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Hot & Sour Soup for the Soul: Asian American Stories

Hot & Sour Soup for the Soul: Asian American Stories

By Hot & Sour Co.

Hot & Sour Soup for the Soul is a celebration of multicultural identity, zooming in on the Asian American experience. In each episode, we feature an Asian American who is making strides in their industry, and chat about their personal and professional journeys to finding balance between cultures, along with what they’ve learned along the way. In the process, we expand on what success, leadership, and fulfillment look like in today’s America. Make yourself at home, and nourish yourself with a helping of Hot & Sour Soup for the Soul.
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Building a Boba Empire, Confident Vulnerability, & Punching Up feat. Boba Guys CEO & Co-Founder, Andrew Chau

Hot & Sour Soup for the Soul: Asian American StoriesApr 29, 2021

Building a Boba Empire, Confident Vulnerability, & Punching Up feat. Boba Guys CEO & Co-Founder, Andrew Chau

Building a Boba Empire, Confident Vulnerability, & Punching Up feat. Boba Guys CEO & Co-Founder, Andrew Chau

We're chatting with Andrew Chau, the co-founder and CEO of Boba Guys, a national boba brand that’s bridging cultures through deliciously disarming beverages. If you live in the Bay Area, LA, or NYC, you’ve probably passed by -- or through -- a Boba Guys store. Today, Boba Guys has 18 immaculately designed retail locations, but as with most start-up stories, it has humble beginnings. Co-founder and CEO Andrew Chau grew up in ‘80s New Jersey, in a working-class neighborhood that was home to primarily Jewish and Italian families, where his parents ran a Chinese restaurant. Outside of food, the only Asian representation he saw were in Bruce Lee action films, courtesy of VHS tapes he'd rent from a video shop in a neighboring town. This changed when he moved to California, attended UC Berkeley, and got his start in marketing at retail and CPG companies, spanning Target, Walmart, Timbuk2, and Clorox. While running a boba brand had never been a part of the 5 year plan, when Andrew met his future co-founder Bin at Timbuk2, the two got to brainstorming what they could create together while sipping boba drinks, and soon, the boba concept became inescapable. Andrew kept his corporate job for the first 3 years of Boba Guys, before cutting the cord and going all in on growing the company. That said, if you ask Andrew what business he's in, it doesn't stop at boba. Boba Guys is ultimately about bridging cultures. Even with their national retail footprint, tens of thousands of Yelp reviews, and millions of loyal customers, Andrew has stayed true to the mission. Boba Guys doesn't franchise, nor have they taken outside money. Co-founders Andrew and Bin are in it for the long haul.

We’ll talk with Andrew about his experience growing up Asian American in the ‘80s, the always worthwhile but often painful lessons he’s learned while making Boba Guys a household name, and unconventional ways for driving change in ways that feel authentic to who we are -- whether that be brazenly outspoken, stoically committed, or something in between. Stay tuned for an unfiltered conversation with one of the most forthcoming CEOs whom we’ve had the pleasure of chatting with, Andrew Chau.

More Andrew:

Instagram @chaumeleon @bobaguys

Twitter @chaumeleon

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Apr 29, 202144:38
When "Me" Meets "We", Magic Ensues

When "Me" Meets "We", Magic Ensues

Which do you think more often about: “Me” or “We”? Historically, whether we belonged to the school of individualism or the school of collectivism had to do with the cultural context we were brought up around, whether we grew up with more Western or Eastern influence. Today however, between a global pandemic, planetary climate change, and national civic movements that are resurfacing racial disparities which many had previously thought had already been squashed, the “We” -- collective effort and collective gain -- appears to be something we’ll all need to get comfortable with. Out with the notion that individualism and collectivism are mutually exclusive. In with the power of paradox, of holding the tension between “Me” and “We” within ourselves. 

In this episode, we get into harnessing the power of not “Me” vs. “We”, but “Me” & “We”. First, we get interactive, with a few real-time tests to gauge where we currently are on that scale spanning from individualist to collectivist. Then, we talk actionable steps to building our ability to flex between the two. This is a space where the multifacetedness of & > the restriction of Or. Let’s get to tapping into the power of paradox.

Studies mentioned:

UC Berkeley's Bus, Train, and Track Triad Study

UMichigan Focal Point Study

UChicago Sense of Self Study

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Mar 03, 202127:26
Tiger Moms, Growing Up Hapa, & Equity in AI feat. Stanford PhD Candidate, Allison Koenecke
Feb 12, 202134:08
A Retail Renegade Reimagining "Made in China" feat. Ruoyi Jian, Founder of Chop Suey Club
Jan 12, 202137:47
Art Directing, Cultivating Creativity, & Committing to a Craft feat. Forbes 30 Under 30, Decue Wu
Nov 25, 202029:20
Sextech & Silicon Valley feat. Forbes 30 Under 30 Anna Lee, Co-Founder of Lioness

Sextech & Silicon Valley feat. Forbes 30 Under 30 Anna Lee, Co-Founder of Lioness

Today marks our first double digit episode! Thanks for being on this journey with us. Now, let's celebrate.

