We’ve all heard the saying “Give someone a fish, feed them for a day. Teach them to fish, feed them for life.”
This approach can be used in the workplace with marketing, operations, sales processes and more, but can it be applied to dealing with a life-threatening condition or illness?
Today, Brooks Bell (one of the foremost authorities on conversion rate optimization) explains how she was not content with a doctor “giving her a fish,” how she approaches CRO, and how she’s using her marketing skills to find answers to difficult problems she’s faced since being diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.
This episode brought up important questions.
Should you leave the research and experimentation in the hands of your doctor, or should you take your life into your own hands?
Listen in on this fascinating interview with Brooks to find out!
Here’s a few highlights from our discussion:
- 5:02 – The importance of AB testing
- 8:16 – Be passionate in what you do
- 9:19 – The importance of early age colonoscopies
- 11:21 – The scary statistics of colon cancer
- 16:05 – The diagnosis journey
- 18:19 – The BIG difference between stage 3 & 4
- 19:58 – Stepping down as CEO
- 24:24 – Why there is limited data on prevention
- 25:06 – Understanding the raw data
- 28:01 – Using persuasive marketing for colonoscopies
- 33:16 – Creating consumer demand
- 35:28 – 50 colonoscopies under 50
- 36:38 – Loving people’s “ASSets”
- 39:29 – The nail biting numbers of colon cancer deaths
FULL TRANSCRIPT BELOW (Please excuse any errors, this transcription will be edited and cleaned up within 2-3 days of posting)
Derek: 00:00 There is a massive shift happening and the way that we live, work, play and do business. Join me and our host Todd staples is the interviews the the top minds and learning human psychology, gamification and training to help you and your team LEARN to WIN.
Todd: 00:14 Hey there, Todd staples here with learn to win. Today we speak with one of the world’s most well known and successful conversion rate optimization professionals, Brooks Bell learning how she’s applied her expertise in conversion rate optimization to learning about fighting and creating awareness around colon cancer, a life threatening condition that surfaced for Brooks earlier this year and the millions of other people face. If you are here specifically for Brooks story about colon cancer, skip right in to 9:20 seconds of this recording. Otherwise just jump right in to where I’m asking how she approaches finding answers to difficult problems and empowers others to do the same. Brooks, your approach to how you do business. I think you called them your three operating principles. The first one absolutely blew me away and it was experimentation should be owned by you and your company, not us. It’s kind of what I’m feeling from you. Like you had this horrendous circumstance come up and you’re owning it. You’re just saying like, all right, well, I’m not going to just ask one doctor what’s the solution and be okay with that. Like I’m going to own it, I’m going to go figure it out. And I just think that is deep within you is from what I can sense. And it worked and now it seems to be in your personal journey.
Brooks: 01:24 Yeah. Building Brooks bell. It has been what I’ve been working on since I was 23 years old, my pretty much my entire adult, entire adult life. And it started with,uI had a website company in college that I was running and it had just graduated with a degree in psychology and uwas a self-taught website designer. Uso I wasn’t really that great of a designer. I mean it was, I was really like practical and, and how I was approaching things and AOL was at the height of their dominance. Around that time they had 35 million members. And really, and we were all still on dial up even though she doesn’t too, does not feel that part long ago. But yeah, we were still on dial up. So the, the way that they were growing was through hardcore direct response, AB testing mainly in the,uwith upopups like remember those and CDROMs remember that when they were like, you know, glittery like gaudy obnoxious things.
Brooks: 02:35 It says a thousand hours free click here and it’s like really big and blinking. Yeah. So the reason they were so obnoxious is because that is what worked. They were testing everything and they were running a new test every single week that, and they were able to do that because they had massive amounts of traffic. I mean, AOL was the internet at the time. But they had all their own custom built platforms, their own or own you know, engineering platforms. And and so they were able, th they built this incredible AB testing culture and ’em along before anyone else was doing it. The way that they, I got involved is they were looking for our tiny, cheap firms to feed them fresh creative for their tests. So, and they would give this little like contest all the time where they say they find a new agency and say, here’s five grand.
