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In The Media

How to Alpha Male in Silicon Valley

by Larry Chiang on April 30, 2012

Larry Chiang investigates and experiences entrepreneurship and pre-entrepreneurship. He covers the front-lines via Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s channel “What They Don’t Teach You at Business School”. He has a JBA not an MBA. Its a Jedi in Business Administration. After Chiang’s Harvard Law keynote, Harvard Business wrote: “What They Don’t Teach You at Stanford Business School“ (the same title as his NY Times bestseller). If you read his scandalously awesome “How to Hack at AfterParty“, “What a Supermodel Can Teach a Stanford MBA” and “How to Get Man-Charm”, you will like his latest post:

How to Alpha Male in Silicon Valley

By Larry Chiang

Welcome to Silicon Valley. Summer brings a non oscillatory swing in temps from a frigid 64 to highs of 88 here in downtown Palo Alto. Sarcasm doesn’t work via the printed word and neither does out-alpha-male-ing.

With the summer on-slaught of migrant Ivy league interns, I humbly offer 11 insights. Two you’ll scoff at, 3 you’ll laugh out-loud at and maybe ONE you’ll remember.

I wrote this post for men about men. If you’re a female, I write for us there at Women 2.o. I just wrote about Imposter Syndrome (Find me May 4 being all y’alls exec admin for a party in Palo Alto. 251 Hamilton. 5-9pm FRI)

11 Mistake Males Make Out- Alpha Maleing

-1- Silicon Valley is one flat hierarchy

Access is so so easy. Do your homework by: pre-blogging your networking goal, reading what your target wrote, emailing at them, tweeting at em, promoting what they promote, and blogging about them more.

-2- Give recognized alphas more data

Alphas in this town are massively risk adverse when networking with new people. Most only take a warm intro. Hack this by getting them more data about you. So, go and re-do step #1.

-3- So there is really no such thing as too much stalking.

Stalking is persistence in engineering serendipity

I met my current girlfriend because she just kept showing up at stiffy from my plancast events. I mean she’s uber hawt and she stalks me so GAME ON. It applies to networking with alpha males because

-4- Alpha Males Want Talented and Persistent

Being plain ol’ genius book smart just doesn’t get you to second base here in the Silicon Valley. You HAVE to be street smart too.

-5- Trolling Doesn’t Work.

Trolling works in foreign countries but it doesn’t work here.

-6- Silicon Valley is seemingly international but it’s American to the core.

I mentor foreign people. Remember I’m foreign (sorta).

-7- Be an Alpha by Being More American than America.

Here is my time allocation recommendation: 70-20-10. 70% core work. 20% invested time. 10% donated time. American are incredibly donation and philanthropy oriented. It’s why we saved Europe and Asia in one war. Think about it.

-7- Be an Alpha by Being More Chinese than China.

I’m not saying be American and forget you are Shanghainese. I’m saying in addition to your engineering degree, you should excel at a varsity sport. Be Chinese simultaneously.

For example, I’m making Japan apologize for Nanking

-8- All Hat.

Your ratio of cowboy hat to cowboy skills can be hacked with hustle.

Cowboy skills include hosting something and event producing your way up in the alpha non-hierarchy

-9- Stop picking out my contradictions

You look for contradictions, you will find them. Remember, it’s a contradiction to aspire for street smarts and book smarts. It’s a contradiction to pay a CS 106A kid $7k before you audit cs 106A. It’s a contradiction to add sour to sweet but General Tzu’s chicken is living proof contradictions are just genius things we do not yet comprehend

-10- Tweet to your 11 followers

This town views at-replies as valued press. Alphas in this town care about getting mentioned. Especially angel investors.

Exalt and promote in your twitter stream. People in silicon valley character compass you by typing in your twitter URL and reading. They may not follow you, but VIPs will read.


-11- I want your ideas in the comments!!


*** BONUS ***
a party invite for you…

If you liked this…

defaultLarry’s mentor Mark McCormack wrote this in 1983. His own book came out 09-09-09. It is called ‘What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School

This post was drafted in an hour and needs your edits… email me if you see a spelling or grammatical error(s)… larry@larrychiang com


Larry Chiang started his first company UCMS in college. He mimicked his mentor, Mark McCormack, founder of IMG who wrote the book, “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School”. Chiang is a keynote speaker and bestselling author and spoke at Congress and World Bank.


Text or call him during office hours 11:11am or 11:11pm PST +/-11 minutes at 650-283-8008. Due to the volume of calls, he may place you on hold like a Scottsdale Arizona customer service rep. If you email him, be sure to include your cell number in the subject line. If you want him to email you his new articles…, ask him in an email :-)

You can read more equally funny, but non-founder-focused-lessons on Larry’s Amazon blog

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