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Interview with Tidepool Community Manager Christopher Snider

Tidepool Logo

I recently reached out to Tidepool Community Manager, Christopher Snider, and asked a few questions about who Tidepool is and what is on the horizon. Check out the answers below.

1. In a Twitter 140, well now 280, way, tell us who Tidepool is.

(I’ll stick to 140) Tidepool is a nonprofit company focused on delivering great, free software that integrates data from various devices into a single location.

2. Now give us a little more in depth in to what Tidepool is.

2a. When did it start?

Tidepool started in 2013. Next spring will be our 5-year anniversary after receiving articles of incorporation as “Green Dot Diabetes”

2b. Why was it created?

In 2011, Howard Look’s daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Soon after his daughter’s diagnosis, he learned that despite the incredible technology that was available to help manage his daughter’s diabetes, getting the information off of those devices to help understand the data behind the diabetes was incredibly frustrating. Software, where available, had various compatibility issues with different operating systems, user experience was not friendly to people with diabetes or their families, and there was no way to see all of the data in one place. Being a software geek, Howard sought to create the solution he felt the diabetes community deserved.

That solution is Tidepool.

2c. How?

Howard’s experience in software development at Pixar, Amazon, and TiVo were a great foundation for understanding what had to happen. Then it was just a matter of building an initial team of advisors, assembling a Board of Directors, securing financial support through donations and grants from groups like JDRF, the Helmsley Charitable Trust, and private donors.

2d. Who created it?

Founders of GreenDot Diabetes in 2012 were: Saleh Adi, Steve McCanne, Jenise Wong and Aaron Neinstein. Howard joined in March 2013. Then, Howard hired the initial team (Sarah, Ian, Ben, Kent, Brandon, Jamie, Jana, Nico) over the course of the rest of 2013. You can see the current team, advisors, and Board of Directors at

2e. Who is Tidepool for?

Tidepool is for anyone interested in seeing diabetes data in a new light. Specifically, Tidepool is free for people living with diabetes and their caregivers to see and learn from their CGM, insulin pump, and meter data. Diabetes clinicians, including endocrinologists, nurse practitioners, CDEs, family physicians, and anyone else who helps their patients manage their diabetes. Separately, we provide data management services to researchers looking to conduct a clinical study that requires data from diabetes devices. Lastly, we are making data that has been anonymously donated by our users to the Tidepool Big Data Donation Project available to groups looking to perform analysis and innovation on a large scale.

3. Can you explain what the Tidepool Big Data Donation Project is?

The Tidepool Big Data Donation Project is an initiative to propel diabetes research and innovation. Tidepool users are offered the opportunity to opt-in to participate, and in doing so, the data they upload is de-identified and placed in a big data “bucket” that we are able to license to interested parties. When you think about the amount of information coming out of a CGM or insulin pump every 5 minutes, then multiply that by, in some cases, years of continuous data. There’s a lot of potential for some really smart people to use that data to answer big questions and iterate upon innovation and opportunity in digital health, pharmaceutical, and academic settings.

We just launched this project a few months ago, so it’s still too early to say what will come of all this data. But transparency is at the core of what we do as an open source project and as new groups sign up to license data sets, we will keep the Tidepool and broader diabetes community informed.

We recently published the first blog post in an ongoing series that will look at insights we can learn from the donated data. The first one looks at CGM data:

4. How can people sign up?

Anyone looking to start using Tidepool can go to to create their free account. Follow the registration instructions, download the Tidepool Uploader (see a list of devices compatible with Tidepool at and you’re on your way to setting your diabetes data free!



5. What’s next for Tidepool?

The funny thing about this question is all of our work is open to the public. Our code is open source , our Design and In Progress Trello Boards detail what we’re working on, but if you’d like to skip to the good parts, in the next 6 months we’ll be working on (in no particular order):

  • Adding support for the FreeStyle Libre
  • Adding support for Medtronic 6-series pumps
  • Updating our Android app
  • Working with Dexcom’s Developer APIs
  • Adding support for more blood glucose meters
  • And a bunch of behind the scenes improvements that hardcore Tidepool users will most certainly appreciate.