Brooks: 03:28 Design us five new popups and here’s what the control looks like. You can do literally anything you want, but we, it has to beat the control. So what was so and so they gave me that that challenge as a young designer. And it just blew my mind that this company would let me a like 23 year old, take my creative with absolutely no creative direction and just put it on the market and see what the, like, what the market said to have these, they’re all co customers given me the feedback of whether it was working rather than some random AOL employee trying to direct me down a certain path. That was so, so exciting. I just couldn’t believe that I, the a million people was going to see my, my work. So incredibly one of my first popups beat the control and AOL said it doesn’t be the control.
Brooks: 04:22 We’re not hiring you again. So it did be the control. I got another shot to do another project for AOL and it beat the control again. And kinda, it kinda changed my life. You know, if I did my first Papa did not be the control. I do not know what I would be doing. But I found out that it was pretty good at it and I got better and better because with that closed feedback loop, I could start to see kind of what people responded to and it got to know the AOL member really well. So actually the first few years of Brooksville was mostly focusing on AOL marketing and you know, designing popups and emails and landing pages, all the launch new ale products. But I felt in love with AB testing. I thought like, Oh my God, this is like how things should be done online.
Brooks: 05:10 We have all this traffic and you know, when you go online you’re going onto long line to do something and we can measure everything you’re doing. Like I like WeightWatchers and Nickelodeon and just big brands, big brands. Yeah. Had no data back then. They had no, no, I’m just no culture around using data. They it was still very brand focused. There was yeah, it was just, it was stunning to me. And so it took us a few years, but that is when we really started focusing on like becoming an analytics company and helping companies get their testing programs set up the right way because if they were using data, they’re doing it for all the wrong reasons. They’re never using data to further their own personal agendas and mean it wasn’t clean. You wouldn’t really, you really couldn’t trust it. And so we, we really, our, our first vision with in the company was officially to eradicate bullshit in marketing because we saw bullshit everywhere because no one was using data the right way.
Brooks: 06:21 And I think we’ve, we’ve was no longer or our mission statement anymore because I think, you know, it’s not Missoula problem, but being data-driven isn’t, you know, people have gotten a matured to that point now. But we then we started helping people build their, their testing program. We would really do all the work we would and we did end to end experimentation and just deliver a, an ROI off the work. And then a few years later, we coming back to the first our first approach on the website that you saw, which has experimentation should be owned by you and your company and not us. That is just, it is only, I deeply believe that the experimentation should be like data. It should be in your DNA. It should be how you make decisions. It’s how you stay connected. Your customers, you know, your market will tell you what they want from you and who they are, what they want from you, and how you can best serve them.
Brooks: 07:21 But you have to, it’s how you take action on your data. This is not something you should be outsourcing to an agency just to deliver you some, some short term results. You should be like how you operate. So that is so we put a lot more emphasis on kind of our consulting work and teaching our clients everything that we know so that they can S, you know, and they, they could scale at a much faster pace if they can, you know, do this internally rather than outsourcing it. We can, we can’t scale, you know to massive levels if we do it work for them. But if we teach them a process and we teach them how to structure their team, how to structure a good methodology or choosing high impact tests, then ultimately experimentation can really change our culture and, and fulfill its promise.
Brooks: 08:13 Okay. Awesome. Hmm. So I’ve been pretty passionate about that for a long time and I still am. I mean I’ve, we have a great team in Raleigh and we still have like fantastic clients. We’re doing a lot of great work for them. We’re doing a lot of personalization now. Yeah. And I will, we have a new CEO and who will be running the team and I will be executive chairman and my role will be to come into the office twice a week and a coach, our strategy team. So it’d be more of a mentor rather than running our operations. I think that’s a really what I’m passionate about anyway, so I can just make sure that we are delivering high quality work and thinking deeply about and just learning from the experience I’ve had from the last decade and a half.
Todd: 09:05 Brooks, that is such a cool story. Thank you for sharing all of that. It’s absolutely fascinating. I know you’ve got something else in your life right now that is really important to you and it’s got a lot of your attention. So let’s change gears a bit. What’s got you most excited these days?
