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What's not taught at Stanford B-school

How to tap into the secret society of entrepreneurs

Lessons learned from entrepreneur by Larry Chiang
September 8, 2008 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3e2

 I am writing this article to show you a window into a world not very many people truly see. It's a society of people that support each other in an entrepreneurial way. What is most surprising is how much support you can tap into if you do it the right way.

Yes, I'm the one who started Austin Secret Society of Entrepreneurs ( AssE ) out of Palo Alto, Ca. We were gonna call it Palo Alto Secret Society of Entrepreneurs but PASSE is bad compared to ASSe. So, I threw a 9 at the end of it and voila, it's a one word entrepreneurial mission statement: Asse9 -- You're dumb if you don't own 100% of your company.

Here are tips for you to ID a secret society happening right under your nose. I leave it open ended because there are more tips presented in the comments section posted anonymously by those of us in Asse9.

-1- Be ready for your invite.  When you start a business, your soul's energy literally transforms. Why? Because you are giving birth to a real life living thing. I said life twice because it is that potent.  Other entrepreneurs will see and identify you in the same way that killers know other killers. Make yourself vulnerable and childlike in your quest to start and build a business.

-2- Host A mentorship society meet-Up or Twitter party .  A meet-up is defined as when three or more meet up to talk about entrepreneurship. Call two up; buy them dinner at Evvia; let the discussion begin.

-3- Manage your time treasure. Time is split three ways across essentials, investment and donation. One of my mentor's rule for time allocation is 70-20-10. He won't touch people doing 96-2-2. Spend 70% covering essentials, invest 10%-30% of your time preparing for entry into this secret entrepreneur society (and mentors) by reading and building knowledge on entrepreneurship. You are supposed to invest 20% and donate 10%, but when you're starting your business you'll donate less than 5% of your time.

But the genius lies in a 30-60-10 time allocation, which I elaborate on in Chapter 2 of my book, "What They Don't Teach You At Stanford Business School." The bad news is that it is half written at WhatTheyDontTeachYouAtStanford BusinessSchool.com. The good news is that it's free. And, as a favor to transfer some "time treasure" to you, I will summarize 22 pages for you. If you operate in time deficit and multitask all the time, your effective IQ is lowered. Free time = genius.  My other mentor can make more money during a 15-minute shower than some people make all year with just one idea. And, no she's not doing anything other than shaving her legs and thinking. No, she doesn't have her sidekick in there. No, I am not in the shower with her either.

-4-  Charm your way into events. Your path to a self-sustaining business is made easier with a mentor's guidance.  Mentors can be found at events, but getting in can be tough.

-4b- Reciprocate before the event.  Of course, you'll probably read books by Susan Roane and Letitia Baldridge and send “Thank You” notes after. But how about adding some value before the event?

-4c- Bring a good “plus one” versus a crappy one.  It is cliche to bring a hanger-on as a plus one.  Me?!  I bring Silicon Valley celeb CEOs, emerging startup founders and occasionally a Grammy or Oscar winner .  I wanna add value to the party I'm crashing and migrate myself from crasher to VIP.

-5- Tip, bribe and compensate your mentor. You tip 8 nickels for your hotel upgrade so you better “comp” your mentors when they help you.

-6- Be philanthropic: Mentor down to get mentored.  Prime the mentorship karma pump by promoting an existing entrepreneurs business. 

-7- Work a mixer for a mentor. Mixers can be worked for people to help you if you (a) listen, (b) flutter the party's rockpiles and (c) put a thesis / focus / intention on your mixer. Me? I can be a plus one at a non-industry mixer and pick up new ideas. Even at a yoga convention, I can cut and paste new-age flummery that my network scoffs at, while parlaying it into entrepreneurial genius.

-8- Party pitfalls. These maneuvers suspend your access to "#Asse9" and other secret societies of entrepreneurs. Don't call the host on his cell 15 minutes before the event. If you must, then send him a positive, fewer-than-30-character text. Don't forget to reciprocate. Hitters send thank-you flowers before it starts. Hosts love you because fresh flowers at an event always kill. Don't ask for favors the day of an event. Instead, offer to show up early and help. Avoid the dreaded, "I'll try to stop by" when wooing the host an invitation to a sold-out event with a sold-out guest list in a "Kevin Li" like maneuver.

Don't destroy property.  If you're crashing and hanging in the hotel lobby of my after party, don't pull a "Kai Peter Chang" and pull art off the wall.  But if you do destroy art, own up. Say sorry, and offer to pay. Don't deny, deny, deny.

Don't con artist people out of money like "Paul David Huang." I hosted him at Shaqtacular and introduced him to umpteen celebs.  How does he repay me? By sniping my friend out of money in a hoax fundraising event.

(Note: This article was republished to feature)


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