspective, what we care most about is that sleep fitness becomes a thing.

Alexandra Zatarain (31:21):

We don't measure the brain success in how many products we're selling, is our people embracing sleep fitness? Do they understand what it is? Do they talk about it? Do they adopt it as a lifestyle? Are suddenly people who we engage with and communicate, we can't expect to affect the entire world right now, but is this community actually now changing their habits around sleep and talking about it, and feeling about it, and getting their friends to come into this movement as well? And that's the simple recipe.

Alexandra Zatarain (31:49):

It's really a movement for us because we are mission driven and that's what I am so just privileged to be able to do day in and out with my team, because I find it to be a lot of fun because I get to sell you if you want to think about it that way, something not positive for the world. No one's going to be hurt by people sleeping better, we're all going to be healthier and live longer. So I'm glad I get to be a marketer in that space.

Daniel Scrivner (32:13):

Yeah. It's a great way to think about it. And I love that simple framing of just focusing on what you're building being a movement. It's not products, it's not a product line, it's not in the latest iteration, it's not any of that. It's much more driving forward an idea. And I guess helping that show up in the world. I guess my next question then would be, it seems like one, it's really profound that there's basically two words that you guys are all in on, which is sleep fitness. What was the process of arriving at that framing and what was the process of basically going from okay...

Daniel Scrivner (32:45):

And maybe one way to frame it up would be walk us through, I guess, how you guys were approaching this pre, that conversation and comment from Keith and then when you were like, "Okay, now we actually need to do this." What changed? And what was the process of arriving at framing?

Alexandra Zatarain (32:59):

Yes. It's a great question. I'm trying to go back to those times.

Daniel Scrivner (33:03):

It was few years ago.

Alexandra Zatarain (33:05):

Yeah, it was a few years ago, but they feel like decades and decades ago at this point, but what we were doing before, oh my God, if anyone goes and uses the way back machine and goes checks our website from like 2016, they'll see how different we were. And so it was definitely a different company back then in some ways and not in others and I'll point out what that was and why we were able to make that shift so easily and smoothly. So what we were doing before is we were not able to clearly articulate who we were, but it wasn't compelling. So we hadn't found the aha like, "Okay, this is it. This is why this company matters."

Alexandra Zatarain (33:44):

And so I think we were just like another company building technology among a bunch of companies that build technology across many spaces in the world. And so what shifted with that comment was this idea that we had to change our perception out there, that people on the outside were not perceiving us by who we really were. So here's this investor, Keith, who just gave us all this money to go and build our next iteration of technology and he didn't invest in the company because of what everyone else may think of this company, because we were doing a terrible job of ourselves out there.

Alexandra Zatarain (34:17):

He understood what we were really building, he read all materials, we spoke about our vision, and he basically said, put a mirror in front of him and says like, "You're not reflecting the right image and the right messaging, but I know you have it because obviously I just gave you money to build this." So that was the message in a nutshell that he gave us, like, "If you don't change it, no one's going to give you money because people are going to think you're something you're not." So with that simple framing, I went ahead and thought, well, what do I have to do? And I had never gone through something like this and my co-founders are like, "Well, now you figure it out because it's evidently something of marketing, so you have to figure it out."

Alexandra Zatarain (34:52):

And actually got an introduction from a fellow founder who had gone through the process of just this whole positioning exercise for his company, and we ended up working with someone who guided us through the process. And there's a really good book that this amazing person wrote, her name's Andy Cunningham and her book is Get to Aha! I feel like I've recommended in every single interview I went to, but the process that Andy guides you through was so relevant to us because her belief is that the position, it's not something you just like A/B test your way into, it actually comes from inside and it comes from within the DNA of the company.

Alexandra Zatarain (35:29):

And that is something that we were really lucky at Eight Sleep that we always had a very strong DNA, and DNA generally comes from like the founders of the company having strong beliefs as to who they are, what type of company they want to build and why they're even building it. That was really clear to us, we were just not transparent and clear in communicating it. And we were almost building a different facade for who we wanted to portray. So as she guided us this exercise, it became really clear that what we were building here and what we believed is that sleep is the means to an end, that sleep is something that can be optimized, that should be measured, optimized and prioritized.

