Sahra V. Nguyen: Public Policy as a Creative Spark (Ep. 163)
Sahra Nguyen joined Joe Miller to chat about her new Brooklyn-based coffee venture—Nguyen Coffee Supply.
Sahra Nguyen is an award-winning filmmaker, entrepreneur, and founder/CEO of Nguyen Coffee Supply. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, Nguyen is also the co-founder of podcast agency Listening Party and a member of the 2018 Google Next Gen Tech Policy Leaders.
In 2018, Nguyen launched Nguyen Coffee Supply—the first-ever Vietnamese-American owned importer, supplier, and roaster of green coffee beans from Vietnam—as a way to showcase the diversity of single-origin arabica and robusta. She works directly with a fourth-generation Vietnamese coffee farmer from Da Lat in the Central Highlands, whose beans are certified clean and organic in Vietnam. As the daughter of Vietnamese refugees in Boston, MA, the company’s name is a nod to Nguyen’s Vietnamese heritage.
Nguyen graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a double major in Asian American Studies and World Arts & Cultures, served as the Director of the Writing Success Program at UCLA, and published an e-book of poetry exploring themes of identity, race in America, and the Vietnamese-American experience.
Building on her love of storytelling, in 2015 Nguyen started her own production company, One Ounce Gold. Her first self-produced documentary web series, “Maker’s Lane,” evolved into a brand new series for NBC News entitled “Self-Starters,” a show about Asian American entrepreneurs around the country. Helping launch the video channel for NBC Asian America, “Self-Starters” was nominated for the EPPY Awards and LA Press Club Awards.
In mid-2016, Nguyen sold her second documentary series to NBC News, “Deported,” which follows the grassroots fight to end deportation of Cambodian-Americans from the U.S. to Cambodia. “Deported” was nominated alongside CNN’s Lisa Ling’s “This is Life” and won the 2018 NAMIC Vision Award for Best Digital Media, Long Form.
With a passion to constantly take on new challenges, Nguyen, along with three friends (all under the age of 30), opened up their first storefront business Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen, in Bushwick, NY, in March of 2015. Within the first 9 months, Lucy’s Vietnamese Kitchen won “Best Vietnamese Restaurant” by popular vote and has been featured in The New York Times, Time Out New York, Zagat, VICE, and more.
Bombshell New York Times report reveals Facebook’s political machinations
A bombshell New York Times report last week cast new light on the extent to which Facebook sought to contain accusations that it was enabling Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Apparently, the company sought to promote the image that the company knew nothing about Russia’s interference while, at the same time, Mark Zuckerberg was kept in the dark. But internally, while Joel Kaplan and Cheryl Sandberg were doing their magic on the Hill working their Harvard connections, Facebook kept uncovering new evidence that Russians continued to use the platform to protect president Trump and spread propaganda in advance of the election and beyond.
The New York Times also reports that the company apparently also hired lobbyists, such as Definers Public Affairs, to help the company oppose its critics.
In a video-conferenced all-hands meeting on Friday, Zuckerberg defended the company saying the New York Times report was unfair and untrue, even as Cheryl Sandberg accepted responsibility for hiring Definers Public Affairs.
And another report by the Wall Street Journal found that Zuckerberg himself pointed fingers at Sandberg, blaming her for the Cambridge Analytica fallout.
Reuters: Russians impersonating State Department officials
Reuters reports that Russian hackers have been impersonating at least one State Department official, Heather Nauert, over email trying to get other officials to download malicious code. Security firms CrowdStrike and FireEye uncovered the effort. But Russia denies involvement.
Julian Assange back in spotlight
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who played a key role releasing hacked emails during the 2016 presidential election, is back in the spotlight. George Washington University Program on Extremism researcher Seamus Hughes uncovered a court filing which found that the Department of Justice appears to be pressing sealed charges against Assange. The Hill also reports that Ecuadorian officials have grown weary of granting Assange asylum at their embassy in London since 2012. If they evict Assange, Assange could be extradited back to the U.S. The American Civil Liberties Union opposes prosecuting Assange, claiming that doing so would be a First Amendment violation.
Nation’s only African American network chief to step down
ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey, who is African American, is stepping down from the company as Disney seeks to restructure the company in advance of closing on its acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets next year. Dungey is the only African American network head in the country, and she’s been with the company for 14 years. She’s been responsible for launching ‘Scandal’, “black-ish” and the “The Good Doctor”. But ABC has seen overall ratings decline 10%, with an 18% decline among adults 18-49 according to The Wall Street Journal.
JD.com’s chief shifting focus
China-based ecommerce giant JD.com’s chief has announced that he will delegate more responsibilities. It’s seen as a long-term move to groom his replacement. Richard Liu was arrested in Minnesota in September for alleged “criminal sexual misconduct” with a Chinese student at the University of Minnesota. The company’s share price has also dropped 55% since January amidst the U.S.-China trade war.
Snap subpoenaed on IPO disclosures
Reuters reports that the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission have subpoenaed Snap to uncover whether the company downplayed competition from Instagram during its initial public offering (IPO) in March of 2017. Snap’s share price has tumbled down to $6.71 per share from its offering price of $17 per share.
TV station groups settle with DOJ over ad sales collusion allegations
Six tv station groups the Department of Justice alleges colluded to fix ad sales prices have settled. Sinclair, Raycom, Tribune, Meredith, Griffin, and Dreamcatcher all settled. The settlement simply requires the station groups not to share nonpublic pricing data with each other for 7 years. There are no penalties, according to Meredith. A private class action by advertisers against the station groups is still in progress.