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In The Media

Getting Over Your Fear of Entrepreneurship

by Larry Chiang on January 17, 2012

Larry Chiang writes about street smarts . After a Harvard Law School keynote, Harvard business wrote:  “What They Don’t Teach You at Stanford Business School“. He spoke at a BASES event, did Q&A  via text message and now teaches us about overcoming fears of entrepreneurship. If you liked his BASES keynote, the Q&A  via text message,  “What They STILL Don’t Teach You at Stanford GSB About Scamming and, “What They STILL Don’t Teach at GSB About Screwing Someone Hard” you will like his latest post: Raising Your FICO While You’re in an MBA Program.

Before he’s done, you and your startup will have produced an afterparty at Web 2.0 Summit, corralled a TechCrunch feature, hosted an eleven minute party at TED, gotten paid to premier at SXSW.

By Larry Chiang

Congrats on recognizing you have fear and that you need to reach out to me to bust that fear in the face.

Ok, I never answer startup questions but the below answers all happen to suck. A lot.

Ok so lets say you’re launching and you’re decently well-versed with Lean startup method (trademarked by Eric Ries), and now you’re on to getting over your fears and executing.

It seems like you’re a super intelligent, well read first time entrepreneur so here are some patterns I recognized so that you can pattern replicate (and iterate but mostly replicate)

– Fear of getting circumvented.

This is super counter intuitive but you actually want people to rip you off and copy your exact thing.


Yes, because it validates you and pushes you higher. For example, I have a presentation called “How to Do What Duck9 Does Without Having to Hire Duck9”

I cold call a conference producer in banking or credit or credit card banking and say: “Pow. I wanna do this preso that in effect kills my business. Want the duck? Err the deck. Do you want my slide deck.”

They say no but ask the name of the speech I want to give.

I say: “How to Do What Duck9 Does Without Having to Hire Duck9”

They then get wet or get wood. Or both

What is the conclusion to the presentation: “How to Do What Duck9 Does Without Having to Hire Duck9”??

Too much work. LETS hire ’em.

ITs always the conclusion.

Do not fear getting circumvented.

Another example is my venture fund. I live in ground zero of 60% of the vc money in America: Palo Alto CA. I had a VC register ‘every-animal 9’. VCs copy stuff. So I have this idea for a venture firm with a strategy that is pretty easy to copy.

So what do I do??

I drop my pants and do the version of “How to Do What Duck9 Does Without Having to Hire Duck9” but but for my venture firm— SO I blogged it

Do you think that the top five venture firms have more resources, more money and more ability to execute my li’l CS-major-CEO-farm-system maneuver than me and my 7 hours per week?!

YES, they have more resources.

But I work and hustle my little venture firm with my one little LP and I am getting to 13,000 cs major ceo cell phone numbers come Noah-the-ark or high-waterj


ok, here is the thing about entrepreneurship. You are gonna look like an ass 70-90% of the time

You name the legendary entrepreneur and I will tell you the 3-10 times they looked like they had an IQ that hovered below IQ 88

Google IQ 88.

I documented them.

Oh and Friendster was genius. And so is Jonathan. He runs Founders Den. Sure that evite sequel business didn’t pan but learn from Jonathan’s pattern — don’t avoid it completely

I am tired from answering this question. Vote it up at Quora and I will share some mo’

Google me… I’m sort of a big deal :-]

Thank me by sending text message love to             650-283-8008      . Call it and be freaked out when I answer it. Or be overly courteous and email chiang9, but include my cell to bust through my spam filter.

Getting your own credit report does not hurt your credit.

My mentor, Mark McCormack, who wrote the book, “What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School“.

Checking your own credit does not hurt your credit because it is a “consumer inquiry”. There are three types of inquiries; consumer, advertiser and credit. Credit inquiries are the only ones that hurt your credit. Print and mail the from HERE

-5- Visualize Growth.
Track your FICO progress on a thermometer. Use one like the ‘Jump-rope-a-thon’ fundraising thermometer that you used in grade school.

-6- Get a Fake Mini Loan.
Make small purchases on a Visa/MC account and pay off in full. This is your fake mini loan: owing $20 to American Express, Discover or Capital One Visa. Credit bureaus make no distinctions between $15.50 paid on-time versus $15,500 paid on time. Ignore leveraging this TIP at your own peril. Procrastinate taking action on this TRUTH and risk wallowing in the lower percentiles.

ACTION: Take two seconds and fill this out and mail it in.

-7- Give Good Google.
Get text message reminders you send yourself via google calendar. On the11th and 21st of every month, I login to EVERY ACCOUNT to make sure all are up-to-date.

I also list out every debt obligation on a manilla folder. For built in redundency, I also get paper bills (to my new dorm address).

-8- Bastard Bills Are Killer.
Find the bastard bill(s) and deal with it/them. An example of a bastard bill is a parking ticket from a city you visited. It grows from a $20 violation to some amount over $100 (almost always). Settle this out by negotiating directly with the original biller (and not the collection agency that bought the debt).

For example, City Of Beverly Hills cited you for a $20 ticket. You ignored it and now the bill is in collections for 5x the original amount. Paying the collector is a mistake. Dealing with the collector and listening to their threats and misinformation is a big, big mistake.

-8b- Orphan bills suck too.
Orphans develop when three people share a utility bill, but no one pays the last bill and YOUR name is on the bill. If your name is on the bill, your credit report will get hit.

SOLUTION: Pay bastards and orphans with a physical check. Why?! Checks are legal documents that tip to scale in your favor. Here is how: In the ‘memo section’ of the check, clearly label the bill to be paid and reference number, “parking ticket  6707-9805 + penalties PAID IN FULL”

Once the check is cashed, you now have the matter cleared if you keep a digital picture or photocopy to present to the credit bureaus.

-9- Document It All In Writing.
Complaining in written form preserves your rights. Emailing or calling does not. See my diatribe on FCBA — “Fair Credit Billing Act”. Complain in triplicate to get RESULTS: write in and cc and

Cut and paste this blog article to your Facebook in a note. Tell other people about what you learned here. This POST IS NOT copywritten so cut and paste to pass this advice forward :-)

Follow me on Twitter @larryChiang or join my 9 person fan club on Facebook. Remember, my book’s 14 chapters are reprinted free at a website called BusinessWeek. If you cannot sleep, watch my 90 minute panel that would’ve put half the room to sleep were it not for my dog Baxter storming the stage.

Good luck hustling hard and watch your back. If you sponsor a party, I am hosting events at Sundance and SXSW, don’t change my deal ;-)

***** ARTICLE END *****

Follow me on Twitter @larryChiang or join my 7 9 person fan club on Facebook. Remember, my book’s 14 chapters are reprinted free at a website called BusinessWeek. If you cannot sleep, watch my 90 minute panel that would’ve put half the room to sleep were it not for my dog Baxter storming the stage to co-moderate.

Good luck hustling hard and effen follow up. If you have a start-up, you can sponsor a party I am hosting at Sundance and SXSW

DISCLOSURE: I don’t make money from Fraiche. I don’t make money from Topix. I do appreciate the monopoly that Congress  granted and the FTC is enforcing: It’s the law that states only companies that get college students to high FICO scores (Duck9) can sell a credit card to that college student.

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