The food industry is changing the way we live. And it's entrepreneurs like Jess and her MOM (melt) who take our health to NEXT LEVEL. The Little Window is in its infancy but Jess has big plans and some big clients knocking on her nutrition door.
I seem to have a knack for finding the most stylish in an otherwise bland city (or so critics think). Jess, a chef, entrepreneur, and momma’s girl, exudes the modern confidence in a rising FEMME world. And she flexes her founder strength not on the tech frontier but in the everyday routine of mortals, food. Catering to photography teams and the whole of Pottery Barn and Mark & Graham in San Francisco, her foodies style includes hand written descriptions and catalog worthy set ups (one stylist assistant mistaken it for the next set). Which takes food out of cave people days and into our current social structure. It’s comfort, it’s passion, and presentation is vital to mood setting ones stomach. SHE GETS IT. I followed Jess on set to snap photos of her bad self and the epic set up I’ve heard of/witnessed AND TASTED.
Technology is opening new opportunities for the food industry. We can order meal plans and meals to our door EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK. Beyond simply catering teams, office lunches ect how do you visualize your business growing?
Technology has opened many new opportunities for the industry, but I love thinking about the personal interactions and connections we all have with food. We have a walk-up cafe at 151 Union street that has kickstarted our growth in a big way. We want our space to feel welcoming, comforting and caring. We think of growth by continuing to connect with people through our Vietnamese cooking.
Would you offer cooking classes or something even better like a you tube channel?
Yes! I would start an IG account with really hi-definition cooking videos. Like @chefsfeed. They're hypnotizing and calming at the same time!
What has been your biggest challenge so far starting a company?
My Mom and I care a lot about Little Window and operate this business like it's our family. For us, the challenge is stepping away from the day-to-day tasks and managing a growing team. We don't have any formal systems in place for growth. It definitely takes time to build these relationships and we're learning how to communicate our values so that our team will be able to represent our food and vision in the most genuine way.
A perfect example of an artist in the tech business "Tuck", as his friends call him, shows us around his schedule and his Russian Hill pad.
Enter Ryan Tucker, decidedly one of the best dressed straight men in San Francisco and conveniently a co-founder of a sweet design start-up Brandcast. He's one of many leaders adopting a healthier work strategy combining a work from home, office AND travel schedule that most would love to hate. The era where healthy, psychology and business intersecting is upon us. So I decided to tackle "Tuck" to a) gush over his daily dressing/vintage shop routine and b) talk about his entrepreneurial take on co-founding in the San Francisco city sphere.
Where did you get that shirt?
You obviously have an sharp sense of style. Do you ever feel like you're the only man in tech who cares less about hoodies and more about individuality?
I don’t know anything about ‘real’ fashion. But I do know we all have a story to tell and having your own unique style helps tell a story. And I believe vintage is where one can best express individuality through the clothes they wear.
I’m stoked that in tech, we have the freedom to wear whatever we want, and aren’t obligated to wear a uniform. Good on the folks that want to rock Lulu’s, hoodies or black v-necks. I can also appreciate the people emulating the Jobs, Zuckerberg and Obama trend to wear the same thing every day to avoid decision fatigue.
I’ve also come to realize that having a minimal wardrobe, but with higher quality / better items is key. I travel solo often and searching for vintage stores is a great way to blow time and money. I’m just as likely to find my favorite higher quality piece in Paris, in Kinji Tokyo (where I got the silk Baroque shirt, swoon), at the Treasure Island Flea market in San Francisco or Broad Ripple Vintage in Indiana.
Alright - tell my readers about being a co-founder. What's it like making high level decisions with other people? Would you do it again?
Being a co-founder is sort of like putting your 401K in the Bitcoin market. For the most part it's great and the market goes up, but there are so many moments when you feel like this is it, the market is crashing, or failure is constant pressure. Doubt creeps in. People’s lives and families depend on you. The mental anguish and daily stress mean starting a company isn’t for everyone. Basically everything about starting a company sucks.
I would 100% do it again.
Some advice for upcoming entrepreneurs looking to co-found?
There are three big lessons I’ve learned: know your customer, aim big, and communicate well.
Know who your customer is first, then build products and services for their needs. For most of history businesses would make a product, then market it and figure out who would buy it. But there has recently been a shift from product to customer. Now businesses must create a customer first, then build.
