Andrew Chau // Ep 17 // Bridging Cultures through Boba

Welcome to Episode 17 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Andrew Chau on this week's episode.

We interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals. We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.
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Andrew Chau is one half of Boba Guys and Tea People USA. A former blogger for GOOD magazine, Andrew writes about entrepreneurship through the lens of brand marketing, technology, and the lean startup approach. Prior to a career in CPG and corporate marketing, Andrew started and exited his first startup in 2011. He has his MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
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Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan. 

And my name is Maggie 

And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals.

We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.

Bryan: (00:00:24) We’re pretty excited to have you here because you are an inspiration to our community as well. Every time you ask on the art community or posting the engagement is through the roof, you know?

Andrew: (00:00:33) I come from you guys as a community. I am, I was a hustler, you know, despite everybody says, Oh, you’re so big. I’m like, no, my core is a hustler. I appreciate the DNA. 

Bryan: (00:00:44) Yeah. We definitely want to dive into that too. I’m into that too, because we know that a lot of people in Asian Hustle Network, they’re aspiring entrepreneurs. They’re entrepreneurs who have, who have hustles also have a full time job. Yeah. That, that entrepreneurial, you had a full time job and you made your transition over to Boba guys. You’re all about a man.

How old was the story? Like what, what were you working as before? And what gave you the idea and inspiration to start building Boba guys?

Maggie: (00:01:09) Yeah. And I know that we know that you were working with, with Ben, who was the other Co founder of Boba guys. And we want to learn more about, you know, how you met then and like what, what the chemistry with Ben was like and how you decided, you know, I want to start working with this guy or like, you know, what made your friendships? So Ron real with them.

Andrew: (00:01:30) Cool. Well, you know, I don’t even know where to start, because this is a great time. We haven’t even, even the book that we had, just this came out, we weren’t even telling our origin story. So some of the stuff I say, I don’t think it’s ever really been said, because this is pretty deep. Let me, let me think about, uh, you could tell, we did not rehearse any of these questions. I would say the really beginning of it, I would say founder dating. I said, I’m going to start with just doing a side hustle. So side hustle, I’m sure you guys know, look at AHN, right? It’s it’s a passion project. Usually you’re like, Hey, I’m gonna try this small thing started, you know, a group that you want to cultivate a community in New York case, our case was let’s start a little pop up and we let’s serve 200 drinks and see how it does. And it was really just drinks we wanted to drink because most people know our backgrounds is really corporate.I went to, you know, traditional, I went to business school. I was a brand manager. I was on a track to be like, um a COO at big companies. I was like Clorox target Wal-Mart. So when I was at corporate, corporate companies and a brand manager, if you know, is just very technical, just very like leader on the business unit. So I never even thought about doing a side hustle, but I do think. Those of us like you guys and anybody. And I see almost every one of the posts that come through on AHN. What I relate to, especially the ones that, that the peak that stick out to me are the people who just have overflowing passion. They just, they just know, and it’s like a craft. And for me, I do believe that society with all this stuff that’s been going on and we lost the ability to create. So my two crafts are, it’s a business nerd. You guys know this because you guys don’t me personally. Those who know me, my personal profile. It got to know that I’m really into business books. I watched business leadership things like probably more than almost anybody I know. And it’s just because I think of it as like, I just want to be a leader and I want to be better leader because I’ve always been in like student government and in it. And when I was in high school and then in college, I was in student government and I was in the school paper. And then. I’ve always, I managed people when I was really young in my career. So to me it was part of my DNA. I don’t think I was good at it, but I wanted to constantly get better. And then by now, yeah, 400 employees. Um, even though they’re a lot of them are gone now, but like in general, up to 400 employees, I had really just tried to figure out, well, what. How do you manage 400 boys? Cause I’ve only managed before that, like 10, 15. So there’s a very big difference in my mind of the stages, but all of that has to do with the dedication to craft. And I did things where Ben and I are really, um, I was while we’re still good friends, it’s just that we just care about the craft of something in our case, again, it’s business and maybe there’s been, um, maybe he’s working only one of us has to be on the floor at all times.

Uh, we are trying to figure out what is the best way to optimize what we have and what we also love is culture. So, secondly, how did I find Ben? Um, it’s like founder dating. I know people know I’m married. I’ve been married since I was young. I was t 25 when I got married and I’m 37. And it’s rare that you find one, the soul mate, you know, if you believe in that I found two, um, Ben is like my true compliment. And actually he and my wife get along really well, cause they’re very similar. And, um, you know, they don’t have as big of a personality, but they’re very, very low ego, very, very humble, but also very intelligent and have really, really deep, only vibe with anybody. And you guys are actually very similar by the way. You don’t get it. You guys don’t get enough credit when I hang out with you guys, you guys are incredibly, um, just by the questions you had started with. You guys are incredibly deep and pensive, which I think makes it easier to then hone a craft because there’s a lot of self-reflection when you started craft. It’s kind of like, sorry, my two minute answer on, on that whole question. That will be like deeper if you want. But yeah,

Bryan: (00:05:44) no, we definitely liked that because it’s very valuable for people to hear this too cause most people would think that, Hey, I have to add to go out there and find this cofounder, that, that word. I just have to find someone that wants to work with me, you know, and pick up whoever wants to deal with them. That doesn’t exactly work that way. You know, get that chemistry. You have to have the same vision and then you have to have the same similar values and execution. Right. Without that you’re going to have a lot of problems when probably those arise. You’re like, okay. I, one person might be more aggressive to solve the, I’d be more passive to solve this. You need guys to be on the same page because this is where conflict winning conflict happens. If I start arguing now, nothing ever gets done. And I like how you mentioned that. Hey, you have to learn how you, you have to learn how to take care of your employees too. Very important any industry that you work on? Well, he’s a number one, leading number one and you, you said that up front, that’s one of the first thing you said, I gotta take care of my employees. I gotta manage them correctly. I got to go from 15 to 400. You know, the fact that you haven’t lost any quality going from 15 to 400, it says a lot about your own personal character, but you going back and holding your own craft. That’s pretty amazing, Andrew.

Andrew: (00:06:58) Thanks, man. I feel you found my flame. Thank you. Well, I, I am Asian, so I always try to deflect. Thank you. I just, um, you guys are very similar, right? You guys have a great dynamic, like I know you guys are very different personalities yourself and I think any good organization, anything well run, you need to kind of have a pretty good diverse skillset and personalities.

Maggie: (00:07:19) Yeah, and I love that you and Ben, you know, you to always put your employees first, you know, that’s the beauty behind Boba guys. You really cultivate that environment where your employees need to be prioritized. And that’s how that’s what makes your business so successful, you know, for your employees too. You know, I know that had to let go of all of their employees recently. Um, and I’m sure that was a very, you know, heartbreaking moment for both you and Ben. Um, you know, due to COVID-19, a lot of other small businesses are dealing with the same thing. I think they mentioned that over 4 million small businesses are at risk of closing. So can you talk a little bit about what that experience was like and you know, what you said to your employees and how that made you feel, um, and you know, what their experience, what was their feedback and how did they take it?


