Why We Founded Impact Theory

Tom Bilyeu
Jan 5, 2017 · 5 min read

There are two major pandemics that we face as a species: The pandemic of the body and the pandemic of the mind. We live in an era where tens of thousands of people are being diagnosed with diabetes every day — and that’s just one of the many diet-related diseases plaguing people.

In 2010, I co-founded Quest Nutrition to address that rampant spread of metabolic disease. My partners and I understood that to meaningfully address the problem, we couldn’t simply tell people to eat less and exercise more. To be clear, at the individual level that’s an amazing solution. It will work every time someone actually follows through with the plan.

The problem is that only a very narrow band of humanity will see that plan through. We knew that a new approach was needed. So we set out to make food that people could choose based on taste and that also happened to be good for them. My belief was that it didn’t make sense to try and change behavior. Instead, our goal was to leverage people’s behavior in a new way to get them into a virtuous cycle.

Impact Theory takes that same approach of leveraging people’s natural behaviors to get them into a virtuous cycle of the mind. The second-leading cause of death among Americans ages 25–34 is suicide — that’s higher than any other age group. Depression and anxiety have become essentially ubiquitous, and we believe that the solution is to curate and facilitate a new breed of company and content.

This company is also me making good on a promise that I made to myself years ago. I went from dead broke, in debt and not able to pay all of my bills to building a billion-dollar brand and completely changing my financial circumstances by going on a decades long quest to develop my mind as aggressively as a bodybuilder develops their body. I promised myself that if I ever had the opportunity to pay it forward and teach people to do the same, I would. So with the life-changing success that we’ve had, instead of retiring to our own private island, my wife Lisa and I have dedicated ourselves to building Impact Theory — a for-profit company designed to leverage the self-sustaining power of commerce to radically influence global culture.

Since it’s easy to say some cool-sounding mission statement that is ultimately empty, and I’m extremely allergic to bullshit — let me tell you exactly how we’re going to do it. I have no fear of giving away our secrets. If you can out-execute me, you deserve the success, not me.

Phase 1 Content:

First off, we’ve revamped and rebranded our viral hit show Inside Quest and relaunched it as Impact Theory. Now that we are not tied to a product line, we will be able to secure more guests and reach a much broader audience. As was true of IQ, Impact Theory will focus on the mind as the primary tool you’ll need to develop for success. The show is designed to introduce people of all walks of life to the mindset and practices of the successful. We firmly believe that merely giving you a business to-do list will not help. Before you can execute on your own quest, you have to get your mind right.

Having said that, empty self-help is also BS, and as mentioned above, I’m deathly allergic to that. So, while developing the mindset of success will forever remain at the heart of all the content that we do, we will now be providing a much deeper stable of content that will cover a broader range of topics that will be immediately actionable for people who are ready to take immediate action.

Phase 1 Community:

The biggest push of Impact Theory today is community building. For the next 12 to 18 months I’m going to be traveling around the world and speaking, as well as holding events and publishing content designed to bring together the biggest community of like-minded people possible. The logic of this will be made clear below. We’re going to be going hard for that community cake, so make sure to share this with anyone that you believe would benefit from being a part of the Impact Theory community.

Phase 2:

Our ultimate goal is to build the world’s largest library of empowering Intellectual Property (IP). We believe that this comes in two forms: companies and content. When we say we’re building the world’s largest library of IP we’re talking both about incubating mission-based companies that we believe are improving the world in some way, and content that is not only entertaining, but will positively impact the people who consume it.


If you know me, you know that I believe in one thing: execution. It’s all that matters. Having a dream is totally pointless unless you’re prepared to execute against it. At Impact Theory we believe that the only way to source and filter through enough people and ideas to build a meaningful stable of transformative IP is to build a technological platform that’s going to allow us to engage the crowd in separating the wheat from the chaff. We know we are going to be inundated with company and content ideas, and the vast majority of them will not be ready for prime time. That’s why our focus in phase one is building the community and laying down the community guidelines needed to act as a filter. Think of Reddit crossed with Kickstarter.


As Tony Robbins has said, people want to be educated, but they want to be entertained first. When looking at the rapidly escalating problem of poor diet and ill health at Quest Nutrition, we understood that compliance was the issue. It isn’t that people don’t know what to eat, it’s that eating the bad stuff is so much damn fun.

At Impact Theory, we’re carrying on that tradition. The truth is, just as people eat for pleasure more than for sustenance, people are only going to actively engage with the It! community over the long run if it’s fun! Gamifying the experience and providing opportunities for rewards and leveling up will be a huge part of our mission.

Alright, that’s what we’re up to in the tiniest of nutshells. If you want to learn more and follow along as we execute on our goals, you can start by subscribing to our podcast on iTunes or Stitcher — which features a seriously impactful first episode with the one and only Michael Strahan. Or you can watch the marquee show on YouTube. If you want to engage with me socially, follow me at @TomBilyeu on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Till next time, be legendary.

Subscribe to the Impact Theory podcast for early releases of each episode plus bonus content!

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