MY WEEK WITH: GO CUBES
Welcome to a new content feature on The Next Level. In addition to the TNL Brand Tracker and deeper analysis of Brands in eSports, I’m going to do a week long experiment with a different product and see how it could really work within the space. This is NOT a paid endorsement or sponsored by any of the companies.
Life is a paradox. A mirror of confusion. Case in point, I live in Brooklyn and I hate coffee.
People live for coffee here — literally. It’s a legal requirement. Brooklyn has coffee that costs $10 a cup. We have coffeeshops in barbershops because who can be bothered to go two places in the rush to get home to binge watch Netflix.
I hate coffee. I hate the taste. I hate what it does to my digestive track. I hate that people pay $10 for 1 cup of coffee that gets you 2 pints and 2 shots at a dive bar (without tipping of course — don’t forget your bartenders kids). I’m of Indian descent and you will be physically held against your will if you leave someone’s house without having coffee. My family even has a coffee plantation.
I hate coffee.
Tea never really did that much from me either so the only occasional caffeine jolt I got was from soda. Not only am I Indian; my dad is a dentist. Halloween was a blast. The first time I saw my young American friends having soda at dinner it was like they were allowed to drink whiskey. I basically did all-nighters in college with barely a can of Coke. Kids these days also use a different form of coke (Bolivia not Atlanta) and basically legal speed to knock out a few papers till the sun comes up.
Then in 1997 in my younger days, I was DJ'ng in Hamburg and was introduced to my ambrosia:
My mind was blown.
I loved the taste. It was carbonated and cold. But the buzz. Oh the buzz. I had never felt a buzz like that before. It was sealed. It became my Caffeine Delivery Device Du Jour. Wait, you can mix it with vodka? Red Bull and Vodka was my drink for my entire 20’s. How much have I spent on Red Bull in 20 years? We’ll get to that later.
Dosage: 2 (2 Total)
8:00 AM OK. Definitely feel the caffeine buzz and a bit more focused — is that the “nootropics”? Maybe too early to tell but off to a good start.
Dosage: 2 + 1 (3 Total)
8:00 AM I start off with same dosage as Day 1 and definitely feel an increase in energy and focus.
3:00 PM I double down and take 1 more just for kicks.
I kick out 50 emails in 5 minutes. I love this stuff.
Dosage: 2 (2 Total)
3:00 PM I decide I’m going to take today off to get baseline for a 0 dosage day.
I meet a buddy of mine for ramen as Brooklyn law requires 1 ramen meal consumed per week per household. I bring a GoCube pack along as a gift and coincidentally he had been working in “food tech” for the past year. Between food delivery services, on demand services, niche based, products, legal and health issues — we barely scratched the surface on the space. He eats 1 cube after our meal. I’m feeling a bit tired after my Miso and Pork Bone broth and decide to break the baseline rule and take 2. My friend’s reaction:
3:30 Holy God. Completely different reaction. It’s like I took an Ambien. The bus is running late, I grab an Uber and make it home in time to pass out.
Dosage: 1 + 1 (2 Total)
9:00 AM Based on yesterday’s reaction, I decided to start with 1.
3:00 PM 1 seems to be a bit more optimal for me than 2. 6 hours later and still going pretty strong. At times, a bit too strong. My reactions have not been consistent.
6:30 PM Still going strong. Decide to take another one.
8:00 PM Starting to feel the drop but after a good solid 8 hours.
8:30 PM Feeling 2nd kick in.
8:45PM How. I. Feel. Right. Now.
12:45 AM I can easily keep working.
1:30 AM Getting tired now.
4:00 AM Still up. I could probably still work but going to try and sleep.
7:00 AM I can’t sleep. I make my son breakfast, do some reading, and take him to school.
9:00 AM I push all my meetings. I finally fall asleep after being up for 24 hours.
Dosage: 0 (0 Total)
After yesterday’s craziness, I decide to take a day off. I’m obviously extremely tired throughout the day. Is this worth it for yesterday’s work volume?
Dosage: 1 + 1 + 1 (3 Total)
11:00 AM After taking yesterday off, start off the day with 1.
11:30 AM What I’m understanding that it’s not so much the normal caffeine “kick” but more “ultra focus”.
I’m watching my son’s soccer game but completing tasks at the same time: I take photos. Tweet. Check Instagram. Send email. Set haircut reminder. Talk to my son’s German soccer coach about their destruction of my beloved Brazilian’s in the World Cup. WhatsApp my Mom in India. All at the same time.