Andrew: (00:08:12) Yeah, that’s great. Um, yeah, you know, this is going to be weird and I, especially yours as a community, I know a lot of people in yours. And so I’ll be really candid. Like the biggest thing that was crossing my mind, especially I would phase it out into like pre laying off and then post laying off is that nobody imagines laying off that many people. And it’s not me. I’m talking to other founders and other CEOs all the time. None of us were ready to lay off that many people, because most of the time, if you’re small business, it’s like family. It is like, you know, I know almost every single persons, um, every single person that’s employed, there were some of the newbies I didn’t really get to know, but for the most part, I knew like 350 out of 400. Like I knew them personally. I know what school they went to or if they went to, uh, graduated school, like I knew a lot of their families because we had built it over the years. And so when you lay them all off, you feel responsible because many people, especially people in my corporate side, they trusted me with their careers and they, because sadly of my business persona, I was known to be a good savvy business person, but even a savvy business person where they felt comfortable, I felt like I let them down. And I, you know, I’m sure you’ve heard that, you know, I don’t want to make it about us. Everybody who left the boat people were like emotional and crying. If you weren’t. I think you were a robot. We were crying a lot and Ben doesn’t Ben more stoic than me. And he, he was really emotional because. And I didn’t even know how emotional he would get. And then when we were doing some of these zoom calls and Google Hangouts, we had to lay some people, the corporate people over zoom, because we were under quarantine at the time. And it was just, it just, it just broke people. And I think it broke us. It broke everyone. And I think in that way, it goes to what you’re saying is like what makes somebody who they are for us fortunately, and especially if you’re an AHN. If you are the type that you started your business out of passion, out of taking care of people. And it just happened to blow up the way we did. You guys, AHN happened to blow up. Like, I think at the core of it is the fact that you did it for the right reasons. So you got to spend anybody just spends a lot of their life staying grounded. And I, some of you guys know I’m a huge fan of the rock. Um, and one thing he talks about and in his whole production company is called seven bucks production. And. The people that I see, whether you’re in this case, a celebrity, but it’s just, I’m saying somebody that everybody knows, um, or even other people that have made it on whatever scale, not being as big as the rock.

We’re not even being as big as Boba guys or anything, even like one store to 10 stores, one store to five stores, um, or a Facebook group or a community that’s 10 people. And now its a thousand people, you know, I think in any of those situations, you have to be, I wouldn’t say that people overuse the word humble, but like you have to kind of keep yourself grounded and centered. I do think that is the only way you’re going to scale. I always felt, you know, I don’t want to get. Into my professor Oriel mode, which you guys know sometimes, comes out is, but like one of the things I really tell my team is, you know, the rate of growth of your influence is going to grow. It’s going to, it’s going to go up, but you want the greater growth of your character to grow faster than the rate of growth influence you want the, the hills to be steeper. And so you have to double down on character more than you. You, you put down on influence. Any anybody in AHN, most people are hustlers and they have that mentality that they’re going to grind. So their trajectory is generally positive growth. But if they don’t work on their character faster, they’re doomed. And I think that happens a lot. Um, it’s why people lose it all. And that’s, it comes to the second part, which is post COVID when I laid people off. I mean, we’re in COVID, but post the layoffs, I had to really reconcile and like how much of my identity was my company, because our company is called Boba guys. People knew me as the Boba guy. So they were, my identity was almost in my name and it was weird to then possibly to think possibly that we would lose our identity. That was weird. And I thought about it for a week, especially when we didn’t get loans. Oh my gosh. That was just like two weeks ago. If I didn’t get a PPP loan, I don’t know. I think Boba guys was shut down at least more than half of our stores right away. Like for good. Like, because we went so many massive leases, like our San Ramon store that lease is $10,000 or New York stores, um, Palo Alto like, like the market inevitably shrink. So yeah, I’m sure we both guys wouldn’t have went under, under, but we would have all the work that we did in the last few years, we would have been set back. Yeah. So those ones helped, um, because I think we’re going to be able to get some of the loans. Um, so yeah, I think that’s the second part, which is like, how do you wrestle with your identity, especially when in this crisis it’s like, how much of yourself is, are you going to lose? And I thought if I lose Boba guys, would it still be okay? I actually think. I like to say, I think I would, I think, um, I have a little, a bit of my identity outside of Boba guys, like small business or public service or Asian American Advocacy that I know if I lose one part of it, I don’t feel like. All my eggs in one basket and that’s not all who I am. And that’s why I encourage you guys. You guys have jobs, you know, Bryan, you’re great. Bryan, you’re great. In real estate when I first met you, like you have different parts of your identity, like having that is actually really healthy, which is why I think side hustles are very healthy.

Bryan: (00:13:57) Wow. That’s that’s, that’s really, that’s really amazing that you said all that to you cause I think he’s right, man. I think that you’re bigger than your situation. I mean, your, your, you know, your trajectory, but just because it goes a long way. Cause it does, when you start your business and we do anything, your personalities in prints and everywhere, you know, and this you, not that kind of. If you’re not growing fast enough where you can and see problems more holistically, you can solve it. You know, you can’t pinpoint it. You get frustrated easily. You stop, you don’t push forward. Then the essence, your business can only grow. As fast as you can, or, and if it stops for you, aren’t, it doesn’t grow past. You never goes past you. It starts. Where were Andrew is right now. And you have to push yourself to develop yourself cause you can’t, you can’t do anything. If your character is not quite there yet, you’re going to get frustrated at the most insignificant things. But you’re wasting your energy on, you’re wasting your time on that. Doesn’t do you any good. Good. You know, and I like the fact that you pointed out that, you know, it’s great to have side hustles. A lot of people in Asian Hustle Network outside hustles and we want to trace it back a little bit too, what was the inspiration for Boba guys? How you come up with a name as you’re working your corporate job, what was that feeling like when you’re like, all right. Today’s the day Ben, we’re going to start a Boba shop.


Andrew: (00:15:28) Great question, man. It’s going to bring me back a little bit to memory lane. Okay. I think a lot of it was, I mean, most people know Ben and I met at a company called Timbuktu where they make bags, messenger bags and he was a creative director. I was general manager there. So I managed like a business unit and he was directing and designing a lot of the assets for the company and we would always go out to lunch and we thought we were going to do a, an apparel company. Cause we both had kind of like a cut and sew apparel background. So we thought maybe that’s what we would do. But when we were brainstorming, we were, we love Boba, both Ben and I don’t drink a lot of alcohol, almost nothing. I got really red, super Asian flush. Yeah. So. Um, I was like, Oh, this guy is very similar. You know, like, and we both were like, not afraid to say that we don’t drink. So even after work and stuff, we’d be like, instead of going to a bar or whatever we go to, like, we just grabbed Boba. And at the time blue bottle and Phil’s coffee in the Bay area were really blown up. They don’t get one or two stores, you know, blue bottle had only three stores. I think Phil’s had like two. Um, we were like, what if people. What if we did this for Boba, what if, what if there was a Boba and we were getting older, right? We’re in our, getting into our thirties. We’re 28, 29. We’re like, okay, we’re gonna turn 30 soon. What if, um, like we made Boba with, you know, not better ingredients as in like talking down, but like, you know, nobody says coffee, blue bottle makes Starbucks look weak. Nobody says that early days people would say Boba guys, Like was like crapping on quickly. I’m like, I still love quickly. I think it wasn’t that, but could it mean that you want it to be better ingredients that was empirically better?

