Story In A Bottle Podcast

About the Guest(s):

Jessica Coen is an accomplished media executive with extensive experience in the digital journalism landscape. Growing up in a media-heavy household, Coen's passion for journalism was sparked at a young age, leading her to ultimately pursue a career in the field. She has held various editorial positions, including her early role as editor of Gawker and later endeavours at Vanity Fair and New York Magazine. Coen is known for her innovative approach to journalism, especially her successful pursuit of video storytelling to engage audiences. In her current role, she's focusing on reaching younger demographics through political news video content at the Recount.

Episode Summary:

In this episode of Story in a Bottle, host Dan Maccarone delves deep into the world of journalism with media expert Jessica Coen. The conversation unfolds over a Hendrix gin and tonic, discussing Coen's journey from her Detroit roots to the forefront of digital news.

Jessica shares her early encounters with journalism, transitioning from a die-hard reader to an influential media personality. She reflects on her decision to forgo journalism school for real-world experience at Gawker, establishing a candid voice that resonated with a large audience. Her career is a testament to navigating the ebbs and flows of tech, media, and entertainment, especially as she spearheaded the launch of Jezebel and influenced the growth of Mashable.

Key points in the discussion include the evolution of news consumption, the impact of social media on public engagement, and the role of video in reaching younger demographics. Coen emphasizes the importance of relatable content and the necessity of adapting to the viewer's needs in a rapidly changing media environment.

Notable Quotes:

  • "If you're passionate about getting information to audiences, you should be on video."
  • "It's about the actual issue at hand, whether it's funding for Ukraine or woman's reproductive rights or censorship in schools."
  • "Journalism has to kind of follow the lessons of the creator economy."
  • "What does this election really mean? Like, let's really talk about what these platforms are."
  • "The quickest way you fall off your high horse is when you have to do the layoffs."


Tune into the full episode to hear Jessica Coen's inspiring story and gain deeper insights into the evolving landscape of journalism. Stay engaged with compelling discussions on Story and a Bottle for more perspectives from leading voices in tech, media, and entertainment.

Direct download: Jessica_Coen_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05pm EDT

Mike Wystrach is a seasoned entrepreneur with a diverse background in the food and tech industries. Growing up in southern Arizona on a ranch with family ventures ranging from the restaurant business to veterinary care, Mike has a wealth of experience in managing and growing businesses. As a founder of Freshly, a food delivery company, Mike led the venture to great success, exiting to Nestlé after experiencing rapid growth and scale. With a passion for innovative solutions, he's now taking on the veterinary care sector with Petfolk, aiming to revolutionize the industry through technology and customer-centric care.

Episode Summary:

In this captivating episode of Story in a Bottle, host Dan Maccarone sits down with Mike Wystrach over a pint of Guinness to discuss the trials and triumphs of entrepreneurship. Mike opens up about his journey from a family-run restaurant to founding Freshly and his current venture, Petfolk. This conversation reveals the raw and real path to success that is often peppered with uncertainties and challenges, contrasting the typical narrative of overnight achievements.

Mike shares key insights into how solving personal problems led to the creation of businesses that resonated with consumers. From starting Freshly in the midst of economic turmoil with just $15 in his bank account, to the eventual sale of the business to Nestlé, Mike's story is one of determination, adaptability, and relentless pursuit of visions that others may not immediately see.

Key Takeaways:

  • Embrace the journey of entrepreneurship, including the inevitable obstacles and learning experiences, as they ultimately shape the success of a business.

  • Solving one's own problems can lead to innovative business ideas that resonate with a broader audience.

  • Operating a business requires a balance between being unrelentingly committed to the vision and being flexible enough to adapt based on data and experiences.

  • Achieving financial success in a venture is rewarding but is often less satisfying than the day-to-day challenges and growth experienced during the journey.

  • Strong leadership involves recruiting capable individuals who can execute the vision and contribute to the company's growth effectively.

Notable Quotes:

  • "One of the keys to my success has always been kind of scratching my own itch." - Mike Wystrach

  • "I always have fun on things that I think why does this not exist? Like, why does this not exist? And those are always the funnest things for me to create and build and do." - Mike Wystrach

  • "I wasn't the expert on things. I'm a quick learner... generally can learn complex things fairly quickly. But I'm nowhere near a vet." - Mike Wystrach discussing the start of Petfolk

  • "We're like the hair club for men commercial where the guy says, I'm not only the president I'm the first customer... I generally look at myself as the CEO, the first customer." - Mike Wystrach

  • "Nothing works that fast... I woke up the next day, you have those orders. Then you're like, I'm going to start. You found a co-founder immediately?" - Dan Maccarone


During the conversation, no specific external resources or social media handles were explicitly mentioned to be included here.

Tune in to the full episode for a deep dive into Mike Wystrach's entrepreneurial mindset and the strategic decisions

Direct download: Mike_Wystrach.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:29am EDT

Grab a drink and join the laughter as Roy Wood Jr. shares his remarkable evolution from a journalism student to a comedy connoisseur. Our guest doesn't hold back, offering an insider's look at The Daily Show's dynamic post-Trevor Noah, and giving us the lowdown on his decision to branch out creatively. You'll be in stitches as Roy divulges the trials and tribulations of merging comedy with sports commentary at ESPN, and you might just find yourself nodding in agreement with his candid reflections on the necessity of staying true to one's voice while serving up satire that cuts to the core of social issues.

