Please check out our Sergey Oreshko Interview. Sergey is the founder and creator of My Net Diary, the number one diet and exercise tracker mobile app. Recently, Sergey created a diabetes version of this popular app called Diabetes Tracker, also called My Net Diary D.
This diabetes app is amazing. The app is easy and intuitive to use. Studies also show that tracking your performance can help you achieve better diabetes control. Let’s chat with Sergey to learn more about his app and how it can help you.
Full Disclosure: I purchased the app prior to interviewing Sergey. I received no compensation for this interview and endorsement.
TRANSCRIPT AND INTRODUCTION
DWB: Welcome, everyone. Today, we are excited to have Sergey Oreshko, the founder of MyNetDiary.
MyNetDiary makes mobile apps to help people achieve and maintain their health by tracking their daily diet and exercise habits. MyNetDiary is the number one diet and exercise tracking app in the world.
Recently, the company developed a mobile app specifically tailored to help people manage their diabetes. The app is loaded with special features that allow users to really take control of their health in a way that would be virtually impossible otherwise. I think the listeners are really going to enjoy Sergey and learning more about this great product.
Sergey, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us today. We are pleased to have you on our program.
GUEST: Hi, Erich. Thank you for your interest in MyNetDiary, and for inviting me. I’m looking forward to a great conversation.
DWB: Great, great. Well, first off, Sergey, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself; what you background is, and how you became interested in developing mobile apps for health and fitness.
GUEST: Sure. My background is in software development. I used to be a consultant to Working Bees Enterprise customers. My business partner had a chronic condition requiring food tracking. When he told me that, what he was able to find online or in commercial diet software was not that good, at least by our standards.
Then we started to develop MyNetDiary, and it was way back in 2005. We released our first online diet service in 2007. By that time, the iPhone was out. Of course, we saw a huge potential in using smart phones, and personal devices for calorie counting, food tracking and for dieting.
So we got working on our iPhone version. We released the very first iPhone web app for calorie counting, in January 2008, so it was a while ago. We were one of the first companies to develop a special version of the app for the App Store when it was opened later in 2008. That’s how we got started.
DWB: Great. It’s always surprising that it’s only about five or six years ago; but in the app world, that’s a long time ago.
Before we get to the diabetes app, I would like to ask you about your original product, which is called MyNetDiary. What exactly does MyNetDiary do? How does it help you lose weight if you need to, or maintain your weight, if you’re happy where you currently are?
MY NET DIARY
GUEST: Sure. MyNetDiary first helps you plan your diet. It estimates your calorie needs, how much calories you need to consume daily given your amount of activity, how many calories you need to consume to start losing weight. Then every day, it helps you track your food and exercise to make sure you do meet your target. It’s much more than just a calorie counter, it’s not just about calories. The app provides a way to compare food, we call it food score, helping to compare food, and compare food based on their food labels.
For example, which food would have more vitamins, or other nutrients, and less saturated fat?
It also provides feedback on your eating patterns. If you skip breakfast or don’t consume enough fibre, or exceed your sodium, or cholesterol along with it, it points out problematic foods that contribute most to your imbalance. So it does a lot.
MY NET PRO
DWB: Well, it certainly does. That’s the free version. You also have an advanced version that’s called MyNetDiary Pro, and that costs $3.99. What does the pro version have that the free version doesn’t? In other words, what would be the advantage of going with the pro version?
GUEST: That’s a great question. Our free app provides all the basic things you get in other popular free and paid apps, and more, such as the things that I just mentioned.
The pro version provides even more. It provides not only daily, but also very comprehensive and intelligent weekly analysis; looking at your eating patterns for a longer period. It also provides tips and advice to overcome, say, weight loss. It provides photo food service. If… We have a great food database, but if some food is not in it, you can take photos from the app, and we will add the food to the database. That’s only in the pro app.
GUEST: You can also track food time, so you can keep track of smaller meals, which is important for people with diabetes; also, ability to track more nutrients, up to 45 nutrients; a full set of charts for nutrients, calories, and measurements. It provides recipe editor, carbs in meals, and much more.
What we are really proud of is that we managed to make it really simple and easy to understand. The app is not overloaded. It has great features, but they’re there when you need them.
MY NET DIARY D
DWB: Uh-huh, okay. You know, one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you today was that, your latest mobile app, because we’re trying to help people control the diabetes, and the app is called MyNetDiary D. I bought the app recently and came away quite impressed. What did you decide, or actually, why did you decide to develop an app specifically related to diabetes?
GUEST: It’s very simple. Blood glucose tracking and insulin tracking were the most frequently requested features by our users. Since we use and provide a very comprehensive diet app for both free and pro version, many people with diabetes were using our app to track their food, carbs, and exercise. They were asking specifically about tracking blood glucose and insulin. So we went all the way. We developed both the iPhone app, and also, added the same diabetes tracking functionality to our online subscription service.
GUEST: So it was based on the user demands, through their requests.
DWB: Interesting. What were some of the challenges you faced with trying to develop an app for people with a specific medical condition, like diabetes, versus a more general diet and exercise app?
GUEST: The major challenge was understanding what is the key information important for people with diabetes, and making it intuitive and easy to use, because the app had a lot of features as is, and we were adding even more. We wanted to avoid overloading people with information and present it in a way that is easy to understand and actionable. So people can see patterns in their, say, blood glucose patterns, and take some actions, correct them, and manage their condition better.