Alexandra Zatarain (36:09):

And so we have all these beliefs that technology can improve sleep, that it's not an enemy for good sleep. And that puts us in a unique space because a lot the brands you just mentioned earlier that make products in the sleep space, they don't necessarily see sleep in the same way, so they don't have to, that's the point of building brands. They can be different, but we do. And so how do we take that, harness that power and build it into the brand, both from how we speak, how we say, how we define ourselves, how we look to really show our DNA and finally match who we are. And it was very liberating as a process because it's like therapy, but for a company.

Alexandra Zatarain (36:43):

And you're really able to accept who you are and to realize that you can actually find much more success when you are authentic. And this is a word that is used a lot with brands, it's like, is that coming across as authentic or not? It is so important, I always say, just be authentic and not try to just build the brand from the outside and sell a bunch of products and make money if you really care, especially if you're mission-driven company, it needs to be built from your DNA. And sleep fitness was just a concept that came out of this exercise where when you think of all of these other words that we associate to how we think about sleep and the fact that we think of sleep as like performance and optimization and measurement, we found ourselves with a lack of vocabulary to describe what it meant to be healthy in your sleep.

Alexandra Zatarain (37:33):

For the most part, when you read about sleep on the media, any content, you will see that it's described through the context of illness, sleep deprivation, sleep apnea, insomnia, it's all the negative words, but there was no way to describe when you're healthy in your sleep. And that's how the concept of sleep fitness came about. And I think it perfectly encapsulates that language that we need to give to the world so that you can aspire to something because if you can't name it, how can you describe and how can you aspire to live that lifestyle? But it also represents how we think of sleep, which is very similar to any other fitness.

Alexandra Zatarain (38:08):

A physical fitness journey has ups and downs, you may not always be physically fit and that's okay, happens the same with sleep. You're not perfect, but you can always come back to it. It's also a practice. It doesn't happen magically. You need to invest, you need to have habits, those habits compound. And so we just found like, wow, this phrase, these two words are so perfect to describe how we think about it, and we also think they're cool and get people excited about the term.

Daniel Scrivner (38:32):

Yeah. You did a great job articulating that. I feel like you crossed off about 10 questions I was going to ask after that. So that was a wonderful job, and I have not heard of Get to Aha! So I will definitely link to it in the show notes and I know I'm going to go buy that and read that. So I guess my next question would be, if that's the, I don't know, that's the transformation you went through in terms of you have a bunch of ahas, you have the sudden real, then coming out the other side, I guess my experience has partly been once what your brand is, it's like walking a tight rope because you need to make sure that you're always threading that needle and it's always, I don't know, sometimes you can think about it as a pH balance, you can think about it as are you drifting away?

Daniel Scrivner (39:13):

I guess talk a little bit about out then as you get into execution, how does that show up? Internally, I guess one way that I think about it is on previous design teams I've been a part of, one of the shorthand is like, this doesn't feel like us. And so there's this whole idea of what feels like us, do you guys have that, and how does that show up internally?

Alexandra Zatarain (39:31):

Well, like I mentioned earlier, we did not have the perfectly printed on my desk a brand book.

Daniel Scrivner (39:37):

You don't need one.

Alexandra Zatarain (39:39):

We don't need one, but that's my role here. And obviously, your job as founder is to try to get other people in the company to be able to do that too and to get a sense and really be able to tell what's in and what's not within the brand, but that is a question that I, at the time after we finished the exercise, I made that question to Andy what I just mentioned, she guided us through this process and I said, "Well, what do I do now?" He just gave me all this amazing theory and I love sleep fitness and I love all these values and now we can call ourselves the health and wellness company, but what do I do? And she said, "Well, there always has to be a person at the company that is 40:10 and you can't get away from that.