That was organic or, you know, sourced better? Yes. And during the people who care as I got older, I was going from Starbucks to blue bottle myself. So I cared about it. And that’s where we said, could this happen with Boba? And we said, why didn’t happen? And now, Oh, and on top of that, um, Asians were not, there was not crazy rich Asians and stuff. So there was all this stigma and both he and I grew up Asian-American, but in non-Asian American areas, I grew up in New Jersey for the first 11 years of my life and Ben in Texas for the first, 17 Oh, of through college. So he and I both in non-Asian areas of New Jersey and Texas and so we both were like, why don’t we Asian thing aren’t cool like, and this is a no slight to anybody who tried to make Asian things, school there’s Ben baller. There’s Eddie. Eddie was one of them. Eddie Wong was one of them, but like why aren’t there more Eddie Wong? Bauhaus. So we, this is 2010. When we thought of the idea, we were like, maybe, and we’re Googling and you know, there wasn’t like Instagram really popping off. It was just Facebook and Google. And so we were saying, no, one’s done it. There was no, like, you know, you could do high end Boba premium Boba, all Boba artistical bubble tea Like we did every version and you could go back and Google search trends didn’t exist. Um, and we’ve been saying it. So if it has existed, people would have called us out on it. So we, we were like, why don’t we invent the category. And then that’s when our friends who knew as well were like, well, how do you start it? There’s a reason why it didn’t exist. Asians won’t pay for nice thing. My mom even said that, I swear, mom said, Andrew, why does it have to be organic milk? You know, my mom was one of those people who didn’t believe in organics because I thought it was expensive. And I was like, mom, you know, it’s not just about the properties of the milk. It’s also maybe the process and there’s, there’s value in that she goes, milk is milk, you know, very Asian mom answer. And then to me, I said, well, you know, I was a trained as a marketer and I went to grad school for marketing and I was in brand manager before that. And so I was like, maybe, maybe it’s about change, changing people’s perceptions for Boba and possibly for Asian-Americans. And at the time, you only one that we rewrote this on, like on like a Google doc, only company we could think of was Penn express and even then people didn’t think they were super Asian. Right. So we were like, why don’t we do it based off of this model? So that’s 2010, 11, and here we are. It’s crazy. Yeah. And then we did the popups and stuff, but the popups were just. That’s just executing. But the idea of that was just a lot of soul searching. And it’s why you see Boba guys to this day, all about bridging cultures, because we didn’t have a tagline back then, but it was always about, uh, I mean, it’s crazy COVID did this, set it back, you know, COVID basically was like, Oh, Asians eat bat soap.

You know, like again, a decade ago it was agency dogs, right. Or they’re, they’re really dirty. And the places are never kept any have bad customer service. Have you noticed Boba guys tried to address every single one of those? So every time there was a stereotype, we made our model against it. And in the first five years, I would not to say this, but if people followed us, we did get a lot of hate within the Asian American community, because I would say half, half of the comments were about us selling out. But if you knew us and if, you know, like, you know, we roll with all these Asian You Tuber’s and stuff, we were always the ilk of the age of youtubers cause bill from long foo, whether it’s Andrew David Fong, I watched them growing up and I had that in me, but I knew since I was a marketer, you had to repackage it in a way. That makes it accessible. And then one day you Trojan horse the culture, and then you start opening it up. So as Boba guys got big. We really, really with open upthe culture and now we can almost single handedly make trends, but Korean banana milk or oat milk. So now we know you have to get up to a certain size and scale for that. That’s where it comes back to your DNA. If Ben and I, those who have known us for 10 years, people tell you I’ve always been super into culture and Asian American identity. Um, just because even read my old blog posts on Zynga, I would talk about it all the time. You know, how come there’s aren’t Asian CEOs? The reason why I am apparently like very vocal about my public CEO persona is not because I want to, I happened to be a little louder than Ben, which is why I chose to go public. But it has more to do with the fact that I don’t see good Asian role models. I had no Asian CEOs that I looked up to. Very few that fit my archetype persona. And I said, I can’t let that happen. And so that’s why I’m super into leadership.

Maggie: (00:22:21) Yeah, I liked that. I really liked that because it really reminds me of like how Bryan and I also started AHN. Because we saw, you know, a lack of like Asian leaders and it was all because we went to this real estate conference and, you know, all the panelists were non-Asian, you know? And so I feel like. We really relate to that side of your story and going back to, you know, the culture of Boba guys, I know that you and Ben have done a really great job in cultivating the culture, culture of Boba guys. You know, being able to have people, you know, go to Boba guys to really connect, right and the whole Boba Bay thing on the shirts and stuff like that. People love that, you know, I know that you guys really, um, are really honed in on the idea of, you know, allowing the customers to see what goes on in the kitchen and the background. And, you know, when we had the other Boba shops before Boba guys, A lot of people were all always complaining about, you know, my Boba is very powdery or like, you know, the taste that just isn’t there. And people were complaining about that, but we weren’t really seeing a lot of Boba shops making changes and, you know, honing up like trying to solve that problem. You know, I think what people really appreciate about what the Boba guys is like, you can see everything that goes on in the background. You can see everything that goes on in the kitchen, and that’s really important in order to build the trust between Boba guys and the customer. Um, and I know like Bryan and I talked to you a lot about the culture and you bridging, you know, you’re the interior decor that you put into both guys’ shops and about, you know, I know you put like a stadium kind of interior decor in one of your Boba guys shops. How would you say that you are incorporating, you know, that type of culture and how it relates to the Asian culture in your perspective, in terms of like the interior decor. I know you put a lot of thought into it and choose your shops.