While this is all happening, we’re also participating in the FDA’s Digital Health Software Pre-certification Pilot program to help create guidance for future digital health applications. Considering the other names on the FDA’s list of participating organizations, it’s quite exciting.

We’ll be sharing everything we learn with the diabetes community along the way (more about that here:

6. What excites Tidepool in regards to diabetes tech?

Tidepool was born out of the #WeAreNotWaiting movement. Rather than wait for someone else to develop a software solution to integrate diabetes data in an intuitive interface at no cost to the diabetes community, we are leading the charge. Similarly, we’re humbled by the work being done by the Nightscout, OpenAPS, and Loop communities, and can’t wait to see Bigfoot in the wild.

Seeing the JDRF announce their support for open protocols for automated insulin delivery further cements the tremendous impact that’s being done by some highly motivated members of the diabetes community to move this technology and the entire diabetes industry to a new level of potential.

7. Where can people find Tidepool on the interwebs? is the first place to go for more information and sign up for a free account. We’re quite active across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if you’d like to give us a follow.

8. Want to share anything else?

Everything we do is in service of the diabetes community. Most of the Tidepool team is either living with, or caring for someone with type 1 diabetes. As far as the DOC is concerned, your fight is our fight.

If you ever have questions or comments, get in touch!

Send us a Tweet, comment, or email. We want to hear from everyone.

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ROI of Social Good in the Diabetes Industry

diabetesbluecircleThe other night during DSMA, there was a question posed that had to do with social good and the big players in the diabetes industry understanding the positives of social good.  I mentioned to Bennet  that the shift has began for companies to see the ROI of social good.  But what is the ROI?

This is something that I have written about before in a couple of my other blogs that I write, but I thought it was a good fit to write about here.

The ROI of social media in general has always been difficult to calculate, especially when it’s not defined at the very beginning what the goal is. Typically, the C-Suiters need to see numbers like this. I spent $10, we made $20 from that $10, that means we made a profit.  How can you tell exactly how much money you made by somebody building trust and a relationship with your company?  Trust me, I own a business, it’s difficult to see that connection.  However, a lot of businesses are able to see that connection, at least are starting to. Read More

5th Annual Swing 4 Diabetes

swing-4-diabetesYou may recall my interview with Kendall Simmons from a couple of months ago.  In this interview he spoke about the Swing 4 Diabetes golf tournament.  The golf tournament is a large fundraiser for the needs of those living with diabetes.  The money from this year’s event will benefit the Diabetes and Nutrition Center of East Alabama Medical Center.

For more information please visit –

I am not able to attend this outing, but I love golf and I love helping those with diabetes and I know you all do. If you’re in the area, please contact them to find out what you can do to help. Volunteers are always needed for events like this.

Book Review – Kids First Diabetes Second

When I received an excerpt copy of Kids First, Diabetes Second, the very first thing that stood out to me was the cover. The cover includes art from Karen Graffeo that she created as part of Diabetes Art Day in 2011. This cover will grab your attention right away.

The book is broken down into very simple, easy to read chapters.

The first chapter introduces you to who Leighann is and gives a detailed description of Q’s diagnosis day. For those that have gone through a diagnosis, either your own or a family member or child, then you probably experienced many of the same feelings and emotions that are described in this book. I couldn’t help but think about some of the same thoughts and reactions to situations described in the book that I had felt on the day I was diagnosed almost 10 years ago. Read More

Community of Diabetes

Community.  What does it mean to you?  If you all haven’t seen the video yet that has been quickly making it’s way around the intrawebs, then here’s a link to it, along with the full video at the end of the post.  The video explains itself, but let me give a quick explanation.  Somebody in the diabetes community had an issue with something.  Doing what any real community would do, people stepped up.  Would you expect anything different from somebody that created the You Can Do This Project?  Or awesome video editing from a person that puts her dedication to the diabetes community into the videos that she helps product? Read More

