Get ready to roll out the red carpet because we've got the one and only Jacob Bockelmann in the house! Jacob is the founder and creator of MacrosFirst, the game-changer in macro counting apps. Join us as we take the plunge into the MacrosFirst universe and uncover the secret sauce that makes it the absolute champ in the field. We're talking next-level features, pinpoint accuracy, and a user experience that's simply unmatched. So, gear up, folks! We're about to embark on a MacrosFirst adventure like no other. Let's dive right in!
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/297
- The Making of MacrosFirst 07:06
- Best features of MacrosFirst 03:37, 13:23, 32:13
- Problems encountered when creating MacrosFirst 15:25, 28:21
- Amber broke MacrosFirst 28:21
- New features Coming Soon 37:02
- Lessons learned and advice in starting a Business 49:00
10% OFF MacrosFirst with the code BABS10. Redeem here
MacrosFirst FB Group
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio Episode 297.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PR's. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife and mom of four. Each week my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise, mindset, personal development and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in. Now, let's jump into today's episode.
Why I stopped using MyFitnessPal 00:47
Hey, hey, hey! Welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber Brueseke and today we are talking about my very favorite macro tracking app. Now, for years in the past I used to use and recommend the app MyFitnessPal. Some of you know that back in October of last year, MyFitnessPal sent out an e-mail and I opened up this e-mail and in it I learned that the bar code scanner, which used to be part of the free version of MyFitnessPal, was now going to be moved over to the paid version, meaning you were going to have to pay for a subscription in order to access the bar code scanner. So, the barcode scanner is used if you have a food that instead of typing it and looking it up in the database, you can literally just turn it around, use your phone, scan the barcode app and it will bring up and populate all the macros. It saves a ton of time when you're logging your food. And that used to be a paid feature, but they were going to move it to, used to be a free feature and they’re going to move it to a paid feature. And I was like, oh no, I had some beefs with MyFitnessPal. There were some other things I didn't like about it, but I'd always held on because, well, it was just easy. And you know, it was something I can recommend to my clients and I use it. But this was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back and I said heck no. I'm going to go and search out other apps and I'm going to try and find a free app that I feel really good about recommending to my clients because all my clients always ask me which macro tracking app should I use and I want to be able to recommend the best to them.
MacrosFirst came out on top 02:20
So, I went on this, it was actually a several month adventure, it was a month but it was a several week adventure where I went to the App Store and literally down to like every single app that I could find where you could track macros and one by one I went through these apps and played around with them and explored them and tested things out and use them myself and, you know, saw what I liked about some of the apps and what I didn’t like about some of the apps so I could recommend the best. And after all of that research, MacrosFirst came out on top. I loved the ease of the app. The user interface was really simple and easy. The database was really robust and not confusing. One of my biggest beats with MyFitnessPal is that you, Jacob actually even talks about this in the interview when we're going to get to it, he talks about how when you type in, like banana, you'll get like 40-7 different bananas. And for someone who's new to counting macros, that's really confusing. And so, I was always trying to have to help clients figure out. OK. Well, which chicken breast should I use? Out of the 572 options of chicken breasts, which one should I select? And I like that MacrosFirst was a lot simpler and it would only come up with like one chicken breast and that made it a lot easier.
Best features of MacrosFirst 03:37
And then the two features that really sold me and we talked about these in the episode, but the two features that really sold me was one, the ability to reverse engineer your macros. Meaning if I got to the end of the day and I needed to have 30 grams of carbs to finish off my day and I wanted to eat, say, some cereal to do it instead of trying to like change the servings over and over to try and have it hit 30 grams of carbs. I could just enter in, I want 30 grams of carbs and it would reverse engineer and populate how much cereal I would have so it would tell me, OK, in order for 30 grams of carbs, you need to have, you know, 27 grams of cereal. I mean, that feature alone was like, blew me out of the water. I was like, why do more apps not have this? And then the second feature that I loved which we also talked about in the episode is the ability to scan the bar code so it, sorry not scan the barcode, scan the Nutritional Label. So, if you scan the barcode and for some reason it's not in the database. Then instead of having to enter the numbers manually, you can just scan the nutrition label and it will actually pre pull those numbers out and pre populate the numbers in and I just thought that was a fabulous idea.
Sharing MacrosFirst to my clients 04:45
So, anyway long story short. I did this whole test out every app in the App Store to try and find out which one was best and MacrosFirst just like rose to the top. It had all the features that I wanted for my clients. It was easy to use and it had a good user interface and most of the features were free. And I was, I felt really good about recommending that to my clients. So, I recorded a Reel and I kind of announced this to the world and that Reel got a lot of views and a lot of interaction and Jacob said it actually even shut down their site for a brief moment when I released that Reel, but since then MacrosFirst persisted in my go to macro counting app. It's what I use personally. It's what I recommend to my clients. And I'm so excited to be able to have Jacob on the podcast today. Jacob's the founder of MacrosFirst, and he tells the story about how this app came to be. And it's a little bit of a unique story. A little bit of a securius route to be able to get to founding MacrosFirst and making it into the app that it is today, so I'm really excited to have you listen to this interview and hear about the foundings of MacrosFirst and what makes it such an amazing experience for its users and an amazing app.
MacrosFirst Affiliate 06:00
Now, before we dive into the episode, I do have an affiliate code with MacrosFirst. I did not have affiliate code when I made the decision to back them or when I, you know, kind of announced to the world that they were my preferred macro counting app, but since then they've created an affiliate program and I happily signed up. So, while many of the features on MacrosFirst, most of the features on MacrosFirst are free, there are some features that are only in the paid version, and so if you would like to sign up for the paid version and you want a 10% discount, you can use my code which is BABS10. So, it's BABS10 and then the number 10 and that will give you 10 percent off. Now, if you are a client of mine or you have been a client of mine, I actually have a deeper discount code for you, but it's only for clients, so if you are a client of mine, send me a DM and I'll hook you up with an even bigger discount. But if, you're not a client, great. Then you can use the 10% off with BABS10. All right. Without further ado, let's dive into the episode with Jacob Bockelmann, the founder of MacrosFirst.