Andrew: (00:24:13) Dude, that’s a great question that I would say high level, we incorporate. Asian culture and some Latin culture throughout our company, um, all the way through, from our product to our design. So if you look at even first of all our design, if you look at kind of like the white and wood architecture, you remember back then when we started our first set of stores in 2011, 12, 13, nobody really made that kind of subway tile white look, the only cafe that did it was blue bottle. And guess where blue bottle get inspiration? James Freeman built his company off of Japanese coffee shops. Yeah. So it was accurate actually, a Japanese Scandinavian combination. Which is where our art architecture and look comes from back then, nobody was shops, looked like this. So it was because I was trying to get Japanese aesthetic. Like Moogy, Moogy wasn’t even in America yet, but repetitive kind of, um, kind of repetitive blocking and very kind of strong angular features. Like I don’t get too much into architecture. But a lot of my favorite architects in the world, um, have, uh, I’m a very, I’m a Ben and I bought like brutalism. So there’s a lot of like concrete, but it didn’t feel warm enough. So we kind of took some of the different styles, architecture we liked and combined them. But anyways, most people will say now it’s called Japanese Scandinavian. Very minimalist, very clean, but, um, uh, organic materials. So that right there will tell you there’s a Japanese aesthetic. And then the, um, we have, um, uh, manual. We are one of the first terms we teach. Every newbie is called omotenashi and it’s a Japanese word for their customer service, their level of customer service in Japan. I’m sure you guys know is so crazy. If you’re Japanese, there is none. There is no culture that is that respectful into perfection. It’s like German is the close number two, but it’s Japanese, Japan, number one. And that’s just humans, right? It’s not like. It’s just humans deciding that’s the standard. It’s not like some mechanical thing. That’s how you knew it was cultural. It was just, can you make that level of standard of service? The norm? And that’s why Boba guys, um, as I mentioned, was really trying to fight some of the stigma that people would think that Boba shops had really crappy customer service. Nobody cleaned anything. Um, you couldn’t see what was going on. So we’d basically did everything the opposite. Um, and so when we did that, we really thought again, how do we still inject small little cues of culture in there? Cause we can’t forget who we are. For example, we have this thing called, um, sunny hills pineapple cakes, if you’re Taiwanese. Um, I know you guys read the MES. Um, but it’s like going to Vietnam and whatever the signature thing is like in San Francisco, maybe it’s Garrett deli chocolate in Taiwan, it’s sunny Hills pineapple cakes. So we started importing that over. And to be honest, that makes no money. Um, it comes here cause you have to air freight it cause that’s such a short shelf life, but we did it because we were trying to teach Americans what pineapple cakes work cause it’s a symbol of friendship that in a pineapple cakes and pineapples are a symbol of fresh events.

I want things like that. We explain and we train our team because we have a very diverse team. So a lot of our employees, if they’re Hispanic, they’re going to be like, how did you know that so much about pineapple? And they’re going to say in college, I worked at a Boba shop called Boba guys, and I learned a lot about culture through them and vice versa. We have a lot of Asian Americans who know nothing about Latin culture or other cultures. And they’re learning what a base of an opera Fresca. It’s like fresh water, like fruit teas. We do tea frescoes here, or, uh , which is a, um, uh, I think of it as a drinking chocolate from Mexico. So those small things that goes both ways when you do that, we knew. It was just going to be our style. And then as a business person, I’ll tell you, we knew nobody could really, it was gonna be harder to pull off. You can clone it, which is why after nine years you would think we’re essentially an Asian American style business. You would think we’d be fully cloned by now.

No one has. Yeah, it could figure us out. And so, um, because what we do is not our product. It’s, it’s our culture.

Bryan: (00:28:31) I love it. I love it. It’s good because, you know, as you mentioned you before, you’re really into culture who really into like icons and all that stuff, and you end You know, interests and hobbies and whatever into your, your business. So in a way that makes your business very unclonable because only one on your child, we’re talking to him right now, you know, and that’s, that’s the same way where I feel like that’s a sort of. The, I guess the roadblock for most entrepreneurs, especially that we see in Asian Hustle Network, we see posts like, hey, what are you guys’ business ideas and I said, we see comments sit. Hey, I don’t want to share my idea because you guys might steal it.

Andrew: (00:29:16) Yeah oh my gosh. I see. Right. I want to go off, but yeah, I don’t want to say

Bryan: (00:29:21) Yeah and we see that and we know the fact that your creativity can’t be duplicated. We see a lot of people actually top in copy, Asian Hustle Network groups on Facebook that have not blown up yet. These are the same color as us. The same font, the same icon. Yeah, let’s see time. The only, only you can shape your vision the way you want it to be. You know, only you can infuse your personality and your own personal values too. Because luckily for us, we’re so inspired by, you know, as I mentioned before, Japanese culture that we believe that hospitality, there’s multiple ways you can go in the restaurant business, you know, you can also go online communities like our hospital, are our first priority, always the Asian Hustle Networks to make sure that everyone’s well is treated with respect.You know, we want to make sure that everyone’s there, that they can feel vulnerable if you passionate and feel like they can share their story. And that’s just, that is just an extension of who we are as people. We like listening to the story, the fact that you’re on this podcast, we were giggling about it for the past two weeks.Ever since we got you two to agree to come to the podcast, we were giggling, you know, we did a lot of research to make sure that we want to. Put you in a position in our podcast where we can definitely show the world who is Andrew Chau, you know, but what is your pivot insight inside your, your business? Great lessons learned for people listening. You know, it’s, if you can start out with an idea take it to the next level. It requires a lot of you, your own values, your own personality. As far as a lot of pivoting to that, you know, starting Boba Shaw, it might be a quickly, it might be like whatever bullet shop out there, but hey, 10 years later down the line, you guys are one of our clients, you know, Every time, our two Boba guys are like, wow, this is Boba guys is awesome.You know, we associate good quality, good service and unique, unique branding with Boba guys and this doesn’t involve from, from day one. Doesn’t have to be from day one. You just have to do it. You have to take action and just have fun, have fun along the way.

Andrew: (00:31:33) That sounds cool, dude. You got a great, you, you you’re basically going to be my first publicist.

Bryan: (00:31:42) Yeah. Just want to make sure you just have fun with that, you know, and I think, I think I keep going back to like the side hustle thing, you know, we’re so interested in hearing more about that cause what was that feeling like when you’re like, wow, this is a viable option. We’re actually gonna do it then we’re going to go out there and just start all this Boba shops and we’re going to quit our jobs. Oh my God. You know, a lot of people to dream about qutting their jobs.

Andrew: (00:32:09) Yeah. It’s scary, man. That’s a great question. And I think not enough people ask kind of like what goes into someone’s head when that happens is because just like you guys are in real estate or in corporate. In a more structured environment to leave, leave it is really hard. You know, a lot of people think entrepreneurs are the ones who are like, Oh, they can’t work for anybody. That’s why they gotta become an entrepreneur. I think that’s the case for a lot of people, which I think that’s where I do think half the entrepreneur populations are because it can. They just don’t have a certain personality that, um, in my cases, I think you’re not gritty or they ultimately care about their things too much because I think most people do need to spend some time in a system. Just to understand how to have structured because when they grow and create their own, they’re going to wonder why they run things so poorly. 

And the ones that run it better are generally people who come from a more structured background. I just believe this. And I’m an example. I wouldn’t be who I am. If I didn’t come from companies, even though I hated some of my time there. And I was like, wow, it’s so bureaucratic as I, my company bigger. I remember what it was like. And I think I don’t want to make the same mistakes. So I think you need to have that. But I think, uh, the other piece though, is been an idea other half. I think like you guys are, we do it because we. We, it was a pet project that came out of love and then it became a thing it’s usually the best things in life blossomed that way. Right? Like it’s love. It’s like you didn’t go intentionally to find somebody. Sometimes you just meet somebody on a street corner and you, that you fall in love forever. And I think the same way happens in business, the good businesses really have that. And then at that point, are you ready in this case in love to be married, to fully commit, right? You have to be happy. You can’t like. Fully get into that mind space. If you weren’t ready before you met the person, right? You can’t like develop that along the way. You have to have the core ready to be ready to be longterm commitment. Some people aren’t ready in the business, the same thing, some people aren’t ready to kind of make that leap. So, and how do we know we were ready? A lot of it had to do with the fact that I. Had a lot of great people around me. And I’m sure you we’ve talked about this offline, the strongest leaders and people who are like hustlers, you have a really good network and ecosystem around them. You have people who band or flame who understand them and say what they’re doing right or wrong.