Diabetes in Dunkin Donuts

About two years ago, I went into one of the Dunkin Donuts by my house and had a diabetes experience that sticks with me today.  *Side note, I say “one of” the Dunkin Donuts because in south Florida you cannot trip and fall without landing in a DD.  Anyway, when I went in there, my pump beeped so I pulled it out to hit the ACT button to get it to stop beeping.  The cashier said, “is that an insulin pump?”  I said, “sure is”.  We began to have a short conversation while I was waiting for my bagel.  Basically she told me that she was recently diagnosed with type 2 and that her doctor wants to put her on insulin, but she doesn’t want to give herself shots because she was too afraid.  I told her that she can’t be afraid and just have to conquer her fears to save her life.

I need more coffee
I need more coffee

Fast forward to today.  I have gone to that DD 100 times in the years since that occurrence happened, and I don’t think she remembered me.  Until we had another diabetes experience this morning.  I started to take my insulin while I was in line, trying to do that 15 minutes before meal time stuff.  Unfortunately, I got the annoying beep, not the ‘doot-do-doo’ beep that goes off when you have a low reservoir, but the loud, obnoxious no delivery beep.  So, I pulled the pump out to get the beeping to stop, and she noticed it again!  What are the chances of that?!?

Long story short, she has lost 20 pounds and doctor took her off insulin and she is now on a once a day pill and strict diet.  She quit smoking and hasn’t eaten fast food in over a year.  You don’t always get a lot of time to talk to cashiers at DD in the morning time, but when I do get a chance, this is what I love to hear.  Wish I could say the same to her, except I was ordering a large iced coffee, sausage and cheese english muffin, hash browns, and of course the Cupid Special heart shaped donut for Amanda.  At least I know she’s not part of the diabetes police.

Well, have a great Valentine’s Day.  Help boost the economy today!

Friends for Life 2012

This is going to be my second Friends for Life conference.  But, it is going to feel like the first.  The reason is because the first Friends for Life that I attended was about three years ago, but I had gone as a vendor.  I was able to attend a lot of different sessions and interact with a lot of other PWD’s anyway.  I was blown away by how amazing this event truly is.  So, now that I am going this year not as a vendor, but just someone with diabetes, I can’t wait.  I am also bringing my girlfriend Amanda.  This is going to be the first time that she is traveling with me for a diabetes related event.  She has gone to local JDRF walks and events, but never travelled to anything with this many people.  I am excited for her to meet all the wonderful people that I know and speak to, but also want her to talk to some of the spouses of PWD’s.

When I first heard about Children with Diabetes and Friends for Life I thought that it was a gathering for younger kids and more like a summer camp for kids.  After I attended and saw how many older people there were and how much interaction there was, it was amazing.  It’s also great to be there and try and talk to the young ones and let them know that they can’t be discouraged because they have diabetes, because they can still do things that they want to do.

So, this is me telling you, that you should attend Friends for Life.  I will mention one small negative about the event, is that it is during the July 4th holiday.  I typically do picnics and beach on July 4th, but this year I am going to celebrate it in Disney and see how that goes.  However, the first opening keynote is not until the morning of July 5th, so you can still be there for all of the sessions and be home for July 4th if that is a concern.

Please follow the links and get registered today! Children with Diabetes – Friends for Life 2012

Have a happy Blue Friday.





Dear Jay Cutler – Letter to Jay

Some of you have seen lately that I have been tweeting about Jay Cutler and my dream and goal of interviewing him.  So here is an open letter to Mr. Jay Cutler himself.

