#WomenInTech: Taryn Fixel, 33, Founder & CEO of Ingredient1, is removing the chaos from food so you can find what’s best for your diet, philosophy, and taste. Ingredient1’s first mobile app allows users to search by granular ingredient and diet variations to create their own FOOD ID. The app makes it simple to find transparent food information, and to connect with food you’ll love. Here, she talks to Vanity & Trade about why she left her dream job to pursue an addressable (and unmet) market within the food industry and why she chooses to focus her time on positive impactful thoughts.
Your background is in investigative journalism and documentary producer for CBS News and CNN. How has that helped you on your journey in building Ingredient1?
When it came to building Ingredient1, I’ve learned the importance of knowing the right things to ask. It’s not always about having the right answers, but identifying the questions and the best people to ask.
How difficult was it to have left your dream job to pursue Ingredient1? How were you prepared to take the leap? What were your fears then and what do those fears mean to you now?
It’s always hard to take a leap of faith and try something new, particularly when the job you have is doing something you love. But my fear of not taking the risk – of the potential regret I would have of not following my curiosity in an opportune moment – overrode my fear of leaving. I suppose I always knew I could return to the mainstream media if I wanted to. Those fears mean nothing to me now. They are yesterday’s fears, which have dissipated – a reminder that it’s good to be 1% more curious than fearful.
Was it daunting to start a food tech company when that wasn’t your background?
Having a different perspective actually gave me a competitive edge because I was solely focused on what consumers want and was able to do a 360 degree study of the market. Since we are not beholden to any dietary ideology or any specific end game – i.e. selling our own food products or trying to get consumers into our store – we were able to hone in on the problems shoppers experience that industry players weren’t in a position to address.
Tell us about your energy rhythm and how you manage to stay productive each day?
I map my day based on my energy rhythms. I have the clearest mind in the morning, so I use that time to take more complex challenges or anything that requires substantial focus. I get tired around 3, so that’s a good time to take a break and reenergize myself by meeting someone stimulating. I meditate daily, swim, and walk a lot – it helps me to burn off energy – and it’s really when I get the deepest insight.
Talk about the last time you lost your power and how you took it back.
Power isn’t something that can be lost or taken. I have, at times, allowed people to take control when I shouldn’t have. My experience has been that there is a natural course correction that evolves from candor and consistent actions, one way or another. I’m always stronger in the end.
What mistakes have you made in business and what have you learned from them?
A lot. Mostly ones that other people have made before – which I think is common for entrepreneurs. I read about other people’s mistakes and think, “I would never do that – that’s so obvious,” – but we all get caught up and sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees.
What was a career defining moment for you?
The first story I covered as a journalist was a murder trial in Missouri. An innocent 21 year old boy was sentenced to 40 years in prison. The stakes for everyone were high – so high that the emotional connection to a specific outcome prevented people from questioning anything that deviated from their belief in what happened. It had a tremendous impact on my world view – and watching his sentence get overturned 9 years later restored my faith that simple everyday actions can impact the world.
What is your boss outfit?
Black pants, black tank top, white jacket. Awesome shoes. The shoes are most important because they define the outfit.
What are your top 3 beauty must-have products?
Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets
S.W. Basics Lip Balm – I’ve tried every one on the market – it’s the only one that works! http://store.swbasicsofbk.com/products/beeswax-lip-balms
What are 3 items every woman should have in their closet?
A great fitting black dress
Comfortable shoes that make you feel grounded and powerful
What would be the theme song to your documentary?
Such a hard question. Today? “What a Wonderful World.”
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