Alexandra Zatarain (40:14):

And that person doesn't forever need to be same person, but there has to be a person who is looking at everything that the brand is putting out there and paying attention closely and analyzing and thinking, does this reflect that positioning and who we are and how we want to be perceived? And so that is point number one. And like I mentioned, now my job is as we scale the team, to get more people to think that way, to bring the right people in, that's something I definitely filter for when we're hiring for anyone that does brand design or works in our brand marketing team is that I tell them, it's like, "You're not going to come in and change who we are," because there is a tendency, especially from designers sometimes, they think they're going to get the job, now they're going to change something, like this is who we are.

Alexandra Zatarain (40:56):

We want to be better at presenting it, we want to push the boundaries, we want to be more innovative visually and storytelling, but you're not going to change who we are. So if you like it, join us. If not, this is probably not the company for you. And that's part of the job of the steward, but then on the other hand too is you need to find ways to communicate and express that positioning in every possible touch point with the world. So we went ahead and we created a sleep fitness score in our app. It's not just a score, it's not just a sleep score, it's a sleep fitness score that you get every morning based on your sleep metrics. And we have an entire definition of how do you measure sleep fitness.

Alexandra Zatarain (41:30):

We work with our scientific advisory board to come up with that scoring and why we do it that way and why it matters and how we can improve it. We create content around, what does it mean to be sleep fit? We arm the rebels to give the language to our members, to our influencers, to our press team, to journalists. And us as founders, every single time we go an interview, we talk about sleep fitness. So that's how you build it over time, start talking about it, make it very clear what it stands for, who it's for, how can people get started in the journey. And it's just a snowball that hopefully will build over time.

Daniel Scrivner (42:03):

Yeah. So well said. And I rarely do this, but I will just interject to say that if anyone listening thinks they ever need a brand book, you absolutely do not need a brand book. And I think they that's one of the worst signs. And you have a brand book because I think something I've learned over time is as you alluded to, a brand is a living breathing thing. You should always be pushing it, stretching it, trying new things with iterating on it. So it should not ever be this, here it is in a book and it's in a tomb and it's never going to change. That's not a thing, just say.

Daniel Scrivner (42:34):

One of the things I wanted to talk about was data. And part of that is you guys have collected an enormous amount of data at this point on sleep trends. Can you give everyone a sense listening, I'm sure you probably don't have the number on the tip of your head, but how much data at this point you guys have collected?

Alexandra Zatarain (42:55):

It's an amazing question and I should probably know this, but I think it's over, I don't know if it's 90 million hours or it's some outrageous number of nights of sleep and hours of sleep and all of that. So there's a lot of interesting information.

Daniel Scrivner (43:05):

One, how do you guys think about that internally? So you are ingesting, you have all of these smart devices in so many people homes, you obviously have it with individuals, you have it with couples that are sleeping in the bed together, you have all this different data coming in. How does that impact your product development process? And the question I wanted to ask there was, I think something I'm really curious about given you guys are both working on software that connects everything together and makes sense of all the data as well as hardware, how much of that data is in influencing the direction of hardware versus software?

Alexandra Zatarain (43:38):

It's a great question. Let me tell you first how we think about that data and where the value resides is, it may sound like, "Oh my God, they have all this data," but that is one of the pillars for us that we define as an important value for the business, which is the data will always be utilized to bring value to the person who owns that data, which is the end user. We don't have a business model that monetizes third parties with that data, we don't need it. And so it's not something that we ever pursue and it's very important because maybe you want to build the business that way, and that's totally fine, but the transparency and being able to articulate like, this is where we make our revenue, but this is not where we are looking to make our revenue is really important.

Alexandra Zatarain (44:22):

And so that data as it grows, that pool of data, the value of it growing goes back to each user because the more we understand sleep across more people, the better and more we find the algorithms to get to understand you at an individual level. So there's power in that. And that goes back to each individual user, and I'm sure anyone who has slept in our products since 2016 when we shipped our first product could tell the difference of how much better the product has gotten, how much smarter. We're about to release a bunch of other new insights that come from correlation of a lot of data points. So the smartness is we're only able to build it because we have more people sleeping on these products. And so that's where the value comes in.

