Story In A Bottle Podcast

From a young age in New Zealand, Hamish McKenzie always had a passion for writing and he knew he was pretty good at it! He pursued an English degree and eventually earned a graduate degree in  journalism. Hamish went on to be a reporter and wrote for PandoDaily, the Guardian and the Toronto Star. His freelance writing eventually lead him to he role as head writer for the innovative car company, Tesla -- making Elon Musk his boss. Hamish used his experience in the  the day to day world of Tesla to write the book “Insane Mode: How Elon Musk’s Tesla Sparked an Electric Revolution to End the Age of Oil.” Today, he is the founder of Substack, a company that offers a newsletter business in a box that now powers subscription-based email content for independent writers and young media companies. Over KCBC Alewife Hash Cache IPA at Fool’s Gold in New York City, Hamish discusses getting into the world of journalism and how it brought him into corporate lifestyle, which eventually made him realize what world he truly wanted to be apart of.


What You’ll Learn:

  • Is journalism school worth it? 25:50
  • Should a publication like Gawker or PandoDaily make a comeback? 45:41
  • What is something about Elon Musk that nobody would read in the papers? 54:04
Direct download: SIAB_HMcKenzie_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:31pm EDT

Erin Ryan grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and was always a big fish in a little pond. After earning a degree in English from Notre Dame, she began a career in finance, a path she quickly realized was not her destiny. And it was the Gawker Media run, woman-focusted site Jezebel that changed her life. An avid reader of it, she eventually started participating in the conversations there and, eventually, Jezebel asked her to contribute for real. Since then, she’s been all in as a writer, even parlaying her journalism talents into comedy writing, currently as a staff writer for “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” In addition to that new gig, which has brought her full time to Los Angeles, she also has a new podcast called “Hysteria,” produced by Crooked media and focused on women and politics. Over a fruity, fire-themed IPA at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, Erin discusses how she grew up, how she became the great writer she is today and all the paths it took her to get there.


What You’ll Learn:

- What it was like growing up in a small town 6:15

- Why take the finance route in the first place? 44:00

- How Jezebel changed Erin’s life 47:36

- Experiencing a sitcom writer’s room for the first time. 1:01:00

Direct download: SIAB_ERyan_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:59am EDT

Lucas Arzola is a man with many different titles. He is an entrepreneur, educator, and innovation ecosystem builder. Originally from Puerto Rico, Lucas ventured to University of California, Davis for college and wound up staying to coordinate strategic partnerships between the university and pharmaceutical biotechnology companies. Lucas went on to found Betabox, a technology company that designs and delivers mobile spaces and on-demand experiences that enhance corporate innovation, workforce development, and STEM education . Today, back in his home country of Puerto Rico, he is the director of operations for the startup accelerator, Parallel18. Over a bottle of red wine at the Parallel18 offices in San Juan, Lucas discusses all his business ventures and how he spent his time dealing with the destructive aftermath of hurricane Maria and keeping his company based around technology and electricity afloat.


What You’ll Learn:

- Dealing with the growth of technology in other countries 11:40

- The challenges of Hurricane Maria 25:21

- Why go to California from Puerto Rico? 40:15

- Leaving your own company 1:05:24

Direct download: SIAB_LArzola_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:40am EDT

Beth Schoenfeldt and Megan Hannum are experts at understanding the needs of startups. As business partners, they complement each other with Beth running the operations side of their company, FundedBuy, and Megan handling the networking. Together they are an unstoppable duo. At their core, Beth and Megan leverage their skills to ensure founders can focus on what it will take to get their founders to success and let the FundedBuy network handle all the ancillary day-to-day aspects of running a business. Over Graft Lost Tropic Cider at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, this power (business) couple discuss their third party network, their individually unique backgrounds and how their unusual partnership came about.