The closest comparison: ADHD medication. Maybe this is the “nootropics” affect — I have no idea. Dehydration is another factor as I’m constantly thirsty. I’m finally getting my required 8 glassed of water a day. Is that a good side effect?
12:30 PM Strange, effect almost gone. Crashing.
1:15 PM Feel up again.
2:00 PM Normal. Much, much shorter duration than yesterday at about 2 hours+.
7:30 PM Feeling tired after running errands all day and have some work to do and decide to take second even with Day 2 & 3’s craziness based on today’s shortened duration earlier.
8:00 PM Train right on schedule — 30 mins seems to be my optimal wait time. I put on some house music while cleaning the house, make the beds, empty the dishwasher, do dirty dishes, fill up dishwasher and crank through work. Before and After example of the house:
9:15 PM Slowing down.
9:30 PM Based on today’s duration period and the fact that I’m productive, I decide to take my third.
10:00 PM Back up on schedule.
11:00 PM Sill going well. Getting better at timing between doses.
12:00 AM Starting to crash. Based on today, 1 dose is equivalent to ~2 hours of good production. I think about taking #4, but hold off to to see how I feel tomorrow.
1:30 AM Although I crashed, I was able to do another hour of work.
3:00 AM Stupid idea to take #3. I’m exhausted but after Melatonin, Nighttime Tea, and enough acoustic versions of Radiohead, Elliot Smith, The Smiths, The XX and The Velvet Underground for a road trip mix to Bonnaroo , I force myself to go to bed.
It’s that my mind continues to run — new thoughts, ideas, work, people I should contact, read 1 of the 39 tabs I have open, and finish my 4th Spotify mix I’m working on together.
4:15 AM I get out of bed to write this. The thoughts won’t stop. I’m literally adding to a mental To Do List that will not stop. I’m writing chapters in my head. It’s not crazy thoughts — I just don’t need to do cerebellum spreadsheets on the reality of Hyperloop at this time. This is my mind right now:
Also realize that I have always been more productive in the later hours. At Zynga, my best time was from 6pm — 12am. The late night dosage may have this effect on me.
Dosage: 1 (1 Total)
10:00 AM I’ve barely slept 4 hours and I’m already awake. I feel awful but I try to make my son’s soccer game but can’t get out of bed.
I bleakly ask Siri what I have to do today and she responds: “6pm. Dad Shift. Clue Board Game and Minecraft. Location: Living Room”. Somehow luckily I have most of the day off. I do random stuff for a few hours and go crash at 1pm.
5:00 PM Even after the nap, I still feel like hell after my 2nd all nighter and strange sleep schedule over the course of the week. It’s my last day and my last GoCube so I pop it in and get ready to take a shower.
5:30 PM I should normally be more focused and alert now but I barely feel anything.
6:15 PM Still nothing. The only thing buzzing is that I’m pretty certain it was Colonel Mustard with the Lead Pipe in the Billiard Room (only those 35+ should get that reference). Here’s how I feel:
6:30PM I play #YouTubeBabysitter and let my son watch 1 hour of Minecraft videos while I go rest again.
10:00PM As I’ve missed the day and want to get some work done — and get rid of the To Do List piled up in my head — I decide to test myself and drink a Sugar Free Red Bull.
10:30PM That normal, familiar, warm rush. I have wings again. I get the energy — but not the focus that I’m looking for.
12:30AM I get done what I needed and start feeling tired right on time.
WHAT DID I LEARN?
As Precise As Burning Man
I’ve never heard anyone say “My Starbucks coffee seems less caffeinated than Thursday but more so than Monday”.
Everyone’s DNA is different. Some medications are effective for some but fail for others. Some medications may work but cause increased harm in others.
It's a chemical crap shoot.
This is directly from the Nootrobox website, the parent company for GoCubes:
“Nootropics describe a broad classification of compounds with cognitive enhancing properties, with minimal side-effects, which are appropriate for long-term use.”
It’s Not Chewable Coffee. It’s An Adderall-Lite Gummy Bear
Isaac Newton figured this out in the 17th Century and no one has doubted him since then…
What Goes Up, Must Come Down
Go Cubes gives the promise of no “crash”. But even taking out the anomaly of Day 3, I did feel a relative normal caffeine crash.
The Potential Bigger Market
A quick side by side cost and dosage comparison of Red Bull and GoCubes:
So how much have I spent on Red Bull since that fateful day many, many moons ago?
You could probably double that number if you included all the RBV’s.
I would be shocked if Red Bull or other energy drink companies don’t enter this space.
And what brand category has been dominant in eSports for the past decade?
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