So a White Tech Guy Wants to Make a Boba Tea Robot... (Full Version for Paid Subscribers)
A Q&A with Bobacino's Chief Boba Officer, plus Pizza-as-a-Service and more mobile vending machines
During my interview with him this week, Bobacino CEO, Darian Ahler offered up a moment of candor I appreciated. Ahler outright owned up to being a white tech guy building a robot that makes boba tea, a drink borne out of the Asian community, and the issues of cultural appropriation that brings up.
As a tech journalist, I can get more wrapped up in the news around what is being built moreso than who is building it. But food and identity are deeply intertwined, and as robotics become more sophisticated, ideas around whom is building the machines that robotically cook which cuisines are important — especially since automation oftentimes can mean a loss of human jobs in a community like chefs and servers.
To delve deeper into the topic, I spoke with Stacey Kwong, who joined Bobacino last November and was appointed the company’s Chief Boba Officer this past summer. Kwong was already a successful boba-ntrepreneur, having Co-Founded Milk + T boba shops and trucks, and is now helping Bobacino…
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