Alexandra Zatarain (45:02):

And how we use it to build new products, we actually rely much more to build new products on more traditional product marketing research with our user base, because the reality is that you can enforce so many things out of data, but you don't really know until you talk to people. So I've spent a lot of time over the years conducting surveys and focus groups. We actually run a group, a small group of selected set of our users that have opted in to be part of this beta and they get access to early products and they answer tons of different research for products and they put in product requests, but even publicly on Twitter, people post a request for features all the time.

Alexandra Zatarain (45:44):

There was I think, another one this morning asking for a different mode for when they're managing multiple parts. So it's very community driven. And then with the data what we do look at is are we helping people sleep better? Because we can ask you qualitatively how you feel, is the pod helping you sleep better? But the ability to look at those trends and say, "We are actually helping people get a higher HRV or reduce their heart rate at rest, or indicates better recovery, that is the validation part and that's where the data becomes really valuable to make sure we're delivering on that promise.

Daniel Scrivner (46:20):

Yeah. And I love that answer of obviously with a physical product, just spending a lot more time with customers, because I think it's really important to talk about that. And that's not something that often gets covered because yes in your guys' example, there's a lot of "data" that may sound super sophisticated and intelligent, but at the end of the day, a lot of what you learn that's novel and surprising is just in customer conversations. And so I wanted to ask on that note because you gave a bunch of interesting examples there, just to drive that point home, can you think of an example where a conversation or something that a customer brought up triggered an aha and you influenced the direction of a product or feature?

Alexandra Zatarain (46:56):

Yeah. There's probably two that comes to mind. The first is back in 2015 when we launched the first product on crowdfunding, there was probably a handful of prototypes that existed at that point, we went to Indiegogo and we launched this product and we didn't know if anyone in the world would want it. And suddenly, we sold over 8,000 units and we made over a million dollars in pre-orders and we were like, "Oh, my God. Now, we have to build all these products and people actually wanted." But what we did during that crowdfunding campaign is we opened up a forum where we asked our now our backers that had put some money in to get their pre-order, to tell us what else they wanted us to build for them.

Alexandra Zatarain (47:32):

And the number one request was to cool their bed. And we knew temperature was important. That's why we had built the Smart Mattress Cover that could warm up one side of the bed, but not the other, but we just thought like, "Well, we'll just move the temperature up and the other person can stay off." But we hadn't realized how valuable the cooling aspect was until we heard it from those backers. And the second was requested feature was a vibrating alarm. And we were like, "What is a vibrating alarm?" It's not something we had really thought of. And now our products do both. So it was just a matter of time until we built it and we brought it into the next generation of the products, but that came from just opening it up to our customers and saying, what would you want? What problems can be solved for you?

Daniel Scrivner (48:17):

And just truly listening.

Alexandra Zatarain (48:19):

Correct. Listening and saying, "Hey, they actually care, they're not just asking for it because it's a crazy thing." You need to also trust the intuition of the customer when they're really so focused and they're asking for something. The other one that was really fascinating to me personally, again, as a marketer is I remember a few years ago doing a round of calls with customers who had just purchased, and I was trying to understand what really pushed them over the edge and got them to commit to their purchase. And one of the things that I kept hearing, this was right after we had done the repositioning of the brand, I kept hearing people say, "Well, I was looking for a mattress and I started getting targeted with your ads on Facebook."

Alexandra Zatarain (49:03):

Facebook does an amazing job at saying, "Well, people are looking for this, let me show them ads of other products," and it makes shopping easier for all of us. So there's some value in that. And people would say, "Well, I saw your ads and I saw that your product has technology and I'm a person who likes technology, and I use it for other aspects of my life. And so I thought this product is for me." So the connection, the identity point when you know who you are as a brand, when you portray that clearly, people who follow that lifestyle or see themselves as a fit are going to identify with it and are going to purchase you. Even if you may be more expensive or above the budget that they're looking to spend.