Brooks: 09:18 I’m really excited about actually is the Oregon doing with colon cancer. I’d love to talk about that. It’s totally different than conversion rate optimization, but I have a project called 50 colonoscopies under 50. Wow. That is about colonoscopies and trying to highlight people who are getting them early and helping people become more, what I call it, polyp curious and just help people realize that colonoscopy, there’s something that we should be really trying to do at an earlier age and and think about that as part of our preventative health rather than something that’s you do when you’re old and crusty and sick. Instead of doing, we’re young and proactive and focused on our health and really try to game the system so that we can get insurance to pay for it. Okay. Got it. So I just, and the reason I’m, I’m passionate about this is because I just finished treatment for colon cancer.
Brooks: 10:24 I was diagnosed with colon cancer in January a stage three, which is good news is cause it’s not stage four. Stage four is totally different ball game. So stage three is was much more manageable. I just finished pretty serious chemotherapy in June and I’m feeling fantastic and feel 100%. So it’s been for me, my cancer journey has been relatively easy compared to most cancer journeys. But I’ve also, it’s also been really eye opening in terms of colon cancer and and how a lot of young people are at much greater risks than, than we realize. Okay. Is that a curiosity? How, what is your age? I just turned 39. Okay, cool. Yeah, we’re similar. I got that feeling right around the same age, which is why I was interested in hearing that. It’s gone up. Colon cancer has gone up and people under the age of 50 by 50%, and in the last 20 years in a school, we go up another 90% and people under the age of 30 and the next 10 years. And what’s the reason for that? Wow. They don’t know for sure. But it’s freaking out. A lot of doctors, I mean an oncologist all over the world, they think that it might be related to our microbiome and antibiotics in our environment. Okay. It’s creating a lot more inflammation in our gut, which creates more polyps and polyps is what’s what creates colon cancer.
Derek: 12:01 Got it. Okay. Well I just, we’ve kind of already started the conversation here when they ran away to do the introduction later. This is actually a really fascinating conversation for a Fridays reasons. One, a lot of the clients that scrimmage works with our pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies that dull out developed treatments for colon and other types of oncolytics. Right? So definitely our audience of, of kinds of customers will resonate very much with your personal story and journey, which again, I commend you for your courage to share that just in the brief time we’ve known each other and for the work that you’re doing to help others and to educate others and educate people younger on the importance of preventative health and just general wellbeing. Right. I think that’s something that’s really, really, I really respect that. So I just want to acknowledge that.
Derek: 12:49 And that’s obviously where we can talk about on your business success, which I’m sure has influenced that and the journey of health and wealth. And all those different connections. So I’m sure we’ll get into some of those pieces as well. But the interviews I was gonna bring forward is that a friend of mine, and you may actually know this gentleman, his name’s Nevine Jane. He owns a, he runs a company called vine down. I’m in Seattle and they are doing research all about the role of, of gut health and the microbiome and the influence on chronic diseases and you know, all these different pieces. So you’re just maybe a company that you might be interested to take a look at and you know, for, for a variety of reasons.
Brooks: 13:27 Yeah, I think there’s so much exciting things happening in the microbiome space in terms of understanding how it affects our health. It really is so powerful. And and there is, I think the health, the healthcare industry is just in the beginning of 30.
Derek: 13:46 Yeah. I mean, I think this goes back, healthcare industry is in massive transformation right now for a lot of things that we talk about around education data and end of this and that you can resonate with this. How we collect data, whether it be for education or marketing or diagnostics treatment, it’s, it’s all about data in various forms and making that data into a format that’s use, interpret, apply, whatever you want to, however you wanna describe it. Right. And that that’s something that we’re not, we’re in the age of data analysis, not just big data, but actually small data or, or insightful data and be able to make those analyses in real time and apply them to purposes like you talked about.