Amber B 07:06
Alright, I am so excited to welcome Jacob to the podcast. Jacob is the founder and creator of MacrosFirst and as many of you know, this is my chosen platform of choice. My app of choice when it comes to recommending how I suggest that you count macros. And so, I am so excited to have Jacob on the podcast today to people to kind of walk us through a little bit of the behind the scenes, we're going to pull back the curtain today on MacrosFirst as an app. So, Jacob, take us back to the very beginning of MacrosFirst. Where did this idea come from? What made you think that you could be successful creating an app and you know, what motivated you to really make this leap into creating this product?
Jacob Bockelmann 07:47
Yeah. Hey, Amber. Great to see you. Thank you too yeah, MacrosFirst came out of my own struggles trying to adhere to be compliant with a Mac, my own first experience with the macro centric diet. I had kind of graduate, this was, let's say, 2016, 17. I just sort of, I was in the middle of my CrossFit career,
Amber B 8:10
Jacob Bockelmann 8:10
As a, you know, just like, whatever weekend warrior, you know, whatever having fun. I had just finished my tour of duty in Paleo as one does back in that time especially. And dove into macros and I made the mistake, or maybe the blessing. Actually, in hindsight of jumping into an incredibly complex diet that was a branded diet as I described it, some folks listening maybe like, oh, yeah, I know what he's talking about, but this one, we have carb cycling, so high lows and high, high and low days. And meal timing was a huge component of it. So, optimizing your carbs specifically around your workout times and so you know, as a person new to macros, the struggle I had was not meal prepping, not cooking, not like eating the right things. It was solving algebra problems every time it was time to eat, so my refrigerator at the time like OK, am I eating? You know, am I preparing a meal for a pre workout first thing in the morning on a heavy training day? Alright, need 80 grams of carbs in that breakfast. Let's consult all the post it notes on my refrigerator where I've done the math. And this was just crazy like it was just so weird to me that like the big problem is not what I expected myself to be encountering of like, let's eat healthy. Let's, let's like do meal prep. Let's like all the things that you'd expect that's like the normal things to struggle with. For me, it was just I don't want to be solving math problems every freaking time and so this led me on a quest of surely someone has solved this problem before and so you know I downloaded at the time again 2017 all the usual culprits, you know, all the big macro apps out there, including a few that were like had macros in the name. And the light bulb, you know the thing I struggled with was every single app was asking me, the user, how much did you eat? And that was not the question I was trying to answer, right? Like I wasn't. I didn't need to put into MyFitnessPal. I'm needing 142 grams of rice like I needed the app to tell me how much should I eat. How much do I want to eat? That's the question that needed to be asking me because that's what I was struggling with how much you know given I'm coming to this meal with the goal, what do I do?
So, I built a Google Spreadsheet and the rest is history basically, but I you know what I did was I created the Spreadsheet that had like two tabs: one, Jacob's personal food database where I was hand filling in row by row, rice, the protein, carbs and calorie values from chicken protein, you know and so forth. Those building up my own little DB and then I built the little solver where you know, I could select food ABC and D. And so, what's my goal for this food? So for the rice, I need 30, 80 grams of carbs was a big meaty breakfast, big hearty breakfast. So, and then it would spit out for me. You know, the necessary serving size to hit it and I, this made my life easier. I got rid of all the post it notes on my fridge. I had to put away the calculator in the kitchen and focus on the normal hard parts of you know, maintaining the diet of cracking eating. And what I also did was you know, in the group this branded diet I was in the Facebook group where you know people were sharing tips and tricks. And I shared the spreadsheet there and it went nuts like it was my first and only like viral moments on the Internet. It had like 800 shares in the first day like,
Amber B 11:40
Jacob Bockelmann 11:41
Hundreds of comments. The thumbs up are going crazy and people like, Thank God this is what I've been like I needed this, where has this been and I quickly saw you know, I had done, had my second light bulb of huh, maybe it's not just me that struggles with this. Maybe there's a real idea here, maybe this could be, you know, the beginnings of a business. Well at that time, I honestly, I wasn't even thinking about the business, just an app, a tool, something more durable than a Google Spreadsheet that I could put out in the world and it was a funny, it was at that time too. This thing was going completely viral in this private Facebook group for this branded diet, but I was very promptly banned and picked out of this Facebook group and not because I was selling anything, I was and this thing was totally free. It was a community, you know, organic shared tool, but I think it was just the owners of this diet like hey, anything that kind of gets between our users and the diet is a threat. And I was kicked out, but anyway that's yeah, that's the origin story of MacrosFirst.
Amber B 12:43
That's amazing. So what do you, what do you call that feature? Because I call it the reverse engineer your macros. But like, I just made that up. Do you have a name for like that feature of going the other way of having the app tell you how much to eat to hit a certain macro?
Jacob Bockelmann 12:56
Well, I joke, I mean, I joked with you, Amber. Like when you first like, you know, we first started chatting together. I told you then and I still believe it now you're a better marketer than I am. I call it what you call it now.
Amber B 13:07
OK, cool. Awesome.
Jacob Bockelmann 13:08
We call it reverse engineer your macros. How we have been the name. The name we had for before was auto calculate your serving size from macro goal.
Amber B 13:20
You're right, I have a better marketer than you.
Jacob Bockelmann 13:22
Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
Amber B 13:23
Ohh, that's funny. Yeah, that's Amazing. I mean, honestly like that, when I downloaded the app and I, you like pointed that feature out to me, I was like, Why? Why does not every single app have this because you're right like that is one of the hardest things for people is. And even if you're not someone who's like, I'm gonna eat 80 grams of carbs. When you get to the end of the day and you say I have 7 grams of fat left and I want to eat you know this piece of chocolate. How much of it should I eat to get 7 grams? You all know what we used to do? We used to go and put ohh if I ate one square. Ohh Dang, that's five. If I eat 2 squares. Ohh Dang, that's ten. 1.25, 1.3, one point you know you just, like, guess and guess and guess until you get it to land on the numbers. And when you pointed that out that I could go in and say no, I want to get 7 grams of fat. How much of this chocolate bar do I need to eat? It's gonna tell me, I’m like that's it. That is, that is it.
Jacob Bockelmann 14:15
Exactly that and that. That was the original insight that, like, made me think there was room in the market to actually have a go at this like.
