Friday, January 11, 2013

How To Date Like An Entrepreneur

I was chatting with my friend Ramit Sethi (or as I like to call him in front of the ladies, "New York Times Bestselling Author and Millionaire Ramit Sethi") when I realized something:

A lot of men in Silicon Valley (and on Hacker News and Reddit) understand how to pitch VCs and angel investors.  It seems like a much smaller proportion feel comfortable courting women.

The funny thing is that many of the same principles apply!  So here is one old married guy's gift to the dating world:

How to Date like an Entrepreneur

(Note that this advice is going to be male/heterosexual-centric; sorry, I've got to write what I know!)

1) Know your elevator pitch.

If someone says, "Tell me about yourself," you darn well better be able to launch into a clear, concise talk, not a rambling life story.  Hit the key points (where you grew up, where you went to school, your career, your interests and activities) and then assess the reaction.

2) Know your audience.

Sadly, the ad hoc nature of dating means that you won't always be able to research people ahead of time. When you can, learn as much as you can--in today's social world, you can find out a lot.  When you can't, make sure you focus on asking questions so you can learn about your date early on in the evening.

Alternately, if you're my friend Ben Casnocha, you can just check out her delicious feed and her Amazon wishlist!

3) Read body language.

Many entrepreneurs misread VCs because they focus on words rather than body language.  Investors don't want to reject you too harshly--maybe they'll want in on the deal if someone else leads.  Similarly, politeness dictates that women not tell you, "Not if you were the last non-zombie on the face of the Earth."

Body language is much more truthful. Does it seem like she actively leans in and wants to spend more time with you?  Or are her eyes darting around the room looking for an escape route.  As with VCs, someone who reads their email the whole time is indicating a lack of interest.

4) Know your objective.

In your first investor meeting, your objective is to spark enough interest to get a second meeting. Same for dating. Don't try to win her heart in the first 15 minutes. Just get her interested enough to see you again. And when the customer is sold, shut up and ask for the order.

5) Your attractiveness depends on competition.

Like VCs, women want to date a man other women find attractive. Ideally, other women come up to you and talk with you.  This is where developing a wide set of relationships helps--even if a woman isn't interested in you romantically, if she pays attention to you, you will seem more attractive to other women.

Similarly, your attractiveness will depend on the available substitutes. Being one of the only men at a party is good. Attending your friend's male modeling agency holiday party is bad.

6) You only need one to say yes.

Ultimately, dating is like fundraising. It's a means to an end. All that matters is that you find the right person for a real relationship. Don't get caught up in the game; the real value comes from what you build, whether it's a business or a relationship.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Fight Cancer, Get My Time

Last year, I rode in Cycle for Survival, and helped raise over $15 million for cancer.  You guys helped by donating over $2,000.

This year, it's even more personal.  As you know, I lost my beloved dog Kobe to cancer last Fall.

Meanwhile, my friend David Weekly lost his mother, and his brother is now fighting brain cancer.  My friend Don underwent surgery and chemo, and is currently in remission.

Cancer is a devastating disease that will eventually impact all of us, either directly, or via our family and friends.  It's a fight we all need to take on.

I'll make the same offer that I did last year--everyone who visits my Cycle for Survival page and donates gets some of my time:

$20 Donation: I will answer any one email you send me
$50 Donation: I will have a 20-minute telephone conversation with you
$100 Donation: I will meet you in person at my office (San Mateo, CA) or in Palo Alto
$500 Donation: I will take you out to a leisurely lunch (Peninsula only)

All proceeds go to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (all expenses for the fundraiser are covered by donations), and are 100% tax deductible.

Just visit my Cycle for Survival page and donate. The website will send me your contact information, and I'll email you to schedule your appointment.

If you've ever lost someone to cancer, it's time to fight back.

UPDATE: Through Friday, 1/18, all donations will be matched, which means you'll effectively double your contribution!

UPDATE: I'm running a special promo with my friend at the Wages of Wins network. Correctly guess which NBA player will have the best game through Friday, and you can get upgraded one level (e.g. $20 for a phone call, $50 for an in-person meeting, $100 for a lunch).

Monday, January 07, 2013

Have a big goal? Start with steady progress, no matter how small

I love this recent blog post about the power of making progress, no matter how small the increment:
"Nathan Barry, a normal guy from Idaho with a wife and kid, found the time to write his book in thousand word chunks.

Jonathan Hardesty, an aspiring artist who started at “rock bottom”, did one sketch or painting every day. It took him years of work, but he went from untrained to professional artist.

Tim Cawley, with a day job in advertising, squeezed in work on nights, early mornings, and holiday breaks for two years to complete his documentary. It’s now showing at film festivals across the country."

I've often said that I want to write a book; so many of my friends are best-selling authors, I feel left out! But I always point out that I don't have time to write a book. After all, I'm an entrepreneur, investor, speaker, father, and numerous other things.

Yet, since I started blogging in 2001, I've published 1,522 blog posts (and that's just on my main blog). At an average of 500 words per post, that means my blog includes over 750,000 words...or roughly 7 1/2 books worth of content over 11 years.

Since I joined Twitter in 2007, I've published 4,936 tweets. At an average of 20 words per tweet, that's nearly 100,000 words...or roughly a single full-length book.

It's time I stopped making excuses and started writing. My New Year's resolution is the following:

Before the end of 2014, I will have written a full-length book, published or not.

You heard it here first!