If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

November 1, 2021: This month, a new version of Insight Timer will appear in the app stores. Internally we’ve been calling it Butterfly and the inference is intended; Insight Timer is transforming and will emerge better and brighter.

The Idea

Imagine a platform which could amplify something as simple as your attendance into deep transformational shifts for humanity. A place where showing up was enough. Where each visit combined with millions more butterfly wings to trigger huge waves of health and happiness around the globe. What would such a platform look like? Could you even build it? And more importantly, how would you protect it from becoming another Instagram or Facebook who magnify the very worst of us just to make more money.

If we can answer these questions I believe Insight Timer’s community will emerge in the next few years as one of the few pieces of infrastructure actually capable of reversing the modern day health pandemic. A place — not a product — which nurtures and harmonises the human spirit before problems arise. A place that combines every day wellbeing with lifelong transformational shifts, rather than simply monetising mental health symptoms with placebos and subscriptions.

And if we get there… well the opportunities are endless. Imagine a modern-day renaissance where health, belonging and purpose become the new definitions of happiness for hundreds of millions of people around the world, including you.

And all you need to do… is show up.

New Insight Timer

Four things we believe

If you just want to see the new app, skip past this section by scrolling to the cartoon of a caterpillar 🙂

We’ve learned a lot about people over the last ten years. While others having been chasing press and profit, we’ve been looking for patterns. We now understand perhaps better than anyone the myriad of connections between emotions, belief systems and health. When we made the decision in 2016 to allow spiritual and religious content on our platform people said it was a bad idea. But it turned out to the best decision we ever made; because how can you possibly hope to help people transform if you can’t meet them at their level of understanding? Today we oversee a long arc of belief systems from scientific & evidence-based practices to religious & faith based teachings plus every colour in between. It’s a beautiful thing. More importantly, it helps us understand health and happiness like no one else can.

I’ll talk more about these things in our 2021 Year in Review (out at Christmas) and I’ll share some insights about the tools we’re developing. For now here are four pillars which form the basis of our product decisions.

1. Spiritual wellbeing, not mental health

Australian National University defines Spiritual Health as

”not referring to any particular religious or spiritual practice or ideology but to the human need for meaning, purpose and connection to something greater than ourselves. It is a very diverse and often individualised aspect to health, giving context and meaning to all other parts of ourselves and our life experiences.”

In other words, sanitised mindfulness apps and packaged mental health EAPS which fail to acknowledge a universal truth — that we are spiritual beings with different belief systems — won’t work. (It’s taken longer than I thought it would, but I believe people will soon start to notice that some of these emperors aren’t wearing any clothes). To create happier and healthier people takes a holistic and preventative approach, combining tools for everyday wellbeing, space for long-term transformational experiences, and the ability to meet people at their level of understanding with highly personalised content and community support.

2. It’s a lifelong journey and unique to you

Joseph Campbell wrote that health and happiness is achieved through deep transformational journeys over the course of a lifetime. Most companies today offer only very basic relief for immediate symptoms and simply aren’t equiped to help you over the long term. We believe both situations are essential for Spiritual Wellbeing and you will hear us talk a lot more about Everyday Wellbeing and Transformational Shifts. In fact we have organised our entire team around these two things and we’re betting our future on them.

However these two things on their own aren’t enough. No two individuals are the same; an African American Christian has a different belief system to an atheist living in Paris. One hundred million anonymised search terms on Insight Timer confirm this.

Our growing library of 115,000 free teachings, combined with a new supportive social layer and machine learning engine, means we are now able to offer everyone a highly personalised experience for their Everyday Wellbeing and Transformational Shifts.

3. Community is essential

D’Arcy Coolica from Andreessen Horowitz thinks the best version of any product is intrinsically social and that a product’s growth and engagement improves the more social it becomes. Why is this? Why do products which are built around community always become more successful in the long run if they’re so so SO much harder to build? Three years of Anthropology at Sydney Uni makes this an easy one… people are simply better off together. We learn faster. Live longer. Accomplish more. And feel safer. Yes we need moments of quiet solitude — lots of them in fact — but the journey to health and happiness is impossible without others.