Amber B 14:23
Yeah, because you're going up against big names, you're going up against names that have been around in the industry for a very long time. So, I mean having the balls to like put something new out there and say, yeah, I know there's all these other apps that are really, really popular, but I think we have something special. What was that like?
Jacob Bockelmann 14:42
It was. It was a quite, it was a huge, it was a crazy journey. There were a lot of missteps along the way. So, I guess to pick up the story as I was banned from this group and didn't know what was happening to the sheet other than what's cool about you know Google Doc. You can see anonymous Aardvark has is in there in the open history. I could see that it was still driving.
Amber B 14:59
Access it, yeah.
Jacob Bockelmann 15:02
So, what I did was I put in a link at the bottom that was like hey, I'm thinking you might turn this into an app like if you like this and you want to like have this tool, either make a copy of it, or we might turn this into something real. I'm playing around with it, leave your e-mail address. They're just linked to a Google form, yeah.
Amber B 15:20
You are a good marketer. That's fantastic marketing.
Jacob Bockelmann 15:25
Thank you. I'm growthy. But I don't have those sexy slogans. That's the problem. But from that we collected a few 100 e-mail addresses and what I did as a next step was turn this app into, turn the spreadsheet into like a super light weight, MVP minimum viable product clickable prototype where I had sketched up some UI, some user interfaces, built a clickable mock. So, in the very beginning I was split up coldly, you know emailing back this list of 100 to say, Hi, Amber. Thanks for you submitted your e-mail. I'd love to show you a concept and hopping on the zoom call and having them click through and, you know, get the feedback and the misstep well, so that was great. It validated the idea. It validated that you know people were excited about this, the huge failing on my part was that initial audience was coming from that branded diet. So, these were people who their needs. These were not flexible dieters.
Amber B 16:28
Jacob Bockelmann 16:29
These were what I called. And here's my marketing term proactive dieters. Meaning meal preppers, they were all meal preppers. And so, I got this idea validated and it didn't occur to me at the time and I partnered up with my cofounder who is a good friend of mine. We worked together for years and this was our fun little 5 project, again not a job. Both of us had full time jobs at this time and did really for the next several years and built. We built this thing, we put it in Google Play and I emailed. Sorry, we've shipped on the App Stores both Google and Apple. And within like 10 minutes of going live, I got the first customer support e-mail which was like hey, where can I track my daily macros? Because we built a meal prepping tool. These were for people who were not, you know, logging on a daily, what I reactive basis for breakfast? I had this and they you know, we built this tool that made it incredibly easy. If you had five meals that you're eating today, because it was a light training day first thing in the morning. You know for you, that's what we built. Basically this meal builder type of thing. And so yeah, that was our first major Oh no and let's you know, listening to and reacting to our market. So very quickly. The first major feature was daily macro tracking where of course we introduced like the calendar and logging meals on a day-to-day basis and so forth. But really like the Genesis from there is just continuation of always like listening and learning from our users and really, really it taught me the lesson. Like I have to know exactly. You know the type of persona, the type of user that is interacting with us because it was very cool that I built something for meal peppers. Not cool that, you know, meal preppers represent like .1% of the total, you know, people who track macros, but you asked, you asked the question about.
Amber B 18:17
Jacob Bockelmann 18:17
So, you know how is it competing going up against the big guys of which you know the big guys are big, you know MyFitness Pal still around. They kind of invented the category and the answer has been for us, like listening to our users, in particular the coaching community. And I think that's one of the things that really differentiates our app from the others out there is that: A, like I and my team really engage with purchase I want like we really you know a good coach wants to make life easier for their clients and part in wisdom, knowledge and access to the best tools. And so, we've really made a concerted effort to like, establish relationships with coaches to, you know, show them to really, really roll out that red carpet and explain like who we are and what you know, really white gloves like personal approach. Two, we've built a ton of features for coaches, so these are things the Google Sheets Importer, which for you know a coach that maybe uses Google Sheets to conduct all their client check-ins like we can automatically import data from the app to the check in sheet to eliminate all manual data entry, help with client compliance. We build the coming soon to follow users, integrations with some great coaching platform Seismic Apotheon coach catalyst. So we've really like listened to the coaches and built for them and this has had the critical go to market support less of you know, coaches are influencers and I don't mean that as like we're Internet influencer like, you know, Kardashian. I mean, like that coach has their clients, the clients respect and trust their coach for a reason. And so, when we're able to like, demonstrate and establish trust and a partnership and relationship with the coach, they bring it, you know, they recommend us to their clients and that's been our you know that has been how we've gone to market. I'm, like, really proud to say that we haven't spent a dime on advertising in our company.
Amber B 20:19
Jacob Bockelmann 20:20
I think well, maybe I spent some dollars as a test once on like Facebook Ads but like we're not you know that we don't have ads anywhere in the App Store.
Amber B 20:35
Jacob Bockelmann 20:35
On Facebook or anything. It's really, and that's because we've been so fortunate and privileged on like truly privileged to establish some really great relationships with coaches and coaches like to share not just with their clients, but other coaches in the community and that's been our primary method of discovery and we're seeing that you know, play out in our ratings and our rankings in the App Stores and it's just been awesome. And I think last, I'll say too is they think you know we've made a very conscious decision not to compete with coaches and by that I mean there's plenty of apps out there that you know, who needs a coach? We've got an algorithm.
Amber B 21:12
Jacob Bockelmann 21:12
And you know we're not doing that. We're not that. And so yeah, that's been our secret. And in my mind, it's a far more durable and strong base of support, this like earned product market fit, earned trust and relationship with the coaches, earned trust and relationship with their clients that's sort of the foundation of how we, how people find out about us and yeah, really blessed for.
Amber B 21:42
Well, I will say that you have to have a good product for that to work. And I think sometimes people can try to cover up a good product with good marketing. And what I want to point out is that like when you have a superior product, you don't have to be really good at marketing, because it kind of happens naturally for you and you're able to go by word of mouth. But the reason you're able to bring coaches on and have them recommend your product to their client is because it's a good product and I think that that's a really important point to make is, it is a superior product. And so, you know me as a coach, I'm happy. I want to recommend the best to my clients and so I'm always looking for the best. I'm always looking for what's the easiest, the most user-friendly, the fastest, the cheapest, the best way to be able to help my clients, to be able to do it. And when I see that then of course I'm going to recommend it to my clients, so it's. Yes, like you being able to build off of relationships with coaches only works because you have a superior product and so you don't have to be a good marketer. You got a good product.
