Fireside Chat with Rob 5/15


Hi Everyone,

I come here often but haven’t been very vocal on the forums lately. I thought it would be a good idea to spend most of today hanging out on the discourse and chatting with everyone.

Things on my mind:

  • I want more than anything to tell you exactly when your Soylent order will arrive but I simply cannot. For information on that see this thread:
  • We’ve been in the news a lot but I’d prefer to spend less time talking about what we’re going to do and more time doing it
  • There are some incredibly exciting biotech advances happening as we speak, i.e. CRISPR, the X&Y nucleic acid analogues, $1000 whole genome sequencing, this is history in the making and I’d love it if there was discussion here about it
  • It’s a huge milestone to be shipping and we are continually working on refactoring and improving the product as well as our fulfillment process
  • Our site is a huge improvement but it needs to be simpler and faster. We’re working on it.

What’s on your mind?

Let's talk about biotech

I’ve said it before to you directly but I’ll say it here too.


That’s it for me, now back to Rob with the weather…


What are your thoughts on pricing, long-term?


This might be too much a “future operations” question, but I’m curious how long you think we might be on Soylent 1.0? I’m not asking for a commitment (at all!), but for wild speculation: what do you think the cycle of improvements will look like, from here?

And kind of a newb question: would switching from rice protein to algae protein constitute calling it 1.1? (I joined the forums after 1.0 was solidified, or I might have a better sense of that.)


I’d like to get down to $5 / day. That would cover people on food stamps and provide substantial value for even the thriftiest grocery shopper.

Long term, well, we’re trying to commoditize healthy food. It has to be in reach of everyone.


I’m not an engineer. Someone want to dumb those items down for me?


Versioning can be pretty arbitrary. We have a roadmap of changes and improvements I’d qualify as substantial enough to go through Soylent 1.3 at least. I think Soylent produced entirely independent of agriculture would qualify as Soylent 2.0, and Food 3.0.


@vanclute you’re the man! Thank you so much for helping get the word out and sharing with the public and the press.


Any thoughts on a rough feature priority placing going forward?
More specifically, I know there’s been a few ideas about “next steps” for Soylent (custom blends and algal protein, off the top of my head) - so speaking unofficially, which are the “upgrades” you’re most interested in putting energy toward first?


Currently on there are only options for a one time order or discounted subscription. Is there anything in the works for discounted bulk orders? Personally, my soylent consumption changes day to day, so being able to have a reserve would be handy. There is already a separate thread about this, but since no one has any answers there yet, I thought I’d ask it here. Thanks!


About how far are you guys from coming out with different blends? I.e. a blend with more sodium for athletes or those in physically active jobs? I remember personalized blends being thrown about early on, but that is obviously a long ways out at this point.


Ah I remembered something. We’re itching to know how a subscription to encompass a family of 2 humans is going to work. Clearly a 28-day supply won’t work since it will last right around 18 days for us. So what’s a Soylent family to do?


What’s the chance of a higher fat-lower carb version at some point for those of us with blood sugar/ other health concerns?


We’ve heard some people have had temporary digestive trouble when first switching to official Soylent. That’s something very high priority. Overall experience, like taste and texture could always be better, packaging could be more efficient, and yes algal protein and longer term custom blends are being investigated.


Surely day-to-day consumption would vary but we expect month-to-month to roughly average out. As for bulk orders, if there is demand for larger orders surely we’ll offer it. How about a discounted 3 month option like we had during the campaign?

Multi-month discount?

As a totally separate question, could you give us an approximate distribution of order types, I.e. 5% of orders were vegan, 4% were 13-16 weeks, 8% were 9-12 weeks, etc?


CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) is a new technology for getting synthetic transgenes and other exogenous DNA sequences into target organisms. It’s adapted from a bacterial defense (‘pseudo immunity’) mechanism by which bacteria recognize motifs from pathogens (mostly viruses) and target those DNA sequences for destruction.

The protein machinery that executes the CRISPR-mediated DNA break (Cas9) can be hijacked in more complex organisms, and by providing a target DNA oligomer, can cause a DNA break at a specific genomic locus, and then a recombination of a transgene into the locus.

This is an improvement over current methods, which typically use Homologous Recombination to combine in new DNA sequences, which has a high minimum size requirement and a low efficiency. Everyone in my field (molecular genetics & devolepment) is very excited about CRISPR technologies, though most of our conversations are basically “I’m thinking about getting CRISPR working in my C. elegans, do you have any experience doing it?”

The $1000 genome just indicates that we are nearing the point when it will cost less than $1000 to sequence a full human genome. The first human genome took over a decade and in excess of $1 billion, and was completed circa 2001, so we’ve come a long way since then. It has exciting implications to personalization of medicine to an individual, based on their specific genotype, and not just their family history.


This seems reasonable, I could get behind it.


Yeah I could see ordering our food once a quarter.


Is it planned to make calories changeable aka. Soylent calories + Soylent nutricients + Soylent oil (which will be replaced by powder going forth?)
Any plans to improve expiry time?
Internationalisation via international shipping or factory/distribution center in Europe?
Additional question: Any way to invest in soylent to speed up growth and be a part of it. Ball park xxxxx+$.