And we were the, we had some people basically say, Andrew, You’re sitting on an idea that probably can be the next blue bottle at a time. That’s what somebody said. The next blue bottle. And I was like, no, no, I can store it. I was like, no, no, no, no, no. But I was tired and they’re like, Andrew, you’re all, you’re going to bore. You’re going to Brown. And then he was like, you have to go do it. And then I had a couple of like my big bros. One of them you can probably, um, Might know who I got into my ear early. It was Hanson Li from salt partners. Anson was one of those guys because I knew his sister. And so basically certain people helped me kind of like process does a scale. And so I asked my wife, give me two years to, to see if I could scale it. And if it could scale, then I might just make this my career. Sadly, I was on the fast track to become like a COO of like a big CPG company cause that was my true background. But I told my wife, you know, I’m 37 now. I probably would, might, might be a, uh, uh, a VP or a COO of almost any CPG company because of just what my style of leadership was. And so sadly, I knew that I was going to be throwing it away. And my Asian in me was like, don’t waste anything. Right? So don’t waste your career. You studied this long. I give it up. It’s like friends who beat, who went to med school. And a decade ago, nobody would go to med school and drop out. I have a lot of friends that have gone to med school and law school and drop out.

It’s a different mindset now. And a lot of it, I do think has to do with the fact that. More and more of our parents and more and more of the social norm in Asian culture is you got one life to live. Don’t waste it and you know, you’ll be miserable and there’s enough people who would look miserable and have career transitions later on in life that the younger youth, the youth is like, I don’t want that for me. I know if I know this isn’t for me, I’m going to do something. I like, I’m going to become an actor. I’m going to start a YouTube channel. I’m going to start our real estate business, I’m going to get into food business. There’s that? Is it a trigger and I can’t explain it other than saying it’s like falling in love, you know, when you’re ready to get married, you know, when you’re ready to commit and you know, when you’re ready to just make the leap, that’s the only way you think about it. And it’s very intuitive if there’s all these other things that are like, Oh, maybe I should, maybe that’s like saying love. And it’s like, well, you’re asking every one of your friends, should I marry this person? Should I marry? You asked like 15 people and you’re not getting one answer. You don’t get married. It’s not your, your mind’s not right.

Maggie: (00:37:21) Yeah. I think that resonates a lot with a lot of our numbers in AHN as well. Yeah. And myself as well. You know, I think like growing up in an Asian household, a lot of our parents, you know, told us we have to become doctors. We have to become lawyers. We have to become, you know, or something in the financial field, you know, and that’s very, very common in an Asian household because a lot of our parents came from times of war and they immigrated here with nothing on their shoulders, nothing on their backs. And all they know is to be in a company or, you know, have a safe. Job, you know, work in a corporation until the day that you retire so that you don’t put any risk in your lives, you know, and what we really want to cultivate in AHN is that you don’t have to be afraid of entrepreneurship. You know, we are living in a different generation. Now we are living in a different era. So we can all support each other. You know, we have so many resources, you know, not just in Asia, but in the Asian community and all communities in general, you know? And I think that it’s really important that you talk about that because a lot of us still have that, like that scarcity mindset, like Bryan was talking about. And in order to overcome that is to be open with our voices open with, you know, our businesses, um, and not seeing that as like a taboo kind of thing.

Bryan: (00:38:40) You know, I think it’s more of the story is do what makes you happy? Don’t feel like you’re wasting your degree or whatever of the engineering engineering degree.I have a master’s in computer science. Okay. But I haven’t signed it. I was like, Aw, this hurts.

Andrew: (00:38:56) I remember we talked about this when we first met.

Bryan: (00:39:00) Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it’s a great segue too, because you know, life is a lifelong learning process, you know, even with Boba guys, now, it doesn’t stop a Boba guys. You know, we see pivot Andrew, we see do other things you mentioned before you have different parts of your identities out there. That is a part of who Andrew Chau is. You know, you’re very active in government and all that whatnot. And this is a great segue to talk about it too. How does, how did you, how’d you make this pivot? Like, okay, we have Boba guys now we’re going to, I want to get into this. I want to get into that. And that’s what most people think is like, when you start your business, you’re stuck. You can’t go anywhere. You’re stuck. But no, I opened up way more opportunities for you to do more things you’re interested in.

Maggie: (00:39:41) Yeah and I want to add to that question, you know, a lot of people in AHN, they are so attached to their business because they spent so much heart and energy and passion into the business and due to COVID-19, you know, a lot of them, some are at risk of closing. So I want to like tap into, you know, what your advice is to these small business owners in light of COVID-19, you know, a lot of people are just low on working capital, but they want to get started, you know, back in the gears, you know, get there businesses opened again, but then there’s also that risk of you know, being out in the open, whether it be health complications, or just like the racism and xenophobia that you see, you know, and how, what your perspective is on that. Like what can you tell these small business owners online, how they can pivot, but make sure that they are, that they feel safe at the same time.

Andrew: (00:40:30) Yeah both are great questions. I think, well, first I’m going to go reverse them, starting with the racism and that kind of stuff. I think. I think what’s going out and you guys started that campaign. So you and our friend, Tammy, um, and Michelle, when you guys did the hashtag hate is a virus. That is an amazing campaign. Um, as I just said, right before we jumped on, you know, the biggest thing is like, I see the other communities getting involved on that campaign and that’s what you need. I think in that case, you need allyship telling Asians don’t be, don’t be racist is, is not. Going to be a great end goal. You need to tell the allies of Asians to be like, hey, you know, don’t be Asian, don’t be racist to my Asian friends. I think that is what we need to do. And then on the flip side, we need to do this for our African American friends and Hispanic friends who, and Muslim and women and anybody who’s marginalized. We kind of have to remember to lean, um, that’s number one, I think that’s happening. So I don’t. So sadly I think it’s a COVID to unite everybody, but that’s what happened. And I think we’re seeing leaders take charge. Um, and we got to keep on speaking up. That’s hopefully a no brainer. Like now Asians, generally we’re not really great at it, but now when we spoke up, look at what’s in the media. So now, you know, and not, this is our parents’ generation was much more about safety, much more about not being the nail that sticks out. Right. You know, but America is squeaky wheel gets the grease in Asia. It’s the nail that sticks out, gets the hammer down. So we’re in America though. So in this environment we gotta be the squeaky wheel and that’s what’s happening. So encouragement to everybody in AHN, you guys on hate is a virus, a wash the hate, all the different campaigns.