Jacob Bockelmann 22:44
Yeah, thank you. Because that is, our marketing is terrible. That's like one of the areas I'm really looking to grow and continue to like learn from you Amber. Really. Because you're just such a phenomenal storyteller and your posts and your content, and yeah, we need to get a heck of a lot better at it, but I really appreciate that and it's so important too because, you know, like for our ability to grow there's kind of we, there's two types of people who would pick us up, one someone who's completely brand new to tracking period and usually that's we get lucky in like the App Store or they're working with the coach or two, the other person is the one who's been tracking for like 9 years in MyFitnessPal. And yeah, I mean to your point like change is hard,
Amber B 23:32
Jacob Bockelmann 23:33
I'm glad, I'm so grateful and appreciate you know you saying we have a superior product, I sure believe we do. But like getting people to understand that, to get over the change management exercise the I've got, you know.
Amber B 23:47
So many recipes.
Jacob Bockelmann 23:47
So many recipes, God forbid I mess with my 7000 day streak. Like all of.
Amber B 23:52
Yeah. Oh, yeah.
Jacob Bockelmann 23:53
All of that, it requires like it has to the bar for to getting over that, change the bar of quality of like what's better has to be significantly high, and that's been another thing that's really like motivated us, it's a crowded, there's plenty of trackers out there and I've really embraced that idea of, like, if someone's going to change, it has to be, we have to be 10x better, not just a little bit better.
Amber B 24:16
Yeah. That’s right. Right.
Jacob Bockelmann 24:17
And that's also driven the types of features we've built, you know, there's I think we have a bunch of stuff that other apps others have and charge for, and we're free and that's cool. That's nice to like have you know more value for free, but we also have a whole bunch of features that like just don't exist anywhere. That's, you know, that's been driven by, I recognize if I don't want, I don't, I don't want someone to change from MyFitnessPal to us because we're marginally better like. We need to change because we're significantly better and yeah, and coaches like you and the others that we’re privileged to work with, they help us tell that story in a way that no paid ad ever. No, no. Me practicing my Tiktok Yeah, I got to work on that, but it's never going to be as resonant as you know, Amber says, right or yeah, so.
Amber B 25:10
Yeah, so going back to like your origin story, I am curious when you went from spreadsheet to app, did you know how to do that? Like did you know how to make an app or were you like researching and googling how does one create an app?
Jacob Bockelmann 25:24
Kind of a little bit of both. So, my professional background is I work in product management in tech. I live in San Francisco area, worked at Google and a couple of other like larger tech companies and my role product management is the title. The PM is the one who figures out like what are we building and why ? And then works with like the engineering team or and it really has one team. It's sort of like the engineer, the designer, the product manager. All working together on figuring out how do we build it.
Amber B 25:55
Jacob Bockelmann 25:55
And so, my background is like perfect, you know that little, my little origins for like this is hard. It shouldn't be hard. There's got to be an easier way. Here's a little like I can write a formula. That's like, why does this problem exist? And is there a way we can solve it? Then introducing my cofounder, who is the CTO and an engineer. He was the one who with you know, was able to translate my spec docs and that's by the way it wasn't like I built a spreadsheet, was like hey man, can you figure this out? No, this. You know, I wrote like a 12 page very detailed spec with all the interactions and pages and that comes from my professional background in product management of like defining and translating requirements that are feasible, buildable engineering wise, create value for the user or differentiated all that good stuff like why are we building this? But yes, working men with Andreas as my partner of actually constructing the app and it was the first mobile app ever created. We mostly been, we worked together. Web technologies, Web apps, basically, but never this is our first time doing anything on mobile. So it was, it was fun. It was, you know, there was in tech like, it's always intriguing and fun to be working with new tech, right, like. And so it was, this was neat. This was very out of like the day job for us at the time, in fact, we were building tools mostly for B2B Marketers. So this was utterly different. Had nothing to do with marketers. Had everything to do with Fitness and everything to do with you know the end user consumers instead of businesses, is just a whole different way for us to like flex and, you know, stretch working in the new space.
Amber B 27:29
That’s really cool. So one of the things that is you know, a truth that is in the fitness industry as well as in business is that you learn a ton from your mistakes. And that I always, always say we shouldn't be afraid of making mistakes. That's how we learn and and and it's just how you move forward beyond those mistakes. So you said one of your you know your initial mistakes was. Getting feedback from users who maybe didn't represent the broad swath of population you were gonna try to target. That was one of the mistakes. And you realize that. Do you have any other stories of, like, things that you missteps that you had along the way of trying to get this out and and make this happen? I always think I think people are always. Like to kind of hear some of the some of the crazy stuff that happens behind the scenes that maybe we see this nice app and we open it up and it works really well and. You're like, oh, man, if you you only knew where we came from or what we did along the way, give me those stories.
Jacob Bockelmann 28:21
Yeah, I mean. Yeah, that was certainly the big one of just, like misreading the room, I mean what's cool is it was enough of a validation of like we can, I guess the silver lining which I didn't really touch on there was we could build a tool, we realized build a tool that worked equally well for react like meal preppers and more reactive flexible dieters. That was the take away for me. I think it was a mistake of course to prior you know build solve first for the like 0.1%. It's in the 99.99, but what was awesome is we figured out like the learning was we can solve for both and approach both and have conversations with both, I think that you know and the other learning was we've been much more thoughtful about like engaging users for validation and research earlier. So we do like a lot of beta tests, we rolled things out to small groups of testers for feedback. First, I set up especially with the coaches again like while working with coaches because they, they've seen it all. They know it all, bouncing ideas off them for new features. Our Facebook group is pretty active. So we really incorporated, like user feedback heavily into like guiding what we're building and why. That, yeah. That was certainly like the biggest like swing and a miss, but learned a lot, which is always the most important part. Otherwise, I mean, I think it's been behind the scenes like I can't think of like a major feature that we were like, oh, totally goofed that one up, but we've certainly had all kinds of rocky, rocky moments here and there. I mean, the one that amuses me the most is what you know, when the first time you mentioned us, Amber like are, you so we had so much traffic in such a short period of time. After you're like unveiling around. This was right when MyFitnessPal took away the barcode scan when people were like looking for the alternative and you selected us like that spike traffic so hard that it broke the ability to like create new accounts.
