Larry Chiang is an instructional humorist and aspires for a JBA (Jedi in Business Administration). He wants us street smart by Friday. After a Harvard Business School event, they wrote: “What They Don’t Teach You at Stanford Business School“. He spoke at BASES and got over a dozen questions that he will answer below.
By Larry Chiang
Thank you for letting me reprint this blog post. This first appeared on STANFORD BASES blog.
First of all, it was a pleasure speaking at BASES. Why?! Because it gives me goosebumps to help an awesome group of engineers get business street-smart. I know a thing or two about being academically competent but a little short on street smarts because I was an engineering undergrad too.
I was young and confused but then I read a bestseller from the 80s by, Mark McCormack; “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School“. He later became a mentor and helped me and build a business called UCMS modeled after Mr. McCormack’s IMG. He started the industry of sports agents by first representing Arnold Palmer. They now rep Payton Manning, Tiger Woods and more.
Here are the questions I got at BASES via text message, Twitter and live:
QUESTION: How do you ask someone to be your mentor?
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: You know how creepy it is to ask, “Wanna go steady?”… Well, it’s the same way with asking someone to be your mentor. Date your mentor for a while. Woo your mentor for a while. Take you mentor out. Publicly recognize them. Get your mentor a gift. Before you know it, you and your mentor will be going steady.
QUESTION: What about actually networking at the event?
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: I wrote about this in a post called, “How to Work a Cocktail Party” and read Susan RoAne’s book, “How to Work a Room“. Oh, I also cut and pasted her book title into a GigaOm blog post called, “How to Work a Room“.
QUESTION: How well does your strategy work on people much older than you?
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: Old people love getting their butt kissed. It makes them feel relevant.
QUESTION: Does this number even work?
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: It works better when I am not on campus
QUESTION: What kind of engineer are you?
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: The kind that go into sales engineering. I worked as a Chemical Sales Engineering for Nalco. My degree is in General Engineering from U of I. Yeah, I graduated #1 in starting salary. I hated my ‘advisor’ Chalmers Sechrist but it was good because I found out that people in positions of power can just absolutely have zero clue. Those same people will never mentor you or guide you even if they are paid to do so. Me, I will creepily mentor you for free just to eff with you. Yes, I am the opposite of Chalmers Sechrist.
QUESTION: What classes did you apply in your first job?
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: I loved Chemistry and Steven Zumdahl was a great, great Chem teacher. I placed out of my Chem requirements but sat in on classes anyway. Nerd I know. It is weird that I took zero Chem classes but still worked as a ChemE when I graduated. Zumdahl loved chem and cared about teaching. We are Facebook friends still!
QUESTION: What exactly is your job?
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: I am CEO of Duck9. I started UCMS when I was a sophomore in engineering after reading “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School“. UCMS did credit strategies seminars to sorority houses. I pretty much have the same job as I did when I was a sophomore as per my Austin Texas network Facebook job status.
QUESTION: How do you crash a party?
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: I don’t crash anymore But when I did, I would add myself to the waitlist. I would also elevator pitch myself and try to “be a vacation”. Sometimes, I’d bring a gift…
DAVID HORNIK: THIS WORKS. A couple years ago when we hosted the TechCrunch party, Larry’s intern dropped off flowers before the event at August Capital. My staff still remembers her.
QUESTION: Are you a pick up artist?
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: Funny. I think male models get picked up on versus picking up. (Right on cue there was a Stanford Fashion show next door to Tresidder Oak East)
QUESTION: How do you leave a good voicemail when you’re calling for an internship? Can you do an example
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: Hi, this is Larry Chiang! Yeah, I know. HI! I wanted to grab you on the phone for two minutes because YOU are coming to campus to do interviews. I can help. I can give you the ins-and-out of Tresidder: 1) bring your own WIFI, 2) bring your work-out stuff cuz you can crash Arrillaga Center for Sports and Rec, and three… …well, call me back cuz. Here is my number. Grab a pen. It is 650, Larry Chiang if you’re googling my resume… 650 do u have a pen yet. 650-2..8…3. 283-8…0…0…8
Also read, “How to Close a Deal via Voicemail“. It’s worth a month or three of tuition because it will get you three to five more internship job offers.
QUESTION: How do you get an email answered?
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: First you ping the email by asking “Is this the best email address for you?”. Always include your cell phone in the subject line.
QUESTION: How do you get a cell phone number of a recruiter?