Yeah. Love it. Now related to what can people do to get out of this? I think it really does depend on your situation. I think, go ahead to the question about politics, which are Bryan’s question, which is really great. It’s about going back to, what do you think you’re good at? And what do you think is your core? So when I got into politics, I knew my core. I knew Boba, but I didn’t know how to make Boba. I knew the culture of it because I was Asian. I grew up with it and I knew roughly where I wanted to take it. But it was just the vision, but you had to know who you were. If everybody who knew me, when I was young, I was always that kid who was very flexible with my culture, I was at my handle most people know is 10 million. That was since middle school. That was my AOL screen name. If you know what aim AOL is definitely. Um, it was because everybody said I was a jock. I was a really good athlete. So whether I played baseball or tennis, I was great. I was an Asian kid who played in I had a really good, fast ball. I could throw like 80 miles an hour. Like I was that jock, but I was also, and I was not scared of anybody, but I was also the nerd because I was also in all the AP classes. You couldn’t pin me down. And I think to me, not, everybody’s not built that way. I get it. But for me, my identity then became you can’t pin me down. You can’t label me correctly, which became chameleon, which then became, Oh, you’re not just a Boba guy. If, if the skillset to do Boba is leadership, that’s no different in politics. And I was getting annoyed enough of things that I was seeing in politics. And so I got in the state, so I knew the mayor, his name was Ed Lee of San Francisco.

He was an Asian American mayor and, um, really great guy, really good guy. Uh, daughter was amazing, is amazing. Like, um, and I was helping them with small businesses studd as Boba guys is growing. And so I really thought, okay, well, if I can make a change and we got a lot of things through, I think I could make change in other areas. And then over the last four or five years, that’s what happened. No one gets too much into it. A lot of it had to do with Trump. I was so mad but I don’t like complaining. So I literally was like, I always say, you know, like, um, don’t be the thermometer. Be the thermostat. Like, don’t be what. Don’t let the environment dictate what temperature you boil at or, or hot or cold you dialed environment up hot or cold. And I am you guys, sorry if you’re listening for me for the first time, you’re like, I didn’t know. The guy from Boba guys is like, he’s such a type A and I’m like, yeah, like I I’m the eldest grandson in grandchild on both sides. I was born, whether it was conditional or nature. I wasn’t, I was always like an alpha.

Yeah. And so, um, for better or worse, that’s probably why I’m on entrepreneur. Because while I was in corporate for 10 years, I was gritting my teeth. I was like, man, you’re an idiot. Like, let me, let me redo the strategy. But I was Asian enough that I was very humble. I’d be like, Oh, okay. You know, Professional, but, you know, I wasn’t, I don’t think I was being a dick. So that’s why I was just like, Oh man, if, and when I have my chance, I’m going to make the best of it. And here, here it is. So then going back to your question of what then can small businesses do just like we are, cause we’re no, we have to pivot. How do you pivot? You gotta pivot around what you think is your core competency. What makes you, who you are? So Boba guys is core competency. As I kind of long windedly said is about, for me. It’s about culture leadership and, um, the ability to kind of like, um, adapt culture leadership and the ability to adapt. Well, none of it has to do with Boba. So as long as it’s kind of related to Boba, it will work so leadership.

Well, we have to come out with a model that is different from most places. Cause people are gonna wonder why Boba guys shut down for so long, um, and be, and then be outspoken and fight for, because we have cloud. Fight for the people who cannot do not have a voice leadership that’s leadership. And then pivot, I basically have all these big stores, but I can’t use them the same way. Cause you can’t crowd in our stores anymore. I have to kind of wrestle with the idea and I want to say it’s I don’t like the word humble too much because I think it’s weird because people become bowlers like moderately misconstrued. I would modesty modesty is like what Asian people do, which is.  Modesty is thinking less of yourself. You’re so great. No, no, no, no. I’m not good on that. That’s occasion. That’s not great. Modesty is not great. I think humble humility is not thinking of yourself. Right? It’s just you, you and are, are not part of the equation. If I thought of myself, I would care what people think more. I thought of myself. I would care that the public thinks I’m weak because I fired or let go of 400 people or they think Andrew is too preachy on the internet. If I cared and I think about myself too much, I wouldn’t be who I am is actually what I like, but I don’t like that word. It’s just don’t think of yourself.

You do it for others. And I do think Asians are generally good at that, but I think we favor modesty, which I don’t like, if you’re good at it, say you’re good at it in America. You got to say you’re good at it. Own the shit. I’m good at culture and marketing. And I was always generally world-class. I went to business school top of my class, always a good student. Then when I was in corporate, always one of the best leaders that was empirical, I’m bad at a lot of things. I can’t cook. Uh, I can’t, I’m not really good at finance.

Maggie: (00:47:54) But you’re going to be honest about that. You know,

Andrew: (00:47:56) Yeah you gotta be honest. I think more Asians should be that. If you’re good, say you’re good and own it. When you’re a small business, that’s struggling. If the core of who you are is you’re good at hospitality, but you are fine dining. I have a lot of people I’ve been talking to. They were like, no, but that’s not what I’m trained to do. I’m like, no, you cook and you serve to change your model. I don’t get why you have such a big deal. Like I’m changing my model. You think I don’t want to tell people I want to customize your drinks. And, uh, I built these big stores, like Bryan said, it was about the experience and stadium seating. One month since a store opening in North Hollywood, I had to redo my entire model. I can’t even look at a single store the same way. But that’s knowing that it’s not about you cause if it was about me, then I would’ve been like, Oh man, look at that is great ideas. No, that’s not what the market’s going to call for cause these rolling quarantine are going to happen and people just can’t be congested in one physical space. It’s not going to happen. They’re not gonna allow it. So you have to kind of like understand that fundamentally what’s going to change and then be okay with it. So if you’re fine dining that’s, what’s gonna happen. Let’s say you’re like a dry, cleaner, or a nail salon and your services are related to, um, to, uh, that type of customer service.

Not everyone, but I have a couple of friends that are in beauty instead of them coming to, they have a way to say that I’ve been tested or I have been whatever and proven to them that I’ve been healthy and they come to you and then we’ll still do beauty stuff. Yeah. Or make beauty kit. No, I seen that before, because it’s taken for who they are and then pivoting and I can tell you, I can name four or five friends who are doing that right now. They’re killing it. That, cause I have a mindset. That’s a hustle mindset. It’s whatever it takes. That is what I think. That’s why AHN I love so much. It’s because you know, there are some people who are kind of like naysayers and like cynical and it’s just kind of is a trap. But 80, 90% of the comments, right. Are people who are like, I want to do this more, or I got this great idea and they’re very open-hearted they don’t care about themselves. They know how to basically pay it forward. It’s not it’s abundance mentality. It’s not scarcity. I will say those are the people going to come out of COVID by far like the fastest by far.

Bryan: (00:50:12) Agreed and a positive mindset goes a long way too. Think positively, you have to think of your situation and adapt quickly, you know, creativity out their, you know, why do you feel pessimistic and negative? That’s the one place you won’t move as fast enough. You won’t see that in front of you. There’s always a good thing in very single bad situation. It doesn’t matter how bad the situation is. It’s always a good thing from it that you can learn character wise, you know, or pivot in your business. There’s always something to do and grow. And that’s what we tried to strive in the Asian Hustle Network. And we tried to do that in a way where we’re not openly transparent about it, but we try to alternate alter people’s mindset without them knowing it. And that’s that’s, that’s, that’s our strategy that we’re trying to do is that how can we help more people without them knowing that they’re being helped?