Brooks: 14:23 Right. Well, I think it’s pretty interesting actually, is all the research I’ve done over the last few months on colon cancer or only research I’ve read about colon cancer and seeing the experiments that, that builds this, this research and all the statistical principles that they use. They have so many of the same problems that I have in my, my own conversion optimization coalition. Yeah. Like sample size, major problem. It’s only like we have issues with sample size and statistical significance and flat tests. It is so much worse healthcare industry because you’re, it’s so much more expensive. You have actual people. It can’t isolate your variables very easily. And getting an a flat test is, you know, there’s, there is a much higher incidence of flat tests and and there’s, and who is going to fund it? I mean it’s, so it’s the same issues that we see out, you know, in healthcare as we see in digital only, they’re much worse. And so I couldn’t really understand why the process is so slow and so unbelievably expensive to answer questions like the cause of why colon cancer is increasing in younger people is a very, very difficult and very expensive question to answer.
Derek: 15:41 Yeah. So talk to us about, about that pro. I mean as you’ve been researching about this movement to the younger and younger population being impacted and, and the importance of that, what like how did, what have you found, like where did that journey, I mean obviously it’s personal, personal, but where did you start when you started doing research on it? Like how did you start using the skills that you’ve honed in your career to this, this endeavor that you’ve taken on as a, as a personal purpose?
Brooks: 16:05 I was diagnosed with colon cancer in January. And I mean it’s as a terrifying, very terrifying experience. The way I was diagnosed is I had blood in my stool for about two months and I saw two separate primary care physicians and they both said that it was probably hemorrhoids cause hemorrhoids are very common and it’s a similar symptom, but they didn’t really, they didn’t really ask that many questions. They went straight to that diagnosis and sent me away with some hemorrhoid cream. And the thing is it, the longer it went on, I just, I just didn’t seem to really fit about right there. Something was not right. Yeah. So I went ahead and call the gastroenterologist directly and asked to see of physics one of the physician’s assistants. And as soon as they got in front of her, her body language was totally different from the primary care physicians.
Brooks: 17:07 She immediately thought it might be cancer. And I remember asking her like, aren’t, I’m like at the time I was only 38. I was like that, that’s way too young. And she says, no, it is not that it, you’re definitely within the age range these days. And so she said, let’s get a colonoscopy to rule it out. And I had one four days later and and when I woke up, they, the doctor came towards me and you can see in her eyes that it was not good news. And she showed me the picture of the tumor and she said that we think we caught it early, but we need to get it tested and then you need to have surgery to take it out. And then and then I’ll be able to really find out how big of a is this.
Brooks: 17:49 Right. So so I had I had 10 inches of my goal and taken out a few weeks later. It was a pretty cool experience actually. They took it out to my belly button, usually laparoscopic surgery. So I have like a tie. You can’t even, there’s almost no scars. It’s incredible. And healed really well. I was out of the hospital and one day and I was eating pizza before I even left the hospital, which was incredible. And then and then waited a couple of weeks so they could really analyze the tumor itself and we found that it it was pretty small but it was in my lip system. And so that is how I became a stage three cancer. But it was great news because anything less than a stage four is, is, is pretty good odds of being fully cured. Stage fours is the numbers are totally different on stage four is anything where it’s spread into your other organs like your liver and your lungs, is that virtuous?
Derek: 18:56 If it stays through and it is removed, then your odds are good or,
Brooks: 19:00 Yes, yes. It has to. We were removed. Yeah. So that, but it’s any cancer that you can physically remove the tumor is like a way better. Like that’s how it all, you’re like everything’s better because it’s all about getting that, those cancer cells out of the body.
Derek: 19:14 That’s why a skin cancer is so deadly because it’s right, like it’s, it’s lethal.
Brooks: 19:19 Yeah. Yeah. There’s a lot. There’s ones what cancer, I mean there’s, or if you have ’em and people die of cancer when is gotten into a part of your body that it can’t be removed or shrunk. And then eventually it just, you lose track of it and starts growing at our, at a pace you can’t keep up with an eventually consumes your Oregon and that’s how you die. So you want to get your cancer taken out. And colon cancer is a pretty good one because it’s, it’s easy to operate in a colon. You’re don’t need your whole call and or really any of your colon honestly. So anyway, that, that didn’t really answer your question, but while I was I knew immediately when I was diagnosed that I had to step down as the CEO of my company like the same day.
