Valentine's Day – Stuff They Will NEVER Teach You At Business School

by Larry Chiang on December 13, 2009

By Larry Chiang

Valentine’s Day. It comes every February 14 and people have all sorts of strategies in addressing this most weighty of pseudo holidays. Here’s what works and here is what doesn’t.

-1- Do Nothing But Get Ahead.

Sometimes the best, most productive thing to do is nothing.

This is never taught in business school. One person pushing or a team promoting a concept sometimes backfires. It definitely backfires if you’re in a bad position.


Back-firing forward is pure genius, but that we will file under “leveraging a great position” when companies are in the zone and seem to do nothing wrong.

-2- Preemptive Valentine Strike.

B-school teaches that business is war and that you should “kill your competition”. Yawn. Hugging a competitor works 5x better but in keeping with B-school’s work = war theme, I’d recommend a pre-emptive Valentines day strike.

It’s called a Chinese new year gift. How smart are you? Seeing how it is the year of the Ox, you even have a theme. Make up some shitake about how Ox mate for life. Extra kudos if you’re like me and have mad Asian fetish because an awarness that moon cakes get swapped makes you sensitive too.

-3- Managing Your Significant Other in B-School: SGFM

SGFM stands for ‘Strategic Girlfriend Management”.

B-school is all about management and organizational behavior. Companies and work teams are ever changing with loyalties and motivation mercurial at best. But one thing is clear, your significant other needs to be managed.

Similar to how gotoMyPC, manages your computer remotely, your distant valentine needs to be managed. By distant, I mean any range from 5 yards to 5000 miles. Like this concept?! Read and memorize the post I wrote on this last year GigaOm.

-4- Shape Shift Your Valentine View.

Ever meet a politician that was supportive of both sides of an issue?! Well, depending on your current state of romantic affairs, you can flip-flop of your Valentines Day position

-5- Valentine’s Confessional.

There is nothing sexier than confessing from a position of power. I had a very eligible friend confess, “I’m a little sad… I’ve this great career…, I even went to Stanford- why don’t I have a valentine’s date?” Confession = power.

Confessionals are a great way to character compass those near you. I have this theory that only after you transfer power (temporarily), do you get a window into who they REALLY are.

6 Be Charlagmagne.

He was a great military leader that lived by the phrase, “I let the wind, trees and birds be my ally”. We should use this Valentine themed time of year to our advantage.

Charlagmagne had a cheat because his father and grandfather were great military leaders. How were your parents in how they managed V-Day?

7. Run a Valentines Contest to Promo Your Own Brand.

Marissa Louie, CEO of the potentially hot Ad-Village, is running a contest to auction herself off for a Valentine’s Date via Twitter. She may not hook-up at the end of the night, but she’ll increase her shareholder equity. Insert your joke here.


Mark McCormack, mentored me in the 1983 bestseller, “What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School“.

-8- Release a Chapter of Your Book with a Party.

Goodness, my chapter seven is the sex chapter. Its about getting lucky or going bankrupt (filing chapter 7). The party is in  SF. But its only for jaded singles that wanna meet-n-greet.

The book may be asinine filled with dozens of pictures, but the party will be a BLAST.

-9- Valentines Day Should Be All Year Long.

Tom still buys Carol random romantic gifts all year long. Who is Tom?… my dad. Carol is my mom.

Do you know why they go on a buncha trips, take naps together and make me sleep in a different hotel when we vacation in Vegas?! Yup, its cuz Tom makes it Valentines Day all–year–long… True story.

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

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 +/-15 minutes at 650-283-8008.

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