Andrew: (00:51:02) That is, first of all, people don’t know this about both of you guys, but Bryan, especially when I first met you, you were one of the most optimistic, like growth people that I’ve ever known. Like, like you really are like, dude, I was like, you’re just, you have a wealth of, you just need to, hopefully more people can kind of like. Um, do you get that from, from both of you guys, but Bryan, like, that’s the way that Bryan just talked. He’s exactly how Bryan is. If people don’t get it. Yeah. Yeah.\

Maggie: (00:51:29) It just motivated optimistic, just full of, you know, happiness.

Bryan: (00:51:34) Nothing can bring me down. 

Andrew: (00:51:37) but you have a tough, you, you know, you’re talking to before this year in real estate, I mean, that’s hurting. Right. So, but you can’t really tell people, like I brought back. Three out of 400, like it’s not like I 397 people that I still like are gone. Like, but you don’t let it show up, then you process it differently. And I think that’s, what’s amazing. And I think, um, yeah, you guys. Yeah. Well, I’ll just go say amen to that. Yeah, I agree.

Maggie: (00:52:06) I think we can say the same thing about you. You know, I, we, we can tell that you are slowly opening up your business businesses again. And I think that when that article came out about, you know, you letting go 400 people. A lot of small business owners looking at Boba guys for some sort of direction, you know, and because you were, you had the courage to put that out there, you know, and not a lot of small business owners can do that because of that. They were looking for a guidance through you wouldn’t have been. And I think now that we are slowly starting to, with the light. At the end of the time, I believe that some sort of opportunity or positivity will emerge from this COVID-19 outbreak. Um, despite, you know all the tragedies that had happened, I believe that there will be opportunity if you look for it. And I think that’s exactly what you and Ben are doing. So. Um, you know, on behalf of like me and Bryan, I think that’s really encouraging and inspiring to see that you and Ben are pivoting. And, you know, going back to, we were listening to Lucia’s podcast of rock the boat, and I know that you had mentioned you and Ben are pivoting and try to do like. A delivery, instant delivery and pickup for Boba guys where, you know, people can go into Boba guys and just get their Boba, their melty in less than 10 seconds. And I think that’s a really great pivot, but that also ties back to like the culture of Bubba guys. And, you know, you guys really cultivate on people, um, building relationships and connecting with others inside the Boba guys’ store. So, you know, my question was like, when can we expect to see that? And how do you think that’s going to affect both the guys going forward?

Andrew: (00:53:44) Yeah, great question. You guys are, wow. You guys have like both the personal and the professional kind of, uh, questions. Cause this is, this is off the breast is when I was talking to Lucy. I didn’t know if it was going to work. So, uh, right now we’re are, um, right after this interview, I’m literally gonna go back down and make drinks for another six hours. Um, that’s what Ben was doing when he was running back and forth. We it’s weird because as I said, like our core DNA was about changing, bridging cultures and changing kind of like the perception of what our category is in a way we did that in the past. The tactic was we bring people in our stores. It felt different, looked different, smell different, and now we lose it. That ability to do that when you don’t come into a store. So we had to say, what is this? What is, is there another way to convey bridging cultures and the storytell and to educate and to show high quality? So the way we did it was, I mean, I just, I haven’t done it yet, so I haven’t touched food, but at the temperature check myself before I go down.

So we were getting all these thermometers that we have. So temperature check just is not unique. They do this in Asia. We have those cards that they have in Asia. So I just made it, I think we’re the first people in America to do it, but I’m at scale. So we have these cards that we signed, um, and anybody who basically touches food has to go, uh, get temperature, check as long as we weren’t seeing the last 14 days, you know, the fever would break right away. So like as long as we check every day, we shouldn’t be able to catch most of the issues and then gloves, PPE and all that. But fundamentally we had to really say, are we okay with going to a delivery model, period, and pickup model, knowing that our stores beautiful stores built for these exact opposite of that? That is crazy. Heartbreaking, humbling, sad. There’s below me in certain parts of the store. I see these little like pieces of our architecture that nobody will ever really notice because they’re not going to go that deep into our store. You know, like I’m like, was that wasted? The millwork wasted because I didn’t because of our store is built differently now.

And I think, I do think though, you know, on the flip side, like Bryan, I’d be like, well, I got in this particular store, I got five good years out of this store, you know? So to know that it’s not gonna be fully appreciated again, I can live with that. You know, five was good run five years. Good running. Same with, I got nine, almost 10 years of Boba guys, even a Boba guys does go under, you know, I have, I met you guys. I met so many great people through it. I think I’ll probably be able to still get a job. Like it was a good run. Does it suck? Yes, but it was a good run. And I think that kind of mindset is how we think about delivery. And all that so when we open, we’re basically, as we told the public, trying to say, we’re fundamentally changed the sad part, which I don’t even know if I told other podcasters. I think it’s the first time. I’m pretty sure we’re going to shut down our factory indefinitely. Like I can’t figure out how to get out of it. We didn’t get the PBB loan for it. Um, it’s a US mobile company. Yeah, we haven’t Hayward. So it’s weird. And this is like, Again, I don’t want to use the word humbling. It’s just embarrassing. If anything, it’s like the Boba guys that made their own Boba now go back and make and use other people’s Boba. I get like, think about that sentence. Like for me, I had to live with that for the last month, knowing that I’m fighting to bring back our own factory. But because other Boba shops, right. You know, all our supply chains ruined, like that’s an actual casualty thing. I think about the people in the factory that I don’t think they’re going to come back. Unless it’s re recapitalized. So things like that is what we just had. I’m trying to show this because everybody thinks, Oh, Boba guys is big.They have it. 

You know, you pointed something out and I do want to explicitly say, and I that’s where I really love you guys. I really, you guys understand us so well because we’ve never talked about this. The reason why I went public was primarily for Asian people. But the hard time showing vulnerability, you know, Americans can cry and all that stuff. Asians shown vulnerable makes you look kind of weak. You know, it’s like the stoicism that we, we have to put on, my friend did write that article. But when I, when he was interviewing me, my friend Grant, I went to college with him. He, he and I worked at the school paper together. He goes, you know, do you mind if I say this? Because I said, well, what would, what would be, why wouldn’t I say any of this? He goes, if I publish this, I might say something about you, you losing, because he asked me over and over how many people did you fire or let go? Um, we let go and furloughed 400. And we didn’t fire to be, sorry, we were let go. And I was like just under 400 and he goes, that’s a lot. And I said, that number is going to catch my editor’s eye. And I said, yeah, what’s wrong with that? He goes, you don’t, you’re not embarrassed. I’m like, oh and I didn’t even occur to me. I was like, Oh, actually, hold on. And I thought about it for like five minutes while we’re going through the interview.