1) New jade necklaces are dropping today. We've partnered with craftswomen from around the world to bring them life. and now, they're coming to a neck near you. This is jade jewelry, reinvented. Please enjoy!

2) Today's episode is a healthy, 55-minute serving. During the hour, we are talking sextech and femtech with Anna Lee. Anna is a former mechanical engineer at Amazon, Forbes 30 Under 30, Paper Magazine's Asian Women Creators You Need to Know, and technical co-founder at Lioness, a women-led startup that’s built the world's first and only ergonomic biofeedback vibrator. It’s like a smartwatch for your vagina. Anna is a 1.5 generation Korean American who would have never guessed she’d one day be working on engineering sex toys, but she is, and she’s brought the scientific method with her.

After all, never measured, never improved.

Anna and I talk about deconstructing taboos, escaping the well documented start-up fate of feuding co-founders , the science to marketing sex toys in Asia, and how we can take the driver’s seat in navigating our sexual health.

More Anna:

IG @lionesshealth I @annaisaverage

Lioness Website

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Oct 27, 202051:34
Harvard, Green Tech, & Chasing Purpose feat. Heidi Lim, Chief of Staff at Opus 12

Harvard, Green Tech, & Chasing Purpose feat. Heidi Lim, Chief of Staff at Opus 12

What do you do when you start feeling like you’re just going through the motions? How do you optimize around your strengths to make the biggest impact? Who are you without your day job?

Heidi Lim has been there, and in this episode, she’s sharing with us what she’s learned. Heidi is a queer Chinese American who grew up in Las Vegas (yes, that Vegas), and was a first gen college student at Harvard, where she studied environmental engineering and policy. It was there that she decided she wanted to pursue work at the nexus of sustainability and business. However, realizing that dream took a whole lot of intentionality. Between Harvard and her career today as a full time environmental technologist, Heidi worked in enterprise software as a product manager. In 2018, she left this cozy job to dedicate time to building the bridge towards working on what she sees as the world's most pressing issue, climate change. After 10 months of self-discovery, which included time living alongside monks in Thailand, she made it happen and became Chief of Staff at Opus 12, a California start-up that has developed a technology to recycle CO2 into valuable chemicals, materials, and fuels. There, she is focused on commercializing the technology, working with companies across many sectors to defossilize their supply chains and spark the move from a fossil-based economy to a CO2-based circular one.

In this episode, we get real about what people don’t tell you about the emotional journey to finding purpose in your work, how to make an outsized impact in your community, and what farming can teach us about playing the career long-game.

More Heidi:

Chasing a Job with Purpose Article

Carbon Removal 101 Article



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Oct 07, 202033:09
Tales from Fashion's Front Lines feat. Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Creative Director Lisa Qu
Sep 23, 202038:16
Twitter Changemaker & EdTech Evangelist feat. Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Product Manager Jesar Shah
Jul 13, 202030:50
Grit in Adversity & Inclusion in Animation feat. Film Producer Amy Kuo

Grit in Adversity & Inclusion in Animation feat. Film Producer Amy Kuo

Amy Kuo is a film producer, founder of Animon Studios, a fervent advocate for women, LGBTQ+ and POC communities, as well as 2nd generation Taiwanese-Chinese American. Amy founded Anamon Studios to build a more inclusive future through animation. In the process, she also created a movie production bootcamp for underrepresented young professionals seeking to break into the hyper-competitive animation industry.

Her latest animated short film, Let’s Eat, chronicles the relationship between an immigrant mother and her daughter as the two navigate their new lives in America. The film was crowdfunded through a successful Kickstarter, and brought to life with a team of 150+ volunteers.

Prior to her career in animation, Amy was a computer science graduate from UC Berkeley and a product manager at an enterprise cloud company in the Bay Area. During this time, she moonlighted in digital animation, and landed a career transforming opportunity for herself working on blockbusters including Black Panther, Ready Player One and Thor: Ragnarok.

In this episode we chat with Amy about grit in the face of adversity, harnessing  opportunity, and creating an outsized impact through sharing success.

More Amy:

IG @letseatshortfilm 

Twitter @LetsEat_Short

Facebook Page @letseatshortfilm

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Jun 22, 202038:07
Googler by Day, Improv Comedian & Sketch Writer by Night feat. Jenny Arimoto
May 12, 202036:50
Carrots, Confucius, & Clarity
Apr 09, 202010:42
Columbia Law & Career Transformation feat. Anna Xie
Mar 26, 202028:50
Architecture, Advocacy, & Assertiveness feat. Anya Sinha
Mar 12, 202025:46
Season Intro & FAQs
Mar 05, 202009:42