Trust, Speed, and Indiana Jones: The Boba Guys Learn to Cut the Rope
Starsky and Hutch. Abbott and Costello. Indy and Short Round. Boba Guys.
“Partner” and “founder” are loaded terms these days. We steer away from Silicon Valley war stories of betrayal, broken friendships, and espionage, but to ignore the tensions that come with co-ownership altogether would be foolish. Fortunately for us, we make boba. When your business plan is simple, so is the partnership.
Our iterative business model relies heavily on speed, so the faster we can make decisions and improve, the better we serve our customers. The question we ask ourselves is how can we improve our iterative speed? As cheesy as it sounds, we believe it hinges on an intense commitment to trust: It’s like Indy cutting the rope while his friends hang on for dear life.
Trust is a lubricant for speed, and in the startup world, speed is everything. If business is a game of football, trust is your lead blocker. Producing a tangible product means we face a variety of operational constraints, so we cannot afford to double-up on tasks—it is extremely inefficient. We ask each other for opinions, but decision-making lies squarely on one of the two owners.
At first, it was hard for both us to trust one another at this level, despite our foundation of friendship. As perfectionists, we craved control. But as business demands grew, we each had to let go of certain things. As uninspiring as it sounds, trust—in our case—came out of necessity.
Trust also makes up for inherent differences. As our profiles suggest, we are two very different people, so it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. To boil us down (like our tapioca pearls) into a reduction, Bin is a free thinker and Andrew is logical. You can imagine the conversations we have about topics like branding or mission:
Bin: “Do you like the aardvark for the logo?”
Andrew: “Um... what does it symbolize? Us?”
Bin: “It has a classic feel to it. It’s what we’re going for.”
Andrew: “I see. Do you think people know it’s an aardvark?”
Bin: “Does it matter?”
Andrew: “I like the look and feel of the aardvark. We can even tell people we chose an aardvark because it has a built-in bubble tea straw.”
Bin: “Hm... it makes sense in a funny way. More practical than I was going for, but I’ll take it.”
Andrew: “Ok. Let’s go with the aardvark.”
In the end, we rely on each other to make businesses decisions that affect both partners. It may not always be the right call, but it is a call, nonetheless, and even wrong decisions are useful as markers for dead ends. Perhaps our commitment to trust has less to do with our abilities and more to do with our willingness to learn from mistakes and hold on for dear life. Let’s cut the rope!
See you Monday!
Why Oysters are Shacking up in Old Subway Cars States scrap over metal in a race to boast the greenest reef.
A Cable Car Revolution in the World’s Highest City The future of Bolivia’s public transportation takes to the skies.
When Humans Fight, but Animals Win Penguins have resorted to using landmines to keep pesky humans away.
So You Think You’re a Foodie? Pop culture was onto these trends way before you were. A sampling of the screwball comedies, sob stories, and sci-fis that anticipated our culinary moment
Dear Nine-Year-Old Me The transition is going to be difficult for you, but whenever you feel a little lonely and left out, take comfort in the knowledge that you are honing one of your greatest superpowers.
What to Do When Your Country is Drowning The wild and desperate ways island nations are fighting the effects of climate change
The Rise of Drone Pizza Delivery Why the skies will soon be filled with flying, snack-bearing robots
How Helsinki Became a Public Transporation Paradise One European city plans to make car ownership obsolete within a decade.
Follow the Crowd NanoCrafter and the rise of group intelligence Why online gaming may just be the future of science
The Empathy Mirror Neurofeedback enables us to better see ourselves in the other. Recent discoveries in neurofeedback can teach you to be less of a dick.
Robots On Ice Probe the Arctic Why a team of research robots is investigating disappearing sea ice, and why you should care
Don’t Turn Away Colin Finlay photographs the consequences of climate change. You will never see more beautiful photos of the deteriorating state of our planet than the ones in this photo feature.