The Monday Media Diet with Aimee Yang
On Disney, Elon, and The Pattern astrology
Aimee Yang (AY) is a LA-based food entrepreneur. She founded an interesting company called Betterbrand, innovating in the low carb space. We’re pleased to have her on the page this morning. Have a great week. -Colin (CJN)
Tell us about yourself.
I’m the founder and CEO of BetterBrand, a consumer food tech company leading innovation in the refined carb space, working to transform the foods we crave into foods that are functionally great for us, whilst removing guilt or compromise from the equation. My entire life, I had always been on this cycle of craving something – if I ate it, I’d feel guilty, if I didn’t, I’d feel deprived -- it was a constant source of anxiety and consumed so much of my mind space. I literally used to dream of a world where I could just eat what I wanted, and never had to worry about weight gain or negative health consequences – BetterBrand is now making that world a reality!
On the personal end, I am currently based in Los Angeles, CA, but have spent time all over – most recently two years in Philadelphia at Wharton Business School (which was a transformational experience I would recommend to anyone considering), and New York prior to that. I’ve now been spending more and more time in West London as we start to expand BetterBrand into Europe – any great recommendations welcome!
I have an inherent curiosity of the unexplored, and love to meet new people, devour new knowledge, and immerse myself in new experiences.
Describe your media diet.
Anything and everything really - and quite widespread. On the business end, I love to skim the front pages of Fast Co, Forbes, Inc, and I have subscriptions to The NYT, New Yorker, and The Atlantic for news. As a start up founder, I also find newsletters from Crunchbase and Pitchbook helpful ways to stay plugged in with the industry.
I love to fill drives with podcasts - The Daily, How I Built This, Why Is This Happening, This Week in Start Ups among favorites there, and find social media channels - Instagram and Twitter - great for a combination of entertainment value and staying up to trend.
What’s the last great book you read?
I always opt for non-fiction, and learning the journeys of people who have accomplished really incredible things. I recently finished Ashlee Vance’s book on Elon Musk - “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, And The Quest For A Fantastic Future. Ashlee has been a long time Silicon Valley reporter, so digs into the details and nuances of his entire journey, and you really get a good look at the intensity of it all. I’ve always found Elon’s work ethic incredibly inspiring - would highly recommend it as a read.
Fun fact – I also learned from this book that Elon is a low carb eater! So – if you’re reading this, Elon, check out ‘The Better Bagel’ at www.eatbetter.com – we transformed the most carb heavy food into the net carb equivalent of two slices of banana, with 25g of plant based protein! ;)
What are you reading now?
True to my non-fiction tendencies – I’m currently reading Indra Nooyi’s memoir - ‘My Life in Full’. For those who don’t know, Indra Nooyi was the CEO of PepsiCo for over 10 years, and was the first woman of color and immigrant to run a Fortune 50 Company. The book talks through elements of her childhood, and the personal experiences that shaped her frame of thinking and defined who she was as a leader. Her authenticity, and energy really jumps from the page. What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?
Depends on the publication, but typically, skim through for the jump out headlines, then soak through the rest as time allows. If it’s fashion or interiors, I really take my time with the pictures – a lot of beauty captured there. Vogue for fashion, Architectural Digest for interiors. I always have trouble throwing out old copies even when I’m done with them.
Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?
I think people should try to dig deeper to understand the frames of thought that drove the creation of the things they love! As an example, I used to go to Disney World with my family every year growing up. Reading Roger Iger’s book - The Ride of a Lifetime of his 15 years as the CEO of Disney really brought an additional layer of understanding and perspective into the level of thoughtfulness, commitment and care that it takes to build an incredible establishment.
In the first part of the book, Iger talks about a situation that showed him who he was as a leader, in how he responded to an accident that had occurred at one of the parks. He felt such a grave sense of personal responsibility that he jumped in personally to help manage the situation, despite reservations from his surrounding team for him to do so. That is something that only comes from someone who truly cares and see’s the organization as an extension of himself – a characteristic that I think is crucial of any great leader.
What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone?
I can’t believe my first thought jumped to ‘Slack’... ‘The Pattern’ is great. It's an astrological based app that helps provide time based information about yourself, and those around you. Crazily accurate at times and can help you manage through tricky times.
Plane or train?
Plane! A well done plane ride is an incredible experience that really adds to any trip. Virgin Airlines has hit it out of the park every time - the flight staff is always really incredible, and every detail is well thought out. From the food, to ambiance, to entertainment selections, to the newness of the planes, even to how they provide resealable canned water to support sustainability initiatives. All together forward thinking, innovative, and elevated!
What is one place everyone should visit?
London if you haven’t! It's extremely charming with incredible energy, history, and an endless amount to explore. If you are an art fan, The National Gallery is a MUST, and there are a number of independent galleries in Mayfair that are worth spending an afternoon immersing yourself in. Would recommend Kensington and Chelsea for amazing shops and restaurants, and of course, the best tea you will ever have!
Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into.
Instagram videos get me every time… (AY)
WITI x McKinsey:
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2022 summer reading guide. Whether you’re in the mood for nonfiction, fiction, poetry, politics, psychology—or all of the above—we’ve got you covered. McKinsey’s annual summer reading guide features more than 100 picks from CEOs, Nobel Prize winners, editors-in-chief, economists, and other leaders. Check it out.
Thanks for reading,
Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Aimee (AY)
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