I'm Miguel Johns, the founder of MMNT, the driving force behind Milton AI. Today, I'm sharing a journey that's deeply personal, fueled by conviction, and filled with ups and downs. It's a journey that continues to unfold, and I'm writing this as the story takes shape.
My journey is woven with the threads of family history—of unmanaged diabetes, heart disease, and its complications. Being both Black and Mexican, I've seen the impact on both sides, and it ignited a fire within me.
As fate would have it, I ventured into Exercise Science while playing football at Indiana State University. Little did I know that this path would intersect with something much bigger. Indiana State had one of the best exercise science programs in the country, and my curiosity was piqued.
Intriguingly, a documentary called "Escape Fire" came into my life during my studies. Thanks to Dr. Matthew Feeback for that! The documentary laid bare the flaws in the US healthcare system—it was burning out providers, failing patients, and hemorrhaging resources without progress.
That documentary struck a chord within me. I left the classroom that day with a resolute decision—transforming healthcare was my calling, beginning with diabetes care.
At the time, the entrepreneurial bug had already bitten me, and the decision to embark on this journey was a no-brainer. I dove headfirst into learning—scouring YouTube, books, and Google searches for insights. My youth and naivety were a secret weapon; a singular purpose drove me.
The year was 2015—a year of absorbing knowledge, where I learned about the digital health movement and the rise of startups like Livongo, Omada, and Noom in diabetes care. By the year's end, I discovered a game-changer — IBM Watson.
This AI tool held the potential to revolutionize diabetes care. It was a magic elixir that could extend the reach of educators, dietitians, and coaches to more people while also saving time and boosting effectiveness.
2016 was a year of tests—tests texting people about glucose levels, meals, and activity. It worked! I started pitching the idea to startup communities—the dawn of diabetes care powered by IBM Watson. I raised funds, built a team, and set out to scale what I had already proven.
Then, reality hit in 2017—I realized the technology wasn't ready. Natural Language Processing (NLP), the magic behind AI's fluid conversations, was still evolving. The next few years became a testament to entrepreneurial survival as I navigated the darkest times.
Enter 2020—new, automated tools emerged that could operate across various channels like text messages, Facebook Messenger, and email. Could this be the breakthrough? I started running diabetes challenges on Facebook, building communities of people eager to manage their condition better.
Partnerships with experts like Lorena Drago and BioTel enriched the journey. We ran pilots, including a blood sugar challenge with over 1,000 Spanish-speaking participants. The results were astounding.
2022 brought AI into the spotlight, with OpenAI releasing ChatGPT. It was a eureka moment—the technology I had waited for since 2016 was finally here. That unyielding spirit from my family's history was paying off.
Over six years, I honed my skills, built relationships, and learned the nuances of diabetes care. In 2023, the stars aligned, and we started prototyping the AI diabetes coaching technology. We named it Milton after my company MMNT (moment), and his logo became a turtle—a symbol of steady progress.
Milton was showcased at the National American Diabetes Association Conference, and its impact was electric. The journey continued at the American Diabetes Coach & Education Specialist Conference, where the response was overwhelming.
The line of companies eager to embrace Milton extended beyond my wildest dreams. This is the golden moment entrepreneurs yearn for—a line of customers who truly want what you've created.
The story is ongoing, and Milton is thriving thanks to invaluable feedback and expert guidance. The road ahead is bright, and I'm grateful to be part of a journey that's reshaping diabetes care, one innovation at a time. Stay tuned for more chapters in this story!