Amber B 30:22
Heck yes! That makes me so happy.
Jacob Bockelmann 30:24
So you broke, you broke MacrosFirst. We fixed it in like 20 minutes but it was still ,it was like it was. It's just stuff like that we've had a few we've also like Jan 4th, this year too. Like always back to like the first of the year, like crazy traffic spike, so we've, you know, hardware services against that. But yeah, it's just been sort of like technical little bloops and blips here and there. But I think, yeah, I think thanks you know thanks to now like having learned that hard lesson early on about like deeply understand your users. And what you know who you're building and why we haven't really had too many crazy swings and misses and quite the opposite, I think like we've had a lot, a lot of home runs by listening to people. So in the beginning we, you know, our food database was OK. Not the best, and to be the best would we couldn't afford it at the time. I mean it's like 6 figures to buy like the better database, which at the time was out of the picture. So like you know we built a feature where no bar code scanned. Sorry scan a barcode, nothing found and let's like skin that nutrition label which all you know foods and barcodes have and pull in that data for you to make life a little bit easier, eliminating that data entry problem, right? So, letting some of our shortcomings guide creative solutions that are very differentiated. There's really, you know, there's one other app that does that. It's a paid feature the yeah. I mean, I guess always trying to find like the opportunity, the silver lining the, you know? And then exploiting the problem like how can we turn this into a problem, into something valuable, something unique, something delightful.
Amber B 32:13
Yeah, I mean, and you just, it's so interesting to hear where that came from because that's another one of my favorite features is that I can. If it doesn't come up with barcode scanner. I can just have you know, use my camera and get the macros that way and I didn't know that story. It's just so interesting that that came from what could have been seen as.
Jacob Bockelmann 32:33
Amber B 32:33
Man, yeah, we can't buy this. We're not big enough. We can't afford this and instead it's becomes again like you said, something that differentiates you, something that's due part and is a really cool feature that most apps don't have that maybe have bigger budgets, so it's such a cool experience to realize that things that we see as bad can sometimes be our greatest assets.
Jacob Bockelmann 32:55
Yeah, and to your point like the earlier question, like how do you compete? That's a great example of that helped us punch above our weight class like we flipped this problem with like MyFitnessPal has everything to well, we can too at least we can make it easier for you to like fill that gap and get in there quickly even though we can't afford we've since bought the database but so we're good now. But you know at the time, yeah using that to advantage to create and that and your example, delight. You know it would be a superior experience. If just you didn't have to scan the barcode, it was there. Sure, but it was really delightful that like in spite of that, it's just kind of magic to like, Oh my God like this thing just scans. And brought it in I didn't have to do anything, it's right there. It just took like less than a second. So yeah, inverting that to also create like competitive differentiation and advantages that lets us like punch about the weight.
Amber B 33:44
That's really awesome. When did you make the transition from? You know, you started with a full time job and this was kind of a side hobby project. When did you make that transition to, like, oh, this is going to be my career. This is going to be my job, it's going to really be the business I want to build.
Jacob Bockelmann 33:58
This year. So yeah, we started I mean. It was 2017 when like that for the spreadsheet and then the app launched. I always get this mixed up. I think it was October 18th. It was the very first version. So yeah, you know, just kind of sticking with this and it was always for fun, for fun, for fun, for fun. Again, like it. This was a way I, you know, I am passionate, always have been about fitness exercise, I compete with in weightlifting like it this is my people, my hobby, my happiness and this was always a way for me you know the app was an avenue, a creative outlet for me to like combine my professional background and skills into an area that I just love and for the first several years. I think we were making like under $100 a month. Like it's so. It was pocket change and, but it was for fun. I wasn't really looking at the revenue. I was just. I loved getting customers supporting that I love serving them. I loved learning from the problems. It's just being connected like better integrating like fitness into my like professional life was fulfilling and I loved it. But then we did seriously start to grow, and this hobby crossed the threshold from being something that just made me happy to be something that made me happy and interfered with my day job and it got to the point where it was a viable, still a huge leap of faith. And it's still. I mean, we should have my wife on this podcast, we could talk more about that, but it was still, still, a huge, scary leap of faith to do this, but yeah, I mean essentially, we organically grew in a way that just made, it was too fun and beginning to be sustainable from a financial standpoint, where it could. It could make the leap and I'm so glad I did. I'm just having so much fun.
Amber B 35:53
That's awesome. That's, that's so cool. And, you know, going back to our marketing conversation in previously, I was making the point of like when you have a superior project, you don't have to be better at marketing, but just imagine when you do get better at marketing superior product like the sky's the limit.
Jacob Bockelmann 36:09
Yeah, yeah, I need help, I mean. Nice. Maybe a plug like that's we're definitely hiring for that like people and just yeah, I need.
Amber B 36:18
If you're listening and you’re a Marketing Specialist, reach out to Jacob.
Jacob Bockelmann 36:22
Yeah., please. It seriously like it's, yeah, we need to get better at it.
Amber B 36:26
That’s awesome. Well, the cool thing is, is that there's a lot. I mean, if you're not doing any of it, there's a lot of low hanging fruit that doesn't take very much that can really start to pour some grass.
Jacob Bockelmann 36:35
That's that's well again, that's. Yes, I completely agree with you and that's in spite of me, I know we're doing a bad job in marketing, like in spite of that, we're still continuing to grow. Yeah, still, it's still work. It's still working. So it's like all of these, like, you know, leaky bucket things. If we just when.
Amber B 36:46
You're still profitable. You're growing.
Jacob Bockelmann 36:53
We get better at them, it's just if the foundation is strong, I should say. I guess and it gives me conviction that as we tighten it up. It's just going to be better.
Amber B 37:02
Absolutely. So can you give us a little bit of, I know you're always adding and tweaking and like you said, listening to users and getting feedback and thinking of new ideas of how you can serve your clients, what are some things that you guys have in the works that are coming with the app?