Dear Jay Cutler,

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.  It is not very often that somebody considers somebody else close to their own age a role model.  I can honestly say that I am one of those people.  I am truly inspired everyday by your actions of being an NFL quarterback with type 1 diabetes.  Why is this so inspirational to me?  Here’s a little background.

I played QB my entire life.  Had scholarship opportunities to Rutgers before a serious knee injury and ended up playing D-3 ball for a year.  During that year, towards the end of the season, I had began to feel extremely tired and drained of all energy.  I was also drinking a lot of water and gatorade and just didn’t have an appetite.  I started to see a big drop in the output I was getting on the field and in the gym.  Long story short, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a few months later.

So, I understand playing QB with diabetes, but can’t understand doing it at such a high level of the NFL.  For the fact that I am a type 1 QB, and you are an NFL type 1 quarterback has intrigued me to have a goal of interviewing you since you were diagnosed.

I am a Jay Cutler fan, except when you play the Eagles because let’s face it, I’m from Philly and you know nothing comes between Philly and the Eagles.  I believe that the media judges and puts you out to be something you are not.

As “groupie” as this letter sounds, it is an honest letter coming from a guy who is inspired by your hard work ethic and what you do for the diabetes community.

So, I end this letter with, Jay Cutler, will you grant me an interview opportunity?

Thank you.

Chris Stocker

Medtronic Wins Another Customer Service Award

So a few months ago I wrote a post about Medtronic winning a customer service award from me because how well they handled my situation when my insulin pump was not working.  I was scared, clueless, and had no idea where to go to for help.  Medtronic was there to ship me a new pump the next day and I was ready to go.  And they even sent me a new Carelink, because I’m an idiot and threw mine away when I got a Mac because it didn’t work.

Anyway, I was trying to log into my Medtronic account online because I needed to re-order test my infusion sets and din’t feel like doing it on the phone because it takes too long.  Well, I couldn’t log in and I couldn’t reset my password because it kept saying that my username and e-mail did not match or exist.  I knew that was not the truth because I had my username saved.  I had to call in my order to Medtronic and it went pretty fast.  I told them about my username and password not working and not being able to reset it.  They put me on hold for like 10-15 minutes and I’m starting to think…ok, here we go, nothing is going to happen.  So I hung up.

About 30-45 minutes later I received an e-mail from Medtronic and I thought that it was going to be a default e-mail to follow up on the call or to give a status update of my order.  Nope, it was a personal e-mail from somebody in customer service to follow up with me on the online login issue.  I did what they told me to do and it still didn’t work, so I let her know.  She had the IT department do some sort of reset on my account and told me to log in with a temporary password.  So I did, and it worked.  The customer service experience was not over yet.

I was waiting on my doctor to fax a prescription in for my order to be shipped, so the customer service agent who was e-mailing me  back and forth faxed another request to my doctor.  This happened on Friday, so I e-mailed today to follow up with her and see what the status of the order was.  She said that they got a prescription, but it wasn’t enough for what I had ordered, so she said that they could only ship what the prescription said.  That was fine with me.

So, after this experience, Medtronic has officially won me back over.  This is two times in a row that they gave me the best customer experience that I can ask for.  This is a diabetes company doing things right.

Where Are You Obama?

Today’s post is going to very short and simple.  Today, a letter to President Barack Obama was published asking him to take a leading role in the UN NCD Summit in September of 2011.  This letter has over 80 signatures from people all over the diabetes community.  Below is a link to the slideshare version of the letter for you to easily share.

I encourage you to do the following with this letter:

  1. Post it on Twitter and anytime you see somebody else post it, Retweet it.
  2. Post it on your Facebook account and ask others to share it
  3. Share it with colleagues
  4. Share it with friends and family
  5. Print it and mail a copy or two yourself if you want
  6. E-mail it to your local representative and ask for their help in moving it up the chain
  7. E-mail your state reps and do the same
  8. E-mail it to the Diabetes Caucus
  9. Once you reach this step, go back to Step 1

And here is the link: