The Art of Changing the Deal

by Larry Chiang on December 13, 2009

By Larry Chiang

Los Angeles, CA — January 23rd —  In b-school we learned about game theory and BATNA’s (Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement) but we never really learned the street smart method of screwing someone. Hard.

Well, as with all things, there is an art to effen over people. So, from my experiences on the RECEIVING end of a deal getting changed, I bring you, “The Art of Changing the Deal”.

-1- Ambush.

The element of suprise is important when facing a superior force. If you’re screwing over a first year associate, ambushing entails springing new facts, introducing a last minute project change or just plain excluding them from a previously promised project. Yah, I just alliterated as a call out to my AP Lit teacher @NCHS, Mr Heap.

-2- Higher Authority.

A higher force is blamed for so much so lets use it to screw people. Repeat after me. Your deal is changing…

– because of gas prices (higher force: OPEC),
– due to higher interest rates  (higher force: the Fed),
– my boss (higher force: my wife’s father).

-3- Play Dumb.

Playing dumb also couples well with playing foreign. “No noh nuh no, I deed nut say tenty five. I’s said forty five”. You have two choices in this situation. Get just as foreign and kick his ass verbally to enforce the original deal. Or lay down like most midwesterners and sit for the screw.

-4- Undo Written Agreements

Remember, the FTC has a very small enforcement budget so you can repeatedly change the public’s deal. There may hail storm a fury in DC, but the FTC doesn’t even own a url called FreeCreditReport.con because they were forced to register AnnualCreditReport.com. True story.

Hire a huge legal team and undo your written agreements. Yeah it will be strange that legal expenses are 25% of your operating budget, but if screwing people by changing deals is a part of your business, 25% is cheap. Plus the US legal system is so much more stable and “rule-of-law” focused compared to the Euro/middle eastern country your firm’s founder is from.

“If you have it in writing, you’ve got a prayer. If not, you’ve got nothing but air”.

-5- Drag Out Putting It In Writing.

Use the word of your freshly minted partner and their HBS contact to not issue them a contract. Blame corporate. Blame the CEO. Blame the Chairman’s shih tzu. Drag out the contractual inking as long as possible. Verbal contracts are way easier to gerrymander and Shanghai.

If a contract is unavoidable because they read this darn Larry Chiang, street smart Business Week blog post… leave lots of “wiggle room”, “escape clauses” and “future addendums”.

(and his book coming out 09-09-09)

-6- Fake New Info

There has been no peace in the middle east for two thousand years. Is there new information?! No! So you’re gonna have to fake some new info before you ink your next peace agreement. Make sure you use the software called Peace Agreement v270.0

-7- Get Emotional Commitment.

Dancing and romancing your victim softens them up before you change-their-deal. If you’re a publisher dealing with an author, fill their heads with thoughts of marketing support, resources and best-seller-ness. Kill them with kindness, get them emotionally in at a 45 degree angle and then change their deal.

News flash: They will all sit for the screw.

If you liked this, you may also check:



Larry’s book releases 09-09-09 and is on the waitlist to get onto the NY Times bestseller list.

-8- Opt for the Thermonuclear Option

This is also called the “No One Wins Option”. The person doing the screwing normally says, “I have showdowns, no one wins”.

Watch out because this works a couple of time before karma catches up.  Character compass right before opting for nuclear option. Read people wrong and you’ll be on the fuzzy end of the lollipop.

If you would like personal advice in running contermeasures to your deal changing, paypal me $500.00 to larry@larryChiang.com with your cell in the subject line. JK, I just changed your deal from five hundie to ‘free’. One caveat! You have to only call during my office hours.This post was cranked out in about an hour so email me if you see a spelling or grammatical error(s)… larry@larrychiang com

Larry Chiang is the founder of Duck9, which educates college students on how to establish and maintain a FICO score over 750. He has testified before Congress and World Bank on credit.

He is a frequent contributor to Business Week’s blog on “What They Don’t Teach You at Business School“. For fun, Larry blogs, attends tech conferences and hoops it up at Arrillaga Family Center. Text or call him during office hours 11:11am or 11:11pm PST +/-11 minutes at 650-283-8008.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: