A life course-changing event in real time

This is the most important professional update I have shared until now, and probably the most important that I will ever share. I don’t believe this is an exaggeration.

I was reflecting on this today, and when we think about it, there are in reality very few significantly course-changing events in a lifetime: events that forever change the direction of your life. These are events like leaving home to go to university, doing a long trip to far off places in distant countries, getting married, becoming a parent, moving with your partner and child from your home country to another, completing a PhD, getting a permanent position in yet another country and settling there.

It is also interesting that most of the time it is only in retrospect that it becomes clear that a particular event was, for us, course-changing. We always know that they are important events as they are happening, but usually lack the perspective to appreciate how important or impactful they will grow to become in the overall course of our life. It is therefore rare to have this perspective when one of these life course-changing event happens. This is such a moment.

For me, Kalibra is the seamless merging together of 30 years of study and research in the realm of the quantitative—maths and physics, statistics and probability, modelling and inference, data analysis and interpretation—with 15 years of exploration into the intricacies of the underlying processes that govern the needs and functions of the whole human being—to nourish, move, and rest; to interact, reflect, and grow—bringing to life an entirely personalised guided health journey that feels like a one-on-one conversation and can be scaled to millions of people.

20 years ago, in the fall of 2002, we left our home country of Canada, my wife and our 4-year old son, to move to France where, having completed a BSc in physics at McGill, and then an MSc in particle physics at Carleton, I was going to do a PhD in high energy astrophysics in Paris at the CEA. And 20 years ago, I started to work with the data from the mission INTEGRAL, the International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory, that had just been launched on 17 October 2002.

I had absolutely no idea that I would be, 20 years later, celebrating two decades of high energy astronomy with INTEGRAL at a conference I would have organised with a handful of colleagues. A conference which took place in Germany two weeks ago. I had absolutely no idea that after my PhD, I would get a position working at the European Space Agency where I would work for the following 16 years to this day, and would therefore end up devoting 20 whole years of my professional life to this mission as a member of the INTEGRAL Science Operations Centre.

15 years ago I was doing an internet search for information on cholesterol and stumbled upon two articles that completely changed my life: Insulin and Its Metabolic Effects by Ron Rosedale, MD (you can get the pdf here), and The Skinny on Fats by Mary Enig, PhD (get pdf here). This set me on a course of research and discovery in matters of health that proved to be one of my greatest passions. And 11 years ago, at the end of 2011, I started writing on healthfully.net through which I learned so much, and was immensely fortunate to meet, get to know, and gain the trust of many people whom I was able to guide, sometimes very closely, on their health journeys, first of recovery, and then of optimisation, often over periods of several years.

How incredibly rewarding this has been. But how in the world could this sort of caring and personalised guidance be offered and provided to more people? Not dozens, not even hundreds, but thousands and tens of thousands of people, with the personalisation that each one would need?

3 years ago, my cousin Boyana, (the daughter of my mother’s brother), reached out to tell me that her cousin (the son of my aunt’s sister) was retiring from the world of Finance and wanted to do something health tech related. You guys should talk! she said. Ivan called, we talked for a long time, and in that conversation the idea of what would one day be called Kalibra was born.

The first year was mostly just him and I. Two years ago the company was created and began a frantic pace of development that has never relented to this day, with lots of ups and downs, people coming and going, and thousands of hours of intense work, at first by a few, and eventually by a dozen people spread across the globe from Australia to Seattle, through Malaysia and Singapore, to England, Switzerland, Poland and Spain. Today, we are inches away from our first public release.

I am incredibly proud of what we have managed to achieve. And I know it sounds funny because we are in many way just about to start the journey! But you have to think of it as analogous to building a ship before being able to set sail. We are about to finish building the ship, and are getting ready to put it on the water.

I will take great pleasure in writing a series of posts to share the details of this journey that has been these last 3 years between the initial inception and the first release. But for the moment, you can get a good idea about Kalibra by visiting our web page kalibra.ai

One week ago, I turned 50. And it is the first time in my life that I can say with assurance of an event—the event we are about create with the first public release of Kalibra—that it is without a doubt going to be a life course-changing event that will be experienced and witness as such in real time.