"Being an author or a chef you have a product to sell," Huang told CNBC at OZY Fest.
"Do you actually want to buy what you're selling?" he asks. If the answer is 'yes,' you may be onto something.
Huang has taken this lesson to heart and applied it to every aspect of his restaurant Baohaus, which serves home-style Taiwanese-Chinese food in a no-frills graffiti-decked space. People look past Baohaus' less-than-sophisticated aesthetic because the food is terrific. (I can personally attest that the "Chairman Bao" is delicious.)
"If the Baohaus wasn't good," Huang explains, "then people would be really upset about our bathrooms or they'd be really upset about the graffiti everywhere, but you know, because it is excellent and we work extremely hard on the food and it's a good value and it is a good communal atmosphere, they put up with all the goofy stuff."
When it comes to his critics, Huang is always on the lookout for honesty. "I listen to the people who are genuine," he says. "There's always someone who wants to be like that 'Asian expert' in front of their friends at the restaurant." But if people come to him with genuine criticism or suggestions, he always pays attention.
"I care if every person likes the food, and I want to know."
Emphasizing honesty has not only helped Huang as a businessman, it's also allowed him to express himself creatively, something he finds to be extremely important.
"Life's too short to pretend to be somebody you're not," he says.
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