Alexandra Zatarain (49:45):

And so that was a big aha to me that comes from, like you said, talking to people. The data, anything I could look at in my face dashboard or my post surveys was never going to tell me that insight.

Daniel Scrivner (49:55):

Yeah. It's a fantastic example. We've covered a ton of ground. I think I want to end on maybe two notes, and one would be, when we had a conversation initially about what we would cover, one of the things that you talked about is this vision 10 years out that Eight Sleep is one product in your home, but that our homes are going to be filled with smart products that all do proactive things to help our health and our wellness. Paint a little bit of that vision and feel free to add in as much Eight Sleep into that vision as possible. But I think it's important to maybe zoom out a little bit and show people how this is going to become much more common in the future. And I also just find that vision really interesting and compelling. So maybe paint that picture for us.

Alexandra Zatarain (50:35):

Yeah. I agree with you. I definitely think it is very compelling and there's a few examples that come to mind of things that we probably do every day that are going to change quite a bit. The first I'll talk about which is very top of mind for me right now, because I've been going through this phase of life in your mid-30s and by no extension I'm saying I'm old, but your body starts changing. And I think especially as a woman, you start going through a lot of hormonal changes and people start thinking of fertility and having kids. And the aspect of knowing what's happening in your body, literally like being able to track and probably you should have started tracking these many, many years ago is going to change significantly. And I can think about first the approach to supplementation or vitamins being much more data driven.

Alexandra Zatarain (51:24):

There's an amazing company called Rootine, R-O-O-T-I-N-E, and the premise of what they're building is that personalized, what they call precision nutrition. So just like Eight Sleep, they believe you should first measure where you are, take those blood tests in the convenience of your home or in a lab, and they'll show you where you are actually deficient and they will build personalized dose of the vitamins and the supplements that you need to get back to your healthy levels. And every month you can retest to see if those supplements you've been taking have actually made a difference or not. Maybe they don't and you find that you have some other bigger issues you need to address.

Alexandra Zatarain (52:02):

But how amazing is it that you could do this in a personalized way? You could just get everything delivered to your home, it gives you so much power and it's something that for me, is a very tough of mind given the phase of life and the challenges that I start seeing in the years ahead of me, I love what Rootine is building. Another company that does a great job at this is Levels. Levels is doing it from the aspect of what you're actually eating. So from the food perspective, knowing what is good for you, what it's not. When I tried Levels, I actually identified that my glucose drops significantly when I sleep, especially in the last hours of my sleep.

Alexandra Zatarain (52:37):

And that's the reason why intermittent fasting for me didn't really work, meaning I would wake up hungry. And so just insights like that, being able to understand your body can guide you to the right diets, into the right decisions and your foods, not for how you look, but how you feel and for your health and longevity. And then the same applies with Eight Sleep. So these are all three companies, three examples tackling it in different areas, but they're all based on data personalization and delivering insights for you to change your habits or delivering an actual improvement in real time like what we do at Eight Sleep. So when I enter into my bedroom, my bedroom is perfectly set up for me.

Alexandra Zatarain (53:12):

So there is the lighting that is appropriate for that time of the day, it helps me relax, it helps me unwind. I get in the bed, it's dark and there's the right temperatures, the right temperature in the bed. I don't need to wear very heavy pajamas or socks that actually get in the way of your own body regulating its temperature. And so it's just a more beautiful experience. And if we create that for babies and we all watch out what's the environment in which babies sleep, make sure it's perfect, why don't we do that for adults?