Brooks: 20:09 It just knew even if it was early stage, that this would change my life and I needed to focus completely on understanding this and being as healthy as possible. And being as strong as possible, physically strong, which meant that I would need to change. I, that I couldn’t travel anymore, that I would need to. I live in Raleigh, North Carolina. Most of our clients are in New York and San Francisco and Atlanta. So before this I was on the road 75% of the time and just as a CEO of my company, you know, as far as that’s part of the job description. So so I had to sit down and I knew I needed to change my focus to be on exercising and eating extremely well, sleeping really well and I’m reducing my stress as much as possible and I would need to do that to get through chemo and to also just get through the whole cancer beating cancer business.
Brooks: 21:12 So I started spending all of my free time researching colon cancer and know, I certainly want to know what my odds are. Survival, where I certainly wanted to know. I mean I want to get as narrow as possible. Like, I want to find other 38 year old healthy women who shop at whole foods, you know, who have a a tumor that looks like this and this part of the colon that, you know, that data does not exist at all. And part of it is just our HIPAA policy, you know, HIPAA laws and privacy laws, which is interesting. That privacy generally is a very good thing. But when it comes to this type of data it just kinda sucks that the type of data that is saved on this type of on cancer is, is pretty lame. So it’s, I think that is something that should really change in our healthcare industry. And I thought about trying to build a database and opt in database separately of of cancer stats so that you can over time find look alikes in you know, with different conditions that are similar to you and age and what their survivability is and what their symptoms are and that sort of thing.
Brooks: 22:33 Okay. Yeah. So I started realizing there isn’t a lot of data about it. And most of the data is international populations. And I also learned just that the, the datasets that I do have, it’s all about kind of association versus causation. You know most people, like obesity is such a problem. And basically obesity has also said she was alcoholism. You know, a lot of people who are obese also drink and also smoke. Right? And so that, those are all correlated with the same conditions. You’re just not healthy when you do those three things. And so, but if I, but I’m not obese and I don’t smoke, but I do drink. But does that mean drinking is actually co has actually caused my colon cancer? I don’t, you know, probably not. There isn’t a dataset that just has people that are just one of the three.
Brooks: 23:28 Right. And and then when they do these actual experiments, you know, experiment, you need to have a primary metric and you want it to be valuable. And actually choosing the, your primary success metric is one of the hardest choices. And in and my, my main job, it is certainly also extremely difficult and healthcare for us, like for retail pro, the most typical primary metric we choose is revenue per visitor, right? And rather than like average order value or a click metric, revenue per visitor is really the best one, but it, it takes a pretty big signal to move that number. So as a result, we have more flat tests, but when we have a winner, usually it’s much more meaningful to the business. But we still stick to that when it comes to colon cancer or really any cancer there. Their metric is five year disease free survival. Right? So it means that these tests in a runner five frigging years.
Brooks: 24:36 So and no. Yeah. And so how do you, and if we have like 150 people in it, you know, there’s people die for like all variety of reasons over five years especially they, you know, get cancer and they’re 65, a lot of people die for lots of stuff between 65 and 70. So I’m just running and getting statistical significance is impossible. Impossible, impossible. Yeah. So anyway, that is why it’s, it’s become most like frustrating in understanding like, you know, does tumeric, you know, should I be taking tumeric? Should I be taking like vitamin B, you know, like what are these things that can help prevent recurrence or prevent getting cancer in the first place? It is, there is no studies that will can be funded that can measure an isolate, people just taking these consistently over five years to see if it actually works. And so therefore, there’s all, there’s basically no data on almost every type of food or, you know, with anything, anything, even as your size, people can’t like even can isolate exercising. Right.