The most important lesson is the idea of aiming big. Marc Benioff was constantly challenging us to think bigger. And having a huge vision makes sense.
An analogy I’ll borrow from Victor Frankl, is when flying you don’t take a route directly from Point A to Point B, because the winds will pull you down to point C. Just a few degrees off and you’ll be way off course. Instead, pilots will aim for much higher than where they should go, so that they end up right where they ought to be. I should draw you a diagram.
What are you focusing on lately?
Since Brandcast, I’ve focused my career on helping SaaS startups go from initial customer traction to scale, or helping startups transition from selling SMB to selling Enterprise.
Currently, I’m working on projects to help large global organizations, like banks, transition to Blockchain and Smart Contracts. Specifically the real-world applications of Blockchain in enterprises and fintech, not just speculative investing on crypto currencies.
Describe your work style?
I'm all about day-to-day consistency and being able to methodically track to bigger picture items. I try and avoid email as much as possible and work in non distraction environments. Mind blowing.
What's your morning routine?
I grab an empty mug, a photographer and hike up 147 stairs to take photos of myself on top of Russian Hill.
BESIDES this morning lol.
I consider myself a moderate morning person, waking up with the sun and never using an alarm clock. But not like a crazy workout warrior morning person. More moderate, like someone who enjoys reading a book for 30 minutes before getting out of bed. I also need to make my Pour Over (Bicycle Medium Roast or Sight Glass Blueboon) everyday.
Lastly, you are an avid reader. Any books we should pick up?
Oh hell ya! On the fiction side, I loved The Sisters Brothers (think if Cormac McCarthy wrote humor), Shogun, Musashi (two unrelated Japanese Epics set in the early 1600’s), and the Stormlight Archives (basically the next Game of Thrones, minus the sex and extreme violence).
On learning Blockchain, I’ve enjoyed understanding money and it’s role in society through books like: Digital Gold, Capital, Debt, and The Ascent of Money.
On the Business side, Total Ownership and Never Split the Difference really got my synapses firing. Sapiens was all right too. The first 6 chapters of Norwegian Wood: how to cut, stack and burn wood the scandinavian way, was fantastic. But then it got too technical for my city life.
This has been a fantastic year for reading and I think it’s because I now read everything on my iPhone Plus.
There is a growing need for self image brands and one company is solving that. STYLEBEE
Stylebee recognizes the rising need for glam. And we’re not talking glam for a gala. I mean CEO’s looking ready to roll for product releases, experts in their field for Ted Talks, or women AND men shooting web tutorials on sustainable impact investing. The stereotype of who needs make-up used to be reserved for celebrity, models, tv personalities and the rich socialites making their way to nearest open bar. Enter the NOW (2017) and Style Bee: The go to for CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and high level men and women proliferating into our social media lives, changing the way we do business and the way we live. And they know, their best foot forward starts with how they present themselves.
A quick few questions with Chantelle Hartshorne (because she’s busy AF)
How many years have you been doing make-up or in the industry?
How do you balance work and your healthy lifestyle?
"I work hard at making my life work for me. I answer emails at the gym on the machines, and take brainstorming calls on walks. If I have a meeting across town, I walk home."
What about the tech space do you see changing right now?
"Tech is getting smarter, I hate to be the person to say this but in the past a felt like there was a ton of super altruistic products funded for the sake of being funded. I feel that people are making smarter more functional human friendly tools. Everyday I meet entrepreneurs making amazing things that will truly push us forward, not to say that amazing things didn't come before now, I'm just saying that the ideas people are coming up with today tend to be so well designed, thorough, conscious and thought out."
How has politics affected your area of expertise?
"Politics are always complicated, especially being an immigrant and not knowing the system as well as my peers. What I can tell you is that if there was any hate coming through mainstream media towards any of my artists, you can bet your behind that there was extra love being send their way from the STYLEBEE team."
Do you consider yourself a woman in tech or simply in tech?
"I consider myself in tech. I feel very fortunate to be in a career where being a woman is an asset. In the makeup world it's the men that struggle to make a name for themselves. I've never felt what it's like to have my gender affect my career advancement and because of this I feel very strongly that other women should feel the same. The idea that fellow humans have felt restricted because of their sex is baffling to me. I truly hope to see this change in my lifetime. "
Summer Wilson - Creative Director and Photographer of Battle Cry
Photo by John Thatcher