What You’ll Learn:

  • What is FundedBuy? 1:20
  • How did two very opposite people become the business couple they are today? 12:33
  • How a startup is like a sitcom? 25:34
  • The key to having a smart startup and successful founders 40:02
Direct download: SIAB_FundedBy_v1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:40pm EDT

Dave Malouf is a man who comes from many different career paths, but the one course he has stayed on through and through is the almighty Internet. He originally graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Anthropology, but he soon discovered he loved something else: web design. As Dave created new site after new site, he began to realize that he could help other users and other web designers come up with entire new strategies to this up and coming business. Thus was born The Interaction Design Association. AKA IxDA, an organization that is working to build a community of practice for the advancement and advocacy of the discipline of interaction design. Over Beak & Skiff Hard Cider at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, Dave takes us on his journey as a pioneer in the Internet design world and how much has changed over time.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The major you graduated with in college might be more relevant than you think. (9:50)
  • Learning about technology as you go (25:19)
  • The evolution of interaction design (42:00)
  • Why interaction design is important (1:00:33)
Direct download: SIAB_DMalouf_final_v1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44pm EDT

At her core, Glynnis MacNicol has always known writing was her passion. She still remembers her first journal from when she was only 6 years old. Glynnis has translated that fierce need for independence into her role as the co-founder of TheList, a women only social network that seeks to bring professional women together for camaraderie, business connections and a space for open conversation. Glynnis loves to write about the intersection between media, pop culture, and politics. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications including Forbes, The Cut,, New York Daily News, Marie Claire, Capital New York, but also for publications like Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, and CBC. Over Bloody Mary’s at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, she talks about her new memoir, No One Tells You This, about living through her 40th year, her colorful journey as a journalist in New York and how she struggled to learn the media world and how she continues to push what she can do in it.

What You’ll Learn:

- Culture of the modern day woman (its at the beginning)

- Was media a large part of Glynnis’ life as a kid (28:47)

- Why she wanted to be the voice (50:00)

Direct download: SIAB_GMacNicol_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:48am EDT

Ross Asdourian spends his day to day solving problems. According to him, that is one of the main qualities that makes a great producer. From starting as a freelance producer after college, to getting his first big break as the NBC News Creative Digital Product Manager, Ross paid his dues to get to where he is today, including roles as a Creative Director for NBCUniversal and a Producer for Red Bull. His second big break wasn’t quite as positive. To be blunt, Ross broke his penis. Over Knob Creek Rye at Fool’s Gold, he talks through his fascinating career journey and how one hook up lead to one of the most painful and hilarious experiences of his life, all documented in his book Broken Bananah.

What You’ll Learn:

- The life of a college mascot (7:23)
- Why producing is about problem solving (23:30)
- The exciting world of Red Bull (41:00)
- The story of the Broken Bananah (59:00)

Direct download: SIAB_RAsdourian_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:29pm EDT

Every choice you make in life can be a calculated decision. For Stephanie Vaughan, that is the way she let her career evolve. She was originally in the United States Marine Corp after attending the Naval Academy where she studied quantitative economics. Once her tour in Afghanistan was over, she went back to school where she received her MBA from Columbia Business School in order to further everything she already knew about finance and investment banking. She then pushed herself into the world of venture and now is Vice President of Block X Ventures. Over Sierra Nevada Kellerweis at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, she shares with us how she went from navigating the challenges of a war to navigating the world of bitcoin and venture capital.


What You’ll Learn:

- What is Block X Ventures and the basics of investing in blockchain companies (1:44)

- Why study quantitative economics at the Naval Academy in the first place? (23:11)

- Is there a method to her madness? The plan to go from the Marines to finance (40:22)

Direct download: SIAB_SVaughn_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:59am EDT

Zach Mach’s original dream of working in the world of media has finally come to fruition, but not in the way he expected. Zach moved to New York right after he graduated college, in hopes of becoming a writer and even though he did have gigs at places like Gawker, he soon realized that a full time career in that world wasn’t his passion. His greater love in life was beer. And he has turned that into a career but opening ABC Beer Company on Avenue C in the Alphabet City and, now, as a writer covering the beer world for publications like Thrillist and GQ. Over local craft beers at ABC, he walks us on his journey of how he became a bar owner and what he has learned about running your own company...especially the unique aspects of bar life.

