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Talking20 offered a citizen science/QS type service looking at various blood testing bio-markers. 

On our recent trip to SF (2013) for the first ever Bulletproof Executive conference we met up with an awesome new startup called Talking20. They had a stall at the trade show section of the conference and had a big gathering around their stall. So we decided to have a look.

What is really cool about their service is how cost effective and innovative it is. Rather than using traditional pathology equipment they have a Mass Spectrometer (the thing that pathology labs use tocalibrate their equipment) which means that they can get away with small volumes of blood for testing which avoids the need for phlebotomy (higher cost) , and because they run their own lab, hey have more control over the costs.

We managed to get in on the last day of their Indiegogo campaign so we got a really good deal on our testing kits. Our “Gold” membership basically gives us 36 panels (of every test they have or ever develop) to use when and how we please. The suggested way to use them is to do a panel of tests every month for 3 years. At the moment they have 17 biomarkers available but they are actively developing and expanding their panel. They even have packs where you can design your own unique test.

Now is the fun part… I paid $800 for my Gold pack… So lets do some quick math:

17 tests x 36 months = 612 tests… That is about $1.30 per test… Assuming they never add another test to their available panels…

Quantified Self for the masses baby!

Currently they can measure: Cholesterol (Total, HDL, and LDL), Estradiol (Estrogen), Progesterone, Testosterone, Homocysteine, CRP, HgA1c, Cortisol, and Vitamins A, B6, B9, B12, C, D3, and E

Of course the RRP has gone up since the presale, but you can still get a 36 month gold pack for around $1,300 which is still amazing value compared to the process you have to go through to get anything similar done locally. Alternatively there are plenty of other package options including a 24 month gold pack, the introductory U-Pick Pack or the completely customisable Designer Pack where you can come up with absolutely any blood tests you want. Check out all your options.

The Unboxing

(the package)

Upon checking my mail I’m pleasantly surprised to find this package, straight away the sticker gives away to me that it’s my awesome T20 gold pack that’s arrived in the mail. 

Straight away this sticker reveals to my girlfriend that I’ve been buying more weird shit from the internet… (love you baby!)

(Welcome to the Gold club sir… photography skills not required for entry into this club)

First impression is that it is very professionally packaged and documented which is pretty reassuring to see out of such a young start up. The gold status that I now have also makes me feel like a bio-hacking boss :)

(the instructions… That’s right, it tells you to milk the blood out of your finger… I’m so impressed by this phrase that I can’t even think of anything funny to say… something something vampire cow something)

The beauty of not using phlebotomy (getting a RN to take your blood) is that this resembles how a diabetic tests their blood rather than having to do the whole thing in a clinical setting. You prick your finger with one of the provided lancets and then fill up each circle of cardboard with a couple drops of blood. Then put the card in an envelope (provided) and send it off!

(the big reveal… ta da!!!)

So, what did they send me? Well I’ve got lancets (bottom left), a bunch of cards (middle bottom), my documents, and some return addressed envelopes. Everything I need. They start processing the samples in May and will release a dashboard for everyone’s results soon after that!

I sent my samples back to them in a standard sized envelope. The first set of results will be made available around May 2013 and we can’t wait to share the results with you guys!

Like Viome, i-Screen and Microba are letting us understand our health via the microbiome, Talking20 aimed to enable us to understand our physiology better through regular and accessible blood panels. It’s time to take control of your health!

***Talking20 never quite got off the ground. We never got any results back from the blood samples we sent in. Nor did we get our money back. The last sign of life from Talking20 was this blog post in September 2014.

New companies like EverlyWell (We met them at the 2017 Bulletproof Conference) have since emerged to cater to the demand. I've used them more than once and they are reliable. Australian options include Prixtexting and i-screen.com.au

Leon Wurfel
Leon Wurfel

Co-founder, OptimOZ.com.au



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