Daniel Scrivner (53:40):

Yeah. Well, now that makes me think, oh man, if you guys can create something for babies, I think that would be a massive, a massive market. That's probably something on your mind. So to close out because we've covered a tremendous amount of ground and you've been amazing, I want to just end on a note to remind people around why sleep is so important. And so my last question is can you either share an example from yourself of, I imagine obviously as being the Guinea pig at Eight Sleep, you've learned a lot out about sleep about how to optimize your sleep. Maybe there's a customer story that's significant or interesting, but can you just, I guess, talk a little bit about why sleep is so important as just a note to remind people of why you're solving this problem in the first place. What does that unlock? What does sleep fitness unlock?

Alexandra Zatarain (54:22):

It unlocks life, it unlocks health, it unlocks it longevity. It is the most important pillar of health. And I always tell this stuff because to me it was the most fascinating one I've ever learned in the last seven years, which is there has been science experiments done on animals, of course, rats, in this case, where they have shown that you die sooner of sleep deprivation than food deprivation, that is how important it is for your body's functioning. And so when you think about what you prioritize, sleeping enough and sleeping well is more important than the physical activity, than meals and nutrition. It really is a basis of it. You can't be healthy if you don't have healthy sleep.

Alexandra Zatarain (55:06):

The second thing I would say, from my own story, what I was saying earlier, I'm an amazing sleeper, I can fall asleep anytime, but you were referencing the pictures of me on Twitter wearing a ton of different sensors in my head. And we do that at times as benchmark, talking about intelligence and algorithms, that's very similar to what you would use in sleep [inaudible 00:55:25] and PSG. And I volunteer to provide data as a female so we get more diverse data sets and sleep on the Pod and sleep with all both sensors in my head. And what we found by comparing data sets is that I have a mild case of sleep apnea. And so I'm in my early 30s, I'm still young, but knowledge when it comes to sleep early on can be very powerful because sleep apnea is a disease, it's not something that you should take lightly.

Alexandra Zatarain (55:54):

It can become worse overtime, it impacts your ability for your brain to get the right level of oxygen as you're sleeping, your sleep can deteriorate so you can sleep a lot, but you're not getting good quality sleep. So the power of what we're building at Eight Sleep also tackles that of can we put that information into your hands as soon as possible so that you can take the right steps to address it?

Daniel Scrivner (56:14):

Yeah. Those are great examples. So for anyone that's interested, you can go to eightsleep.com to learn more, you can also follow Eight Sleep on Twitter. Also, Matteo and Alexandra are amazing on Twitter. I don't know Matteo's handle, I'm sure you probably do.

Alexandra Zatarain (56:28):

I think it is @m_franceschetti, which is his name, but if you go to Eight Sleep, you'll probably see tweets and retweets from both our accounts and so you'll find us easily.

Daniel Scrivner (56:40):

Yeah. And if you want to follow Alexandra, you can do that @a_zatarain on Twitter. Thank you so much for the time. This has been so much fun.

Alexandra Zatarain (56:47):

Yes, of course. Thanks for the invite.

Daniel Scrivner (56:50):

Thank you so much for listening. You can find links to everything we discussed, as well as the notes and transcript for this episode at outlieracademy.com/88. At outlieracademy.com, you can also find more incredible interviews with the founders of Superhuman, Levels, Rally, Commonstock and Primal Kitchen, as well as interviews with some of the world's bestselling authors and many of the world's smartest investors. You can now also find us on YouTube at youtube.com/outlieracademy. On our channel, you'll find all of our full-length interviews as well as our favorite short clips from every episode, including this one.

Daniel Scrivner (57:23):

And you can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn under the handle @outlieracademy. From our entire team, we hope you enjoyed the show and we hope to see you right here next week on Outlier Academy.

On Outlier Academy, Daniel Scrivner explores the tactics, routines, and habits of world-class performers working at the edge—in business, investing, entertainment, and more. In each episode, he decodes what they've mastered and what they've learned along the way. Start learning from the world’s best today. 

Explore all episodes of Outlier Academy, be the first to hear about new episodes, and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform.

Daniel Scrivner and Mighty Publishing LLC own the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of the Outlier Academy podcast, with all rights reserved, including Daniel’s right of publicity.

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