4. Social doesn’t have to be toxic.

There are three problems with social platforms today.

  • Firstly, their founders have become so rich no one is willing to stand up to them. If only more people would listen to Scott Galloway. I love him.
  • Secondly, social platforms run on ads and ads rely on your attention and attention is increased with negative content and on and on it goes. Even though we all understand this now, and our daughters are dying of suicide more frequently, well… see Point 1. (I wish Steve Jobs was alive today. Yes yes, I’ve read all the stories and you can say what you like, but he’s the only person I can think of who would have held Facebook accountable. Steve magically miniaturised everything down into our pocket before Zuckerberg magnified everything back out again by turning iPhones into megaphones. Screen time isn’t the problem. Facebook is.)
  • Finally, social platforms are expression engines. Why is this a problem? Anthropology also taught me that the mere act of observing something changes the very nature of the thing being observed. Ergo, no one is really who they say they are on social media, no matter how much they think they are. And how on earth is someone meant to complete a deep transformational shift (let alone help someone else) if they’re not who they think they are?

Insight Timer loses $8m a year and we detest ads. So that takes care of one and two. And we now think we know how to fix the third one with a new type of ‘supportive social’ layer that doesn’t become toxic with time. More on this later.

A new Home screen

Insight Timer’s new Home screen is organised around Everyday Wellbeing. Free from the clutter of the current home screen which has become busy and bloated, the new design splits the home screen into three main sections; Stories, Calendar, and Made For You.

The new Home screen is split into Stories, Calendar and Made For You

Stories – queue the gasps : )

Of all the features we’ve been testing for the last nine months, Stories are the most popular. Even though they look identical to Instagram, they function very differently because you can’t manually publish a story on Insight Timer. Ever. This means no needy people. No Influencers. No ads. No promotions. Insight Timer stories only ever appear on your home screen when one of three things happen:

  • one of your teacher uploads a new track
  • one of your teachers hosts a live event
  • one of your friends has listened to a guided meditation

We see a new kind of social experience where people’s expression of themselves is passive, and generated through quiet moments of contemplation such as meditating or listening to a piece of music. I now connect in a much deeper way with my friends on the app even though we haven’t exchanged a single word or ‘posted’ anything. We call it “Social Silence” and you’ll be hearing a lot more about it from us.

Over time we may add more Stories for things like Topics and Workplace

And thanks to social silence I’ve discovered hundreds of amazing meditations and music via Stories over the last few months that I would have never found, simply because I have friends and Teachers on Insight Timer. Insight Timer’s social layer has replaced toxic noise from other social networks with a brand new experience; I feel better after spending time on the internet.

I hope you enjoy our Stories as much as I do. And if you don’t, simply disable them.

Your Calendar

To simplify the home screen even more we added a Calendar. Now when you open the app we display things we think you might be looking for at that particular moment. So if you meditate with the Timer at 8am every day the Preset will magically appear in the morning. Attending a live event or Workshop later in the day? It’s right there in front of you. And when we can’t find things we think you want, we display your Recently Played tracks.

The Calendar gives you instant access to things you need right now

The Calendar also includes a new design for Daily Check In with additional charts and content recommendations based on how you feel. It’s a vast improvement on the first version.

Live Events have been moved to tab 2

Made for You

This new feature sits below the scroll on the home screen. Just like Stories, it also offers a whole new world of discovery, but rather than being a social entry point, Made For You predicts things you might want, using a new machine learning engine that we’ve spent the last twelve months building. It’s highly personalised and no two feeds are the same. Every day I’m amazed at the interesting selection of music and talks that are presented to me, and the team tells me it will only get better with time. Early next year it will also include Live Events, Courses and Workshops —but only if they’re likely to be of interest to you of course.

Below is a screenshot of my Made For You feed on the day I wrote this. It was different the day before, different the day after, and different every day since. That’s one of the pleasures of Insight Timer now — our library of 115,000 free tracks has become so large there’s no limit to the number of personalised journeys we can offer each and every one of you.

