The Digital Detox Story

Topics: Digital Detox News

Our story, 2 decades in the making.

The story of Digital Detox® begins with two childhood friends. Levi Felix and Forest Bronzan met in elementary school in the 1990’s. The pair grew up together in their most formative years and would spend time actually talking and enjoying life without phones. In high school, Levi and Forest would play in rock bands together, effectively forming their first “start-ups.” At this time, Brooke Dean joined the story.

When Levi and Forest’s efforts at rock band heroics fell through, their circle of friends went their separate ways for college.

In 2007, Levi moved to Los Angeles to make his way in the world of tech startups and was met with a one-in-million event: while settling into a humble duplex, he found that his high school friend Brooke was renting the unit next door. 

Levi and Brooke strengthened their friendship and, as fate would have it, that friendship turned into an enduring romance. The stuff of Shakespeare.

Levi succeeded in his efforts and became a Creative Director for a startup. The job was rewarding, but the days were long and the work was hard--Levi’s relationships and eventually his health began to suffer. As stress mounted and exhaustion took hold, Levi collapsed and was rushed to a hospital. He was working so hard that his body couldn't keep up. Something had to change.

Levi and Brooke quit their jobs and embarked on a 2.5-year worldwide journey to find a balance between life and technology. While living off the land in Cambodia, Levi and Brooke wanted to share their transformative experiences with their tech-obsessed home culture in the U.S. The nascent Digital Detox was born.

In 2011, Levi and Brooke teamed up with Levi’s brother, Zev, back in the U.S. Together they officially formed Digital Detox with a mission to inspire better relationships with technology. 

Digital Detox launched their first retreat in 2012 and invited Forest along with nine others. Forest was blown away. Upon returning home, Forest shared what he had learned and gifted future retreats to friends and family.

 

Between 2012 and 2016, Digital Detox grew to become the leading internationally recognized organization for tech-life balance, improving the lives of thousands. The company introduced immersive device-free experiences,  keynote speakers, corporate programming, and its flagship event, Camp Grounded, a summer camp for adults

People from around the world gathered at Camp Grounded every year to really experience each other--the people behind the screens. No technology, no names, no work talk--just three amazing days of music, fun, and presence. Levi and Brooke saw their dream realized.

Forest brought his startup of 10 people to Camp 2015, and it forever changed his team, leading him to bring 25 from his company the following year.

Digital Detox was booming, but with the success came a dramatic turn of events that would change everything. While in a meeting with his literary agent, Levi experienced migraines and went partially blind. After going to the hospital, he was was soon diagnosed with a brain tumor in February of 2016. He underwent chemotherapy, and for a brief moment, Levi improved, but fewer than 12 months after his diagnosis Levi passed away at the age of 32. Levi’s life was tragically cut short, but in that brief time he managed to touch the lives of thousands and inspire an international community. 

Almost in tandem with Levi and Brooke’s endeavors, Forest’s once-small startup grew to 90 full-time employees. The company won multiple Best Places to Work Awards before being acquired in 2018. 

Afterwards, Forest and Brooke reconnected to continue Levi’s vision. Forest acquired a majority position in Digital Detox in 2019 taking over as CEO and established the Levi Felix Foundation to further support brain cancer research.

The Digital Detox team is now focused on expanding the next chapter for the company. As technological change continues to advance at an ever increasing rate, our society will attain undreamable benefits. But people don’t always change as quickly as technology does. We want people to benefit from technology while remaining connected to yourself and your fellow humans.

Levi Felix and Forest Bronzan, Circa 1998

Levi and Forest

 

Scott Wysocki

Author: Scott Wysocki

Scott is a graduate of UC Berkeley and is an experienced educator. He has worked around the country with children in multiple grade levels including extensive work with special needs children. His work focuses a lot on behavioral intervention and technology influence. Outside of work and writing for Digital Detox, Scott is an avid guitarist and creative writer.