Happy Sunday and a very warm welcome to all the new subscribers! I’m thrilled and honored to have you as readers and truly appreciate your thoughts and feedback 🙏. Each edition of 3 Things will contain a dive into 3 rabbit holes I’ve found myself going down recently and associated business opportunities. Subscribe to get each week’s edition straight to your inbox and if you enjoy it, please share (I suck at self-promotion so can use your help)! This past week I’ve been thinking a lot about:
Eataly for Blue Zones
AI Prompt Generation/Testing
BodyTutor for Productivity
1. Eataly for Blue Zones
In 2007, the first Eataly location was opened in a closed Vermouth factory in Torino Italy by Oscar Farinetti as a combination school, market, and restaurant concept to learn about and enjoy the foods of Italy. Just 15 years later, there are 40 “megastore” locations across the world that offer numerous restaurant/beverage concepts, bakeries, gelato shop, school, and upscale market showcasing all of the flavors of Italy breaking it down into regions. Eatalys are now places to not only celebrate the cuisine and culture of Italy but are places to spend afternoons or evenings with friends and family. They are also fantastic tourist destinations.
The term Blue Zone was introduced by Gianni Pes, Michel Poulain and Dan Buettne after doing deep research in gerontology where they discovered certain places on the planet that have the highest number of centenarians (people who live to be 100). Five locations had rates that were 10x that of the US and these places were dubbed the “Blue Zones” and consist of Okinawa (Japan), Nicoya (Costa Rica), Sardinia (Italy), Icaria (Greece), and Loma Linda (California, US). Through the research into longevity, one of the main takeaways was that the diet of people living in Blue Zones was particularly important to their lifespan and quality of life which has spawned a ton of Blue Zone cookbooks and recipes. You could take the concept of Eataly and instead of focusing on Italy, focus on the 5 Blue Zones. There could be different sections within a megastor for each zone with educational materials and history of the region, restaurants, market, and cookbooks/cooking lessons. You could even bring in rotating chefs who come from one of the Blue Zones to do special classes and events. Given how much money and emphasis is now being put on longevity and the fact that the Boomers are aging, feels like perfect timing.
2. AI Prompt Generation and Testing
Like many, I have been absolutely obsessed and enamored with the amazing recent advances in generative AI. I first started getting excited back in 2017 when Google launched Tacotron 2 which was the 2nd version of their generative text-to-speech (TTS) model. Blew my mind and it was clear that this was where the world was moving in terms of speech, text, image, and video. I’m still waiting for someone to create “synthetic voice for podcast ads” which I wrote about years ago :) Over the past few years, the launches of GPT-3 and DALLE-2 by OpenAI and now Parti (Google), Stable Diffusion (Stability) and Midjourney have absolutely upped the ante and changed the game in terms of what is possible with content generation. Meta is making plays in video generation, as are dozens of startups which is the final frontier in this category.
Tons of people and companies are building interesting products on top of these models like Jasper or Copy.ai for text and new emergent players for imagery (which is more nascent), but the challenge is that to get decent results, you need to have good prompts to feed into the APIs that will generate solid outputs. There are new marketplaces like Promptbase (fantastic idea!!) which allow people to upload and sell prompts for various image generation models. I think the larger opportunity is to actually build an AI testing solution that can both generate and then test prompts to help optimize outputs for templatized use cases and eventually any use case where the AI can learn and iterate over time to create the best prompts for each bespoke use case. As more applications are built using these models, they will need testing solutions just like all other categories of software and this feels like the initial wedge into owning that space.
3. BodyTutor for Productivity
Losing weight or sticking to a diet and exercise program is a goal for around half of all Americans at any given time. Not surprising given almost 75% of the adult US population is overweight with over 40% being obese. That means that literally 3 out of every 4 people in this country is overweight which is astounding. There are companies like WW (fka Weight Watchers) and Noom who focus on coaching and community, and plenty of startups like Form Health (SignalFire portfolio company), Calibrate, and Found which provide medically-assisted weight loss. BodyTudor takes a different approach and is a daily weight-loss coaching program that matches people with accountability coaches who create customized programs and meal plans and then check in EVERY SINGLE DAY with their clients. The fact that an actual human, not a bot or other form of push notification is checking in on you every day is enough to force many people actually make change and stick to their plans.
Similarly, most knowledge workers struggle with productivity, focus, and achieving their work or personal goals. The number of business productivity tools is beyond insane and there are thousands of “productivity” related Chrome Extensions designed to help optimize workflows and help you get more done. In my experience, the biggest reason that people (myself very much included) have issues with productivity is that we have overly ambitious goals and don’t have accountability partners to both help us set better and more achievable goals and then hold us accountable day after day. Just like weight loss or fitness, it’s a long game where each day you can move the needle a tiny bit but over time you can accomplish a lot. Someone could create the business productivity focused version of BodyTutor. Go after ambitious, high earning knowledge workers and charge a monthly subscription fee to pair individuals with accountability coaches who help set goals and then check in daily. Just like weight loss there are objective ways to track progress and for most people, this would be the type of expense that they can put on a corporate card in lieu of a typical “coach”. Companies like Torch are doing quite well so clearly a market for things in this category.
That’s all for today! If you have thoughts, comments, or want to get in touch, find me on Twitter at @ezelby and if you enjoyed this, please subscribe and share with a friend or two!
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