Roy's journey is more than just punchlines; it's a masterclass in personal growth and comedic finesse. He traces his roots from Birmingham's comedy clubs to the glittering lights of LA and New York, spilling the beans on how the cities' comedy communities differ in their camaraderie and competition. Roy doesn’t shy away from the gritty details, highlighting the peaks and pitfalls of navigating the stand-up scene, comedy competitions, and the elusive dream of sitcom stardom. His anecdotes are not only a testament to his resilience but also a treasure trove of insights for anyone looking to crack the code of the comedy business.

Ever wondered how to tread the tightrope of humor in sports and politics without falling off? Roy's got you covered. He uncovers the delicate art of delivering jokes that resonate with fans and foes alike, and the unique challenges that come with each territory. From athletes' sensitive egos to the battlefield of political satire, Roy examines how to craft comedy that's both intelligent and impactful. So pull up a chair, because this episode isn't just entertaining—it's an enlightening glimpse into the mind of a comic genius who masterfully balances the weight of words with the levity of laughter.


- Roy Wood Jr. switched from journalism to comedy, inspired by figures like Stuart Scott and Jenny Moose. His work at ESPN and on The Daily Show combines journalism, comedy, and sports.

- His parents influenced his comedy and public discourse, teaching him to blend humor with impactful points. His father's focus on civil rights and his mother's encouragement to speak out were key influences.

- Wood Jr. explored the comedy scenes in New York and Los Angeles, noting their differences. Competing in shows like Showtime at the Apollo and Last Comic Standing significantly boosted his career.

- He transitioned from stand-up to TV acting and writing, gaining insights from his role in "Sullivan & Son" and selling sitcom scripts. He highlighted the differences between TV and movie narratives.

- Wood Jr. tackled comedy in sports and politics, stressing intelligent humor that promotes critical thinking. He shared insights from The Daily Show, focusing on the balance between humor and respect for serious issues.

Direct download: Roy_Wood_Jr._FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:41pm EDT

About the Guest(s):

Sang Yoon is a renowned chef and restaurateur known for achieving the venerable status of a celebrity chef. With an impressive career trajectory in the restaurant industry, Sang has worked under culinary legends such as Alain Ducasse and Wolfgang Puck. He gained widespread acclaim for creating what has been called the country's best burger and participated in the culinary competition of "Top Chef Masters." Currently, Sang Yoon is eagerly anticipating the opening of his new establishment, the Helms Bakery, a project close to a decade in making.

Episode Summary:

In this episode of Story and a Bottle, host Dan Maccarone uncovers the journey of chef Sang Yoon, whose reputation in the culinary world is marked by both his exceptional skill and tenacity. Despite his accomplishments, Sang approaches his latest venture, the Helms Bakery, with a mix of excitement and nervous anticipation. This conversation delves into the multifaceted aspects of running a successful dining establishment while balancing personal growth and creativity.

Chef Sang Yoon reminisces about his start in the culinary world, including his formative years in France and his experiences working in high-pressure environments. He discusses his transition from fine dining to the gastropub scene with Father's Office, a move that redefined casual dining in Los Angeles. The narrative also touches on his stint on "Top Chef Masters," revealing the unexpected challenges and adrenaline-fueled moments on the show.

  • Sang Yoon reflects on the rigorous training and discipline that shaped his culinary philosophy.

  • The opening of Helms Bakery presents an opportunity for Sang to explore new culinary territories, including breakfast and pastry.

  • Yoon shares insights into the unpredictable nature of the restaurant business, shaped by external forces such as natural disasters.

  • His foray into "Top Chef Masters" pushes him out of his comfort zone, highlighting the difference between being a chef and a competitive cook.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sang Yoon attributes his culinary success to the disciplined and exacting standards instilled in him during his time in France.

  • Challenges in the restaurant industry are manifold, with external factors like natural disasters playing a significant role in a business's survival.

  • Transitioning from a high-end dining experience to a more casual setting can be an effective way to reach a broader audience and redefine dining culture.

  • Participating in cooking competitions like "Top Chef Masters" requires chefs to adapt and think on their feet, pushing them beyond their traditional roles.

  • Yoon emphasizes the importance of leaving a positive impact on any establishment he's a part of, whether it's enhancing its reputation or contributing to the community.

Notable Quotes:

  • "I think I'm in the business of expression, using food as a medium to express myself."

  • "There's quite a bit of history, and I'm excited to bring back a piece of history."

  • "I've never actually served a single breakfast. So this is my first."

  • "You go into this business and industry knowing you can't please everyone."

  • "You know you've had people yell at you...what's gonna happen, it's like, okay."


  • Follow Sang Yoon on his gastronomic journey and catch up on his culinary insights and upcoming ventures through potential platforms such as the Father's Office website or his social media profiles (not directly mentioned in the transcript).

Tune in to the full episode to immerse yourself in Sang Yoon's compelling narrative and stay connected for more episodes that unveil the personal stories of living legends in tech, media, and entertainment through Story and a Bottle.

Direct download: Sang_Yoon_FINAL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:59pm EDT