Born outside of the personal care industry.
Akamai adjective / aka·mai - \ä-kä-ˈmī\ / smart, intelligent, clever
Origin: Hawaiian | First Known Use: 1841
When we founded Akamai in 2016, we didn’t start it to make a quick buck. We saw a problem in the area of personal care products (loaded with toxic chemicals, high costs, too much complexity/not enough health, and a lot of myths/bad advice), and we were inspired to show a better way. Something better for our health, wallets, and the planet. We are driven to share with you what we learn along with the essential tools we use in our lives. Think of us as torch bearers.
So who are we? A few quick data points...
- Age: both in our 50’s (been told by many we appear to be 10-15 yrs younger)
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: Vince: INTP (logician); Marni: INTJ (architect)
- Where we grew up: Midwest
- Where we live now: Boulder, CO
- Favorite hobby / sports / wellness: Vince: running / neuroscience & behavioral psychology; Marni: painting and cooking
Vincent Cobb, founder
As a serial social entrepreneur, he’s used to making a difference and changing the status quo. On the front of the green wave, he started the company reusablebags.com in 2003 (later rebranded reuseit.com) and raised consumer awareness about the problems with use-and-toss items like plastic bags and bottles. His vision was to use simple lifestyle changes to help save the environment, save money and waste less. By 2013, reuseit.com had grown to 300,000 customers, empowering them to eliminate an estimated 1.1 billion use-and-toss items. Reuseit.com was twice voted as Green America’s Green Business of the Year (and was granted their Lifetime Achievement Award).
After a course in organic chemistry weeded him out of earning his degree in Microbiology, he discovered Philosophy where he found a home of study. He continues to be profoundly influenced by a convergence of Stoicism, Rationalism, Empiricism, Epistemology, and Ethics — and while at university, cited The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn and sentential calculus (aka propositional logic) as two key game-changers.
In addition to serving Akamai’s mission, he spends time trail running, being in nature, and being a father.
Marni Shymkus, co-founder
Marni has spent 15+ years researching, refining, and creating health-focused personal care products that leverage 100% natural ingredients in their whole form. Her goal is to craft products that are simply better than anything else available while addressing root causes vs symptom management. She's obsessed with creating powerful, practical, effective, and affordable products that harness the power of natural ingredients and our body’s ability to heal itself.
As a tireless researcher and problem solver, Marni's passion for well-being blossomed 18 years ago when she became a mother. Her sense of purpose aligned and grew after she discovered the Weston A Price Foundation (a non-profit dedicated to traditional, nutrient-dense whole foods and healing arts), the discovery of Rudolph Steiner (founder of Anthroposophy), and the Waldorf education system — she co-founded the Urban Prairie Waldorf School in Chicago.
In addition to working on Akamai, Marni focuses on raising their high school children and recharges by painting, making jewelry and hiking with with Xoxo, their family dog.
Want to get to know us better? Here's our “Tim Ferris style” interview...
We’re fans of the Socratic method of inquiry whereby you gain understanding by asking questions — here are a few we’ve answered to help you get to know us a little better. (Thanks to Tim Ferris for a few of the questions below we borrowed from his book Tribe of Mentors)
What book(s) are you currently studying?
Marni: Embrace the Sun by Marc B. Sorenson, and William B. Grant, Ph.D. and Goddess Never Age by Christiane Northrup, MD.
Vince: Daily Stoic (3rd time), Turning the Mind Into an Ally (5th time), The Way of the Superior Man (1st time).
What is your daily wellness routine?
Marni: FMC detox drink, 10-15 min morning sunshine, 30-45 min walk or hike with dog, weekly 2-3x / week tanning (UV A & B) & red light 10-12 min of each, key supplements (foods based vitamins, minerals, mushrooms blend, anti-inflammatories e.g. turmeric), listening to music. Weather permitting, “grounding” by walking barefoot.
Vince: Same as above. Plus daily formal mediation practice, 10 min calisthenics (jumping jacks, push-ups, pull-ups, etc.), 3 - 5 mile run. Weekly journaling, written gratitude & appreciation. Weekend 2-4 hr solo run or hike.
We both follow our (Akamai) oral care and body care routines.
What’s a “good habit” you’re having a hard time adopting / practicing?
Marni: Formal meditation practice.
Vince: Relaxing and being in the moment (less systemic anxiety). Sweets and snacking after 7. Weekly HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and picking up weight training again. (Doing less vs more — ha!).
What words do you live by? (quotes or sayings)
Marni: "Be the change you seek." | The 4 Agreements.
Agreement 1: "Be Impeccable With Your Word"
Agreement 2: "Don't Take Anything Personally"
Agreement 3: "Don't Make Assumptions"
Agreement 4: "Always Do Your Best"
Vince: "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast." | "Be here now." | "Begin again." | "Pain is inevitable, suffering is a choice." | "Be of service" | "Do the change you seek" | "Make it as simple as possible, but no simpler."
What empirical evidence (or milestones) have you seen personally as a result of the “Akamai Way”? (includes our personal care products & routines, and wellness lifestyle)
Marni: The complete reversal of periodontal disease that included inflammation, and deep pockets in gums.
Vince: Same as above. And no more bleeding gums and occasional mouth sores — a small cavity healed. Used to get occasional acne — not anymore. No more dandruff and occasional skin rashes.
1,800+ hrs of formal meditation practice. 1st place in the Male 50-59 2019 Colorado Mountain Series in Half Marathon distance.
What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?
Marni: We got two kittens — utter joy!
Vince: Sam Harris Waking Up App ($99.99)
Besides Akamai, name another time you saw a problem and decided to “change the world”?
Marni: Saw how bad Chicago schools were for preschoolers and how good Waldorf was for them. The schools they were in at the time only went through kindergarten so I helped Co-found an Urban Prairie Waldorf.
Vince: Founded Reuseit.com to raise consumer awareness about the problems with use-and-toss items like plastic bags and bottles. The vision was to use simple lifestyle changes to help save the environment, save money, and waste.
Biggest health challenge you’ve faced?
Marni: IBS (in my 20’s), periodontal disease (in my 40’s), menopause (in my 50’s).
Vince: Anxiety / depression / adrenal fatigue episode in 2016 (set much of wellness agenda for past 5 yrs), receding gum lines, self-loathing (lack of self-compassion).
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Marni: That the sun is bad for you.
Vince: That many of the synthetic / naturally-derived chemicals are okay and should be used on our bodies and in our mouths. Just like with food, I think there are a lot of unknowns and we should be far more skeptical and cautious.
What is an unusual habit or an "absurd" thing that you love or have done?
Marni: When I was nursing I learned that breast milk can be used to address skin, ear, and eye infections (tried it and it worked). I started a practice of walking barefoot for its grounding benefits.
Vince: Built a sensory deprivation tank in high school.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, habit, or modality has most improved your life?
Marni: Spending as much time outside in nature as possible.
Vince: Mediation / mind training, journaling, CBT.