What You’ll Learn:

- What does it take to get involved in the bar owning business (3:50)

- The true experience of life in the bar world  (19:00)

- The deterrents to a career in writing and media (1:01:00)

Direct download: SIAB_ZMack_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34am EDT

When you start your career in a complicated industry and are able to realize how much experience you don’t have in order to do it well, that’s admirable. To actually gather that knowledge and then come back is exemplary; that is exactly what Melody Kohdid. After starting in venture capital after college, she didn’t think she was fit for the job just yet and wound up founding her own start up and, later, as head of product for Blue Apron. Now she is finally back to where she started, in VC, as a Venture Partner at NextView Ventures. Over Negronis at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, she explains how each part of her career shaped who she is now and how it all prepared her for the dream career she would eventually have.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The NextView Ventures thesis Melody’s role on the team?
  • Running a business isn’t about you, so what/who is it about?
  • The best qualities for a founder/CEO
  • Why VC? And Melody found her way into technology.
Direct download: SIAB_MKoh_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39am EDT

When Chris Maddern discovered his passion for technology, he knew he was hooked. His addiction to it lead to a career that started with pioneering the early days of app development with his company AppLaunch, but quickly lead to a passion that has permeated his career since: solving the challenge of making transactions easier everywhere and anywhere. His work on Venmo revolutionized peer to peer payments and after that success he co-founded Button, which created a marketplace allowing publishers and merchants to make it easier for users to quickly buy, well, anything. Over Sidecars at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, Chris discusses where his love of technology came from and how he translated that into a life.

What You’ll Learn:

  • What is Button and examples of where people would have used it? 4:12
  • How did Chris start up this kind of company? 7:40
  • Did Chris always want to be in the computer science world? 22:27
  • Inside perspective of what the early days of the app store was like 40:40
Direct download: SIAB_CMaddern_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:37am EDT

Melanie Cristol has always let her passions drive her career. Those passions lead her to become a lawyer and, now, to become an entrepreneur. As a founder, she’s launched her most personal product yet: Lorals. Lorals are lingerie worn during oral sex, for when you love the idea of oral and you want to love the reality. This latex underwear will block anything you don't want transferred, whether it's an intimate view, menstrual or other fluids, or scents. And soon, Melanie hopes for Lorals to block STIs too. Over a shot of Maker’s Mark and some coffee on the side at Fool’s Gold in Manhattan, Melanie discusses her drastic career change and what it takes to create a new sex product line for women.


What You’ll Learn:

  • How do orgasms lead to physical benefits (4:40)
  • What does the name “Lorals” mean and what is their goal (6:50)
  • Types of products for oral sex that are already out on the market, so what makes Lorals different (8:00)
  • How did Melanie start this company and where did she get her inspiration (11:22)
  • What was Melanie’s approach in starting her company (24:53)
Direct download: SIAB_MCristol_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:33am EDT

We all have a lost feeling after college life, even astrophysicists! Andrew Fleming originally went to Michigan Tech for physics and then took it one level higher to study astrophysics at Columbia University in New York. He realized before he was officially done with all school that the prospect of him spending the  rest of his days studying the stars and universe wasn’t in the cards if he didn’t commit himself to academia in perpetuity. So, he made a choice. Instead of the challenging and uncertain world of science and academia. He chose a totally different route: the challenging and uncertain world of media. . He went on to work as a content strategist and senior producer at Conde Nast and, later, VP of Product for Business Insider. Now, Andrew is the Head of Content Platforms at Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal. Andrew loves his media world and wouldn't trade it for all the stars in the universe.


What You’ll Learn:

- What is “Moneyish” (7:40)
- How does a pop culture moment tie into these financial education moments (16:09)
- What drove him into the world of astrophysics? (26:17)
- How does product work and scientific research equate to each other? (41:57)
- The challenges of journeying from freelancer at Conde Nast to senior-level staffer at Business Insider when it was just starting out (55:40)

Direct download: SIAB_AFleming_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:43pm EDT

Courtney Boyd Myers has always been a multitasking mover. She was born in Connecticut and grew up playing in multiple sports at one time, and in a family that moved around a lot. Both of those qualities has molded her into the person she is today. Courtney is the founder of AKUA, a company that creates sustainable, seagreens-based foods, an adviser of GreenWave, a nonprofit that supports the regenerative ocean farming industry, has invested in an ice cream store based out of Cape Town, South Africa called Unframed Ice Cream which focuses on the perfection of vegan ice cream, AND she is a Global Community Ambassador for the leadership event company, Summit. At just 33, she has accomplished so much in her life and continues to grow and love all of her personal and professional endeavors.