A new Learn tab, and new Insight Timer store

Our second tab is now called Learn and it is where we will begin to focus on Transformational Shifts. I’m beyond excited about the possibilities this tab creates for our community and Teachers. Imagine thousands of workshops, courses, retreats and summits designed to help you undertake deep transformational shifts with the teachers you love.

And because there are millions of people on Insight Timer every week already focused on Everyday Wellbeing, it means we don’t have to harass you with spammy email campaigns. If we think you might like something, it will quietly appear in your Made For You feed or as a Story.

We now have 12,000 Teachers and yoga instructors, and the number grows every day. I’ve spoken often and openly about our intentions to help our Teachers build sustainable businesses on Insight Timer, and so I’m happy to announce today that Teachers will receive at least 80% of all Workshop income they earn on Insight Timer.

Live Events

We’re moving the Live Events section to the Learn tab, which seemed like an appropriate place because many Teachers use Live Events to talk about their Workshops. So if you like specific Teachers make sure you follow them or you won’t see their Live Events on your home screen. (After launch we will only display Stories from Teachers you follow. It’s quieter and less intrusive).

Did You Know. When we launched Insight Live a year ago we hosted eight live events in our first week. Today we now host more than one thousand live sessions every week. Below is what the schedule looked like during the last week of October. Crazy!

We host 1,000+ live sessions every week

A new Discover tab

Most of what is currently on the Home Screen is being moved to the new Discover tab in position three. This is where you’ll the find the Timer as well as the largest ad-free library of guided meditations and music tracks on earth. (The Timer also appears in your Calendar if you use it frequently, and also on tab 5, but more on that later).

The largest ad-free library of guided meditations on earth

New Topic screens

We’ve redesigned all 350 topic screens to incorporate workshops, live events, groups and other relevant content.

We’ve redesigned all 350 topic screens

A New Connect Tab

Many people are surprised to learn there are 12,000 Groups and Circles on Insight Timer covering all manner of topics. Over the last few weeks we’ve been slowly bringing these two products—group and circles — together. When the new app is launched tab Four will finally complete this process. The name Circles is being retired and we’re going to call everything Groups. We’re also adding better browse tools and making it much easier to discover things that you’re interested in.

Community is an essential ingredient for Everyday Wellbeing and Transformational Shifts. We recently appointed a new Trust & Safety manager who has been working closely with our Product and Support teams to build better guidelines and processes. I’m excited to watch our thousands of communities flourish in the coming years.

A new home for 12,000 Circles and Groups

Browse by location, topic and friend

A new You.

The Profile tab is staying where it’s always been, and we’ve consolidated everything about you into a single spot. Stats, Milestones, Presets, Bookmarks, Playlists, Live Events, Workshops, Courses, Friends, Teachers, Settings… it’s all there.

We’ve also added better Privacy tools and a new Public Profile screen. We’ll continue making further enhancements in future releases.

A new design for the Profile

Insight Timer for Work

I’m really excited about our new Work offering. It’s packed full of content from the world’s best universities. It includes hundreds of meditations and talks for different stages throughout your workday. Plus we’ve included deep learning experiences so you can skill up for specific situations at work. And… all. of. it. is. free.

Join 6,000 companies already on Insight Timer at Work

Best of all, you don’t need to wait for your line manager or human resources manager to get started. After launch, just click the briefcase icon on the top left hand corner of the home screen, enter your company email address, and you’re done.

Six thousand companies have already activated workplaces on Insight Timer.


As with every significant update, some in our community will be frustrated with the changes. This is to be expected. Others will ask why fix something that ain’t broke. And a small number will claim Insight Timer has sold out 🙂 These reactions happen every time and we’ve come to understand they’re not necessarily a bad thing. Usually they’re just reactions to people being upset that we’ve rearranged the furniture in their private and intimate space. I understand.

Finally, I’ve been asked recently why I don’t communicate as much as I used to. Covid was challenging for everyone; our team expanded from 30 to 160 people via Zoom and we now have teams in 12 countries. I dealt with some personal changes too before relocating my home from Indonesia to France. But I’m back and excited to take the next seven years with you all. Goodness, has it been seven years already…

With much gratitude, and perhaps a few nerves…

Meditation. Free.