Derek: 25:55 So what did you do? I mean I understand the problem and the challenge, but like did you, did you go to the experts that were there were measuring these, these
Brooks: 26:06 I went to the early onset colon cancer summit in may. And so a lot of the most recent research I read hundreds of studies. And I’ve watched multiple webinars. I’ve joined a Facebook group that are just colon cancer survivors. And then I’ve just been mostly looking for patterns that I see over and over again of things where there have been some studies but they’re not like, because they’re not massive and maybe they’re, you know, maybe there’s five says a support thing and, and one that was flat. I have been, and so I have just by really trying to understand that the raw data myself and understand that this size of these studies myself, even though they’re not statistically significant to see directional feedback is helpful. So I’ve made some, you know, I’ve made some judgment calls. You know, I, I had been taking vitamin B12 and alpha lipoic acid for ’em to help manage one of the most serious side effects for colon cancer, which is neuro neuropathy, which is basically nerve damage in your feet and your finger tips. I think like 50% of people who went through the chemotherapy that I went through get that and it’s permanent. So I really wanted to avoid that. And so far I have, so it’s, it’s been working for me, but I’m a sample size of one.
Derek: 27:38 Yeah. I am so impressed by the amount of effort and diligence that you’ve put into this process, like outside of your personal journey, which again, I acknowledged like just how much work you’ve already done in six months, if that. I mean like just the amount of reading that you’ve done, the networking, the introductions, like I just admire how you’re pursuing it. Like all in, it’s really, really inspiring.
Brooks: 28:01 I also last I, last week I went to bud con as well, robberies wall.
Derek: 28:09 Wow. okay, so that’s a little funny. So were the fact that the same, like where this all started. So I mean obviously you, you stepped down from leading your company, you obviously built an amazing company. Now you’re, you’re really focused on this, this mission that you’ve defined. How do you see those continuing either come together or how are you seeing them separate? What does that, what does the future look like for you and your, when you’re thinking through that’s, I mean, I, I can, I can appreciate that decision that you, that you made and you know, building a company, it takes a lot of time and energy and effort and you’re emotionally invested in it. And yeah, it’s hard to imagine things that are much more personal other than your family and your own health. Right. And so, I mean, those are the three things I think through. So you’re now focusing on another top priority. How are you, how are you going either gonna merge them or separate them to, to meet the best potential of everything in your mind?
Brooks: 29:00 So that’s a, that’s a great question. They, they’re, I mean, they’re so different. I’ve got conversion rate optimization. I’ve got colon cancer and there’s not a lot of overlap
Derek: 29:09 Other than the data analysis and pattern. Right,
Brooks: 29:10 Right. Exactly. Yeah. I mean they’re, they both, you know, built on experiments. But I mean, we are, I mean with, I’ve learned so much about persuasion and Merck, you know, persuasion based marketing and if I can get, I don’t know, maybe a million people to get in a colonoscopy, that’ll be incredible. If I can persuade people, get a colonoscopy. Which is so awesome because it’s so hard. Like there’s no consumer demand for colonoscopies and it has a terrible image. That’s why I wanted to buy con. So like how I’ve got to get someone to like, I mean, this associated with like coop, which is the most discussing subject, you know, substance on, on earth, you know, for humans. And and you know, and it’s also shared with, with our butts, which is, you know, I dunno, like is squeamish for a lot of people.
Brooks: 30:12 So and then also with the colonoscopy, you have to do a fast and a cleanse and you have to take a day off of work and it costs $2,000 if you can’t get it covered by insurance. So it’s a heavy lift, if you know what I mean. But it is also the reason it is so important is that colon cancer is a number two highest death causing cancer after lung cancer. And if you imagine most people who die of lung cancer as smokers, right? So if you take that out of the equation and look at non-smokers colon cancer number one. Yeah. So and as a number three most common cancer and then it’s also skyrocketing and people under the age of 50. So this isn’t relevant just for our parents and grandparents. It is relevant to anyone, you know, in their thirties and forties.
