Fireside Chat with Rob 5/15


I made an automatic Soylent recipe optimizer. Can I has job now?

I’m just kidding, except not really. I would totally drop what I’m currently doing to come crunch data for the Soylent team. My last full-time gig was in medical analytics (which I quit largely due to lack of access to data), and I’m an expert in predictive modeling, nonlinear optimization, machine learning, and also computer vision but that’s probably not relevant. Do please keep me in mind if you need a math guy.


I’m eager to start Soylent because I’ve wished for most of my adult life that I had a bland, temptation-free nutrition source that I could consume and forget. People who malign and ridicule those with eating disorders don’t understand the constant struggle sufferers deal with every waking moment. Seems like I spend nearly all of my time thinking about food. I envied characters in sci-fi films and shows, taking their little pills or nutritional slop. I wanted that so badly. And here it is! Or here it will be, at any rate. I’m going to be a very happy man when my order arrives.

One detail that’s really appealing to me is that Soylent may enable me to actually enjoy the taste of food by resetting my tastebuds. These days, I consume food as fast as I can get it in. It’s terrible. I would love to be able to really appreciate the flavors again. Have you had this experience, of your sense of taste being rebooted or becoming more sensitive again?


Simply reading things like this goes a fair ways toward separating Rosa Labs from “companies”. An official “we will disclose what is possible, as we can” release is one thing, but the CEO personally stating [the above quote] gives a lot of hope that, wherever it is possible, the Soylent Team is certainly going to keep their transparency right out there.


Great points. Yes I find recreational food considerably more enjoyable by using Soylent for the majority of my meals. In a sense yes the lack of stimulation “resets” your taste buds and makes your senses more sensitive. There is a lot of value in pleasure deferred.

I think in time more foodies will understand the appeal of the experiential balance Soylent allows.


Awesome blog!

We don’t really have an opening but math makes business go round. Can you send your resume to


I am still concerned about the fatty acid ratios in Soylent 1.0:
Excerpt from another thread (Grapeseed oil: Huge amounts of Omega 6?):

I don’t think you can achieve this with the current blend of mostly canola oil, there should be another source especially for saturated fatty acids and/or om9 (MUFA).
I am not sure how to balance those two out precisely though…
Edit: MCT might be an option, at least in smaller amounts.
Edit2: Judging from how you simply disregard this post, I must assume that you completely overlooked this problem and hope that noone will notice. Thanks.


Not having to chew is cool and all, but drinking isn’t effortless, either. What about a gaseous Soylent, that you simply inhale?

Each household would have a lunch room with a certain Soylent density (in kcal/m^3) which you enter when you feel hungry and leave when you feel full. In a hurry, people would simply breath heavily. There would also be certain masks that add specific flavors to the Soylent air you breath.

Ideally, the world’s atmosphere would be filled with Soylent. This would imply ultimate equality, because everyone would have access to the exact same amount of food. Additionally, if you come up with an improved recipe, you can simply update over the air.

I feel like your current product is fairly solid, but people are still hesitant. To put an end to this, going gaseous is the way to go, as it would make Soylent very transparent.

What do you think?


Can you speak further to additional daily hydration? Is there a point where absorption can be disrupted or less efficient?


so… much… pun… :grin:


I thought of a few more:

  1. Are there any hopes/plans to reduce the actual volume of a day’s worth of Soylent, or are we at maximum nutrient density here already? I realize a “meal pill” is basically impossible, I’m just curious. It’d be nice to be able to store a year’s worth of food in a relatively small space and, if mass can be reduced (not just volume), then it’d be cheaper to ship too.

  2. The bags I’ve seen people receive aren’t vacuum sealed. Is the powder so stable that it’s not a worry for spoilage, or would there be any benefit in shelf-life to have them vacuum packed?

  3. Have you learned anything more about “phytonutrients” (positive or negative) that you’d like to share? I know you’ve previously said something to the effect that there’s not enough research, and what exists is inconclusive/contradictory.

  4. Just a comment, but I’m looking forward to the possibility of a powder-only (no need to mix oils) blend. Glad you’re already testing something. :smiley:


Ooh. This is a good question. I would also like knowing an estimate of what is ideal additional water consumption.

On a different note @rob, I ENTIRELY prefer a bulk 3 month order at a discount equivalent or greater to the subscription. This would allow me to order as needed, share with the many people who have asked me about it, and not worry about keeping to a subscription schedule if I were to go out of town or eat out socially more in a particular month, etc.


Great idea! The problem is this would create a culture of heavy breathers hogging the food and light breathers attempting to reduce their impact on the environment. Over time humans would segment in to two species: one large, heavy, and strong, the other light, intelligent, and agile.

The debate over how to breathe would eventually lead to violent conflict and the soylent-air factories would become strategic resources. Eventually an ultimate weapon would be developed by the brutish segment, who would not fully understand the implications of their discovery. The Final Solution is meant to cause a chain reaction to destroy the soylent-air factories held by the opposition, but the flawed mathematical models of the brutes could not predict the drastic implications of their aggression.

On judgement day the weapon is fired for the first time and the chain reaction leaps from the factory to the greater atmosphere, combusting all airborne sugars, proteins, and lipids across the entire globe, releasing stored electrochemical energy on an astrophysical scale.

The earth and life as we know it comes to a fiery end all because of the hubris of a humble company near the turn of the 21st century: Rosa Labs.

I think the drink is easy enough. For now…

  1. Pretty close to maximum density but I have some ideas. Anything is possible.
  2. Correct, though vacuum-sealing may confer a stability benefit it would increase cost
  3. I think the phytonutrient thing is based on the flawed assumption that nature is out to protect and save us and these random plant metabolites are complex enough to appear irreducible, thus furthering the vitalistic whole food fallacy. For every marginal benefit there’s going to be lots of inflammation or allergic reactions. If antioxidants actually work we should understand how and design more effective ones ourselves. I read a lousy book claiming plants could cure cancer and the author mentioned about 20 phytochemicals which I then researched and found dozens of inconclusive and contradictory papers. I think we can safely skip them, but surely it is possible for non-essential chemicals to confer benefits once we understand more.


@rob can you talk about the environmental/social/economic impact of sourcing your ingredients? Do you see any scarcity issues if soylent is produced on a much larger scale? Will we have to worry about drinking “blood soylent” as the raw ingredients become rare or can they all be synthetically produced


@rob, how do you feel about those of us DIYers who have started selling our DIY soylent to impatient Soylent backers? Is this something that you are happy to see, or do you think that it dilutes the Soylent brand or presents unwanted competition?

And more specifically, I thought it would be funny to sell a DIY recipe based on official Soylent, which I could call “Schmoylent”. Is this cute and harmless, or should I expect to hear from your legal department if I go ahead with this? :stuck_out_tongue:


Mass is conserved. Therefore we will always be able to synthesize the raw ingredients from somewhere.

Energy is radiated away from the earth but so long as we have the sun’s nearly eternal bounty and are clever in utilizing and converting it we will never run short.


I’m happy to see demand but I’d be much happier if our production had reached the point where this would not be necessary.

I won’t stop you from selling “Schmoylent” on legal grounds, but I must caution you it is unwise to enter in to direct competition with us.


@NomNom That’s not what this thread is about. Be patient, they are doing a lot and be happy that Rob is here having a conversation with us.


Me too. :wink:

Any competition I present will likely be temporary. My passion is game development, not measuring powders into bags. :stuck_out_tongue:


Better to apply your mind to measuring bits in to registers, which Soylent would allow more time for