Courtney Boyd Myers is the founder of AKUA, a meat-alt company making plant-based foods from regenerative aquaculture. She has been named one of Business Insiders’s “30 Most Important Women Under 30 In Tech”.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
Paying closer attention to financial opportunities and personal money management. In university, I studied philosophy and poetry and never learned about investing or how to start a business.
As a journalist, I wrote stories about the launch of businesses like Warby Parker and Instagram but I never asked for a job. I was on the ground floor watching my guy friends invest in BitCoin, but I never asked how I could too.
In my 20s, money management wasn’t something that my girlfriends and I spoke about in the same way our guy friends did with each other. Now in my 30s, I’ve become a lot more comfortable speaking about money with all my friends and I’ve started taking investment risks.
I also read Ramit Sethi’s “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”, which is an amazing book about personal finance!
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Go back to school to get a job? This is not necessarily a piece of advice that’s unique to my profession but it’s something I hear all the time from people who aren’t exactly sure where they want to go so they go back to school to sit down and think about it for a while.
Unless you want to be a doctor or lawyer or something that needs a qualification to practice, jump a few rungs down or over on the jungle gym career ladder and learn about a few industries that you might want to be in by taking jobs or internships in those industries.
Meet as many people as you can and ask as many questions as you can. Getting paid to learn or even not getting paid to learn as an intern are both better than graduating with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
When I was 30, one of my best friends died while climbing Mt. Everest when the 2015 earthquake struck. He was a mega human and loved by so many. It’s been just 2.5 years and I still think about him most days.
I was one of hundreds if not hundreds of thousands of people affected by his death so I crawled through it with a lot of support and shared grief.
What did I learn from it? Life is so fragile. I still feel gutted every time I think about how our lives would be today if he was still alive, growing up together and going through all the fun adult stuff like getting engaged, going to each other’s weddings, taking super rad adventures together, having kids, etc.
He was a legend. Magnanimous! We thought he was immortal until an avalanche of snow caused a blow to his head and an hour later he was gone. Gone from this life and from our shared time on Planet Earth together.
So even in all of our hurried, hectic, anxious, or furiously angry moments, try to pause, take a deep breath, and be grateful to be alive and love (madly) the ones you’re with.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
I always like to give and create value before I ask for anything in return. Also, I have badass email skills.
What is your morning routine?
I travel a lot to have consistent morning routines but on an ideal day, I wake up at 8:00 am after going to bed just before midnight. I have my morning poo, oil pulls with coconut oil, brush my teeth, drink a glass of water, and meditate for 10 with the Calm app.
Then I make a Four Sigmatic coffee and lion’s mane mushrooms frothed with warm nut milk, sit down at my desk, free-write for 20 minutes, then practice French lessons for 20.
At 9am, I make a green smoothie with nut milk, avocado or nut butter, kale, cauliflower, half a banana, and vegan protein powder and I get cranking on the day’s work (mostly email, writing, and calls!).
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Yoga – 100%! I will be doing yoga until the day I die. It has taught me not only to be flexible in my body but more importantly, flexible in life.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
Being able to communicate efficiently and constantly is key to my productivity. I love the Franz Desktop app that pulls in multiple Slack teams, WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook Messenger. It’s only lacking iMessage, which sits on my desktop as well as my iPhone.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?
When I’m feeling a lack of focus, I make a hot drink like Four Sigmatic’s Lion Mane Elixir or I grab a green tea matcha. Lion’s Mane mushrooms are powerful adaptogens for your brain health and help me to focus much like a 5mg tab of adderall did in college (albeit a million times healthier!).
If I am still in a funk, I spend 3 minutes practicing handstands to get the flowing back into all the opposite places.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
As a child, I loved The Golden Compas by Philip Pullman which is included in his fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials. The main character is Lyra who is a total badass and lives in a parallel universe.
She saves polar bears, cuts through dimensions with knives, and takes on evil adults to save the world with her “daemon” – essentially her physical spirit animal – that shapeshifts into different creatures.
I saw a bit of myself in Lyra, or wanted to see myself in Lyra. As a result, I became braver and saw bravery as a desirable quality. I was never a fan of authority and Lyra’s rebellious, save the world attitude really resonated with me.
Since I was a child, I’ve never stopped questioning the world around me or the way I live through it, even if people keep trying to tell me how it all should be.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“No matter where I am, and even if I have no clear idea where I am, and no matter how much trouble I may be in, I can achieve a blank and shining serenity if only I can reach the very edge of a natural body of water. The very edge of anything from a rivulet to an ocean says to me: Now you know where you are. Now you know which way to go. You will soon be home now.” – Kurt Vonnegut
I’ve read nearly every book Kurt Vonnegut ever wrote and this is one of his many quotes that I’ve read and just whispered “yes” – like a confirmation to a question that I didn’t know I could ask.
My body, heart, mind, and hair – always are at their best by the water. I’ve always felt at home by the water. As a little girl, I always hoped that the man I’d marry would pop the question by the water because that is where I always think the clearest. (Spoiler alert – he did!)
Funny enough, my last job asked me to move out to the mountains in Utah. I gave mountain life two years, and while I enjoyed it, it only confirmed that I am indeed a beach babe. So now, it’s little surprise I’ve started a company making food out of sea greens on a quest to save our oceans!