By SUSAN LAHEY
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
Larry Chiang, investor and teacher at Stanford University, is famous for his after-parties—not in a Hugh Hefner, bad boy kindof way (no alcohol is served). But because his after-parties help young tech entrepreneurs grasp the importance and the finesse of hosting an event.
“When you throw a party you’re building something and wondering if anyone going to show up,” Chiang said. “You have to put your own name on it. You’re inviting people and you have to promote it. That’s a skill set they don’t teach you inside of engineering business school. Throwing a party is the same as running an election is the same as getting 150 users.”
Which is why his latest party at the end of the Startup Crawl of Austin Startup Week was hosted by the students of a workshop he taught: Engineering 145 Preview. It was a 90-minute version of the class he teaches at Stanford that teaches all the social and sales skills engineering schools don’t teach. Chiang has written a book on that topic “What They Don’t Teach You at Stanford Business School.” The class concluded with students throwing the after-party featuring lemonade and a special Larry Chiang guacamole recipe whipped up by the staff at the Four Seasons. The guac had a couple dozen extra ingredients like roasted garlic and roasted peppers. An iterative guac.
“Lemonade and guacamole are the execution of all the knowledge from the class. Lemonade is a baby business, not a startup. It’s a mini company concept. And guacamole is a recipe, like any other recipe. There are 35 steps to follow, its pattern replicating and pattern iterating.”
After Chiang’s class, attended by half a dozen budding entrepreneurs including some from University of Texas’ One Semester Startup, participants had to secure sponsors for the party.
“There were little hacks on how to execute and be entrepreneur, how to do cold calls” said co-host Johnny Van, a One Semester Startup graduate. Students who sold sponsorships were allowed to keep the proceeds.
Irene Nguyen, a computer science undergrad at UT signed up for the class because she’s drawn to the startup culture, though not sure if she plans to be entrepreneur. “He talked about how to get a legendary signature. It was very inspirational to me.”
About 60 people showed up for the party Thursday night. Much guacamole was consumed.