Jacob Bockelmann 37:18
Yeah. Yeah. So we have a very cool robe up with a bunch of stuff. That's like in late development. So the first one is probably like the number one feature request from coaches, which is the ability to follow or view their clients in the app. So, I mentioned we have the Google Sheets Importer, which is like a game changer, particularly for like smaller coaches that you know may not be using a software coaching platform to run their business and handle check-ins. Sheets is great. And we've built the ability to import the daily totals, but of course you know totals just tell part of the story. Coach wants to be able to hop in and you know, see are you having the, are you hitting your cards in the morning for doughnuts or something else? Right? So we've always had the ability to export data, but that's not delightful either, right? Like you downloaded Excel and just mail it and e-mail and so forth. There's screenshots. I'm sure lots of coaches nodding you up and you get the get the old IMessage screenshot every week or whatever. So, we've got the ability to follow friends in app. I'm currently internally testing this right now. This should be a week to two weeks out where in the app you'll be able to send a friend request follow and view their log. What's cool I just want to shout this out, is like, you know, I know MyFitnessPal has this. And when you follow someone in MyFitnessPal, all you're able to do is view one day’s log at a time.
Amber B 38:44
Jacob Bockelmann 38:34
It's so it's kind of tedious. Like one day, one day, one day we are building that and the ability to view all of their trend reporting, so we. This was 2 weeks ago. It's kind of sneaky one, again speaks to my bad marketing. We released the new Daily Nutrition charting. So you're able to see all of your nutrients, including microbes per day, but also over date ranges. So if you wanted to do last week, last month, last 90 or any custom date range, we run compute the averages and present that and that's going to be accessible to the coach when you're following someone. So you now get trends in addition to just viewing you know one day at a time. Which is huge. We have, we'll staying on this thread too we're introducing. We're building out like a whole new homepage experience which will be much more like a dashboard reporting. Place to view your nutrients, your you know macros. I think we're going to be presenting like your the current week at a time. With the averages from the trailing 7 and then a very cool way to view your nutrition over time. They're clicking into that a graph line, graph that shows all of your macros, your calories over time. You can adjust the time range to be again like last seven, last 90, 30, or anything in between and see this interactive chart with all of your averages presented. And that too will be you know accessible to when you follow someone's account. So you'll have this really interactive charting experience, and then we're getting into also custom charting, which I'm really excited about the, you know we track not just the we do the macros are first and MacrosFirst protein cross fed and then calories. But we track our database. We're tracking about 70 different nutrients and so you know, if you're a coach and you want to be graphing fiber against body weight over time, for instance. Like you could build a chart in the app comparing these two different metrics on a dual access chart with all the same interactivity I just mentioned of you know custom date ranges, averages and so forth. The going really deep on the that's a big theme of ours is going deep into the analysis of what folks are reading and logging. We've got a food database that we're onboarding. So like I said, we're able to make that purchase and we this is one too that I'm internally testing right now. Preparing to roll it out, which just gives us it's a fully verified through database so no use generated content, none of that problem where you know you search for banana and you have to wonder which of these 27 bananas is the so. There's like one banana. And all of it's verified and should significantly expand our coverage, which means maybe less opportunities for that Magic Nutrition label scanner to pop up. But it's just you know smoother, more complete experience, particularly for friends outside of the US, just dramatically enhancing our coverage in the UK, Australia and Canada and those are. Yeah, those are those are like the big, the big, big new ones.
Amber B 41:54
Jacob Bockelmann 41:56
Smaller things in the background, like we're redoing how water tracking works. That was that is admittedly, just not exciting. My favorite, a little teaser on this one, is folks can customize they're like preset containers that you want to be logging your water so if you have a 40 ounce jug like you can select the Stanley icon and have your Stanley.
Amber B 42:19
That's cool. That's really cool.
Jacob Bockelmann 42:19
Yeah, like. And even change the colors on it.
Amber B 42:25
Ohh my gosh, I love him.
Jacob Bockelmann 42:26
So we’re working again. So again, it's like delight. You know, water tracking, water tracking, but that's all. If I can track if, yeah, if we can make it fun where you've got your Nalgene, your Stanley and your shake bottle. For your like you know, and let you customize it and then let you configure like maybe you want to log you do one Stanley at a time. Cool like, yeah, building all this fun customization. And that really just like heightens the experience.
Amber B 42:49
That, like, actually makes me wanna track my water like. I always look at like water tracking on the app and I'm not just on your app and any app I'm like, this is so boring. Like I don't need to do this. I don't want to do this, but like if that. If I could track my Stanley. And then like my share cup at the gym and then my Hydroflask later, I would actually do it.
Jacob Bockelmann 43:09
Yeah, and I think that's. Like, that's one of our diet principles is like things, things need to be fun and easy. You know? Eating, eating, understanding your diet and what? Well, first, just understanding what like the consequence of what you eat like how it matters to your body comp, mood, hormones, goals. That's huge. Following it extra hard, right? Like it's just work.
Amber B 43:34
Jacob Bockelmann 43:36
There’s no two ways around it. Like this is effort and work and requires discipline and like my whole motivating factor and why I like stuck this out as a hobby is not just because it was fun, but like you know, I'm hoping that we're making this easier for folks and more delightful. And, you know, I think one of the most what cuts people down when they get into tracking is like it's not sustainable for me. And this is lack of sustainability can come from like lack of confidence. Am I doing this right? Calories, you know, checking calories. That's one thing. That's easier than tracking three things. Right. Like this does take work. And so you know building feature is that instill confidence, make people feel good. Make people you know have fun. Make you know all, like getting out of the way in tracking and making tools so you spend less time in MacrosFirst and more time living, eating, working out, whatever it is. Being with your kids like that's our ethos here and that manifests in like fun, interesting novel features here and there. Yeah, we you know at the end of the day like we want to make this as easy and minimize the work and the friction, and that's again just bringing a full story. That's where it started from for me like I was willing to do the work. I understand the consequences. I didn't want solving the math. Like that was like one piece of effort to get in the way. Manually creating foods by typing in all 22 nutrients on the label. That's no fun. Get out of here like. Body weight. The scale can be really angry, like even if you're doing everything right, you know goes up because water weight or God knows what. Let's get a trend line in there that shows the bigger picture.