What You’ll Learn:

  • How did Courtney get started with her business, AKUA? (2:30)
  • When and where did media and tech businesses come into her life? (11:08)
  • How she got into the technology and startup world? (19:11)
  • Is mingling and being friendly in the journalism world a good thing? (21:00)
  • What a weekend through Summit is (34:35)
Direct download: SIAB_CBMeyers_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:59am EDT

Daniel Kibblesmith grew up loving comedy and always found himself gravitating towards writing, but it took him awhile to realize he was actually writing comedy as a career. Starting off his career in Chicago after college, Daniel worked for Groupon as an in-house comedian and wrote humorous ad copy. This lead to him becoming one of the founding editors of ClickHole which eventually lead him to Buzzfeed in New York City and now as a staff writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Today, he is a published author with his book Santa’s Husband and just launched a comic book, Lockjaw, for Marvel. Daniel is doing what he loves everyday and happy to share his comedy with the world.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How does Daniel take in all the horrible events and news of each day and turn it into comedy on a deadline (24:20)
  • What made him get into comedy writing (27:00)
  • When your day is surrounded by comedy for a job, does it ever get overwhelming (50:00)
  • How to create a packet to become a tv writer (1:02:06)
  • What is the hardest parts of Daniel’s dream job (1:09:11)
Direct download: SIAB_DKibblesmith_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:44pm EDT

The challenge of totally changing your career path after dedicating years to one industry is immense in and of itself. But to do it due to the emotional toll the first one took on you is at another level. Cheryl Wischhover started off her career as a pediatric oncology nurse for 15 years - seeing just how brutal the impact of cancer can be on a daily basis. Today, she is the Senior Beauty Reporter for the fashion and beauty online publication Racked. Cheryl always wanted to be a writer of some sort, but her family’s path turned her towards nursing. When she moved from Chicago to New York in the early 2000’s, she fell in love with fashion, blogging, and the rise of social media which quickly led her to a change that would reroute her entire life and finally let her live out her passions.


What You’ll Learn:

  • What is Racked and why is it different from writing for publications such as Glamour, Teen Vogue, and Elle (4:50)
  • The science behind writing about beauty and why Cheryl’s medical background has been a huge help to her (9:45)
  • How to be strong and follow your head and heart on what you really want to do in life (19:45)
  • Everything that prompted Cheryl to change her career and how she did it (31:00)
Direct download: SIAB_CWischhover_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:45pm EDT

“Politics” should be John Knefel’s middle name. Growing up in a Iowa, a swing state, he understood the political world at a very young age, an that has stuck with him to today. At age 35, he has used his passion for politics as a throughline through the different careers he’s already had. Starting his career with stand-up comedy in New York right after college in the midwest, he parlayed that into his own podcast, Radio Dispatch, which lead him into the world of journalism,  freelancing for top publications like Rolling Stone and The Nation. With his newest venture, writing for Comedy Central's The President Show, he's finally been able to combine his two core passions: comedy and politics.


What You’ll Learn:

  • When writing for a political comedy show, how can you stick to satire rather than sticking to the daily news cycle (10:08)
  • Where is the line drawn for taking political comedy too far (17:25)
  • How to bring the trend of storytelling into comedy (47:00)
  • Why are people driven by their political beliefs (59:17)
  • How to make money as a freelance journalist in our day and age (1:13:48)
Direct download: SIAB_JKnefel_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am EDT

Tennis has always been a passion for Caitlin Thompson, and now she is able to hone in on that passion with her own magazine, Racquet. From a young age, she knew being on the tennis court and telling stories were two things that just came natural to her. She continued those two natural feelings by playing tennis for the University of Missouri, which also happens to be one of the best journalism schools in the country. She went on to lead a very fulfilling life in journalism, writing for newspapers and magazines all over the world, and even though our world is shifting more to digital, nothing compares to the excitement and dedication to her own print magazine, and how she feels destiny has brought her two favorite worlds together into one.


What You’ll Learn:

  • Why Racquet is is so important for such a small community (5:10)
  • How money is valuable and media should not be free (28:54)
  • Why tennis has always been written on a spectrum of utility instead of about the people (30:37)
  • How Racquet is putting tennis players back into the cultural conversation (39:06)
Direct download: SIAB_CThompson_v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:57am EDT