Brooks: 31:05 Yeah. But the good news, however, is that colon cancer is one of the only preventable cancers in that like breast cancer, you have to wait till you have a lung, you know, you get the lump and then you’d get it taken out. You just had to catch it early. In this case, you don’t have to catch it to prevent it. And the reason is that all colon cancer starts as a polyp, which is a, has it’s a little skin tag in your colon that has no symptoms and it feels harmless. It’s tiny, it’s like a couple of millimeters. And it takes 10 years to grow. So you ha match it way, way before. Yeah, 10 years. So if you start thinking about you’re finding a polyp when you’re like 35, 40 and you get an excuse to get a colonoscopy. And actually the only way you can find it is through a colonoscopy.
Brooks: 31:58 And what’s great is they find it and in the same session they snip it out and you wake up and it’s gone. You are now cured polyp free cannot get colon cancer until they grow another polyp. Okay. So you got another 10 years before you’ll get another one. Wow. If they find one and if they don’t, then you can like rest easy. They’re busy. Go. Yeah. So co colonoscopies are life saving. They’re really not that big of a deal. There are so much better than they used to be. And and there’s not really about cancer. It’s about finding if you have a little pulse lurking in you. I found out with my colonoscopy that I had three polyps. All three of them were pretty large and one of them was already cancerous. So, Oh my God, if I had just had a reason to get a colonoscopy a few years ago, they would’ve been taken out. No problem. Yeah. A then that’s why I’m a colonoscopy enthusiast.
Derek: 32:54 And I’m gonna ask you this question. So how, in your mind, thinking through, I’m going to go, obviously we work with payer organizations and health systems. In your mind, how would we convince or influence or persuade the health systems or the insurance providers or just consumers to be able to find a way forward to, to perceive the, the proactive screening that they ultimately need?
Brooks: 33:15 Well, I’m working on two projects. For me, I think it needs to start with creating consumer demand. It’s seen as we get people to not think about colonoscopies as something gross and crusty. And that’s something that old people get. But something that we really want when, you know, at our first or earliest opportunity they’ll put more pressure on primary care physicians to send people down that path. And it will then also help reduce the cost by creating more demand. Hopefully it’ll be more efficiencies with doctors and we’ll reduce the cost of the colonoscopy. And we just need to show when it comes to insurance paying for it, we need to have enough evidence to show that we’re at, that the risks are going up and the, and the general population they’re operating off of numbers that are quite old and because there isn’t enough, there’s no one that is, I mean they’re not looking at people who are of average risk who get a colonoscopy early because there is no one doing it.
Brooks: 34:22 Cause someone’s paying for it. So there’s just not, it’s just not happening. So we don’t know. Like the, the date, the data that I have actually is pretty compelling. A 25% of men will have a precancerous pile by the time they turn 50 and 15% of women will have a precancerous polyps. So they’re more common than you realize. And but they may even be going up like what if it is one, you know, what if it’s 50% now, you know, as our environment is changing, 50% of men and 25% of women, those numbers need to be updated and then it’d be accurate and to show ’em insurance companies that the risks is a lot higher and that also, and help them make a business case for doing earlier screenings. So that, you know, if there’s more polyps and there’ll be more cancers down the road and that will cost them many more billions of dollars, which they want to avoid. Yeah.
Derek: 35:23 Interesting. You got my brain going right now on creative solutions.
Brooks: 35:26 Yeah. I have a couple of projects. One is 50 colonoscopies that are 50, which is a list of people that we’ll be publishing in a magazine. In December, I have 70, actually 70 people in my list of 70 people under the age of 50, who has gotten a colonoscopy. And they’ve shared their story publicly. And talking about the number of polyps are found, how and why the colonoscopy was unexpectedly pleasant for them. And, and and then we’ll, you know, we’ll just throw a party for them, a colonoscopy gala and to honor them and you know, and they’ll get, there’ll be written up in the, in the magazine and, you know and, and, and there’s a lot of names, at least in the local community of people that recognize and to see like, this is normal and it’s not sitting, nothing to be ashamed of. Let me just ask you a very serious topic, but you can actually have a lot of fun marketing. Yeah.