I said, huh, because I said, It’s going to be on like front page of Chronicle. Right? So I’m like, uh, shoot, if I even wanted it an investor might, they might now think I’m a weak leader. You know, if I wanted to get a loan, they might be like, why I’m going to get a view a loan cause you let go of your whole team. Whereas other people are still open. Right. So I thought about that and I was like crap sort of five minutes. And he was my friend. So I told him, hold on, make that off the record. Yeah, I was debating. And in real time, I actually, because I didn’t think about it, how to decide whether or not we’re going to go live. And then at near the end of the interview, I said, Grant, you know what, when we talked about the whole thing, do it. Here’s why I said, I said, in this, in these times I was, you know, not to throw shade, but like the president at the time was doing the opposite. You know, POTUS was basically faking that he had all the invincible authority and everybody was crapping on him and he was making really poor important decisions. I was like opposite. I have to show that despite me supposedly being a good leader, I have to show exactly where I’m weak that way either, if people want to help, they can help. And I think it will make other leaders. Show that it’s okay to be vulnerable, especially Asian ones. And so that actually like was exactly why. Cause I, after the interview I called Ben. I said, Hey, heads up, heads up, heads up. I’m really sorry, but I just did an interview. And usually I’m pretty good at interviews or I don’t say some things that I don’t regret, but I said heads up. I actually told them what we did and I’m still on the fence. But I basically said yes.

So if it’s a, no, you gotta let me know now, but we’re going to basically look weak. To the public, they’re gonna look vulnerable and he goes, no, that’s, that’s your thing, Andrew. Like, you’re about this vulnerability. And it’s like, as long as you’re okay. I’m okay. And I was like, all right, number one. I’m like, yeah.That’s why you’re my soul, my business soulmate, the number two. I was like, yeah, you’re right. And he reminded me, that’s who you are. Why change your DNA? So, sorry, I answered all three of those many questions together, but, um, so I just encourage people AHN to like be open-hearted vulnerable, positive, and, uh, abundance mentality. And I think they’re going to be set or this post COVID life.

Bryan: (01:01:26) That’s powerful to just be so open and vulnerable. You know, I personally have trouble with that too. I tend to be on the more optimistic side. It has its pros and cons obviously it, sometimes I’m too positive or I forget like my negatives and all that, that stuff doesn’t go yawn, but you bring a very important points to be vulnerable. Know, contrary to belief. We actually think you are a stronger leader because you’re so vulnerable and you’re willing to tell us that we struggle and you know, me pretty my investor hat on I’m like, yeah, this is a type of guy that would tell me things go wrong before. So I definitely want invest in someone like me, you know? It’s crazy. Cause as he tried to hide more stuff and actually make yourself look more bad, You know, we’ve seen that in corporate and we’ve seen that with people who don’t suddenly your friends At least, at least now you’re transparent. You’re open and people would appreciate that because we live in an age now where being authentic is super important. People will see right through you. Are you authentic? Are you trustworthy? We’re supporting. Put yourself in that position. We can see who you are? You’re not scared to tell us the good and the bad, and that’s a sign of a very healthy relationship, with your wife or either significant other business partner. It helps for other people as well. And I’m a closing. No, you want to say that you, we definitely appreciate you coming onto the show, especially our first podcast, you know, like. We’re super excited. As I’ve mentioned before, were so giggly when you said yes.

Andrew: (01:03:06) It’s an honor. You didn’t not say it, but like, you didn’t tell me, but like, I that’s why I, that was a real reaction. I did not know I was your first one. I thought you meant like record like four or five.

Maggie: (01:03:14) I also love the reaction that you had. It’s like a great opener.

Bryan: (01:01:26) cause we knew like you’re talking and be like, yo, we’re so excited to talk to you. We talked to each other like definitely an honor, man. Yeah. I really appreciate you being on the show, Andrew and everything you told us like we’re super excited to release this too. And once they thank you for your time.

Maggie: (01:03:37) Yeah. Thank you so much, Andrew. I really liked all the points that you made know, especially your last one. I think in the Asian culture, you know, a lot of us try to save face, but that’s part of our culture, you know, and it’s very similar to like our parents being like, very careful about what they tell the relatives all relates to the Asian culture. I think that In order for us to, you know, feel inspired and, you know, seek inspiration. I think we really need to just be who we are and, you know, having so that other people can have that same inspiration. And I think that’s the only way that we can get through this situation, you know, just being honest and, and showing that honesty with our community. It’s very important. So I just wanted to thank you for all those.

Bryan: (01:04:25) We’re gonna support you along the way.

Andrew: (01:04:27) And thank you so much now, you guys are a same goes likewise. Like we got each other, especially cause we, we, we know each other out. We’re both in bay area so I’m really so proud of you. You guys, I know we haven’t been able to talk in the last month, but like, and keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re falling AHN, like, uh, really, I mean, great communities out there, but the reason why. I guess specifically, I didn’t know. I wasn’t gonna be the first, but the reason why I generally, I was telling people I don’t do many podcasts. Um, uh, but so the reason why I really like you guys is because the future, you have 46,000 members. There’ll be more by the time this comes out, you guys are the future. I’m getting, I’m becoming a dinosaur it’s these 20 year olds that are gonna like, kind of, but I want them do it in the right way. So if there’s any encouragement and it sounds slightly preachy, it’s not preachy. It’s protective. Because I hope you guys don’t ruin the world that the older generation did currently. So, you know, and if I had one chance to use it, to tell future leaders that do it right, please do it the right way. Listen to Bryan and Maggie.

Maggie: (01:05:36) Thank you, Andrew. That means a lot. We really appreciate you coming onto the show. I just wanted to ask, is there anything that Bryan or I can do, or our listeners can do to help you, uh, going forward?

Andrew: (01:05:51) Great question. I don’t mean to be Asian and deflect deflect this, but, Boba guys is going to be in an okay position in that. We’ve actually got a lot of help recently. So, um, all the friends who have helped us, whether it’s a nom, nom bond or what we have, we’re still selling that though. Now I’m on bond or just, um, people really are.We’ve been having, you know, really great days. We’ve been having historic highs actually recently when we opened, I mean, it’s been taken care of us. One thing that we want to do is encourage people. The loans, people know, I test them by the Congress and I’m going to have to probably, I hope I might have to go back. Well, actually, I don’t know because I don’t want to fly, but if I have to go back, we really want to talk about small businesses and how the loans are not allocated. So the one thing I will say as a PSA is especially in the Asian Hustle Network where we speak different languages and immigrant communities, a lot of nonprofits are getting tapped out with resources, meaning there’s a lot of private loans so if there’s another round of PPP loans or idle loans or, um, the main street lending program, that’s coming out with the fed. Because a lot of these loans and grants that people have the immigrant community, especially Asians have language barriers. So if you speak or write Vietnamese or Chinese Mandarin, Cantonese of Japanese help your, our community fill out those forms, submit the applications.

They’re having a huge problem right now, the data everybody’s saying, Oh, the, the, the immigrant community and lower income did not get the PPP loans. Yes. Partly because they have a hard time connecting with the banks, filling them out because who the immigrant community isn’t doing it naturally, knowing that AHN has a lot of people who speak multiple languages, please volunteer and help those places.If you’re in San Francisco, there’s a great organization called Asian, inc. That I’m going to be on the board of their great, um, and Phoenix, Arizona Excel. There’s a lot of chambers of commerce that do this. There’s a lot of them. We just need our community to get plugged in. So that’s my one PSA.

Bryan: (01:07:50) Awesome. We’ll make sure to include that in the show notes as well. Thank you so much, Andrew

Andrew: (01:08:00)   Cool guys. Thanks. Take care.


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