“The human body is one of the most complex adaptive symptoms out there in the universe.” – Andrew Herr
Andrew Herr is the founder and CEO of Fount, which is on a mission to help everyone look, feel, and perform at their very best. Fount offers a highly customized three month program that's born out of Andrew's work enhancing the performance of special forces warriors in the US Military, including the Navy Seals. To start, Fount gathers more than 100 data points about their customers using in-depth blood and urine analysis to explore their metabolism, immune and inflammatory activity, nutrient levels, liver and kidney function, and even cardiovascular markers. Customers are then paired with an ex-special forces coach who gets to know their goals, day-to-day schedule, and even their family history all before kicking off a series of experiments that run for the remaining 15 weeks of the program.
Experimentation is a huge component of how Fount approaches their work. And it's part of their goal of helping each customer find what works for them. As part of the program, customers receive their own custom supplement packs with exactly what they need to take each morning, afternoon, and evening all sent from Fount's own custom supplement manufacturing facility. At the end of the program, Fount then offers a support program to make it easy to keep the gains you've made and continue building on them. This includes less frequent blood and urine tests, as well as a continuous supply of your daily supplements. Before founding Fount, Andrew spent seven years running the human performance and biotech strategy for the US Military Special Forces. Wired magazine described Andrew's work for the US Military as giving our soldiers mutant powers. Andrew holds master's degrees in microbiology and immunology, health physics, and security studies. He studied at Georgetown's famed School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC.
And he unsurprisingly comes from a highly decorated and long-serving military family. In this episode, you'll learn what Andrew learned enhancing the performance and effectiveness of the US Military's most expensive soldiers, including the Navy Seals, Green Beret, and Delta Force Warriors, what he learned about national security at Georgetown's famous School of Foreign Service, what the US Army's Mad Scientist distinction is, and why Andrew won it twice while he worked for the US Military. Andrew breaks down the components of peak performance, including the cognitive, physiological, emotional, sleep, physical and aesthetic elements, and talks about how Fount approaches maximizing each. We break down Fount's focus on experimentation, why the human body is the world's most complex system, why the same foods, exercises, and supplements either help or hurt different people, and how Fount is building the world's biggest data set around human performance through their work. And we go deep on Fount's layered strategy to optimize the performance of every person starting at the top of the market with those willing and able to afford an expensive intensive program. Today through how they're slowly replacing elements of his current program with software, data models, automated supplements, and more to bring Fount down market.
Finally, Andrew shares all of the lessons he's learned building Fount both as a founder and as a leader.
For more, explore the transcript of this episode.
This episode is our definitive guide to bringing performance secrets from Navy SEALs to the public. In it we cover:
- 00:00:00 – Introduction
- 00:03:42 – Human performance and biotech strategy in the military
- 00:08:37 – The limits of military power for achieving political goals
- 00:15:22 – Navy SEALs and performance modalities
- 00:19:29 – Novelty and social judgment are the two great human stressors
- 00:21:55 – The premise of Fount and its future goals
- 00:31:07 – The 10 top goals for users of Fount, and the experiments they run
- 00:37:58 – The Fount user journey
- 00:42:28 – Coaching, both human and AI
- 00:46:36 – Using experimental methodology as a founder
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Player FM, Podcast Addict, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.
Our Favorite Quotes
Here are a few ideas we'll be thinking about weeks and months from now:
- “I realized the military doesn't know it often how to buy services well. You need to build products to sell to them. And so I realized that by actually going and building this in the private sector, we probably could help the rank and file more.”
- “I think my experience both in school and working with the military gives me a lot of pause about the limits of military power for achieving political goals. Turns out that the harder you hammer someone, that doesn't necessarily make them want to change their mind.”
- “There's a concept called mirror imaging, which is assuming the other person thinks like you do. And that is one of the classic cognitive errors that I see repeated over and over.”
- “One of the cool things about working with a community like a special operations community is if you're pushing your body to nearly the edge of what's possible, you really know when something works. You feel the difference quickly. They tend to be the kind of people who notice the little things, which is part of what makes them good and actually part of the reason we hire them as coaches for our clients.”
- “Novelty and social judgment are, as best I can tell, the two great human stressors.”
- “I would say, not every successful CEO is doing meditation and breathwork. I think most successful CEOs would benefit from doing that, but almost every successful CEO and startup has a great team. And that team is an incredibly valuable piece in addition to just the inborn ability of the founder to grind it out.”
- “We can now send 95% of people anywhere in the world with no jet lag. And there's an algorithm that knows how to customize when to eat, sleep, wake up, and take custom supplements we've designed. You follow that. You give it some information. It calculates an optimal program for you, and you can sleep eight hours your first night in Tokyo.”
- “You're always going to need specialist doctors for cancer and other places, but it's time to deliver good products in healthcare and wellness. And if we do that and the UI, UX are amazing and it works well, I think that opens the future.”
- “I've come to believe that a much larger proportion of the challenges here are information problems and not willpower problems. And if that's true, you'll need to solve the willpower piece. And there's some obviously very smart UI, UX ways to do that. But if you combine that with it working and know people when to give people the right data feedback at the right time, I mean, we see this day to day, we see people transform their lives, and that should be accessible to everyone.”
5 Ways to Dive Deeper
Want to dive deeper? Here the best content we've curated on this subject:
- #22 Levels: A Masterclass in Metabolic Health and Real-Time Optimization with Josh Clemente, Co-Founder | Outlier Academy: In this episode, we discuss how metabolism works, the importance of feedback loops, and how your blood glucose levels can shape everything from your energy levels to the quality of your sleep. (59 Min)
- #61 Rootine: Building the Future of Vitamins, Micronutrients, and Data-Driven Health with Rachel Sanders, Co-Founder & CEO | Outlier Academy: In this episode, we discuss data-driven health, how the vitamin and supplement industry is broken, and advice for founders. (47 Min)
- #88 Eight Sleep: On Sleep Fitness, Sleep Technology, and Category Creation with Alexandra Zatarain, Co-Founder & VP of Brand and Marketing | Outlier Academy: In this episode, we discuss the benefits and pitfalls of working on a physical product, category creation, and sleep fitness as a brand and movement. (63 Min)
- All it takes is 10 mindful minutes: This TED Talk with Andy Puddicombe emphasizes the benefits of a short meditation, which Andrew also recommends. (09 Min)
- How to Meditate: The New York Times put together a great how-to for getting started with meditation. (17 Min)
We covered a lot of ground in this interview. Here are links to the stories, articles, and ideas discussed:
- Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service | School of international relations
- US Army’s Mad Scientist distinction | US Army Training and Doctrine Command initiative
- Navy SEALs | US Navy Sea, Air and Land Teams
- Zero Dark Thirty | Wikipedia
- Oura Ring | Sleep and activity tracker
- Cirque du Soleil | Contemporary circus producer
- Wayfair | Online Home Store for Furniture and Decor
- #22 Levels: A Masterclass in Metabolic Health and Real-Time Optimization with Josh Clemente, Co-Founder | Outlier Academy
- #61 Rootine: Building the Future of Vitamins, Micronutrients, and Data-Driven Health with Rachel Sanders, Co-Founder & CEO | Outlier Academy
- Heart Rate Variability (HRV) | Cleveland Clinic
- Ezra | Full-Body MRI Screening Service
- Dawn phenomenon | American Diabetes Association