My Journey to Bulletproof
As Gus mentioned, many of us at Trinity are interested in health and personal improvement. And like that one Crossfit adherent we all know, later-in-life converts to anything tend to be the most rabid evangelists. That could have been my story. I could have discovered Bulletproof out of a sudden mid-life desire to run ultra-marathons or thrive on less than 5 hours of sleep a night or learn a new skill with the pliable mind of a much younger man. But for me the journey to becoming a Bulletproof supporter and investor began when I was 8 years old.
Telling an 8 year old boy that he can’t eat pizza, ice cream or fried chicken ever again is, generally speaking, a bad way to start a conversation. Trying to explain to him what cholesterol is, and that he is afflicted with a genetic disorder that leads to sky-high cholesterol scores, and that if he eats the things he loves he’ll surely die was even worse. The nutrition science of the 70s and 80s — the same science that led to the highest national rate of diabetes in the world and rapid proliferation of food additives which are now, finally, illegal — chanted one mantra: fat is bad. Eating fat coats your arteries with plaque; eggs, butter and fatty meats lead to heart attacks; fat makes you fat! But as anyone who has ever read anything by Gary Taubes, or heard of Atkins, or has tried a low-carb diet can tell you, sugar is a much deadlier foe than fat. Science evolved but the advice didn’t.
Dave Asprey entered my life in 2008, when he started spending time in our offices as an Entrepreneur in Residence. The first two things I noticed about him were that he wore these strange orange-tinted glasses both indoors and out, and that he always had a weird plate of food with him. Smoked salmon, half an avocado, some nuts and a pad of butter didn’t look like lunch (or breakfast!) to me, it looked like a death sentence. When my curiosity finally got the better of me and I asked Dave for an explanation I was horrified. I told him he was insane, that he was killing himself, and that it was irresponsible of him to espouse these views. After calming me down we continued the discussion and he convinced me to come with him to hear Gary Taubes speak the next day. Probably because it emphasized cholesterol, Gary’s presentation resonated in a way that Dave’s hadn’t (sorry, Dave!), and for the first time I saw a glimmer of light. For me, the journey to Bulletproof started with my cholesterol scores.
There’s one other element to this story that I should touch on. I’ve suffered from chronic fatigue since I was in middle school. Teachers asked me what was wrong constantly, and urged me to get more sleep. It’s honestly kind of amazing that I accomplished anything in my teens and twenties. I went to bed tired, slept 8 hours, woke up tired, and yawned my way through class, lunch and meetings. But you only know your own reality, and so I took it as a given in my life.
Several months after those fateful talks with Dave and Gary Taubes, and after doing plenty of my own research reading everything I could on either side of the low-carb debate, I started experimenting with the lifestyle changes that Dave advocated. I would do a little test, see how I felt, monitor my weight and endurance (years of cross country running put me very in tune with that), get a blood test, and then validate my findings with Dave. Several months into my experiments I got in my car after a long day of work and froze. For the first time in months I wasn’t tired. Not even a little bit. I hadn’t been tired all day. It hadn’t been a particularly exceptional day otherwise, but I was absolutely sure that I had been awake, alert and energized throughout the day. I broke down in my car, crying over the more than 6,000 days I had plodded through life weighed down by exhaustion and mental fatigue. The glimmer of light became a beacon of hope, and I dove into the community feeling like anything was possible.
Part of what makes Trinity special is how we partner with our CEOs. Typically a deal calls for one Trinity-designated board member, and we launch into a process, along with the CEO, of figuring out who the best fit would be from among our partnership to add value to the company. The CEO has the final word, as that 1:1 relationship is the single most important thing we do in our business. At Bulletproof we were surprised and delighted when Dave suggested that both Gus and I join the board. It will be a new dynamic for both of us. We bring vastly different experiences to the table, and I’m excited for what the three of us will be able to accomplish. Together with Dave we’re thrilled to make Bulletproof accessible to everyone who could benefit from it, and I’m personally honored to be working with an old friend who changed my life.