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I’ve written often on Found|READ about various and important Things They Don’t Teach you at Stanford Business School, including: 9 Things Stanford B-School Won’t Teach You; 9 VCs You’re Gonna Want to Avoid; How to Work the Room; How to Work the Room 3.0: Cyber-schmoozing. (I’m turning the series into a book! Meanwhile, with Valentines Day around the corner, I figured I’d lighten it up a bit with a some luv stuff. So here you have it: my Top 10 Tips for SGFM (strategic girlfriend management) are to dampen the highs and lows with your significant other. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Finally!, a management ethos gearhead-founders can really use!’ — and definitely something you could never learn at Stanford Business School.
1) Time Space Continuum Awareness.
Founders experience time and consume time differently from girlfriends. Founders feel four days pass in a flash. Eating, sleeping take back seats so calling the GF is way secondary. [I’m telling you to change that once a year & that means next week: 2-14-08. Set your alarm.]
2) Get Some Phone Personality.
If even for 5 minutes, microbursts of attention pay exponential returns. Don’t multi-task during her call. Environment; Get outta the cube. Smell the front desk flowers and woo
your sweetie via telecom airwaves.
2a) Set a hard stop time. Aim for frequency over quantity in optimal SGFM.
2b) No, a missed call isn’t real interaction. Giving good phone is something Romeo and Casanova would advocate if Verizon were dropping calls back in the 1600’s.
3) Calendarize to the Nth Degree.
If its on Outlook/GoogleCalendar/Sidekick, a founder will do it. Any and all a) dates, b) impromptu flowers, c) future gifts for when you’re at a conference, and d) arcane anniversaries (i.e. 1st time we ever ditched the four kids for two weeks was 4 years ago).
Calendarize your impromptu gestures of amore.
3a) Find and replace SGFM with SWM. “W” for wife which will be my program beginning in August… August 2011.
4) Drama is a part of her DNA.
Solution: Launch a proactive nuke. How??; Complain for no apparent reason. Start by saying, “I was watching YouTube/PlanetEarth and I was thinking, you NEVER TAKE ME on safari and you never bring me a zebra leg the way female lionesses do.” What gives? Bu-ha-haa!!!!
5) Porcupine the Drama Complaint After You Amplify it.
Your rant:”You’re mad about my not making Bobbys birthday?? Well, I’m furious. You got to see him turn 6. Me I got to see my server reset itself in effen Horsham/Fremont/Naperville. Lets have another b-day party NOW (at 2am). You rouse the lil bastard and ill cut the Fraiche Yogurt FroYo cake.”
To recap, the porcupine FORMULA: Anticipate it + Hear it + Loud-ify it = Faster Path to Peace. And then solve it with flair and oboxicity (sprinkle with sex if necessary).
6) Complaints that are Compliments.
When strait butt-kissing just seems too obvious, complain upwards. Examples:
* “You know I don’t like how much fun you have with your girlfriends when they come into town.” Translation: take more time off.
* “Why don’t we see that couple more?” Translation: they broke up.
* “Hey why don’t we plan more ‘us’ time this weekend?” Translation: I’m not going to call you Tuesday > Friday cuz we’re having us time Saturday.
* “So you think you work out too much cuz I read on Found|Read.com that a GF who works out more than 2x is shopping me.” Translation: No translation needed, she is jk.
* “After you nap, you look so FRESH!” Translation: Sleep more so I can code!
* “My dog Baxter <link dogster.com/Baxter/likes you more.” Translation: Play with him more so I can code.
7) Love is a Choice.
According to my relationship mentor, Susan Page, love is a choice. Buddy, you picked her so turn your choice into a part time job. Barbara DeAngelis, another mentor, said relations have emotional bank accounts so effen make a deposit and not a withdrawal. Check out Susan’s books on Why Talking is Not Enough: 8 Loving Actions That Will Transform Your Marriage, or If I’m So Wonderful, Why Am I still Single?. And Barbara’s luv letters: What Women Want Men to Know, and Are You The One for Me?: Know Who’s Right & Avoiding Who’s Wrong.
8) Enlist the help women board of advisors.
You’re too cheap to hire a pro consultant from McKill Me and Associates. Man from Mars, what are you deciphering? Answer: Venus talk. Or if you only have $15, PayPal me and
I’ll take your call.
9) Cook something.
It can be a quesadilla. Even a grill cheese. 3, 4 or 5 course meals can be a disaster. Simple food, cooked with love and care win ‘bukoo’ points.
10) Get her a puppy.
No I won’t sell you Baxter. Ok, I will but for $90k jk. Don’t forget the puppy needs day care, grooming, expert trainer and premium food so your net-net per year maintenance fee is apprx $14k. Your ROI is more hours you can work followed by a stay-in-execution from having kids.
BIG BONUS — may be useless, nerds, cuz this tip is way over your heads, but:
11) Pro Forma Your Emotional Bank Accounts Do this for your luv deposits and withdrawals the same way you would forecast revenue (google “emotional bank accounts”). Stephen Covey’s stuff works even though your company has zero money coming in.
Larry Chiang is the founder of Duck9, and UCMS. He is an expert at FICO scores, how to Hack Your Startup Credit Rating, revenue generation, cash flow … oh and: dating. Read more about Larry in the Oct. 15, 2007 issue of BusinessWeek.