Brooks: 36:27 Yeah. And it’s, it is pretty fun. I mean, it’s pretty fun to be associated with like a budget problem. There’s so many jokes and Chris likes to go with that. And that a whole, another project that I, that I’m starting to work on that I, you know, can’t talk too much about, but it’s about repositioning colonoscopies away from talking about bodily functions and the more things that we and I, an image that we really, that we universally love and that is an adorable ass. Like not just like how I love my husband’s ass. I, you know, I love men’s asses in general. I love women’s asses. Gay men love asses. I mean we love asses our whole life and it’s, it’s universal. Like I’ll post this is how it is. We just want assets and if we can get people to think about asses when they, like when they think about colonoscopies as you know, something healthy like two people in a smart few people with great assets do as part of their their health, then I think that’d be a way, way better image than what you currently think about.
Derek: 37:44 For sure. I’d say, again, marketing, marketing genius, that’s why it’s why you do what you do. It’s great. I think it’s perfect that you are leading the charge on this topic. Thank you. What are the, what are the numbers? This is really, this is kind of ironic and we have not even spoken about this, but a good friend of mine from a previous job had colon cancer out of the blue, I think he’s 46 something like that. And as he says it, they ripped his asshole out. Right. Had a big procedure and I, he just went through a really, really hard time and I was having some issues in my own with some bleeding and I went in for colonoscopy. So I’ve had one before and my wife, I was like, this joker went in for this. Like it was nothing. Right. And even though like it was know I was, I was a little concerned.
Derek: 38:36 And after seeing him, I guess your body language, actually this at the beginning of the interview I actually saw Taj got really quiet and as energy literally I could feel the shift because I’ve done her, he’s like this like actually I was like man, he’s really like cleanser right now. Yeah, right. Cause it was, it was embarrassing. And I was like, I don’t know. It’s like, do people do this? Right? Because there’s the stigma like Oh yeah, 60 years old and old and crusty and like that’s gross. Right. But I’m like, bill just had a heck of a time with what he went through. I’m not taking any chances. Right. So it was fine. I went through the procedure, I was fine, but it was a day off and my insurance covered it. So anyone listening or watching, I didn’t have to pay. And I don’t know what the numbers are, but for me this was not that surprising of a topic. Yeah. But you might know how many people actually do it under, under 50, under 40.
Brooks: 39:29 I don’t have the colonoscopy numbers. Those, I have not found that, that I know that six I believe 60,000 people die of colon cancer each year. And of those about 3000 are under the age of 40, which is the same number of people under the age of 40 who die of breast cancer each year. But there isn’t a, all I know is that 25% of men and 15% of women have a polyp. A lot is the reason that a lot of people under the age of 40 get called colonoscopies or a nurse, sorry, under the age of 50 is because they are a high have high risk. But only 40% of people who have family history of colon cancer under the age of 50 have gone, gotten a colonoscopy. Which is pretty shocking because it would be covered under with insurance.
Brooks: 40:32 If you have family history, you are covered. If you have serious symptoms, you are also covered like, like your experience. So it’s when you’re trying to kind of get in for a colonoscopy, the best way is have a conversation with your family and find out if, if you have a grandparent that had it or died from it or if you have any change in your bowel habits, but like blood in your stool is like a big one. That’s the most common one. Other ones like anemia is another one. But since they’re so big and that can mean so many other things like IBS or debris circulated or hemorrhoids. Then those [inaudible], those are other things you could find when they’re, when they’re colonoscopy. But more importantly like just is this, just find a polyp and get it taken out.
Derek: 41:20 So Brooks, I can tell that this feels like a significant life purpose for you. And this is, this is your new work. This is work for you right in the, in the sense of this is how you’re applying your energy and your passion and your time. I think it’s a really good place to kind of take pause for this conversation. I’d love to talk with you again if you’re like this hour just flew by. Thank you again for your time Brooks. And I’m sure we’ll be talking more about how we can we can help you on that, on that next. And thank you Todd for sharing your colonoscopy story. Pleasure. I’m inspired. I think I need to go down. You might answer, get in there. I mean, butts are great. You’re not there. All right. Thanks so much Brooks. Thank you both.