Amber B 45:16
Okay we haven’t even talked about that, which is like one of my favorite features of the app as well because yeah, you're right. People freak the heck out when they see a spike, and in MacrosFirst when you go it shows you're like 7 day trend. It shows your like 30 day trend, it like it shows you all of the data points you know side by side so that you can see over time I have been trending down even if there's a spike here, there I love that feature.
Jacob Bockelmann 45:39
Exactly bigger picture. Give confidence like. We'll present more data in like digestible supportive ways like that's what it's all about and actually, what's kind of fun too. It's doing on the body weight tracking. We're going to be introducing the ability to graph daily calories on the same graph. Same chart.
Amber B 45:54
Oh, I love that, yeah.
Jacob Bockelmann 45:57
Because that’s, at the end of the day that's the good correlation and and so again that's another one, looks like tons of apps have either of those, no one's doing them together, right? Like why let me see body weight versus my daily calorie caloric intake. Show me those trends. So yeah.
Amber B 46:14
Can I put a plugin for measurements?
Jacob Bockelmann 46:16
Yeah. Tell me.
Amber B 46:19
I would love to be able to have clients be able to track their measurements alongside of their weight.
Jacob Bockelmann 46:23
Oh, OK. OK.
Amber B 46:25
Or, yeah, waist, hips, things like that. It's just one of those things that, you know, I'm a big fan of like, data and that the more data clients can have, the more context based start to have because so many of my clients come in and they're only tracking their weight as their singular data point to tell them if what they're doing is working and you and I both know that that doesn't give you the full picture. And so being able to pull in those measurements and or those progress pictures alongside of the weight alongside of the caloric input really helps to create understandable picture for clients to be able to say oh, OK, I can see how all of these things are trending me in a direction. That maybe if I was just going by my weight I would have never been able to see.
Jacob Bockelmann 47:03
Totally, yeah, absolutely. All right, feature request noted.
Amber B 47:04
That's my plug.
Jacob Bockelmann 47:05
Yeah. Yeah, it's definitely, I totally on the road map and I think flows right nicely into all of those trends and charting and analytical tools too, because this is at the end of the day, just another you know. Another thing to log.
Amber B 47:23
Jacob Bockelmann 47:24
Yeah. Imagine, yeah. Pull the chart like weights versus, you know, whatever bicep versus weight.
Amber B 47:31
Yeah. Yes, all of those, yes, yes. Yes, all of those. I love it. Yeah, so many fun things that are coming. And I will say for everybody who's listening. If you have a feature like, well, maybe I should have asked you, are your DMs open for people to give you like feedback?
Jacob Bockelmann 47:28
Amber B 47:48
Okay, cool. Great. I was hoping that was the case, but like Jacob's super nice. And so if you have an idea. Just throw it out to him, like, let him know things that would you can you know, you never know. Maybe it gets added to the road map and it comes out in the app, but that's one of the cool things I've loved working with you, Jacob. It is like the personal, being personable with a human, not a company, you know, I know you have a company, but there's like a human behind the company as well, and so I think for people who are listening to that's one of the things that I've loved working with MacrosFirst is just it's a human and he's super nice and he'll answer your questions and he wants to hear from users so that they can make the product as good as it can be.
Jacob Bockelmann 48:30
Absolutely. Yeah, everything's open. We've got a little Facebook group you can join and I am customer support. That e-mail hello@macrosfirst goes to me. DM's are open and I mentioned before we do these like little private betas and tests and that's how people get in that they request the feature when we build it. I get in touch or I say hey it's ready for testing, so it's also a cool way to if you are really interested in like being an early access tester and getting, you know, seeing the stuff first? It's just raise your hand self select and we're there.
Amber B 49:00
Awesome. All right, I just found the MacrosFirst app community on Facebook and my, I'm now pending as a member of it so we'll link that up in the show notes as well. So if people want to come and join that they can go and request access to it as well. OK last question for you. Actually I have two more questions for you. Second last question for you. You know, as much as maybe this wasn't what you expected to do with your career moving into entrepreneurship and starting the business and you're learning all sorts of things about marketing and these other aspects. As much as that maybe wasn't your plan, you're thriving and succeeding at it. So I wonder if you have any sort of like advice or tips to somebody who maybe was you it, you know, is you, who maybe has a dream or an idea of building an app or starting a business and it's kind of on that precipice of where you were maybe back in 2016. Any advice that you would have to give to that person?
Jacob Bockelmann 49:55
Yeah, I think. Like for me like the looking back like my two big lessons are: one like do it as cheaply as possible. Like there's this idea in startups and tech, but it's not unique to tech. I mean, it's really anything. it's like you start lean, the minimum viable product like. It's put something out into the world like whatever. Whatever it is you're seeking to create or the business you want to like, start you know, before what is the cheapest, fastest way you can put it out there to start getting feedback on it and the feedback could be that someone purchases it. The feedback could be that someone submits to the e-mail to sign up to the list to learn more about it. It could be re share. I mean it can take any number of forms, it's not just about like, how much money are you generating so fast? Like it's just about getting feedback for me, like the feedback on this was that spreadsheet went nuts like viral just in the shares within the small community and then we collected some emails off of it. So you don't over complicate because also when you overcomplicate you know your launch. Whatever it is you're trying to test. I mean that introduces risks like the risk A that you'll just do nothing because it's like, Oh my God, it's, you know, for me to start this, this venture, I need to save $62,000 in order to buy the food truck and rent the spot at the farmers market. Whatever. Like, it doesn't. No. You don't. Why don't you start on the corner, start you know with your Google Spreadsheet or there's. And especially the Internet has really knocked down the barriers to entry barriers to test any idea, I mean, it's amazing. You know what this could be measured and follows or views or, you know, there's no shortage. So just don't over complicate because you have, you know, it introduces the rest of you'll do nothing because to talk yourself out of it because it's too expensive. I mean, had you asked me 6 years ago, if, like, are you going to quit your job and do this full time? Like absolutely not. Never like this is just a fun hobby, but starting low enabled me to test and you know continue to validate and grow and get to a point where it did. It did let me do that. And also the risk also carries forward to like let's say if you do commit to, I'm going to do this and put in my $72,000 to start the business, that's at risk too. I mean the money itself, right? If it fails, that's gone. If you, you know, rented this space before, you're ready to open the business or whatever. Like, that's gone, don't. Do things as cheaply that enables you to learn as possible.
