A Lucky Break: The Taza Chocolate Bar

A Lucky Break: The Taza Chocolate Bar

taza chocolate
taza chocolate

I was about to start working on a "console" to control the Detour Flag guy: something to allow/encourage a passer-by to control him via a smartphone.

But before I got started on that -- I got a lucky break: a spot on a counter in the Taza Chocolate Bar, in downtown Boston. 

This was a location in the real world: an IoT outpost in the colder, harsher world beyond Cambridge Hackspace, where the Detour Flag guy had been hanging out. 

I scored this beachhead after my first email, to my first choice.

Why the Taza Chocolate Bar:

  • Because I had already stopped by the place a few times since it opened, as one of the anchor tenants in an ambitious agricultural marketplace in the center of Boston: the Boston Public Market.
  • Because the chocolate is radical: strong, gritty, to-the-point. Dark. A few squares from a $5 Taza Chocolate bar in my desk drawer, with an Earl Grey Tea chaser, was a sure-fire ticket to a late afternoon lift.
  • Also, the radical, untraditional nature of the chocolate gave me the idea that the company was probably radical and untraditional. 
  • Also, I had visited the factory once, for The Boston Globe, so I knew it was not your typical startup.
  • Also, they seemed to be into untraditional venues: I had seen them at many farmer’s markets.
  • Also, I had noticed that the Taza CEO would often ride past me on my way to work. He rode a stripped-down road bike. One time, surprised to see him, I just said “Taza Chocolate” as he rode by. He gave me a wave.

So I sent an email to the PR/Press address on the Taza website.

A week or so later, I was sharing a dark hot chocolate in the Boston Public Market with Amanda, Taza's retail manager. 

My pitch: a little interactive guy with a DETOUR flag, controllable by visitors' smartphones, might make the Taza Chocolate Bar a little more interesting. 

Surprisingly, she got the idea almost instantly.

"Sounds fun," she said. "Just check with the manager, Christine, when she gets in tomorrow." 

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