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: You ask for it. You might get a no or push-back but ask anyone who went to the BASES session and they’ll give you strategies on how to handle objections.
QUESTION: Can you talk about networking at an event you’re not invited to
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: Read below
QUESTION: How do you network in a room that you’re crashing
LARRY CHIANG ANSWER: Ditto.
REPRINTED FROM Business Week:
Secrets to Networking at a Party You Were Not Invited To
Before I waltzed into events with my BusinessWeek press pass, I had to crash or sneak my way in. Networking at a party you were not invited to takes a massively different skill set from working a room you ARE invited into.
Here are eight unpublished tips to network at a party you were not invited to…
-1- The Karma of a Crasher
After you are in, do not plus one non value-added guests. It’s karmic.
To gather karma points, I ask myself, “Who do I know that the host of the party would want to meet?”. My plus ones have been value added here, here and here.
-2- Don’t Eat or Drink.
Remember, my goal is I want to migrate myself from crasher to VIP guest. There will be time to eat and drink later. If you’re hustling an event, I do not occupy my hands (or more importantly, my mouth) with food or drink.
-3- Don’t Weigh Down the Host or the One That Plus One’d You.
After Captain Kirk crashed his way onto the Starship Enterprise, he added value by joining the high-risk landing crew team. He was not a burden to Dr. McCoy who initially smuggled Kirk aboard. Read about “How Starfleet Academy is Like an MBA”
-4- Add Value as a Crasher.
Party humor is always welcome.
In Wedding Crashers, before they took home hot ass, they added value by doing balloon animals, telling funny groom stories or mingling with the older relatives.
-5- Hide if you Need PDA Time
PDA here stands for personal digital assistant, not Public Display of Affection.
It is perfectly understandable to take 5-20 minutes to break from a party. Take this break away from clear sightlines. I hide in a corner and or off in a side room. Try to never be on the fringe of the room with the blue-ish blackberry light illuminating your face.
If you are a marquee, tier one celebrity rising, PDA is ok the fun way
-6- Thank the Host.
It is counter-intuitive to approach the host as an uninvited guest. I do it so often I have THIS ready.
“Hi I’m Larry Chiang. I’m from here. I was NOT invited but wondered if it’s ok to stay?”
It begs the question, “what do you do”.
I then answer, “What do I do for money? Or for the community?”
They’ll say “either”.
And I say, “For money I help college students with their FICO and for the entrepreneur community I write about “What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School” at my blog. I blog at this site called BusinessWeek”
My two minutes are up… the host thinks I’m a funny pompous ass, psuedo celeb that scammed his way into a party. Later he’ll hear that a VIP guest came because of me and wallah; I’m now VIP too.
-7- Don’t Crash with Your GSB Attitude
GSB stands for Graduate School of Business at University of Chicago. Stanford University later hijacked those initials years later. Anyway, leave your b-school attitude at home.
Getting into the best b-school in America doesn’t equate with carte blanche entrance into all other organization, events and parties. On the other hand not getting invited does not mean you should not try to crash.
-8- Be Ok With Failing
“What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School” has a pivotal chapter about hardship and triumphing over it. Yes, Chapter 11 is about failing. Be OK with trying to get into an event and getting held up at the door.
For example, two years ago I was trying to crash Om Malik’s found|Read launch event. I was rejected twice at the door. The third time I man-charmed Om Malik and he walked me into the party and introduced me around. At that same party, he introduced me to Carleen Hawn, an editor, who later asked me to write at GigaOm if I were to divulge how I went from crasher to VIP. It was my one Techmeme wonder, “How to Work a Room”.
Good luck working it and crash my Sundance AfterParty on January 23rd.
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Other stuff to read from my all day workshop in Hawaii:
– Leverage other people’s momentum (by doing a sequel to a company, book or film you did not create) (Ch 3 of my book)
– Learn from other people experience by getting superstar, junior and co-hort mentors (Ch 5 of my book)
– Get access to other people’s money “Venture Capital Secrets” and more
– Cut and Paste other people’s work (Ch 3)
– WORK a CONFERENCE: Booth Sales (lead generation, tag team selling and getting expo visitors into the red zone) and Speaking to Get Deals (Ch 6)
– How to Tip, Bribe, Comp and Tip your way past 100 Stanford MBA’s
Follow on Twitter @larryChiang. Remember, my book’s chapters are reprinted free at a website called BusinessWeek
If you cannot sleep, watch NBC 8, KHNL
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