DWB: Okay, all right. I may have… We may have touched upon the next question a bit already. You utilize many of the great features from the original MyNetDiary app. Some of the special features you talked about being in the D version were reporting for glucose, our blood sugar levels, insulin, and medications. Are there other things, like special charts, or other features that you didn’t touch upon that are in D app?
GUEST: Sure. As we just discussed, we’ve added blood glucose, insulin, and medication tracking. But it’s not just recording, making a recording. It also… The app also allows to attach multiple labels to each entry, blood glucose, or insulin. So, for example, you can assign not only time such as “before”, I mean, or situations such as “before meal”, or “after meal”, or two hours after meal, but also label some additional information; maybe symptoms, how you feel. So over time, you can see them in reports. They may help you to understand your diabetes better and better.
We also added a special report, overview report consolidating all information based on day periods; so once again, you can see the whole picture about how your blood glucose is affected by food, carbs, exercise, and insulin all in one place.
We’ve also added special charts for measurements to be added for net carbs, and diabetes carb count. We’ve added additional trackers for A1C, blood cholesterol and more, and also support for custom trackers. So these are the major features specific to the diabetes app.
DWB: Well, I would say that I played with the app for a couple of weeks now, and not only was it very easy to use, I would agree with you on that. It was fascinating to see how the data is… It’s not just a data entry tool, but it manipulates the data to give you an idea about how you are doing in controlling you blood sugar, or controlling your diet, etc.
The diabetic D app, I believe, was released last summer. Correct me if I’m wrong. Since you released it, what’s been the feedback from users? Has there been a lot of positive feedback? Have you had to make certain changes?
diabetes tracker chart screen shot
GUEST: Yes, the app was released in July 2012, last year, and we’ve received a lot of feedback from old users of MyNetDiary and new users, and new customers. Overall, the feedback is extremely positive. The app has 4.5 rating on the App Store. This is… Many reviews mentioned that this is the most comprehensive app for tracking diabetes. There are several other diabetes tracking apps, but they were created originally for tracking blood glucose and insulin. Food tracking and carbs tracking was an afterthought. We came from the opposite direction; from really great food tracking. The most… Food tracking is the most time consuming activity in tracking diabetes, just because of the sheer number of records. It’s really important that it’s as easy as it gets. This is where MyNetDiary shines.
So, the feedback was extremely positive. We’ve received many e-mails. You can see many reviews mentioning that it changes the lives for some people. They have their diabetes under control now. They have blood sugar levels down. I think we did that work well. Of course, you have to use it.
DWB: Sure. Now that leads right into my next question with our busy lives, it would seem that doing one more thing, like keeping track of our food, our exercise, our glucose readings, our medications, etc, it would be harder on us, and not make our lives easier. Yet recently, I have read some studies that have shown otherwise.
What do you think it is about keeping track of these things that help people achieve their health goals better?
GUEST: I think it is well worth it. The modern technologies, smart phones, mobile apps, they’ve been around for a few years, but they’ve made progress. Now, it’s never been easier to keep track of the whole picture, the comprehensive picture of your carbon intake foods, exercise, and medications. Really, it takes only a few minutes a day. Depending, I mean, on specifics, maybe five to 10 minutes a day.
DWB: Do you think that by… The old adage used to be that, if you focused on something, you’ll improve it, or you’ll get better. Do you think that’s the case here? That, if people don’t really focus on it every single day, which the app forces you to do in a good way, they’re able to monitor things easier and better, versus people who just try to wing it, and not focus on it?
GUEST: Oh, yes, absolutely. I think there were numerous studies showing that keeping track, I mean, of your blood glucose, and keeping it in health proper range, makes all the difference in lives of people with diabetes at that.
DWB: Last couple of questions. What devices does the app work with? You’ve mentioned the iPhone. Does it work with other devices, like the Android?
GUEST: No. The app is currently available only for the iPhone.
DWB: Okay. If someone didn’t want to have the mobile app, and wanted to use the app on a home computer, is that possible?
GUEST: As I’ve mentioned, we provide not only mobile apps, but also an online service. Diabetes tracking on the website is equally comprehensive; the same as in the mobile app. It provides all the features like food, blood glucose, insulin, multiple labels, report charts, and it provides many other features. It’s a part… It’s offered as a part of our premium subscription service which costs starting at $5.00 a month.
DWB: Okay. What… If somebody wanted to get besides… Are there other places besides the iPhone store or the iPhone app where they could, where they could get the app, or the online subscription service?
GUEST: Sure. For the iPhone, the only way to get download apps is the Apple App Store. You can do a search for MyNetDiary, and select the app MyNetDiary Diabetes Tracker, with the little “d” on the corner. You can also go to our website. It’s www.mynetdiary.com. It provides all the information and links. If you’re interested in online tracking, you can also create an account online as well.
DWB: Well, Sergey, I want to thank you very much, again, for speaking with us about MyNetDiary. I can say, from my personal experience, that the app has been very engaging and easy to use. Certainly we wish you a good luck with MyNetDiary, and your future endeavors.
GUEST: Thank you, Erich. I hope this was interesting and useful. From what we see, diabetes could be managed well. We do hope that people with this condition would be able to improve their life and their health using modern technologies, including smart phones and mobile apps.