Amber B 52:25
Jacob Bockelmann 52:25
And then two, you just stick with it, I mean. I think by any every measure other than I was having fun like MacrosFirst would have been described as an abject business. Failure for the first like five years of our existence. And so I guess it's just like keeping in perspective with like. If it fills your cup. Like if it energizes you, do it like whether it's a business that has the potential to like generate revenue or just something that is satisfying to you. Because you never know where the stuff is going to lead. I mean this was purely a hobby and until it wasn't, and that and I'm so excited and if it still is a hobby and was still making me whether or not it generated any money on the side like I still have been happy and I wouldn't have changed, you know, careers or any or jobs, employers. Anything like that but that's right. Let me to. And it was because I stuck with it and sticking with something by the way, is no surprise to me. It's if it makes you feel good, it's easier to do it.
Amber B 53:32
Jacob Bockelmann 53:35
So. Yeah, I didn't. I did so that that's like our story. I didn't run into this. You know, it's kind of like I didn't create like a business plan. I didn't. I didn't set all these goals about like we have to be achieving this by this date and so forth like it was more about I pursued it more as a hobby and works from. It worked here. Maybe, depending upon what exactly you can feel really deliberately like. I need to make a change in my. It may not be the best advice. Maybe really do start a business plan and get serious about it from like day one like that. But yeah, those are kind of like I think. Just looking back at our Genesis or our, I was unfolded kind of the two things that stick out to me.
Amber B 54:15
That's awesome. OK, last question is well, it's kind of a two parter. So you mentioned that you kind of dropped that. You competed in weightlifting, which I didn't know about you, which is super cool. So I want to hear a little bit about what you're doing weight lifting and then maybe just a follow up to that is like what are some of the goals that you're currently chasing? I love to hear what specifically in the realm of fitness, are there any fitness goals that you're currently in the realm of chasing?
Jacob Bockelmann 54:45
Well, it’s actually a perfectly hilarious segue, so weightlifting, I started in college and enjoyed it was like again like I went to a few national meets like the American Open series. Which are reasonably low bar to enter. Not crazy, and I was like 50th percentile, every time competing as a senior. So that's like 18 to 34. But so the lesson we just discussed about stick with it now that I'm an old man master, I'm like all the normal people have, you know retired and moved on to different hobbies or sports or things that don't, you know, hurt them. Say first, you know, I don't. Know like whatever like. The fact that I'm still in there. I'm like I think last I looked at the nationals for my class, I would have been like 6th ish place last national meet so.
Amber B 55:34
Jacob Bockelmann 55:34
Not on the podium, but not far off either and so that's my goal is, to crack the podium as a master.
Amber B 55:42
Jacob Bockelmann 55:44
And again it's just stick with it like weightlifting is, it's a hobby. It fills my cup. It makes me happy. And if I'm you know have something to chase for even all the better. But yeah had I just been sad because I was in the I think in Las Vegas I was in like the H section, which it's by the way, it's alphabetical, so A is the best and so what is that like 11? Like, you know, if I let that be the mark of like should I keep doing this, I would have gone up, but no, I mean, just have fun and if you stick with it normal people give up you were left I guess.
Amber B 56:22
That’s awesome. That's fantastic. Oh, that's a great goal. I love that goal. And I love that you related it back to the entrepreneurial advice. Before we hit record. I was talking to Jacob about how I've chosen fitness as the vehicle which I helped clients, but really the goal is like so much bigger than that, it's like once you see how you learn lessons, see what you're capable of in the fitness realm that tends to bleed out into other areas of your life, and what a great example of lessons that you've learned in the entrepreneurship lead out into lessons that you know you can apply to your fitness journey or your parenting or other things. And so I love that you kind of close that gap with bringing it back to fitness and how it all kind of relates and with each other. It's awesome. OK, so people are wanting to find you and connect with MacrosFirst, we're going to link up the Facebook page or the Facebook group in the show notes. We'll obviously link to Instagram, anywhere else that people can seek you out on the App Store?
Jacob Bockelmann 57:19
Yeah. So yes, I mean the app is available in the App Store and Google Play just search for MacrosFirst, but as far as like interacting, yeah, the Facebook group, Instagram and then we have a Reddit group that is dead, but maybe people join and hang out.
Amber B 57:32
Ohh gosh OK. I've just gotten like on Reddit. I've never gone on Reddit, and maybe the last like month I've gotten really like it's been really fun. So I'm gonna go. I'm gonna go follow Reddit as well.
Jacob Bockelmann 57:42
Yeah, so it's just different places to have conversations, though. What's cool about, you know, Instagram, Facebook, and Reddit, they're really, these are conversational spaces. This is especially Facebook and Reddit. More, more so than Instagram, Instagram tends to be more of a, you know, meat of the world kind of thing. But for, for really having conversations, entertaining feature requests, it's been so cool to see what people ask like questions and other MacrosFirst users answer like Oh yeah, you can do that here. It's on this page like it's I love that so our groups are small and mighty and I'd love to engage with everybody, we're there.
Amber B 58:16
Cool. Awesome. We'll link it all up in the show notes of this episode and yeah, go down and download MacrosFirst and you'll see what I mean when you see that it's a superior app.
Jacob Bockelmann 58:27
Amber B 58:27
It really is great. You've done a great job.
Jacob Bockelmann 58:29
Thank you so much.
Amber B 58:32
I hope that you enjoyed that episode and I hope that you will give MacrosFirst a try. As I said, I've tried all of the apps, all of them, and MacrosFirst, hands down, was better than any of the other apps that I tested out and tried. So I firmly stand behind them as a really awesome tracking app and even like love even more that there is a human and a face behind the app and Jacob is amazing. He is very thoughtful, he listens to users and as he said, his DM's are open. So if you have any ideas or want to share anything with him he would love to hear those.. And again, if you want to try out MacrosFirst and you want to try it out, some of the paid features that are associated with it. Again the app is free and many of the features are free, but there are some that are behind the paywall, and if you would like to unlock those you can use the discount code BABS10 so it's BABS10 and that will get you 10% off. If you are a client, we have a bigger discount for our clients, so just shoot me a DM and I will get that discount code for you. That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber, now go out and be strong because remember my friend you can do anything.
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